After a perfect 7-0 week last week, Mike McAllister has gained a little bit of distance between himself, CuseNation member homedawg and John Garcia Jr. Here are this week’s picks.
Garcia Jr.: 43-19
McAllister: Virginia Tech and Miami have both been up and down all season. The Tech offense continues to struggle, but their defense has been solid. Duke Johnson will be tough to contain, but in a battle of inconsistent teams, the home team gets the edge. Virginia Tech 24 Miami 20.
Garcia Jr.: Thursday night at Lane Stadium? Sure, this isn't your older brother's Beamer bunch, but they still have that kind of talent on defense. Plus, The U seems to struggle when playing on a big stage now-a-days, so the Hokies look to be lined up for a much-needed win. Both defenses should play well in a 21-14 home team triumph.
homedawg: I remember when Miami and Virginia Tech used to be one of the best match ups in the Big East. Now we have two programs that just can't seem to break out of mediocrity. This game is basically a coin flip. Miami usually plays in front of family and friends so the home field advantage shouldn't make too much of a difference. In a coin flip, i'll go with Miami 21-20.
North Carolina at Virginia
McAllister: North Carolina finally pulled off a win last week after some close losses. In a fun battle of a potent offense and one of the best defenses in the conference, the Cavs get a boost from the home crowd. Virginia 27 UNC 24.
Garcia Jr.: The Tar Heels are heating up in a big way offensively, while the defense continues to prove there's plenty of work to do. The elixir for that unit could be the Cavalier offense, which has under-performed more times than not in recent weeks. In a battle of strength vs. strength, the Heels' offense will be a bit too much for the second straight week. A nice road win for the fighting Fedora's in 34-24 fashion.
homedawg: At the beginning of the year I probably would have guessed that North Carolina was having the better year then Virginia, but this is the ACC and nothing ever seems to work out as expected. Like most ACC games this is another coin flip game. I'll take the better defense. Virginia 28 UNC 27.
McAllister: Is there really another explanation needed other than Wake Forest is really bad? Boston College has surprised with how well t hey have played. Steve Addazio is an underrated coach. The toughness of the Eagles will get them a road win over the worst offense in the country. Boston College 27 Wake 7.
Garcia Jr.: Well, Wake now has QB injuries to deal with on top of the original ineptitude of the position, and BC has been the sleeper team in the league all season long. Tyler Murphy won't have it too easy against that better-than-you-think Deacs defense, but he'll have enough to engineer a comfortable win. Eagles soar, 30-14.
homedawg: This week it's Boston College's turn to pad their record as they travel down to face Wake Forest. Wake is probably the worst power 5 program by a landslide. Despite having a pretty talented defense their offense can't seem to get out of their own way. We should see more of the same. Boston College 24 Wake Forest 3.
McAllister: Pitt got back on track with a much needed win against Virginia Tech last week. That probably means they will take a step back this week. Georgia Tech bounces back after two consecutive losses as the triple option gives the Panthers fits all day. Georgia Tech 26 Pitt 20.
Garcia Jr.: Will the mighty Yellow Jackets lose three straight, and three-straight in the ACC? In a game that could set the conference record (nope, not looking it up) for most combined rushing attempts in a single game, one blue and gold team shall prevail. Oh, they both rock those colors? Give me the road team then, because they're likeliest to wear the best uni combo any team has, white-on-white. Jackets avoid a monster slump, barely, in a Josh Thomas-led 28-27 thriller.
homedawg: Pitt was my preseason favorite for the Coastal. They got off to a hot start looking like a division contender only to blow a late 2nd half lead to Iowa before the wheels feel off. Last week they looked much better at home against Virginia Tech, and will use that game to get back on track. Pitt 27 Georgia Tech 21.
McAllister: Syracuse will play better than people think in this one. Their defense should have some success against a Cole Stoudt led Clemson offense, but moving the ball against the Tigers will be difficult all night long. Freshman quarterback A.J. Long struggled against a relentless pass rush and Clemson improves to 6-2 on the season. Clemson 27 Syracuse 10.
Garcia Jr.: The Orange Bowl shifts to Death Valley this time around, where most opponents struggle to get a win. But SU has played in big-time venues before, including at Doak Campbell Stadium during the Noles' 2013 title run, but not with a rookie signal-caller. Will A.J. Long's memories as a recruit at schools like Alabama and Tennessee help make the hyped-up crowd less of a factor? He hasn't been rattled just yet, so that train will keep rolling. The only problem is SU's defense, which hasn't slowed down Chad Morris just yet. Orange keep it interesting, but the Tigers edge it out at home, 24-20.
homedawg: It seems like a lot more people are giving Syracuse a shot this week against Clemson then I would have thought. Granted many of them see to be Cuse fans. I just can't see it. I hope i'm wrong, but I think Clemson's defense shuts Syracuse down. Clemson 31 Syracuse 13.