Week three of ACC action features Syracuse getting back on the field. The picks were quite successful last week with John Garcia Jr. and subscriber homedawg ahead of Mike McAllister by one game.
Garcia Jr.: 11-1
McAllister: East Carolina is much better than people think, but Tech is on a roll. Look for the Hokie defense to stifle the Pirates offensive attack as Virginia Tech makes strides to becoming a national power once again. Virginia Tech 27 East Carolina 17.
Garcia Jr.: The Hokies are coming off of their biggest non-conference win, maybe ever, but ECU’s offense is more potent than Ohio State's. The Pirates have a spread, throw it a ton system that can give even the top secondaries some trouble, but in the end Kyle Fuller makes a big play and preserves the scare. VT 28, ECU 21.
homedawg: The biggest opponent for Virginia Tech this weekend may not be ECU, but the dreaded "letdown" game. The Hokies defense looked dominant in the Shoe last weekend vs Ohio St, while ECU gave a respectable performance against South Carolina. Bud Foster's always reliable defense finally has a qb in Michael Brewer, who won't continually put them in tough situations. While the Pokes may still be 1 year away from seriously contending, they still could be a dark horse for the final 4 this season. Virginia Tech 31 ECU 13.
Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech
McAllister: Georgia Southern is oh so close to being 2-0 on the young season. They will give the Yellow Jackets all they can handle, but the lack of depth will wear them down in the second half. The Tech triple option will get rolling late as they pull away for a solid win. Georgia Tech 31 Georgia Southern 20.
Garcia Jr.: This game may only take a little over two hours with the amount of running that will go on. Tech overcame some hype and an early deficit on the road at Tulane last week, and that will help the young roster muster up a hard-fought win at home. The in-state battle will be closer than many think, but the Jackets pull it out, 31-23.
homedawg: The Yellow Jackets always like to test themselves with their OOC schedule. This week it's Georgia Southern's turn for a paycheck. I expect Paul Johnson's team to chop block themselves to another very unconvincing victory before the season really starts. GT 27 Ga Southern 20.
McAllister: Pittsburgh is flying under the radar nationally, but they are a solid team with talent all over the roster. Tyler Boyd is a legitimate big time receiving option and Voytik has been one of the better quarterbacks in the conference thus far. FIU will give them a test in this one, but the Panthers are too talented. Pitt 35 FIU 21.
Garcia Jr.: The blue and gold bowl should be an easy one for Tyler Boyd and company. The Pitt offense is balanced, can strike at any time, and the defense is good enough. Panthers over the Golden Panthers, 41-17.
homedawg: Last week Pitt proved just who I thought they can be this year by systematically dismantling Boston College. I am extremely high on the Panthers, and even more so after last week. Tyler Boyd will continue to show why he is one of the top 5 receivers in the country. As for FIU they are still trying to figure out why they made one of the worst decisions in college football history when they canned Mario Cristobal a few years ago. FIU will have another week to think about it as their namesake takes them behind the woodshed. Pitt 48 FIU 7.
Syracuse at Central Michigan
McAllister: This will be one of the more physical games on the slate this week. Thomas Rawls will really test the durability of the Syracuse front seven, but look for the Orange offense to get things going in this one. An offensive battle sees Syracuse pull away in the fourth quarter and start the season 2-0. Syracuse 34 Central Michigan 24.
Garcia Jr.: SU needed the bye week after all, and some young stars on offense will have to make plays to win what could be a shootout in the Midwest. Hunt to Ishmael may be the new connection that message boards will become accustomed to after this one, in a fun game for neutral parties. Orange 30, Chippewas 27.
homedawg: To some people what was seemingly an automatic check in the win column before the season started has now turned into a big question mark. I however am not one of those people. I'm going to give Cuse the benefit of the doubt and chalk week 1 up as a fluke. This is the more talented team, who should have a much more focused effort. Cuse gets it rolling. Cuse 27 C.Michigan 13.
Louisville at Virginia
McAllister: Virginia was impressive in their week one loss to UCLA. They get another ranked opponent at home with a defense that will keep them in the game. Louisville will be heavy favorites and the Cavs struggle offensively. But the Cards will struggle on the road in this one and fall victim to a tough Virginia squad. Virginia 24 Louisville 23.
Garcia Jr.: UVa. Has improved on defense, no doubt, but its offense is still nothing to celebrate. On the other hand, the Cardinals are one of the most powerful running teams in the ACC, and it will show as the game progresses. UofL will have to grind another one out on the road, but it will, moving to 3-0 over the Cavs, 24-10.
homedawg: Louisville has been getting a lot of hype after the first 2 weeks, but I feel it's just that...hype. Week 1 they may have benefited more from the excitement of their ACC home opener, and taking advantage of a true Freshman qb, who just wasn't ready. Last week UVA's offense figured out which end zone the ball is supposed to go in. If it wasn't for Mike London's ineptitude I would pick the minor upset. Instead i will go with the Cards in a closer one then some people would think. Louisville 21 Virgina 20.
