ACC Looks to Take Shape In Week Three

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2009

TALLAHASSEE, FL - SEPTEMBER 07:  Quarterback Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes throws a pass against the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium on September 7, 2009 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Week Three of the ACC could be a statement week for the conference or another step back.  There are two big in-conference matchups, and games against the Big 12 and Mountain West.  How will each team fair?  Here are my predictions:

Georgia Tech 45, Miami 42

I really want to pick Miami in this game, but I can't for one reason.  I don't think their defense is good enough, and after a win against Florida State, who almost lost to Jacksonville State last week, the defense has to prove itself. 

I'm not in love with either defense, but I expect Georgia Tech to edge out the Hurricanes in Miami because of its rushing attack.

Kansas 45, Duke 20

Duke isn't very good, and when you go against a high-octane offense on the road, bad things are bound to happen.  Thaddeus Lewis has to start playing better if the Blue Devils want to have any success this season.

North Carolina 35, East Carolina 20

North Carolina's defense is too good to lose this matchup.  The Tar Heels had a peculiar win against UConn last week, but a win is a win.  T.J. Yates should be better this week, since he's had two weeks to work off the rust.  North Carolina will likely rely on Shaun Draughn to carry the offensive load.

Clemson 27, Boston College 14

The Eagles have been playing well, but against weak schools.  Clemson showed some fight against Georgia Tech last week after being down big, and a phantom penalty haunted the Tigers in the loss.  Boston College still has some question marks, most notably at quarterback, and Clemson's athleticism should carry them past BC.

Virginia Tech 38, Nebraska 24

This is one of the biggest matchups of the week, and it will take place in Lane Stadium.  Tech moved the ball very well against Marshall last week, primarily on the ground, and will look to do the same against Nebraska this week. 

Nebraska will move the ball and score points in this one, but this will be their first test of the season, which I think hurts the Cornhuskers.  Ryan Williams and David Wilson should be able to make enough plays for the Hokies to come out on top.

Mid Tennessee State 38, Maryland 20

Middle Tennessee beat Maryland last year, and I'm expecting the same result this year.  Maryland lost a lot of personnel from last season's squad and they're currently struggling.  An overtime win against FCS opponent James Madison can't mean good things for the Terrapins.

Southern Miss 45, Virginia 24

Virginia is officially the worst team in the ACC, and they're certainly playing like it.  The new offense doesn't seem to be working for the Cavaliers, but they need to find answers quickly, before they have a truly embarrassing season. 

NC State 42, Gardner Webb 3

NC State's defense has looked very good so far this season, and that should continue this week.  Russell Wilson played well last week, and will likely continue his streak of consecutive passes without an interception.

Wake Forest 45, Elon 0

The Demon Deacons lost their first game to Baylor, but beat a better Stanford team last week.  This team lives and dies with the play of Riley Skinner, who should play well in this one. 

BYU 38, Florida State 31

BYU has a very good offense, led by quarterback Max Hall.  Defensively, Florida State looked inept against Miami, and the Seminoles had an embarrassing performance against Jacksonville State last week, although they won. 

The Seminoles may have been looking ahead to this game, but I think their defense has too many questions to stop an offense like BYU's.