ACC Week Two Predictions, Part 2
ACC Game of the Week
Clemson (1-0) at Boston College (1-0) 3:30 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 9th
Why to Watch: Along with Florida State, these two are the contenders in the ACC Atlantic Division and the winner of this game gets a game and half lead, essentially, on the other one. With the Noles still ahead for each, it’s not an overstatement to say this might be an elimination game. Last year, these two battered each other into overtime last year in Death Valley, when BC escaped with a 16-13 win after a ‘First and Brian Toal’ touchdown, and this game might be even more exciting given what’s at stake. Clemson wasn’t tested last week against Florida Atlantic winning 54-6, while Boston College got pushed to the limit by Central Michigan in a 31-24 win. Clemson hasn’t ventured into Chestnut Hill since Doug Flutie was at quarterback, and the Eagles’ Nest should be rocking.
Why Clemson Might Win: Pick your poison with the Tiger RBs - James Davis, Reggie Merriweather and CJ Spiller. Any one could give the Boston College run defense problems, but in combination, they’re still fresh and explosive in the fourth quarter. However, Davis is the one guy who has the most ability to dominate the ball and the game, picking up five to six yards a carry, which could have the Eagles in big-time trouble. Although the BC offensive tackles have experience, they won’t have an answer for All-American DE Gaines Adams. The Clemson star DE will be a constant threat in the backfield, be it against run or pass, and a consistent problem for those Eagle tackles.
Why Boston College Might Win: Last week, BC QB Matt Ryan threw the ball 48 times. The purpose was to give Ryan some work against live competition, but what the end result was that he proved that he can spread the ball around to all his options completing passes to 11 different receivers. Ryan’s ability to find his second and/or third receivers is key to being effective on third down. On the other side of the ball, BC safety Jamie Silva is a tremendous hitter in the middle of the Eagle defense and should be a factor in the box against the Clemson running game. The BC run defense held CMU All-MAC RB Ontario Sneed in check last week and should provide a stern test for the Clemson run game.
Who to Watch: Ryan’s ability to spread the receptions around to his myriad of pass catching threats puts the spotlight square on Clemson CB Duane Coleman and Haydrian Lewis. The Clemson secondary allowed FAU to complete 65% through the air, but it can’t allow Ryan to control the ball in that way this weekend. BC DT B.J. Raji was ejected late in last week’s game at CMU, but this week he has to control the middle, occupying the Clemson interior, allowing his linebackers to attack Davis, et al.
What Will Happen: Ryan shouldn’t throw the ball 48 times, because the more times that he goes back to throw, Adams will be bearing down on him. The Eagles should test a Tiger run defense that lost All-ACC LB candidate Anthony Waters, who’s out for the season with an ACL tear. In so doing, they’ll find a better balance in their offense to keep the Clemson defense guessing. Clemson QB Will Proctor got the jitters out last week against FAU, but the Tigers should see plenty of Eagles in the box to force the passing game to get the job done. Proctor will come through.
CFN Prediction: Clemson 24 ... Boston College 20 ... Line: Clemson -4
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 4
Virginia Tech (1-0) at North Carolina (0-1) 12 pm EST ESPN Saturday, September 9th
Why to Watch: After suffering a tough 21-16 loss to Rutgers, the Tar Heels have to get some confidence back, but it won’t come easily, if at all, facing a physical Virginia Tech squad coming off a confidence-boosting 38-0 win over Northeastern. This is the first true test for Hokie QB Sean Glennon and the Hokies, who needs to keep progressing over the next few weeks before the nasty Georgia Tech defense comes to town. The Tar Heels need to show that they might be a factor in the ACC race and can’t afford to give away any more home game.
Why Virginia Tech Might Win: The Hokie linebackers, led by Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, are fantastic tacklers and shouldn’t allow UNC’s bruising running backs Ronnie McGill and Barrington Edwards additional yards after first contact, which nearly cost Rutgers. Hokie RB Branden Ore, on the verge of being a star, has to be licking his chops to face a North Carolina run defense that gave up over 200 yards to Rutgers RB Ray Rice. Ore’s bigger than Rice but has the same rushing style, which should wear down North Carolina by the fourth quarter.
