Clemson 1-0 at Georgia Tech 1-0 (7:45 PM Kickoff in Atlanta)
Dabo Swinney is going to forever think he is destined to have only three or four days to prepare for Georgia Tech. We all know that the Tigers actually took some time in the spring and in the first part of August drills to concentrate on Paul Johnson's bunch. The key will be for the new Kevin Steele defense to hold the running game of the Yellow Jackets in check. That is easier said than done. Seven times last season Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer had 100 yards rushing before halftime. Dwyer also averaged an impressive seven plus yards per carry in the fourth quarter last season. Georgia Tech has as much big play capability as the Tigers both running and throwing the football. The battle cry for the Tiger defense is "Assignments men, assignments!"
The Yellow Jackets have plenty to worry about themselves. First of all, kicking the ball to C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. Coach Johnson has said that he intends to kick the ball to the dangerous return men and let his tacklers tackle. Don't know that I would do that, but I hope Tech does give number 28 and 6 a chance for returns. Secondly the Jackets have to worry about Clemson's big play ability on O. We saw last week what Jacoby can do with the football once he catches it and turns up field. Now, of course he has to catch the ball first. We all know what Spiller can do when he gets in open space, but what impressed me most from last week was Kyle Parker's mobility. I never thought he panicked, but he was able to bye some time and he showed he could tuck it and run. The offensive line will be the key for both clubs. Which ever one and control enough plays is going to win the game for their club. Can't believe I am saying this because before the year started I had this chalked up as a loss, but I think the White Out in Atlanta gets Purpled. Spiller will once again break two plays of better than 40 yards, Richard Jackson connects with less than two minutes to go, and the Clemson defense is able to make a stop at the end of the game. Clemson 24 Georgia Tech 23
North Carolina 1-0 at Connecticut 1-0 (12 noon Kickoff in Storrs, CT)
Butch Davis takes his Tar Heels north to see if they can build on their 40-6 victory over The Citadel. UNC ran for 261 yards against the Bulldog defense and that is what they will want to do against the Huskies. T.J. Yates did not have a big day throwing the ball last week, but he is still breaking in a new receiving corps, plus he really did not have to go to the air in last weeks game. Randy Edsall's Huskies posted a 23-16 victory over Ohio last week. Much like North Carolina, UConn did their damage on the ground rolling up 259 yards. Jordan Todman was the main ball carrier picking up 157 of those yards. The Tar Heels won last years match up 38-12. They will win again this year, but it will be a much closer game. North Carolina 21 Connecticut 16.
Stanford 1-0 at Wake Forest 0-1 (12 noon Kickoff in Winston-Salem)
Give credit to Wake head coach Jim Grobe he didn't schedule any light-weight out of conference games to open the season. The Deacons went down last week in front of the home folks 24-21 to Baylor and now Jim Harbaugh brings a solid Stanford team across the country. Wake QB Riley Skinner threw for only 143 yards against the Bears last week and managed to direct the Deacon offense to only 269 yards in total. Those numbers, obviously have to increase significantly Saturday.
Meanwhile Stanford opened the season with a 39-13 win over Washington State. In doing so they racked up 481 yards of offense with 288 of that coming on the ground. Take note that Washington State had one of the worst ever defenses in college football history last year, so how much improvement cold they have made. Still I think Jim Harbaugh is going to be a name to watch in college coaching circles. Jim Grobe might have taken that window of opportunity when it presented itself a few years back. Stanford 23 Wake 20
Duke 0-1 at Army 1-0 (12 noon Kickoff in West Point, NY)
I told you last week that the Blue Devils would fall to FCS defending national champion Richmond. Guess what? They will fall to the Cadets. Army 27 Duke 20
Marshall 1-0 at Virginia Tech 0-1 (1:30 PM Kickoff in Blacksburg)
The Hokies found out what Clemson found out last year - don't play Alabama to open your season in Atlanta. The most surprising part of the Virginia Tech's 34-24 loss was that the Crimson Tide rolled up 500 yards of offense meanwhile Frank Beamer's offense only totaled 155 yards. The real question on the offensive side of the ball is whether or not Tyrod Taylor can be a threat throwing the football. He can do big damage with his feet, but he needs to do more damage with his arm. He should be able to do plenty of damage against the Thundering Herd. Virginia Tech 33 Marshall 10
Kent State 0-0 at Boston College 1-0 (2 PM Kickoff in Chestnut Hill, MA)
The Frank Spaziani era at Boston College got off to a rousing start as the Eagles shut out Northeastern 54-0 last week. No offense to the Golden Flashes, who downed Coastal Carolina 18-0 last week, but this will be a warm-up game for BC's trip to Clemson next weekend. Boston College 42 Kent State 10
TCU 0-0 at Virginia 0-1 (3:30 PM Kickoff in Charlottesville)
It is the opener for the Horn Frogs and the game following the Cavaliers 26-14 loss to William and Mary, William and Mary! Al Groh ain't the most excitable guy in the world. Lose this one and the Jeffersonians will be looking at resumes. Hope you have a good resume Al. TCU 27 Virginia 13
James Madison 0-0 at Maryland 0-1 (6 PM Kickoff in College Park)
What did we learn about the Colonial Athletic Association last week my friends? They can play football on the FCS level. Three teams in the CAA downed FBS teams last week. Ralph Friedgen Terrapins got shelled last week by Cal 52-13. Maryland is on upset alert in their home opener. Maryland 21 James Madison 17
Murray State 1-0 at NC State 0-1 (6 PM Kickoff in Raleigh)
The season could not have started much worse for the Wolfpack last week in a 7-3 loss to South Carolina. Let's be honest, they set the world of college football back 100 years with their effort as it was just plain ugly across the board. Russell Wilson looked slow, the running game was ineffective and the offensive line was awful. Murray State on the other hand started the year off with a rousing 66-10 romp over Kentucky Wesleyan. The Racers come into the contest with the mental edge. NC State comes into the game needing a win and they get it. N.C. State 29 Murray State 17
Jacksonville State 0-1 at Florida State 0-1 (6 PM Kickoff in Tallahassee)
The Gamecocks opened the season with a 37-17 loss at Georgia Tech, but in doing so they showed the ability to move the football. That is important because in their 38-34 loss to Miami on Monday night the Nole defense had no answer for the Hurricane offense. The FSU offense should be able to put their more than fair share of points on the board the entire season. The question is will the defense be able to stop anyone the entire season? They should be able to stop Jacksonville State enough. Florida State 42 Jacksonville State 23
Last week: 7-3
Munson's ACC preview - week No. 2
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