Highlighted by Clemson and Florida State's showdown, Andrew Jones previews the ACC weekend slate.
By ANDREW JONESFS Carolinas
Bowling Green (1-2) at Virginia Tech (2-1)
Where: Blacksburg, Va, Lane Stadium (66,233)
The blitz: The Falcons are capable of messing up any victory plans the
Hokies have. They have lost in competitive games at Florida and at a very good Toledo team. BGSU just needs to hang around into the second half, and it may be able to steal one. The Hokies MUST find a ground attack. Scoring early will help set a tone, but somewhere along the line Tech has to find a running game. Not doing so could affect future games.
Where: Morgantown, WV, Milan Puska Stadium (60,500)
The blitz: Maryland needs to score a couple of times early to build enough confidence that can sustain it throughout the game. But the Mountaineers are a horrible matchup and should win big. They did at Byrd Stadium a year ago, and it could be worse this time around unless the
Terrapins get out of the first quarter without trailing. Perry Hills must avoid multiple turnovers, and the defensive front has to make the proper reads.
Where: Fort Worth, TX, Amon G, Carter Stadium (45,000)
The blitz: Going to TCU coming off a 56-20 loss at Georgia Tech isn’t exactly a task any coach would ask for. But for the Wahoos this presents a huge opportunity to rid themselves of the lousy taste from Atlanta. The
Horned Frogs blew out Grambling and beat Kansas on the road, 20-6. UVa must move the ball using its tight ends and a power running game. The key is to keep a suspect defense off the field and to wear down TCU up front. If the Hoos fail to do that they will lose.
Pick: TCU, 29-20.
Army (0-2) at Wake Forest (2-1)
Where: Winston-Salem, NC, BB&T Field (31,500)
When: 12:30 p.m.
The blitz: Wake needs this game. Army will play tough and physically, but the Demon Deacons could use a breather, a game they layer with excellent play. Combining a ground and air attack is important, but the defense making some big plays, and maybe even scoring, is important as well. Wake needs to have such things to build on moving forward.
Pick: Wake Forest, 32-14.
Miami (2-1, 1-0 ACC) at Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1)
Where: Atlanta, Bobby Dodd Stadium (55,000)
When: 3 p.m.
The blitz: Miami has been up, down, and sort of up through three weeks. A young Hurricanes team taking on the
Yellow Jackets’ triple option in Atlanta doesn’t portend to great things happening on Saturday for The U. It’s not a good matchup for the Canes. Tech, on the other hand, has an opportunity to erupt early and put away a team that wilted early at Kansas State two weeks ago. If the Jackets to that, call them major contenders in the ACC’s Coastal Division.
Pick: Georgia Tech, 35-16.
East Carolina (2-1) at North Carolina (1-2)
Where: Chapel Hill, NC, Kenan Stadium (63,000)
When: 3:30 p.m.
The blitz:UNC’s defense struggled the last two weeks with offenses that like to spread things around through the air, which is exactly how the Pirates will attack. The
Tar Heels must make some plays and flip the field. If they do, it could get ugly. ECU isn’t very stout defensively, and UNC can explode. Everything points in the direction of a comfortable UNC win, but the Tar Heels’ play the last two weeks guarantees them nothing.
Pick: UNC, 41-23.
Memphis (0-3) at Duke (2-1)
Where: Durham, NC, Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941)
When: 6 p.m.
The blitz: Memphis is a horrible football team. The Tigers have lost to Tennessee-Martin, Arkansas State and Middle Tenn. State. Duke should have little trouble with them and use the opportunity to build needed depth, especially given its major injury problems. The Blue Devils can’t let their guard down, come out and take care of business.
The blitz: The Citadel is becoming one of the better FCS teams and is coming off a big win at Appalachian State. N.C. State can’t overlook the Bulldogs, and must be ready to play right out of the gate. Getting into the end zone a couple of times in the first quarter will put some doubt in the visitor’s heads. Since The Citadel’s uniforms look almost exactly like North Carolina’s, NCSU coach Tom O’Brien should convince his kids they’re playing the Tar Heels. That would be an automatic W for the Wolfpack.
Pick: N.C. State, 33-13.
No. 10 Clemson (3-0, 0-0) at No. 4 Florida State (3-0, 1-0)
The blitz: Clemson is young overall, has a mostly new offensive line, and has questions still hanging over regarding its defense. But the Tigers are highly skilled, especially on offense, and have the ability to strike any time against anyone, including the vaunted
FSU defense. The
Seminoles can also score many ways, including on special teams and by their defense. Getting to Tajh Boyd and disrupting Clemson’s rhythms could lead to some turnovers and easy points. FSU QB E.J. Manuel, on the other hand, must avoid turnovers and silly decisions. The kicking game could be a key, and both teams are strong in that area.