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The staff picks week 5 of ACC action

John Garcia Jr. is off to a great start in ACC picks while Mike McAllister has some catching up to do after a subpar week four performance. Week five predictions inside.

Current Standings

John Garcia Jr: 7-2
Mike McAllister: 4-5


Miami at Cincinnati

Mike McAllister: This is a big game for the Bearcats as they try to make a statement with the country watching. Having lost Gunner Kiel for the season will hurt their upset bid here. Look for the Hurricanes passing attack to make big plays on the big stage. Miami wins this one somewhat comfortably 37-23.

John Garcia Jr: Young QBs square off in what looks like a shootout on the surface. It should play out that was, as both programs have been through high-scoring drama of late. Miami is a bit more balanced than the Bearcats, but Hayden Moore has stepped in more-than-admirably for Gunner Kiel. Brad Kayya will prove to be a bit too much in a fun one, though. Canes over Cats, 40-35.


Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech

Mike McAllister: The Hokies are coming off of a disappointing performance against East Carolina last week. Beamer Ball will rue the day this week as Tech gets back on track. The Panthers are still trying to figure out how to get consistent play from the quarterback position. No James Conner hurts them in this one. Virginia Tech 23 Pittsburgh 17.

John Garcia Jr: A pair of disappointing programs meet in Blacksburg where Tech is just reeling after losing (again) to ECU. This could be a case of a bad situation getting worse, especially with top defender Kendall Fuller (knee) now done for the season. It won't be pretty, but Tyler Boyd and Pitt should prevail 20-10.

Louisville at NC State

Mike McAllister: Louisville's lone win this season is over Samford, while NC State is 4-0 having played Samford like opponents. The Wolfpack are confident right now and want to prove their early success was a result of the program stepping forward rather than subpar competition. An inspired effort from Jacoby Brissett leads NC State to victory 38-24.

John Garcia Jr: QB play will be everything  in Raleigh, and while the Pack is more stable at the position, it doesn't have the defensive play-makers UofL does. The Cardinals are also more battle tested early on, which will help in a fourth quarter game like this. Lamar Jackson will be just enough of a spark in a close 30-24 win for Bobby Petrino and company.

Boston College at Duke

Mike McAllister: This one could get ugly, and not because of a blowout. Rather a defensive struggle with yards extremely hard to come by. Boston College is down their top back and are having issues at the quarterback position. Thomas Sirk's ability to make plays with his legs is the difference. Duke 17 Boston College 10.

John Garcia Jr: Perhaps the league's top two defenses square off in Durham, so which running game will combat it with more success? We'll go with the home team mainly because of health. The Eagles are already without Jon Hilliman and Myles Willis is also banged up. That veteran Blue Devil D should control a gritty 21-10 win out. 

North Carolina at Georgia Tech

Mike McAllister: The Yellow Jackets were thought to be ready to take that next step into national prominence. After two straight losses, that seems to not be the case in 2015. But those two losses have made them angry, and they will play hard in this one. The triple option led by Justin Thomas will be just too much for a Tar Heels team that always seems to lose these types of games. Georgia Tech 34 North Carolina 28.

John Garcia Jr: What a turn of events with these two. GT had the preseason hype while UNC seemed not talented enough to overcome an anemic defense. Both fortunes have turned and now UNC is a balanced roster led by a new QB. But GT is on borderline desperation mode, and Justin Thomas is best with his back against the wall. The home crowd won't hurt in a 31-30 Tech triumph.

Florida State at Wake Forest

Mike McAllister: This one has all the makings of a blowout. A Wake Forest team lacking in talent of the same caliber as Florida State and without their starting quarterback faces a 'Noles squad with a strong defense and dynamic running back. Dalvin Cook has a huge day and Everett Golson makes a few plays as well. The 'Noles roll on the road 38-10.

John Garcia Jr: The Noles get the Deacs, banged up at QB with a good defense, in what will be a lower-scoring game than many think. But with Dalvin Cook fresh after a bye week, it's not hard to envision him breaking a long run or two for the visitors. FSU follows through with a 28-7 win.

Notre Dame at Clemson

Mike McAllister: All eyes will be on this one as it features two playoff contenders. Clemson needs to win this one to gain some national respect. They know that and will play with a chip on their shoulder. The Tigers defense slows down a high powered Irish offense just enough and Deshaun Watson turns in a memorable performance. Clemson 30 Notre Dame 27.

John Garcia Jr: The game of the weekend perhaps nationally, it should come down to each QB. Watson vs. Kizer, as both defenses have top talent and athletes at all three levels, which can also be said at wide receiver and running back. The difference is Watson's experience, as seemingly the entire country has been waiting for him to officially announce his presence on a national stage. Now is the time for him to do it and he'll deliver in one of Dabo Sweeney's biggest wins yet. Tigers 27, Irish 20.

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