With only a two game difference between the leader and third place, Mike McAllister, CuseNation premium member homedawg and John Garcia Jr. pick this week’s ACC action.
Garcia Jr.: 47-20
McAllister: The marquee game in the conference kicks off the college football slate Thursday night. The defending champs come in as a favorite, but one everyone has on upset alert. The Cardinals front seven will test the Seminoles offense, who struggled with a Notre Dame defense that is not as talented. Winston will struggle in the first half and come alive in the second. The Cardinals offense will finally get things going, and hold off a surging ‘Noles squad. Louisville 30 Florida State 27.
Garcia Jr.: A blackout, Thursday night, with Bobby Petrino at the helm. Couple that with Todd Grantham's No. 1 defense in the land, and it's clear that Florida State will have its hands full on the road against Louisville. However, Jamies Winston lives for these moments, and he happens to be the best college football player of his time. Plus, the guy hasn't lost yet -- so it's tough to go against that. Noles eek another one out, 24-21.
homedawg: Well I picked against FSU last time out vs Notre Dame, and i'm going to do it again. I'm not really impressed with this FSU team. They aren't anywhere near as good as last years team. They have a suspect defense, and a hit or miss offensive line. Louisville isn't world beaters offensively, but they have one of the best receivers in the country in DeVante Parker back in the fold. I expect an insane game day atmosphere, which will help the Cards pull off the upset 27-24.
McAllister: The Duke offense continues to roll and the Panthers continue to disappoint after a promising start to the season. Pitt is talented enough to keep things close for a while, but the Blue Devils receivers will be too much on the outside. Duke 34 Pitt 23.
Garcia Jr.: Contrast of styles here. Duke's balanced, and sometimes too finesse attack against Pitt's ground-and-pound. Each defense has been inconsistent to say the least, but Duke's features more play-makers. The Blue Devils are also coming off of a bye week and are as healthy as they've been all season long. A Jeremy Cash play will change the momentum for good and the fighting Cutcliffe's maintain their pace atop the Coastal Division, 31-21.
homedawg: Duke vs Pitt could end up being an interesting match up, and I have no idea what will happen, mainly because of Pitt's unpredictability. It's really hard to trust the Panthers, even at home, but I do think they are the more physical team. Duke has played a soft schedule, and aren't nearly as good on the offensive end as they were last year. In a toss up i'll take Pitt 21-14.
McAllister: After Tech seemed to get things turned around, they have struggled mightily in conference play. Their offense is extremely inconsistent and goes up against a tough. Physical squad in Boston College. But being at home gives them a bit of an edge, and their strong defense will shut down an Eagles one-dimensional offense. Virginia Tech 24 Boston College 14.
Garcia Jr.: Tyler Murphy has been one of the best stories in the league this fall, and he'll look like it once again. As Miami proved last week, the allure and mystique of Lane Stadium isn't what it used to be, so the Eagles should find some early success. Bud Foster's group won't get embarrassed for a second-straight week, however, and they'll keep it close. BC 28, Tech 20.
homedawg: Speaking of unpredictability ..... BC at Virginia Tech doesn't want anyone to forget about them. Will it be the BC team that beat USC, or the one that lost to Colorado St? Or will it be the Virginia Tech team that beat Ohio St, or got beat by ECU and others? Your guess is as good as mine so give me BC 23 Virginia Tech 21.
North Carolina at Miami
McAllister: In a battle of two teams that I always pick incorrectly, the home team has the edge especially with how poor the Tar Heels defense has played. Duke Johnson has field day and the ‘Canes defense does just enough. Miami 41 North Carolina 31.
Garcia Jr.: This could be the weekend shootout within the league. UNC's attack is versatile and balanced, while Miami uses the league's best back in Duke Johnson to set the pace for play-action shots to speedsters Dorsett and Coley on the outside. Look for both units to click, though Carolina's defense will be the reason the Heels won't hold up late. Canes cruise, 38-24.
homedawg: In a game that will surely played in front of just family and friends Miami should be able to name the score against a UNC team where defense is optional. I took Duke Johnson on my fanduel team so i'm hoping for a big game for the Canes. 45-27.
N.C. State at Syracuse
McAllister: Syracuse needs this one if they hope to get to bowl eligibility. The Wolfpack are coming off of four straight losses, all in conference. The Orange are able to get the ground game going against State, which paces a bounce back offensive performance. The Syracuse defense gives up more points than in weeks past, but still forces a couple of turnovers. Syracuse 31 N.C. State 24.
Garcia Jr.: Bowl eligibility for each team is the only tangible goal left, and each will need to prove the identity of the team is closer to what it has showed earlier in the season. The Pack started undefeated and gave FSU all it could handle before falling apart. SU held a winning record before its recent down-trend saved only by porous Wake Forest. Each QB has a lot to prove and it's tough to think the frosh will beat out the SEC transfer in that department. Pack avenges last season's loss in Raleigh with a 30-27 thriller in the Dome.
homedawg: The Syracuse-NC ST match up is an interesting match up......or at least it is to Syracuse and NC ST fans (maybe not anyone else). Will Cuse's offense show up? Will Cuse's defense show up? Will NC ST show up, or have they cashed it in? There is no reason Syracuse shouldn't win this one at home. Then again that doesn't mean they will. I still have faith, at least for another week. In a heart attack game Syracuse 23-NC ST 21.
Virginia at Georgia Tech
McAllister: The triple option was humming last week against Pitt and the defense forced six turnovers. Against a Cavs squad that struggles to move the ball, the Yellow Jackets will be able control the line of scrimmage and time of possession. Georgia Tech 24 Virginia 13.
Garcia Jr.: Strength versus strength makes this game Saturday's best in the league from an X's and O's standpoint. GT's offense will drive most teams nuts with its need for discipline, but the Cavs have shown plenty of it on that side of the football. The key will be whether or not the Wahoo offense could move the ball, and the answer to that question more times than not it a resounding no. Jackets get back on track at home, 20-10.
homedawg: Georgia Tech has been the surprise team in the ACC, or at least in my opinion they have been. They are down their b-back Zack Laskey, but that didn't slow them down last week, and I don't think it will slow them down this week. Georgia Tech continues to roll 35-28.