Munson's ACC preview - Week No. 12

CLEMSON - Welcome to rivalry week where teams and fan bases that really hate one another go at it tooth and nail and bragging rights are up for grab.

Wake Forest (4-7, 2-5) at Duke (5-6, 3-4) 12 PM kickoff
This game will be it for both of these clubs in 2009. For the Deacons the 2009 campaign was one of disappointment. For the Blue Devils 2009 was a season of hope and one to build on. Wake has won nine straight games against Duke but the last three by just a combined nine points. If the Demon Deacons are to make it 10 in a row Riley Skinner will have to play big at quarterback in his last game for the Black and Gold and the defense will have to find a way to contain Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis. Saturday's game marks the first meeting in ACC history between two QB's who each have thrown for over 9,000 career passing yards. Advantage home team. Final score: Duke 28 Wake 24

North Carolina (8-3, 4-3) at North Carolina State (4-7, 1-6) 12 PM kickoff
N.C. State owns a two game winning streak against the Heels and I would like to tell you they will make it three in a row, but I can't. UNC's defense can stop you ... NCSU's defense cannot. Final score: North Carolina 34 North Carolina State 14

Virginia Tech (8-3, 5-2) at Virginia (3-8, 2-5) 3:30 PM kickoff
Two fourth-quarter defensive stands last season gave the Hokies their fifth win a row in this series and it will have to be defense excellence again to make it six in a row. The reason the Hokies will have to rely on their defense is because their offense has been erratic all season, especially quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Last week as we saw the Cavaliers went to the back pages of their play book and put 21 first half points on the board. The big problem was there were no second half points. This figures to be the last game as the Cavaliers head coach for Al Groh. Can he go out with a bang? Nope. Final score: Virginia Tech 24 Virginia 16

Miami (8-3, 5-3) at South Florida (7-3, 3-3 Big East) 3:30 PM kickoff
The Hurricanes wrap up their regular season with their fourth game against an in-state opponent. Both "The U" and South Florida started the season with a bang. The Canes with a 3-1 start and a top 15 ranking and the Bulls with their third straight 5-0 start, the only FBS team to accomplish that feat. South Florida you will remember knocked off FSU earlier this season and my hunch is they will do the same to Miami. Final score: South Florida 20 Miami 17

Florida State (6-5, 4-4) at Florida (11-0, 8-0) 3:30 PM kickoff
The Florida Gators have won five games in a row against the Seminoles. The Florida Gators have won 21 games in a row overall. The Florida Gators have Tim Tebow. The Florida State Seminoles are a program in disarray, need I say more? Final score: Florida 38 Florida State 20

Boston College (7-4, 4-3) at Maryland (2-9, 1-6) 3:30 PM kickoff
Frank Spaziani has a chance to win eight regular season games and go 5-3 in the league. Ralph Friedgen has no chance at all. Final score: Boston College 24 Maryland 16

Georgia (6-5, 4-4) at Georgia Tech (10-1, 7-1) 8 PM kickoff
A battle of two in-state programs headed in different directions. The Yellow Jackets snapped a seven game losing streak to the Bulldogs with a 45-42 victory in Athens. Bulldog fans weren't happy then and they won't be happy when this year's game is said and done. Jackets will carry momentum to Tampa. Final score: Georgia Tech 49 Georgia 24

Clemson (8-3, 6-2) at South Carolina (6-5, 3-5) 12 PM kickoff
There are two big questions one has to ask themselves going into the battle for the Palmetto state. No. 1: Can the Tigers keep their focus with a berth in the ACC Championship game on the horizon? And No. 2: Can South Carolina stop yet another free fall to end the season?

Let's answer question one first.

If you are fortunate enough to gain entrance to the team meeting room of the Tigers who will see a sign that features the team goals. One is, "Win the first game." Two is, "Win the Atlantic Division Championship." No. 3 is, "Win the State Championship." Clemson took care of goals number one and two and you can be sure number three has their full attention. If the Tigers are to win their 10th game at Williams-Brice in their last 11 attempts here are a few things that will need to happen.

First of all the Tigers must be able to run the football. Virginia's 3-4 defense kept the running game in check last week, but USC's defense gambles much more than UVA's and that should open a few holes for C.J. Spiller and crew.

Second, Kyle Parker must be composed in his first rivalry game of his career. He knows what this rivalry is all about on the baseball diamond and that should help him. Gamecock defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson will more than likely try to pressure Parker with just a four man rush. He will bring the occasional blitz, but look for a lot of two deep zone coverage. If Parker makes an early mistake, he must be able to shake it off.

Thirdly, look for the Gamecock offense to go after Chris Chancellor. Steve Spurrier always looks for a defense's weak spot and with significant size advantage at wide receiver he will go after Chancellor. Which leads us to the fourth and maybe most important key of the game and that is for the Clemson defense to get pressure on Stephen Garcia. If you allow Garcia to sit back in the pocket he will hurt you, but put some pressure on him and he time to time throws the ball into places he shouldn't. The Tigers carry all the momentum into Saturday's game with the six game winning streak and plenty of confidence they can win in Columbia.

A quick start sure would help the Tigers cause and make the Gamecocks doubt themselves. And a quick start it will be as the Tigers collect their rent, which answers the second question posed above as well. Final score: Clemson 27 South Carolina 17 Top Stories