It was a rough week for everyone last week, hovering right around .500 as a group. It was enough for John Garcia Jr. to catch Mike McAllister, however, with premium member homedawg lurking close behind. Here are this week’s picks.
Garcia Jr: 63-27
Garcia Jr: Mike London has the security of knowing he'll be back in 2015, and as crazy as this is to type, does Frank Beamer have that luxury? We're not sure, but like the Cavs last week against a more talented Miami team, expect the fellas to go all out for their coach in a potential make or break scenario. Beamer Ball gets it done at home on a classic special teams play, 24-20.
McAllister: In-state rivals clash with bowl eligibility on the line for both. The Hokies are coming off of a terrible loss to Wake Forest while the Cavs just upset Miami in impressive fashion. I’m staying with the hot hand and the better defense. Virginia 20 Virginia Tech 16.
homedawg: In what otherwise would be a meaningless match up, there is huge significance for both teams. The winner goes bowling, the loser goes home. Mike London can breathe a little easier since he was given the green light for next season. I expect UVA to play a little looser, while VT continues to crumble. UVA 16 VT 13.
Garcia Jr: Clemson has some interesting coaching questions surrounding the program and South Carolina has one game to salvage a very underachieving season. Seems like a simple recipe for a Gamecock win. Spurrier will make us laugh afterwards, too, as his squad pulls out a 30-20 road win.
McAllister: The first of several intriguing matchups this week, in-state foes meet in Death Valley. The Cole Stoudt led Tigers appear to be ready to get over the Game Cock hump, but their offense has sputtered since he took over for super frosh Deshaun Watson. In fact, they were shut out by Georgia State in the second half last week. South Carolina still has talent on the roster, and the old ball coach loves rivalry games. Clemson falls at home in this one. South Carolina 20 Clemson 17.
homedawg: Talking about a chance to finally beat your rival. This is as down as So Carolina has been over the last 5 years. Unfortunately Clemson has Cole Stoudt at quarterback. So Carolina's offense hasn't been the problem, but they go up against an extremely talented Clemson defense. This is a matchup of strength vs weakness on both sides of the ball. I think the Gamecocks keep their winning streak rolling. So Carolina 21 Clemson 17.
Garcia Jr: The Bluegrass battle is must-see stuff on the hardwood, but Louisville's success on the gridiron have made it a snoozer outdoors. Bobby Petrino has picked up where Charlie Strong left off, and the Cardinals may make things look easy at home. Parker, Dyer and that Todd Grantham defense will be too much for Mark Stoops and company in a 31-17 contest.
McAllister: In what would be a fantastic basketball game, these two matchup in a better than expected gridiron battle. The Wildcats are improving, but the Cardinals are still the more talented bunch. Their stingy defense frustrates Kentucky’s offense, and Louisville’s offensive attack does just enough led by DeVante Parker and Michael Dyer. Louisville 27 Kentucky 14.
homedawg: Kentucky needs this win to reach bowl eligibility. Louisville would love nothing more than to deny them that opportunity. I'll take the Cards 27-24.
Garcia Jr: This game has usually been one-sided, but this time around it features two mammoth rushing attacks and two passing games that leave plenty to be desired. Both defenses have flashed this fall, but Georgia's is a bit more complete at this time. In a close on up in Athens, Nick Chubb does just enough as the Bulldogs slow Tech's momentum, 28-26.
McAllister: This is a really fun matchup and could go either way. Ultimately, the Bulldogs are more talented and will wear down the Yellow Jackets, but Tech will run the ball well in this one. The triple option will be effective through three quarters, but Georgie’s own ground attack will help them pull away late. Georgia 31 Georgia Tech 21.
homedawg: Georgia Tech probably has their best chance to beat UGA in a long time. Still the chance isn't that great. UGA's defense is just too big and athletic for the option to work. UGA 31 GT 28.
Garcia Jr: B.C. gave FSU all it could handle, as has pretty much everyone in the league, in what looks like a very similar team to the Orange on paper and within philosophy. The difference is at quarterback, where the experienced Tyler Murphy won't make mistakes while making opposing defenses pay with his arm as well as his legs. Eagles soar, 20-13.
