Week four of ACC action features some interesting action including a key conference matchup and interest non-conference battle. Mike McAllister, John Garcia Jr. and subscriber homedawg all have identical records. Could this be the week that generates some separation?
Garcia Jr.: 17-5
McAllister: Everyone thought Virginia Tech was back after their win over Ohio State. Then they fell in surprising fashion to ECU. This week, they bounce back in their first conference matchup. Beamer ball shines with a strong defensive effort and a special teams touchdown. Virginia Tech 27 Georgia Tech 17
Garcia Jr.: The annual Techmo Bowl (I wish I can play the video game version, dibbs on Bo Jackson) is once again a bit of a mystery. Each team has looked solid at points, but mostly inconsistent at others. Virginia Tech cannot lost two straight games at home though, right? Bud Foster’s defense is still wondering what ECU did to them, but the familiarity of the triple-option will help the group recover. Hokies 27, Jackets 17.
homedawg: Virginia Tech got hit with the dreaded "let down" game last week. I feel Brewer, and the Hokies are much better then they showed last week and will bounce back against an average at best Georgia Tech. VT 24 GT 14.
McAllister: This is an intriguing matchup, and the Hawkeyes should play well. This will be a physical football game where both teams exchange body blows. However, the combination of Voytik and Boyd is far beyond anything Iowa has offensively. Pitt 28 Iowa 20
Garcia Jr.: Iowa was in my preseason top 30 on Scout.com, but has already let me down. I’ve been even higher on Pitt during that same span, and they’ll be another reason the Big Ten has been the laughing stock of college football. The most balanced offense in the ACC shows out at home, 38-21.
homedawg: This shapes up to be an ugly, old school football game. The team that can out physical the other should be the one to come out on top. I have been high on Pitt all season, and no reason to stop here as the ACC delivers another loss to the Big Ten. Pitt 27 Iowa 21.
McAllister: Syracuse enters the game looking for their first 3-0 start since 1991. Maryland is trying to avoid a losing streak after falling to West Virginia last week. This should be a fun one where offense shines on both sides of the ball. Ultimately, Syracuse’s advantage at the quarterback position will be the difference as Terrel Hunt outperforms C.J. Brown. The Orange defense makes enough plays to spark a Syracuse victory. Syracuse 34 Maryland 31.
Garcia Jr.: Shootout or defensive duel? It won’t be a combination of the both, and the former may be the safe bet with each team putting up plenty of points last week. Maryland’s defense is weaker, but its offensive weapons may be flashier than SU’s, so special teams could decide it, and the Orange has been solid in that department for the most part. Riley Dixon for Prez. ‘Cuse 31, Terps 27.
homedawg: Biggest game of the year for the Orange. Both teams still have major questions, but this is a game the Orange has to win if they want to be taken seriously. Some how, some way, I think the Orange pull this out, as Randy Edsall is left looking for someone else to blame once again. Cuse 24 Maryland 20.
McAllister: Tulane is simply outmatched in this one. The fighting Cutcliffe’s will have another strong offensive performance as they complete a non-conference schedule filled with subpar teams. Duke 48 Tulane 13.
Garcia Jr.: Tulane has the athletes to play with anyone, but only for a certain period of time. Couple that with the Blue Devils firing on all cylinders offensively after finally letting Shaun Wilson out of the cage. The frosh is one of the most electric players in the ACC and now he’s in a rhythym. Watch out, conference. Devils 40, Green Wave 20.
homedawg: Duke does just as good a job as anyone fluffing up their schedule with powder puffs. This week is no different as Tulane comes to town. We will have to wait yet another week to see if the Blue Devils are for real. Duke 45 Tulane 10.
Maine at Boston College
McAllister: Who saw Boston College’s performance from a week ago? Steve Addazzio has things headed in the right direction and the Eagles may be closer to being relevant than originally thought. We won’t find out if the win over USC was a fluke this week, however, as the Eagles dominate an FCS squad. B.C. 31 Maine 6
Garcia Jr.: Don’t sleep on the Bears, they gave SU a run for its money a few years back in the Dome. But this Maine team isn’t quite on the same level, and BC is coming off of its best win in about a decade. Unless there’s a monster letdown, which is unlikely under Steve Addazio, they should be fine. Mr. Murphy has his way with the FCS defense and the Eagles roll, 35-14.
homedawg: Good scheduling by BC getting an FCS program following the USC game. Not many would have been worried about a let down game when the schedules came out. I was surprised as anyone watching BC physically dismantle USC. I was expecting a drop off, but Addazzio seems to have everyone bought in 110% to his system he implemented. Boston College 34 Maine 10.
McAllister: The highs and lows of the college football season are exemplified by the Louisville Cardinals. After defeating the Hurricanes in dominating fashion in week one, the Cardinals were the darlings of college football. Two weeks later, they fall in their second conference battle to UVA. This week, they are out to prove the loss was a fluke and they dominate FIU. Louisville 38 FIU 10
Garcia Jr.: Poor Panthers. They can’t get any fans to their games, like other venues in the Miami area not winning titles (sigh from this Miami native) and now the angry Cardinals come to town after a somewhat embarrassing loss to the Virginia Cavaliers. This could get ugly sooner rather than later. Petrino’s bunch 42, what should still be Mario Cristobal’s bunch 13.
homedawg: FIU got off to a good start last week against Pitt before reality set in. I don't see the Panthers having any such luck against the Cards as a lot of their players are coming home to play in front of family and friends. The Cards should bounce back in a big way. Louisville 42 FIU 17.