Why North Carolina Might Win: North Carolina QB Joe Dailey gained more confidence as the game wore on, and that should allow UNC offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti to open up the playbook and put Dailey on the move a bit more against the Hokies fast and aggressive defense. Dailey has two future stars in the making, WR Hakeem Nicks and Brooks Foster, who should both be difficult matchups for the Hokie corners with their size and physical nature. As long as Dailey isn’t making mistakes, the Tar Heel offense should move.
Who to Watch: UNC LB Larry Edwards and the Heels run defense got run over, figuratively and literally last week, and if they allow Ore to gash them as Rice did, it’ll be a long day. The pressure is on the defensive staff to free up Edwards to spy on Ore throughout the game and avoid the trash in the middle. If that wasn’t enough for the Heels to worry about, Glennon was consistent against Northeastern, and the UNC secondary isn’t equipped to handle the Virginia Tech ‘posse’ of great receivers led by David Clowney, Josh Morgan and Eddie Royal. If the Heels decide to play more zone to keep the corners out of mismatches, Glennon will have to take his checkdowns and short routes and not get too greedy downfield.
What Will Happen: Dailey is going to see even more pressure from the Hokies to prove that he can withstand the heat and not turn the ball over. The Hokies won’t allow UNC’s McGill and Edwards to control the ball for 10 to 12 play drives, so ball control with the passing game will be vitally important. Expect to see Hokie rover Aaron Rouse near the line of scrimmage to control the two big Heel running backs.
CFN Prediction: Virginia Tech 34 ... North Carolina 17 ... Line: Virginia Tech -11.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2
Duke (0-1) at Wake Forest (1-0) 12 pm EST GamePlan Saturday, September 9th
Why to Watch: Duke is coming off of a disastrous 13-0 loss to D-IAA Richmond and now needs something positive to happen to save its season before it really gets started. It might have gotten the break it needed with Demon Deacon starting quarterback Ben Mauk out indefinitely. Redshirt freshman QB Riley Skinner takes over for Mauk after leading the Deacons to the go-ahead score against Syracuse, and he needs to use this game to get his feet wet before the winnable games against UConn, Ole Miss and Liberty ahead.
Why Duke Might Win: Duke LB Michael Tauiliili is Duke’s best defensive player and is the key to stopping the Wake running game. Against Richmond, he was in double digits with tackles, with 11, and he’s a physical run stopper who has to get to the ball clean and tackle two physical backs very well. Wake should be more one-dimensional than normal, and the Blue Devil defensive line should be able to handle it for at least a few quarters.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: Even without Mauk at QB, the Demon Deacons still have RB Micah Andrews healthy and he’ll be the best player on the field on Saturday. While coming in and out of the game against Syracuse with cramps, he still ran for 142 yards against the Orange. Along with the “Bus”, DeAngelo Bryant, the Demon Deacons can bludgeon Duke to death with a dose of Andrews and Bryant.
Who to Watch: Wake Forest WR Willie Idlette is a game breaking threat who receded into a shell last season, but had a touchdown against Syracuse. He gives QB Skinner a threat downfield to challenge Duke CB John Talley and the Duke secondary. The Duke QB position was already shaky, and Saturday night’s game didn’t do much to help the situation. Marcus Jones started the game, but true freshman Thaddeus Lewis played the rest of the game, completing 14 of 25 throws. Wake will have to prepare for both, but Duke has to find one consistent threat at this position.
What Will Happen: The Demon Deacon defense will keep the Duke running game under 50 yards and will stay on the field for less than 25 minutes. As such, Wake Forest should control the ball, the line of scrimmage on both sides and the Duke pair of WR Raphael Chestnut and Jomar Wright, who both had seven catches against Richmond. Andrews should have another huge game on the ground to cement the win.