McAllister: Syracuse is in a tough spot here, with an offense that just can’t produce enough to get wins despite a strong defense. The Orange give a valiant effort trying to give the seniors one last positive memory, but the Eagles ground attack and physical front seven are too much over the course of four quarters. Tyler Murphy is the difference. Boston College 27 Syracuse 13.
homedawg: Syracuse looked like they packed it in last weekend, which was kind of surprising because the one thing Scott Shafer has been consistently great at has been having his team play hard, no matter the circumstance. I expect a better showing from the Orange, but they are going up against a better team than Pitt. This game still means something in terms of regional recruiting, so I expect a better effort from the Orange, but they still come up short. BC 28 Syracuse 17.
NC State at North Carolina
Garcia Jr: Two of the best recruiting teams in the country among non-elite football programs tangle in Chapel Hill. Larry Fedora's bunch is playing on point offensively, something we haven't quite said about the Pack in 2014. Neither defense is worthy of mention as Carolina cruises to a 41-21 result.
McAllister: The Heels are on a roll after their impressive road blowout win over Duke last week. They keep it going at home against the Wolfpack. Jacoby Brissett will have some success, but the Tar Heel offense will be too much to keep with. UNC 42 NC State 31
homedawg: Amazingly both of the NCST, and UNC are bowl eligible. This one has shootout written all over it. UNC has been in shootouts all season, and their offense is better equipped to succeed in such a game. UNC 48 NCST 45.
Garcia Jr: Oh, you say No. 5 is playing for Florida State. I know Florida will be playing for its coach and I know the Gators have won with a lame duck leader before, but this Seminoles team is too close to its goal to slow down now. Former Florida commitments Dalvin Cook and Ermon Lane prove to be the difference for Florida State while former FSU pledge Treon Harris will make FSU fans wonder a bit in the process. 'Noles 27, Gators 20.
McAllister: Florida will most certainly test the defending champs with their defense and run game, but ultimately the ‘Noles will get it going behind a strong Jameis Winston performance. Florida State 38 Florida 24.
homedawg: I have picked against FSU 3 times already this season. They have as good a chance to lose tomorrow as all the rest. Muschamp has already been canned so Florida could go either of 2 ways. Either they come out, play loose, and try to win one for Muschamp, or they have already packed it in. Considering this is a huge rivalry game I’ll go with the latter. The UF defense is probably best equipped to slow down the FSU offense, while their run game could find some success. I already went against them 3 times, so why stop now? Florida in the upset, 27-23.
Wake Forest at Duke
Garcia Jr: DU has disappointed as much as any ACC team this fall, and they get Wake on senior night to take out frustrations. Anthony Boone won't make it look pretty, but he'll distribute the ball just enough against a tough Deacon defense to send David Cutcliffe's top producing recruiting class out a winner in the regular season. Duke 31, Wake 13.
McAllister: Wake got their token win in conference for the season. Duke has not looked good over the last two weeks and will be out to prove a point. They will stomp the hapless Decs in blowout fashion at home. Duke 34 Wake 7.
homedawg: Wake wants to know if they really have to play this game? Duke rolls 48-6.
Pittsburgh at Miami
Garcia Jr: Pitt's offense continues to make plays no matter its opponent, and Miami suffered a head-scratching letdown at the hands of Virginia last week. That said, Miami's inconsistency in all phases means it's probably time to pick them again. Johnson and Kaaya make enough plays to do just that in a fun 31-28 'Canes win.
McAllister: Miami was embarrassed at Virginia last week, and will out to get back in the win column. Pitt, on the other hand, is looking to get to the magic six win mark and bowl eligibility. The Panthers will run into a bit of a buzz saw, as the talented ‘Canes offense will expose a Pitt defense that has struggled over the last few weeks save the Syracuse game. Duke Johnson has a big day. Miami 34 Pitt 20.
homedawg: In my opinion there hasn't been a bigger disappointment all year then the Panthers. They have no business being a 5 win team. The odds are against them beating Miami to gain bowl eligibility, and I certainly agree. With James Connor banged up, the Panthers may just want to get the season over with. I like the U 38-24.