Thursday, September 20
(20) Texas A+M (-3) at Miami
Miami did not rebound against FIU the way I expected them to and still show signs of struggling. Texas A+M has played well so far this season and will be looking for a road OOC victory before starting their Big 12 campaign next season.
I fear this spread might be a result of Miami's name and not their performance. I have seen little from Miami to show that they will keep this game that close. Stephen McGee and Javorskie Lane will cause Miami's defense a lot more problems than Kyle Wright and Javarris James will cause the defense of the Aggies.
Texas A+M is still a dangerous team while Miami is still looking to get back on top.
Prediction: Texas A+M 31-Miami 13
Saturday, September 22
North Carolina (+14) at (23) South Florida
Usually you would think that South Florida would have a letdown after such a good win over Auburn. Two problems with that line of thought. The first is that South Florida had an open date last week, so they are really preparing for this game more off of that than off the victory. More importantly is that UNC really isn't that good. I was disappointed in their turnovers and defensive struggles last week. I didn't think much of Virginia's offense, so UNC allowing them six scoring drives, whether it be caused by turnover or not, is disconcerting.
Matt Grothe is the best QB UNC will face all season (lucky for them they don't play BC). South Florida will be looking to defend their ranking and their defense will probably keep TJ Yates from having the kind of success he had against UVA. I look for an amped South Florida crowd to propel the Bulls to an easy victory.
Prediction: South Florida 28-UNC 10
(15) Clemson (-7.5) at North Carolina State
This is a good test for Clemson. After beating FSU, they had two weeks playing weak opposition. Then again, NC State might still be considered weak opposition. These games tend to be close, but I really don't think much of NC State at all.
I expect Clemson to struggle in the first half as they play a defense with a semblance of a pulse. Cullen Harper will miss some early passes, but find his groove. For NC State, forcing Harper to make mistakes will be their best chance at victory.
Harrison Beck looked shaky even last week against Wofford, though Andre Brown ran well against the Terriers. Clemson's run defense looked very good against Florida State, and if they shut down Brown, NC State will struggle to move the ball at all.
As Harper struggles early, NC State will sense it has a chance, but the two-headed monster of Davis and Spiller will lead the Tigers to victory.
Prediction: Clemson 27-NC State 14
Georgia Tech (-3) at Virginia
Taylor Bennett, welcome to ACC football. In reality, Bennett didn't play poorly. Tashard Choice leaving the game was a bigger problem, though he struggled before he left. Teh Jackets have to feel stunned at how last week went. They don't often allow 500 yards to the opposition, and the 100 yards in penalties did not help much either.
Virginia's consecutive conference wins over Duke and North Carolina means that this game takes on added significance. Georgia Tech cannot afford to lose this game and pick up that second ACC loss so early. Virginia is fortunate not to have to play Boston College, Clemson, or Florida State this year. If they can steal this one, and certain results play out between other teams, it would not be unthinkable to see Virginia competing for a division title late in the season.
Okay, back to reality. Georgia Tech will not be happy this week. Jameel Sewell is not Matt Ryan. UVA's defense will not give the Jackets the same trouble that Boston College's did. Tashard Choice will have a big day if healthy, and UVA will not be able to keep up with the Jackets.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 34-Virginia 16
Army (+29) at (14) Boston College
Speaking of letdowns, Boston College will have to ensure that they are up for Army after three straight ACC games and such a emotional victory over Georgia Tech last week. Army gets its second straight ACC opponent, after giving Wake quite a bit to handle last week.
Matt Ryan should do what he pleases on Army's helpless secondary, and Boston College will force a bunch of turnovers against the Black Knights. There, quite simply, will be no letdown for the Eagles this week. The biggest quetion about this one is whether the Eagles will score enough to cover.
Prediction: Boston College 42-Army 14
Duke (+11.5) at Navy
So Duke finally gets off the schnide. Navy loses a game that it probably shouldn't have to Ball State. Yet the Blue Devils are still double digit underdogs. Some teams can't get no respect.
Duke really did deserve to win last week. It was no fluke. They played well early and did enough late to hold on to the victory. It will be interesting to see how they handle going from playing a team that passed fifty times to one that will most surely run fifty times.
Having seen Navy play live against Rutgers this year and give Greg Schiano's defense trouble, I see no reason while they won't give Duke the same headaches. This will be a case of Duke having no answer for the option offense. Even if Duke's offense is on, they will not be able to outscore Navy.
Prediction: Navy 35-Duke 17
William and Mary (No Line) at (17) Virginia Tech
The Hokies had a pretty easy win against Ohio last week, though they took way too long to get going. Tyrod Taylor played well in his first game, and if he gets the start again, will be able to add to his growing experience.
This should be a good game for Virginia Tech to try and get back on track before ACC season starts. Branden Ore will definitely help out this week and Tech will cruise throughout and move to 3-1.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 35-William and Mary 7
Maryland (+3) at Wake Forest
Maryland hung with West Virginia for a half last week before getting picked apart by White, Slaton, and company in the second. Wake will try and run as the Mountaineers did, except they really can't.
Wake was very unimpressive last week against Army. Their defense and special teams saved a brutally ineffective off-day by the offense. Riley Skinner may play for the Deacons, which would be of some assistance. Josh Adams is quickly becoming the go-to back, and this will be his first game action against an ACC opponent.
Whoever the QB is, he will have to do a much better job of getting the ball to Kenny Moore. After two great games to start the season, Moore was ineffective on offense (not on his own accord), though he got on the scoresheet by returning a punt for a touchdown.
The key to this game will probably be Maryland QB Jordan Steffy. If he plays well, Maryland will be able to overcome Wake, because the Terps receivers will get open, particularly Heyward-Bey. If he struggles, Wake will be able to focus on Lattimore and Ball. I don't see this being quite the scorefest that these two put on last year, as the game does not have the same implications. Either way, this one should go down to the wire.
Prediction: Wake Forest 21-Maryland 20
Last Week: 5-5