CFN Prediction: Wake Forest 28 ... Duke 7 ... Line: Wake Forest -20.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 1.5
Akron (0-1) at NC State (1-0) 12 pm EST ESPNU Saturday, September 9th
Why to Watch: After struggling to put points on the board against D-IAA in a 23-10 win, Appalachian State, the Wolfpack tees it up against the defending MAC champion coming of a not-that-bad 34-16 loss at Penn State. Akron can move the football with QB Luke Getsy and the passing attack, but going to Carter-Finley, a week after having traveled to Penn State, it’s a rough trip against a team looking for a big showing. Things ease up in a big way for the Zips after this playing Central Michigan, North Texas and Kent State, so an upset win could mean a big run.
Why Akron Might Win: Getsy. The senior quarterback will give the Zips a chance every week with his ability to throw downfield and put pressure on opposing secondaries. In addition, he’ll face a secondary that may be missing NC State’s best cover-corner A.J. Davis along with a defensive line that’s still trying to get over the loss of several NFL draft picks. Getsy can attack the Wolfpack secondary to stretch the field and open more running room for RB Dennis Kennedy. The Zips defense shut down Penn State last week in stretches; NC State doesn’t have the offensive ‘cache’ that the Nittany Lions have.
Why NC State Might Win: NC State RB Andre Brown is beast and is difficult for any defense to tackle on first contact. Brown should see the ball 20 to 25 times to wear down a travel weary Zip defense to control the tempo The Wolfpack defense is strong and quick against the run and has the potential to entirely eliminate Kennedy and the running game, putting the onus of the offense fully on Getsy’s shoulders. Once they’ve taken away the running game, they can bring a myriad of blitzes at Getsy, along with showing him different coverages and ‘looks’ downfield.
Who to Watch: For the second consecutive week, all eyes will be on Wolfpack QB Marcus Stone, and that might not change for the next 11 games. He completed seven passes against Appalachian State for a meager 36 yards. Let’s just say the offense is looking for a wee bit more production. Versatile Zip rover John Mackey is the key for the Zip defense on Saturday with his ability come up and play the run (eight tackles against Penn State) and in pass coverage. He has to stop NC State WR Darrell Blackman, or at least keep him in check.
What Will Happen: Brown will help the Wolfpack control the football for 35 minutes plus keeping the Zips offense off the field and the defense fresh. The State defensive line, led by DT Tank Tyler and DE Ray Brooks, should allow the linebackers to continue to roam free to the ball by dominating the Zips at the point of attack, while the offense should find more offensive balance and put the Zips away in the fourth quarter.
CFN Prediction: NC State 24 ... Akron 16 ... Line: NC State -10
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 2
Samford (1-0) at Georgia Tech (0-1) 3:30 pm EST Saturday, September 9th
Why to Watch: Nothing like a D-IAA
Why Samford Might Win: It’s called a
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: Quite simply, Tech WR Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the nation and if paired with a Brady Quinn or a Chris Leak would be a 100-catch per season receiver. Notre Dame couldn’t cover him, tackle him or stop him, and Samford has absolutely no answer. Defensively, Georgia Tech LB Philip Wheeler and KaMichael Hall are physical and fast to the ball; the Irish had a difficult time getting an offensive lineman on just one of them. If Samford doesn’t, either, they’ll force three and outs throughout the game.
Who to Watch: Samford DB T.C. Myers had a pick against Miles, but he only stands 5-7 and 165 pounds, which doesn’t bode well facing the 6-4 Johnson. If he doesn’t play big, it’ll be a long day. Tech QB Reggie Ball still is the key to the Yellow Jacket offense, but completing less than 50% of his throws is going to slow this offense to a crawl again. He should have a ‘stat padding’ opportunity on Saturday, but more importantly, he has to find what he does well in offensive coordinator Patrick Nix’s offense.
What Will Happen: Predictably, Georgia Tech will dominate the line of scrimmage, which should allow the running game 40 to 45 opportunities to put pressure on the Samford defensive front. RB Tashard Choice should be a solid complement to Johnson, but he needs carries to do that. He should get at least a half to get 15 to 20 carries and 100 yards.
CFN Prediction: Georgia Tech 45 ... Samford 3 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 1
ACC Week Two Predictions, Part 2