Virginia at BYU
McAllister: Virginia is oh so close to being 3-0 on the season. Have they really taken a major step forward as a program? There is still plenty of football to play this season, and the Cavs have a difficult road test this week. BYU has one of the best home field advantages in the college game and take advantage of that this week. BYU 27 Virginia 17.
Garcia Jr.: Maybe one of the most physical games in the country will be in Provo, where it’s never easy to win. UVa has the athletes, but not the depth or offense to make this one too dramatic, though. Cougars 27, WaHoos 10.
homedawg: This will be a good test for the Cavs to see just how good they are. BYU has a good chance to run the table, so a win for UVA could be big for them and the ACC. Not many seem to be giving UVA a chance, but I think they have a good shot at the upset. I see this one being tight late, but BYU finds a way. BYU 23 Virginia 21.
McAllister: Wake is making an early case for the worst team in the ACC. Army will give them a test which shows where the Demon Deacons are as a program. Still, the Cadets won’t have enough to pull off the upset. Wake 24 Army 20.
Garcia Jr.: The Demon Deacons haven’t looked good, in any way, this fall. The offensive line is very young, the QB is a frosh and the defense isn’t slowing many people thus far. Army isn’t the best of the armed services on the field (tops off of it, though!), but Wake won’t be the best black and gold roster on the field. Black Knights get it done in an ugly one filled with turnovers, 28-24.
homedawg: How bad are things at Wake? Army comes into town as a 3 point favorite. That's not something you see everyday, but with Wake already having 2 non power 5 losses (albeit both on the road to solid FBS programs) you can see why. I still have to believe Clawson is good enough a coach to rally the Deacs, and show some pride. Plus as I said the 2 losses were against solid program. Wake finds a way to win this one. Wake Forest 28 Army 21.
McAllister: This is a fun matchup between two talented teams. The Tar Heels enter as the favorite, but the Pirates continue to play impressive football culminating with their victory over Virginia Tech last week. The Pirates continue their strong non-conference slate with another victory. East Carolina 31 North Carolina 28
Garcia Jr.: ECU smashed Carolina last season, and their defense is even better in 2014. The Tar Heels were supposed to be better, at least on paper, but we haven’t seen much of it to this point. The Shane Carden show continues, and the Pirates defend home turf in a fun 38-31 affair.
homedawg: Another game where the ACC is an underdog against a non power 5 program. ECU always seems to have a solid program as many Cuse fans will remember and VT fans found out last week. I still feel UNC is the far more talented team, and despite not looking all that great, they use their edge in talent to pull off the mini road upset. UNC 27 ECU 21.
Presbyterian at North Carolina State
McAllister: N.C. State continues their early season success with another win over a lesser program. NC State 38 Presbyterian 10.
Garcia Jr.: State’s offense has been improving each game and it gets these guys at home? Ugliness should ensue and the Pack will roll, 48-17.
homedawg: Who would have thought NC ST could open up at 4-0? Sure they haven't really beat anybody, but 3-0 is 3-0. NC ST will put off reality for another week. NCST 42 Presbyterian 6.
Miami at Nebraska
McAllister: Miami continues to try to put the week one performance behind them, but this will be a tougher test than that. Nebraska may have struggled with McNeese State, but Ameer Abdullah is a stud. Look for him to run all over the Hurricanes in a comfortable double digit victory that looks closer than it actually was. Nebraska 34 Miami 21
Garcia Jr.: If one could go back and see this game in the late 90’s, early 2000’s, it would be fun. But this year’s matchup may be the nation’s top running back duel of the early season, and Abdullah has looked better than Johnson to this point, and his Huskers are at home. Nebraska 27, Miami 17.
homedawg: Nebraska desperately needs a win here not only for themselves, but to save face for their conference. Brad Kaaya looked a little better last week, but i'm not sold on him going into a hostile, night time, atmosphere. I see the Huskers opening it up late. Nebraska 31 Miami 17.
McAllister: The conference’s premier matchup will see the defending Heisman Trophy winner miss the entire first half. Even with that, the Seminoles are more talented on both sides of the ball. Expect a dominant performance in the trenches and for Clemson to struggle to move the ball consistently. Winston helps the ‘Noles pull away in the second half. Florida State 31 Clemson 20.
Garcia Jr.: Winston or not, FSU is as talented a team as it gets in America, and its defense has had two weeks to prepare for CU’s new look. It won’t be as bad as last season’s curb-stomping, but the ‘Noles won’t trip up at home with the country’s collective eye on them. Karlos Williams, Mario Pender and Dalvin Cook get to take the next step on national TV and simultaneously scare defensive coordinators everywhere as FSU wins 37-21.
homedawg: Showcase game for the ACC. Clemson may have been given some hope with Winston getting himself suspended for the 1st half. Even before Winston's suspension the Noles have looked far from dominant. I think Clemson has the defense to slow down the Noles offense, but i'm not sure if their offense can get enough going. I really think Clemson has a shot in this one. If anything I think FSU wins in a close one. FSU 27 Clemson 24.