ACC Week Four Predictions, Part 2
(0-3) at Florida
State (2-1), 3:30
EST, ESPNU, Saturday, September 23
Why to watch: Florida State played with fire against Troy two weeks ago, and got burned by Clemson last weekend in what could turn out to be a landmark win for the Tigers. The Noles could easily be 0-3 thanks to an offense that’s been shockingly inept this month. Anything short of an annihilation of Rice on Saturday is going to turn frustration into figurative riots and changes on the depth chart. Some network ought to hire Rice head coach Todd Graham for the month of December because his team is going wind up facing half of this year’s bowl teams. The same Owls that have already played Houston, UCLA and Texas are now off to Florida to face an angry Seminole team. Rice nearly picked off the Cougars and Bruins, but fell apart in Saturday’s 52-7 loss in Austin.
Why Rice might win: Have you watched the film of Florida State’s great escape against Troy? Rice has. The Noles are vulnerable because the offense lacks playmakers and points. If not for Baylor, Tallahassee would be home to the nation’s worst rushing attack at just 49 yards a game. The Owls have already gone blow-for-blow with two superior opponents, making an upset here an attainable goal if FSU isn't coming out jacked up.
Why Florida State might win: Rice buckled last week because it couldn’t handle the Texas speed or physical play in the trenches, hurdles they’ll also fail to clear this week. The defense has saved Florida State from further embarrassment holding opponents to just 18 points and 258 yards a game. The 114th-ranked Owl offense is still adapting to a new system, making double digits a chore this weekend against a sure-to-be frothing at the mouth defense.
Who to watch: In order to help the running game, Bobby Bowden kept rangy receiver Greg Carr on the sidelines for much of the Clemson game. Bowden later labeled the move a miscalculation. Against a suspect Rice pass defense, Carr, who only has four catches for 38 yards with a touchdown on the year, is going to get plenty of looks from QB Drew Weatherford, who’s having problems getting the offense moving consistently.
What will happen: Rice is catching Florida State at a really bad time. The‘Noles will play with a sense of desperation and urgency, while finally showing signs of improvement on the beleaguered offense.
CFN Prediction: Florida State 41 ... Rice 10 ... Line: FSU -28.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 1.5
FIU (0-3) at Maryland (2-1) 6:00 pm EST Saturday, Sept. 23
Why to Watch: Maryland should appreciate not having to face snubbed Terp recruit and WVU star RB Steve Slaton this week after what he and the Mountaineers did last week in a 45-24 drubbing. A visit from a Sun Belt Conference team should ease the pain, but a better-than-their-record Florida International squad is hungry for its first win on the season after losing the first three games of the season by a total of seven points.
Why FIU Might Win: Even with Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen calling the plays, the Terps haven’t been able to put big time points on the board. The Terps are averaging 25 points a game, but that includes games against Middle Tennessee and D-IAA William & Mary. The Golden Panthers come to College Park having given up less than 292 yards per game of total offense and only 20 points per game. On offense, FIU found a running game as RB A’mod Ned ran for 169 yards on 16 carries against Bowling Green, which should have the Terps run defense on full alert this week after its performance in Morgantown.
Why Maryland Might Win: The Terps aren’t facing the most explosive offense in the nation this week and shouldn’t be down 28–0 after the first quarter as they were against powerful West Virginia. The Terps can wear down the Golden Panther defense with the two headed monster at tailback – Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball – who have combined for 411 yards on the season. When FIU has the ball, the Maryland secondary, led by CB Josh Wilson, should provide a stern test for FIU QB Josh Padrick, who threw three picks last week against BGSU. The foursome is ranked 30th in the nation, giving up only 162 yards passing per game.
Who to Watch: FIU LB Keyonvis Bouie might have the coolest name of any D-I player, and he also has the game to match. The senior linebacker is averaging ten tackles per game, and needs a similar number this week as he faces two power backs who could wear him down by the fourth quarter. Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach threw two touchdowns at West Virginia, but the focus for him this week is to stretch the field on FIU and find a deep threat that can be effective during the ACC season.
What Will Happen: Maryland’s lack of explosiveness on offense will keep FIU in the game, but eventually too much Ball and Lattimore will wear down Bouie and LB Antwan Barnes. The Terps will pick up another W, but Padrick and company will make sure that it’s a four-quarter battle.
CFN Prediction: Maryland 30 ... FIU 13 ... Line: Maryland -18
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 2
Boston College (3-0) at NC State (1-2) 8:00 PM EST ESPN2 Saturday September 23rd
Why to Watch: Although the Wolfpack struggled mightily over the past two weeks, a return to Carter-Finley might be the perfect tonic for a dying season. Losing to Akron was unsettling, but the panic set in after getting walloped by Southern Miss 37–17. The most disappointing aspect of last week’s loss was how USM controlled the line of scrimmage against a talented defensive front. Head coach Chuck Amato, sensing his team needing a shot of confidence, has named Daniel Evans the starting quarterback. Evans came in late against USM and infused the offense with some effective play, but now he has to try to lead the team to a real, live win. On the flip side, Boston College has had a fantastic opening three games coming off two overtime wins beating Clemson and BYU in classics. With Maine coming up next before the Virginia Tech showdown, the Eagles will likely be an impressive 5-0 with a win. NC State gets Florida State next, so a 1-4 start is more than possible.
Why Boston College Might Win: There comes a point when you don’t think you can lose, no matter what happens in a game or what adversity you face. That’s the mindset for BC right now. Behind QB Matt Ryan, who continues to flourish despite playing with a bum ankle, the Eagles have pulled out two seemingly improbable victories against two quality opponents. The running game for Boston College hasn’t thrived as it has in prior years (90th in the nation with 97 yards per game), but the NC State defensive line was whipped at the point of attack, yielding 261 yards rushing to USM, and should have problems again. Expect offensive coordinator Dana Bible to get his offense in balance against a reeling State defense, especially with RB LV Whitworth running as well as did last week with 119 yards against BYU.
Why NC State Might Win: BYU used a short passing game to dink and dunk the Boston College defense to death, and Evans should follow the same plan to gain confidence and move the chains with throws to his backs and slot receivers underneath the coverage. BYU RB Curtis Brown had 11 catches against Boston College, exposing the one chink in the BC defensive armor. On the other side of the football, the State secondary is only giving up 171 yards per game passing, so Ryan might not have a few problems.
Who to Watch: Boston College OL Josh Beekman is one of the best linemen in the country, but the Eagles have won in spite of the lack of a punishing running game. However, Beekman and his offensive line have to take control of the line of scrimmage as Southern Miss did against the State defensive front. As BC focuses getting pressure on first time starter Evans, RB Andre Brown and Toney Baker could control the ball with their power running. This duo runs awfully hard and could wear down a BC defense that’s been through the ringer over the last few weeks.
What Will Happen: Any State emotion will only go so far. Eventually Ryan will find his groove in the passing game spreading his passes around well enough to keep the offense moving.
CFN Prediction: Boston College 28 ... NC State 14 ... Line: Boston College -6.5
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency) ... 2.5
ACC Week Four Predictions, Part 2