After last week's 5-4-1 record against the spread, including a near perfect call of Maryland-FIU, here is how I see the 10 games involving ACC teams to play out this week.
Thursday, September 13
(4) West Virginia (-16.5) at Maryland
West Virginia's slow start last week against Marshall gives me pause, if only because this is another road game, and Maryland is a better team than Marshall. Predictably, Maryland was never in danger of losing last week, but still never looked that great doing it. Also, don't underestimate the fact that Maryland QB Josh Portis, academically ineligible for this season, played the role of Pat White in practice this week. While clearly not the same, at least the Terps got some practice against a quarterback of a similar style.
The home Thursday night crowd will keep Maryland in the game, but West Virginia is too talented to lose this one. White and Slaton will prove to be too much for the Terps, though I see Maryland covering the spread, but not seriously contending for the victory.
Prediction: West Virginia 41-Maryland 27
Saturday, September 15
Virginia (+3.5) at North Carolina
An interesting game for all the wrong reasons. UVA looked pretty lackluster in beating Duke, and UNC was unable to overcome an underrated ECU team, and allowed over 400 yards passing in the process. This game is crucial for the bowl chances of both of these teams, and the spread shows that even Vegas thinks this one is a tossup.
Looking at last week's games, Virginia struggled to pass and run well on hapless Duke, whereas UNC was incompetent against the pass but defended the run quite nicely. TJ Yates put up a very good game for UNC, going over 300 yards and 3 touchdown passes, but UNC could not get much going on the ground either.
If UNC can make this a passing game, it should give them the advantage that they need to win. If UNC wins the turnover battle, they should win the game; however another -2 performance like last week could turn the game in UVA's favor.
Prediction: UNC 27-Virginia 16
Furman (No Line) at (20) Clemson
Much like last week, I see Clemson's rushing attack being everything in this game. A healthy dose of Spiller and Davis will provide a wide margin of victory, though Clemson fans should be concerned a little bit about the defensive letdown last week. No matter how big the early lead, letting up 26 to La-Monroe is far from encouraging.
Prediction: Clemson 52-Furman 10
Ohio (+20.5) at (18) Virginia Tech
After what would have to be one of the worst defensive performances by the Hokies in a decade, they get a chance to play an inferior opponent with a first-start freshman quarterback. While Ohio is 2-0, both have been against inferior competition and not in dominating fashion.
The spread seems a little high for Tyrod Taylor's first start, but the strong rushing of Branden Ore should provide the comfort Taylor needs to be effective. I would also expect the defense to be pretty fired up after last week, with Ohio QB Brad Bower being the unfortunate victim.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 31-Ohio 7
Army (+21) at Wake Forest
As previously noted in my last article, Army is a sight for the sore eyes of Deacon fans. After watching Wake commit more killer turnovers in the past two weeks than all of last season combined, Wake should be able to get back to the ground this week. Expect Wake RBs to have a field day on Army, with perhaps an increase in carries for Josh Adams, who ran hard against Nebraska last week.
Army is only averaging a touch over 250 yards of offense in their loss to Akron and their touchdown victory over 1AA Rhode Island, so the Wake defense should be able to clamp down. Wake will end the three game losing streak this weekend before looking ahead to Maryland.
Prediction: Wake Forest 38-Army 14
Florida International (+33.5) at Miami
Well, I doubt anything will top last year's festivities. I must first off say that granted while FIU is certainly not going to be contending for a conference title anytime soon, but an OOC slate that includes Penn State, Maryland, Miami,Kansas, and Arkansas? Can't they at least throw a MAC team in there or something?
Back to the game at end, Kyle Wright gets the start for the Canes this weekend after the collective stinker last week. Randy Shannon is a nice guy, but I'm not so sure we don't see a little running up of the score tihs week to prove a point.
Prediction: Miami 52-Florida International 13
Wofford (No Line) at North Carolina State
Is there a less interesting game in the ACC all season than this one? Honestly, even Wolfpack fans can't get up for this one, except that they might actually win.
Prediction: North Carolina State 38-Wofford 10
Duke (+16.5) at Northwestern
Get used to reading this: Duke is not going to win this season, except for the UNC game they probably will not cover a spread this season (though I will say they do always get a random cover or two, such as Miami and Wake Forest last season). Northwestern will win going away.
Prediction: Northwestern 35-Duke 10
Florida State (-4) at Colorado
This game is very interesting. Florida State did not play that well last week, and Colorado is inconsistent to the point where it becomes very difficult to pick any of their games. For the Noles, the defense really needs to get itself together after having two pretty sub-par games in a row.
Fortunately for Florida State, Colorado's offense is not putting up a lot of yards at the moment, and the loss to Arizona State last week was not pretty. FSU should get out of Boulder with the win, but I'm not sure much would surprise me in this game.
Prediction: Florida State 27-Colorado 13
(21) Boston College (+7) at (15) Georgia Tech
The lone conference game of the week is a potential ACC title game preview. BC finishes their opening stretch of 3 conference games to open the season against the ACC team that through two weeks has looked the most impressive.
The BC rush defense has been excellent so far this season, but will have their hands full with Tashard Choice. This will also be Taylor Bennett's introduction into ACC football against a defense that has forced a lot of turnovers this season.
GTech will also have to worry about facing Matt Ryan, who is looking every bit the favorite for the All-ACC's 1st team QB spot.
Despite the matchups being slightly favoring BC, John Tenuta's defense will be well-prepared to face BC, and I think Taylor Bennett will indeed pass his first test, despite his lack of having to throw the ball in the first two weeks of the season
I see a very close GTech victory with the home crowd support, but I do see BC covering the spread and as of right now, I predict we will see these two teams meeting in December for a spot in the Orange Bowl.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 23-Boston College 21
Last Week: 5-4-1