McAllister: Miami did not look too great in their season opener, but bounced back last week. They will take another step forward behind stud running back Duke Johnson. Ark State will keep it close for a bit, but the ‘Canes will pull away. Miami 38 Arkansas State 17.
Garcia Jr.: Don’t sleep on ASU, which gave Tennessee a solid game last week, if you’re the Canes. Al Golden can ill afford to even struggle with any non-Power 5 opponent, and his nightmare becomes a reality. Frosh Brandon Byner will make a play or two and Arkansas State upsets The U on the road, 24-20.
homedawg: If there is a chance for a major upset this weekend I think it could happen here. Arkansas St, who has a solid offense, had a respectable showing at Tennessee last week so in no way will they be intimidated by a barely half filled Sunlife Stadium. The Canes struggled against a putrid Florida A&M team last week as Brad Kaaya did his best to keep A&M close. Josh Heaps came in at half so that could be the season for Kaaya. Even with Heaps I give Arkansas St a chance as Miami better not get caught looking ahead to Nebraska next weekend. Miami in a close one . Miami 30 Arkansas St 27
N.C. State at South Florida
McAllister: The Wolfpack have struggled with two inferior opponents and the Bulls have some Florida talent. Playing on the road against a desperate team will prove to be too difficult of a task. South Florida 27 N.C. State 21
Garcia Jr.: The Wolfpack are about as ugly a 2-0 as one could ask for, but it will be enough experience to put it’s above-average backfield of Brissett and Dayes in control while in their home state. Packs takes down the Bulls in Tampa, 28-13.
homedawg: In a game that someone has to win, NC ST travels down to a one-quarter filled Raymond James Stadium in an epic showdown vs. South Florida. This should be the ultimate battle for mediocrity. Amazingly NC ST has bumbled out to a 2-0 record thanks to FBS newbies. USF hasn't looked any better, but since someone has to win i'm going with the Bulls. USF 24 NC ST 23.
McAllister: This one could have a lot of offense in a battle between David Cutcliffe and Charlie Weiss. Expect a lot of points, but Duke is simply the better team. The Blue Devils wideouts have a big day and the defense does just enough to pull out a win. Duke 41 Kansas 31.
Garcia Jr.: Kansas’ offense looks to be progressing while Duke’s D may not be. Expect some points in this one as the Blue Devils’ offense, and color blue, shines brightest at home. Crowder is again too much for a defense to handle, as the darlings of the league move to 3-0 despite Montell Cozart’s star growing for KU. Blue Devils 40, Jayhawks 31.
homedawg: Duke welcomes Kansas for game 2 of the Charlie Weiss swan song. But unlike Riveria and Jeter he isn't going out with parting gifts, and cheers (unless it's by his own fans), he's going out with beatdowns, and bloodbaths. Kyron Watson will start to wonder why he stuck with the Jayhawks as Duke uses that beautiful track around their field (sarcasm font) to run it up on poor Charlie and the Jayhawks. Duke 51 Kansas 6.
McAllister: Wake is not very good and will have a tough time traveling to play a solid Utah State squad. The Demon Deacons fall to 1-2 on the season. Utah State 27 Wake Forest 14.
Garcia Jr.: This one features two teams that couldn’t have had uglier starts to their season, though each rebounded with a win last week. That means it’ll be close, and the edge will go to the home team as the young Deacons struggle with the early West Coast trip. U State 35, Wake 24.
homedawg: Don't look now, but Utah St is a 15 point favorite at home vs. Wake Forest. Whoever did Wake Forest's schedule should be looking for a job because he isn't good at the one he has now. How in the world do you schedule both La Monroe and Utah St on the road in the same season? They can't be that broke where they can't pony up for a win can they? Anyways the Deacs continue to make the ACC look bad as they lose on the road for the 2nd time this season to a non power 5 team. Utah St 27 Wake Forest 17.
USC at Boston College
McAllister: Boston College will keep this one close early behind strong defense and physical play. But the Trojans are rolling and Cody Kessler is making an argument for the best quarterback in the country. USC 35 BC 10.
Garcia Jr.: BC hung in with Pitt for some time last week, but it won’t be the same with the Trojans in town. Stanford stymied the offense a ton last week, and many Sark teams don’t look the same two weeks in a row. Too much Cali fire-power for the Eagles, and the top-10 team keeps its streak alive, 35 to 17.
homedawg: First off kudo's to BC for getting USC to play them at home. However that should be where the good news ends. Addazzio isn't going to be able to do that double tight end smash mouth style on this Leonard Williams and the USC defense. I mean if USC can shut down the best power run program in the country, on their home field, then I don't give BC much of a shot either. BC may get off to a hot start thanks to what is hopefully a live atmosphere, but I have BC, and the ACC going down for the 3rd time this weekend. USC 34 BC 10.