N.C. State (4-6) at North Carolina (7-3) Kickoff 12 PM
The Wolfpack and the Tar Heels will meet on the gridiron for the 98th time on Saturday. The Pack got the best of the Heels last year in Raleigh but UNC has won three of the last four between these two and leads the overall series 63-28-6. NCSU comes in having won two in a row posting victories over Duke and Wake Forest, so you know Tom O'Brien would love to sweep his Big Four brethren. Pack QB Russell Wilson has now thrown 175 passes without an interception and he has been a real difference for NC State as of late. He will have to play well because UNC is only giving up 18.3 points per game.
Meanwhile Butch Davis has certainly been coaching up the defensive secondary as North Carolina has 18 interceptions on the season (second best in the country entering this weekend's game). Meanwhile QB Cameron Sexton has settled in nicely for the injured T.J. Yates. Sexton has a passing efficiency rating of 132.73 which would lead the league if he had played in 75 percent of UNC's games. He has completed better than 55 percent of his passes for 1230 yards and nine touchdowns. The real question going into this contest is will this be the last home appearance for Butch Davis. It just might and I will go out on a limb and say it is. Prediction: UNC 24 NC State 17
Boston College (7-3) at Wake Forest (6-4) Kickoff 3:30 PM
Simply put, the Eagles hold their own destiny in their hands. With their win over FSU last week in Tallahassee, all BC needs is a win against the Deacs and then take care of business next week at home against Maryland and they will be in the ACC Championship game for the second consecutive year. You think the loss to Clemson is sticking in their craw just a bit? The Seminoles managed only 73 rushing yards last week against the Eagle defense. It was the fifth time this season the BC D has held an opponent to less than 100 yards on the ground.
If Wake is going to win this game they are going to have to do because of the arm of Riley Skinner. Surprisingly Wake has been awful running the ball this season averaging just 111.60 yards per game- which is good enough for 100th in the country. Meanwhile Boston College boosts the nation eight best overall defense giving up only 277.50 yards per game. What is it they say about defense winning championships? Prediction: Boston College 24 Wake Forest 13
Duke (4-6) at Virginia Tech (6-4) Kickoff 5:30 PM
Just when you thought that maybe David Cutcliffe had turned things around in Durham, the Blue Devils revert back to their old ways. Duke was nothing less than awful against Clemson last week. Yes, I know it didn't help with Thaddeus Lewis going down in the second series of the game, but didn't you expect a little more than what you saw. Much could be said of the Hokies as 6-4 is not what you expect coming out of Blacksburg.
Most of the news this week coming out of Virginia Tech has been centered on Bud Foster and his chances of getting the Clemson job. I don't think that is a good thing. I know the weather also won't be a good thing for this contest. Temperatures are expected to be in the 30's at kickoff and falling from there. That does not bode well for the offenses in this game which aren't that good to begin with. Duke has the 97th best offense in the country and Virginia Tech's is ranked 109th. Defensively the Hokies are much better than the Blue Devils and that will be the difference. Prediction: VT 28 Duke 10
Florida State (7-3) at Maryland (7-3) Kickoff 7:45 PM
Florida State lost a golden opportunity to make it to Tampa for the ACC Championship game when they lost at home to Boston College. Maryland, on the other hand, greatly increased their chances at making it to the championship game with a home victory over UNC. Every ranked opponent the Terps have played this year they have beaten (Cal, Clemson, Wake, UNC). As a matter of fact the last six ranked teams that Maryland has faced they have been on the winning side. Problem is the Seminoles are now out of the polls. Going into last week most ACC observers would have told you FSU was playing the best football of anyone in the league, but that was last week. Maryland used a power running game last week getting a combined 215 yards from tailbacks Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett. Mickey Andrews's defense could not stop the power game of BC last week, so one would think he would not let that happen again. FSU has made some noise this season about getting back to the Seminoles of old. The Seminoles of old would not lose this game. These aren't your daddy's Seminoles. Prediction: Maryland 18 FSU 13
Clemson (5-5) at Virginia (5-5) Kickoff 12:10 PM
Dabo Swinney said his Tigers played their most complete game of the season last week in a 31-7 win over Duke. Problem is it was Duke and Clemson fans expect to beat the Blue Devils that way not most of the time, ut all of the time. Defensively the Tigers held the Blue Devils to less than 170 yards of total offense, but it was Duke.
Al Groh is trying to get his squad bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven seasons and he has had two weeks to prepare for the Tigers which make the Cavs even more dangerous. Virginia this season has been very balanced offensively using just enough of the running game with Cedric Peerman, who is averaging 93 yards and a touchdown per game over the last six contests, and getting just enough from QB Marc Verica to keep defenses off balance. Verica will sling the ball all over the field. His two favorite targets are TE John Phillips who leads ACC tight ends in receptions and WR Kevin Ogletree who is second in the league in yards per game and fifth in receptions per game.
Defensively the Cavs play more of a sliding type of defense. They get on blockers and read what the offense is doing rather than just attack up field, so the key for Clemson will be getting the front four to move and not just hold blocks. To win the Tigers must get the running game going and the good news is for the first time this season the offensive line for the Tigers seems to be relatively healthy. They had better be if the Clemson expects to win.
C.J. Spiller has taken his game to another level and one would think the plan of attack would be to get him 30-35 touches on Saturday and use just enough of James Davis to keep UVA off balance. Remember the days of "White Meat"? Tigers get some in Charlottesville. Prediction: Clemson 27 Virginia 17
Around the ACC: Whitemeat Anybody?
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