ACC Football: Three Impact Coastal Division Games in Week 7

Which ACC Football Coastal Division games are the biggest of the weekend?

Week 7 is not a week in heaven. That might be a Saturday of 10 top 25 matchups. Instead, it only has three such matchups. Luckily, two of those games are top ten matchups.

Two of those three games take place in the SEC. Number one Alabama travels to play at #9 Tennessee. Last week, the Tide had no trouble handling a ranked team on the road. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s luck finally came to an end. In the other matchup, #12 Ole Miss takes on #22 Arkansas.

The other top ten matchup takes place in the Big Ten. Wisconsin welcomes in Ohio State. Both teams need a signature win as both look to remain in the Playoff race.

ACC football is lacking in top 25 matchups this week. However, that doesn’t mean the Coastal is lacking in marquee games. Remember every Coastal game is an impact game in the ACC, some just more so than others.

North Carolina at Miami (Saturday Oct 15th @ 3:30 pm)

Both teams are coming off home losses. UNC got crushed at home in a rain storm mess. Miami got crushed at home because of the Block at the Rock. Which team can bounce back this week?

Things going for the Tar Heels: No Hurricane. Before last week, UNC’s passing offense was one of the best in the nation. Now some of last week should go to the credit of the Hokie’s defense. The rest goes to the wind and rain that helped hold that same offense to 58 passing yards and three points. Current forecasts do predict rain this Saturday, but nothing quite like what the Heels saw in Chapel Hill.

Oct 8, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies fullback Sam Rogers (45) makes a touchdown catch as North Carolina Tar Heels safeties Dominquie Green (26) and Donnie Miles (15) defend in the third quarter. The Hokies defeated the Tar Heels 34-3 at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Things going for the Hurricanes: UNC’s run defense. Last week Miami was held to just 62 total rushing yards. Before that, they were averaging over 230 yards per game. Luckily for them they get the UNC rush defense. The Heels are 113th in the nation against the run allowing nearly 230 rushing yards per game. These stats would appear to favor the Hurricanes.

If not for the Hurricane, would this game be two teams fighting it out for first in the Coastal? But the Hurricane happened and both teams are in need of a win. Miami was one of the top teams in the country rushing before last week. UNC still struggles to stop the run. If these trends continue, UNC may be looking at a second loss in a row.

Pittsburgh at Virginia (Saturday, Oct 15th @ 12:30 pm)

Both teams are on a two-game winning streak. Both teams need wins to keep up with the top of the Coastal. Virginia is coming off a bye. Pitt is coming off a tough win at home. Which team can do enough to come out on top?

Things going for the Panthers: Pitt’s rushing defense. The Pitt rush defense is still one of the top ten in the nation allowing less than 100 yards a game. It makes it hard to be a balanced team when the defense makes running the ball next to impossible.  This is helped out by Ejuan Price. Price leads the nation with 8.5 sacks this season.

Things going for the Cavaliers: Pitt’s passing defense. The Panther’s passing defense still is second worst in the nation despite holding Georgia Tech to just 130 yards through the air. This works out great for Virginia QB Kurt Benkert. The Cavaliers passer has 1455 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. They also have Home Field. Pittsburgh is currently 0-2 in road games this season.

As crazy as this sounds Virginia, is one of three Coastal teams that still control their own destiny. The other two are Virginia Tech and Miami. Pitt, like UNC, would need a little help even if they were to win out. The key question is can Pitt stop the pass? If they can. the Panthers should be able to get their first road win of the season.

Duke at Louisville (Friday, Oct 14th @ 7:00 pm)

Sep 24, 2016; Huntington, WV, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws a pass for a touchdown to wide receiver James Quick (not pictured) against the Marshall Thundering Herd in the first half at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Duke is coming off a hard-fought win against a decent Army team. Louisville is coming off a bye week. Will this game be over by the end of the first quarter?

Things going for the Blue Devils: They have done this before. Earlier this season Duke walked into South Bend and beat Notre Dame. The Blue Devils were 1-2 but pulled the upset over the Irish. They aren’t easily rattled by the big stage. Their coach won’t let them be.

Things going against the Blue Devils: QB Lamar Jackson. Perhaps you have heard of him. The Sophomore QB is the leading candidate for the Heisman. He has 2312 total yards and 28 total touchdowns this season. The dual threat QB is hard to stop and has had two weeks to prepare.

Louisville’s bye week may be Duke’s biggest downfall. Were they playing the Cardinals right after the Clemson game, the Blue Devils may have caught them sleeping. Instead, it will probably be a blowout. Sure Duke beat Notre Dame on the road earlier this year. But clearly Notre Dame is not the team it has been. Louisville is. If things play out right, Lamar Jackson may not come back out after halftime.

One to keep an eye on: Virginia Tech at Syracuse (Saturday, Oct 15th @ 3:45 pm)

Oct 8, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Jerod Evans (4) passes the ball in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

So Virginia Tech is for real. A week after crushing a high power Heels offense in a rain storm, the head to the carrier dome. Do the Orange have a prayer? Can the Hokies defense be scored upon? They have allowed all of 20 points in their last three games. The answers to those questions and more in what might be a blowout by halftime as well.

The only other Coastal team is Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets return home for the fifth time this season to face Georgia Southern. So that is seven teams and with that let’s get going with another amazing week of ACC football in the Coastal Division.

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