It's in-state rivalry week. Who will emerge with a win? Picking all the ACC games.
By ANDREW JONESFS Carolinas
Georgia Tech (6-5) at No. 3 Georgia (10-1)
Where: Athens, Ga., Sanford Stadium (93,058)
The blitz: Georgia has won three straight in the series and 10 of the last 11, and the odds are strong that trend will continue. However, the
Yellow Jackets are playing their best ball of the season, and with the triple option, there’s always a chance, especially against a defense that has had a few rough patches. The keys for Paul Johnson’s team are if the Bulldogs are flat and if Georgia Tech takes advantage hitting on some surprising long passes to loosen up the defense.
Pick: Georgia, 35-20.
Virginia (5-6, 2-5) at Virginia Tech (5-6 3-4)
Where: Blacksburg, Va., Lane Stadium (66,233)
The blitz: The
Hokies will extend their bowl eligibility streak to 19 seasons if they can notch a victory. Virginia had been playing well until North Carolina blitzed the Cavaliers a week ago Thursday night. Virginia Tech will be as prepared and fired up to play this game as any all season and will put forth its best performance, too. Don’t be surprised if it’s a lot like last season’s 38-0 finale in Charlottesville, though it’s uncertain whether or not the Hokies offense can score that many points without the aid of defensive or special teams touchdown or more.
The blitz: Had Miami not opted out of the postseason earlier this week, the Hurricanes would have a huge edge in being inspired by going after the Coastal Division title. But it’s impossible to get a gauge on how the young team will go into this contest now that it’s only for pride. Odds are they will be down, which is a break for the struggling Blue Devils, who have lost three consecutive games by an average score of 49-17. Duke may get a spark from some accomplished seniors and secure a seventh victory for just the fourth time in 50 years.
Pick: Duke, 33-28.
Boston College (2-9, 1-6) at N.C. State (6-5, 3-4)
The blitz: This likely will be the final game for Boston College coach Frank Spaziani and there are rumblings along Tobacco Road this might be the final regular season game for North Carolina State head man Tom O’Brien regardless of the outcome of this contest. Keys here are simple: Will the Wolfpack be ready to play; can their secondary keep B.C.’s Chase Rettig from posting big numbers; and which team will win the turnover battle?
Pick: N.C. State, 34-16.
Maryland (4-7, 2-5) at North Carolina (7-4, 4-3)
Where: Chapel Hill, N.C., Kenan Stadium (63,000)
When: 3 p.m.
The blitz: The Terrapins only stand a chance if North Carolina QB Bryn Renner and tailback Giovani Bernard don’t play. Even then, it’s doubtful this would be a competitive game. A linebacker playing QB for the Terps against a team that can score a lot of points is a recipe for a blowout.
The blitz: The team’s statistics suggest this should be a very low-scoring game. But sometimes big games don’t go according to their billing, and this one may end up that way. The biggest difference between these clubs is that Florida’s offense just isn’t any good regardless of the opponent. The Gators scored 27 versus Bowling Green, 27 vs. La-Lafayette, and 23 vs. FCS member Jacksonville State a week ago. If the game ends up lopsided, it will be in favor of the
The blitz: The Commodores went 5-3 in the SEC this season, which means they are a pretty darn good club. Neither team has been very electric on offense, but Vandy’s defense is much better, and that’s where the game will be won. Wake can’t run power and its passing game has been awful of late. Vandy will methodically pull away.
Pick: Vandy, 26-10.
No. 13 South Carolina (9-2) at No. 12 Clemson (10-1)
Where: Clemson, S.C., Memorial Stadium (81,500)
When: 7 p.m.
The blitz: South Carolina won a third straight in the series with a three-touchdown victory in Columbia a year ago. This time around, the Tigers are playing as well as they have in years, South Carolina is banged up, and in the end, it’s hard to imagine any team stopping Tajh Boyd, Andre Ellington, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and company, much less slowing them down. Clemson still has to match the Gamecocks’ toughness, and that could be a key if the game is slower than the Tigers prefer.