Munson's ACC preview - week No. 4

Don Munson is back with his weekly ACC preview for CUTigers.com.

North Carolina 3-0 at Georgia Tech 2-1 (12 noon in Atlanta)
Up until last year this had been a series in recent years dominated by Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets before last years 28-7 loss to the Tar Heels had won nine of the previous ten meetings. This is a match up of two coaches whom many are pointing too to lead the ACC back to national prominence. There is no fence sitting with Paul Johnson and his Yellow Jackets. You either really like his option offensive system or you don't. With Butch Davis, many don't have that all or nothing outlook. UNC did hold the Jackets to only seven points last season, but Georgia Tech helped them a ton with several turnovers. Having said that, I really like the defensive talent the Tar Heels have amassed. Tech's Jonathan Dwyer is still looking for his first big game of the season. I don't think it comes this weekend. Final score: North Carolina 24 Georgia Tech 19

South Florida 3-0 at Florida State 2-1 (12 noon kickoff in Tallahassee)
South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt has been working a long time to get the Seminoles to play his Bulls. No doubt he has built a strong program in the Tampa area and this years squad led by senior quarterback Matt Grothe was expected top be highly competitive. So what naturally happens when the Bulls get their first ever shot at the Seminoles? Grothe goes down with a knee injury for the season. Welcome to college football freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels. FSU is coming off a very impressive 54-28 beat down of BYU in the Mormon's house. Christian Ponder is getting better with each game and will be the real key in this contest. South Florida has plenty of athletic talent on the defensive side of the ball and should pose a threat to FSU's offense. The Bulls have won 14 games in a row against non-conference opponents, but that string ends in Tallahassee. Final score: Florida State 33 South Florida 17

Wake Forest 2-1 at Boston College 2-1 (2 PM kickoff in Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
The Demon Deacons take their show on the road for the first time this season. Jim Grobe's club after opening the season with a three point loss to Baylor have bounced back with nice wins over Stanford and Elon. Riley Skinner is coming off a career high 289 yards passing against Elon, but he needs help from the running game. Boston College has to have some worries on offense after what the Tigers did to them last week. Of the two freshman quarterbacks that play for BC, I like Justin Tuggle the best. He just brings more athleticism to the position. Look for the Eagles to try and get him to the corners with a little run or pass option. This will be a game decided by the quarterback position and because of that I like the Deacons. Final Score Wake Forest 28 Boston College 17

Miami 2-0 at Virginia Tech 2-1 (3:30 PM kickoff in Blacksburg)
Who would have thought that this game would be the best ACC match-up in the month of September? Miami has vaulted up the polls and back onto the national scene with wins over FSU and Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech picked up their second win of the season in miracle fashion last week against Nebraska. NO doubt from what we have seen this season the Hurricanes deserve to be a three point favorite, but when was the last time the Hokies were a under dog at home? Ball control becomes a big key for Virginia Tech. They need to come out an establish the running game to be effective on offense because Tyrod Taylor has not shown the ability to move the offense with his arm. Randy Shannon knows this, so look for him to stack the box and force Mr. Taylor to throw the ball. Miami quarterback Jacory Harris has been outstanding this season. The big reason has been his offensive line. Harris has been given all the time in the world when he has settled back in the pocket. Tech defensive coach Bud Foster will look to change that bringing a variety of blitz's. I know Miami is playing very well, but I just can't get by the fact of home field advantage for the Hokies. Final score: Virginia Tech 16 Miami 13

Pittsburgh 3-0 at NC State 2-1 (3:30 PM kickoff in Raleigh)
Pittsburgh was the preseason favorite to take the Big East title. NC State was considered to be a dark horse in the ACC. Well Cincinnati has changed a few minds about the Panthers chance at a Big East title and the Wolfpacks showing against South Carolina in the season opener changed some minds about that dark horse thing. This is a big game for NC State. After beating up on two nobodies the last couple of weeks, they need to come out a play well. I think they will. Final score: NC State 24 Pittsburgh 21

Rutgers 2-1 at Maryland 1-2 (Kickoff 3:30 PM in College Park)
The final season of the Ralph Friedgren era continues. Final score: Rutgers 31 Maryland 20

North Carolina Central 0-3 at Duke 1-2 (7 PM kickoff in Durham)
The Blue Devils celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 1989 ACC Championship at this game. I hope most of the old team shows up because they will be the only ones there to watch this contest. Final score: Duke 45 N.C. Central 3

TCU 2-0 at Clemson 2-1 (3:30 PM kickoff in Clemson)
The Horned Frogs come into Death Valley with a nasty reputation for defense. The Tigers are trying to build a similar reputation. You should know by now that TCU is 53-1 when holding opponents to 17 points or less. You should know by now there are still major questions about the Tigers offensive line, especially if Chris Hairston can't go. You should know by now that TCU head coach Gary Patterson was one of those rumored to be in the mix last winter for the spot that Dabo Swinney now has. Here are some things that maybe you did not know: TCU's quarterback Andy Dalton has connected on 33 of 45 passes and is averaging 41.1 yards rushing per game over his last 17 contests. TCU has also won its last 26 games when attempting 34 of fewer passes. They have won 24 of the last 25 when throwing for 205 yards or less. Are you getting the message this is a team that wants to control the ball?

The key is forcing the Horn Frogs to play behind the stakes. TCU was just 1-of-11 on third down conversions against Virginia in their opener. The task for Clemson is simple prove that you can run the football. You have to feel that Gary Patterson is going to put seven or eight men in the box and force the Tigers to beat them throwing the football. That means the Tigers wide receivers have to step up and that is a scary thought. Once again the Tigers will need to depend on the big play capability of CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford. Something tells me this will be one of the more memorable games played in Death Valley in the last 10 to 15 years. The game comes right down to the wire. Final score: Clemson 16 TCU 10

Last week: 6-3
Season: 20-7

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