On Saturday, the North Carolina Tar Heels will travel south to take on the Clemson Tigers, who are No. 7 in the BCS and undefeated on the season.
Clemson is coming off of a shootout win over Maryland, while North Carolina is coming off of a loss to Miami, where a comeback attempt fell just short.
North Carolina enters the contest at the bottom of the ACC Coastal standings with a 1-2 record in conference play and an overall mark of 5-2. Clemson is atop the ACC Atlantic division, with a 4-0 conference record and an overall record of 7-0.
The Tar Heels beat the Tigers 21-16 last season when they played in North Carolina.
Where: Memorial Stadium. Clemson, South Carolina
When: Saturday, October 22 at 12 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN. Online at ESPN3
Listen: WCHL 1360 in Chapel Hill. WCCP 104.9 FM in Clemson.
Will Clemson cover the spread?
Bodog lists Clemson as 10.5-point favorites. Keep an eye on that number through the week, but I like their chances to get there.
Can Clemson keep this good play going? They are not only a threat in the ACC, but also a threat to compete for the national championship.
North Carolina is not a bad team. They have the weapons to at least challenge the Tigers.
Who Might Not Play for North Carolina
North Carolina FB Devon Ramsey (knee) is out for the year.
North Carolina T T.J. Leifheit (ankle), RB A.J. Blue (undisclosed), C Cam Holland (back), CB Terry Shankle (knee), S Jonathan Smith (ankle) and K Casey Barth (groin) are questionable.
Who Might Not Play for Clemson
Clemson K Spencer Benton (shoulder) is out.
BCS/Top 25 Implications
Any remote chance that North Carolina has of winning the ACC Coastal division is gone if they lose this game, or any conference game for the rest of the year.
Clemson is the top team in the conference. From that end, they can survive a loss. Their national championship hopes are likely gone if they can't run the table.
What They're Saying
Heather Dinich of ESPN had this to say in her ACC Blog:
If this game were at UNC, it would probably be higher on the list, but Clemson returns to Death Valley after climbing out of an 18-point deficit against Maryland. That, and North Carolina hasn’t been very impressive this year in two losses to conference opponents.
One of the best things UNC has going for it right now is its defense, which is holding opponents to 20.14 points per game. That will be tested by a Clemson offense averaging 38 points per game.
North Carolina Player To Watch
Tar Heels QB Bryn Renner has been stellar this year. He will need to be again, against a Clemson defense that showed some vulnerability against Maryland.
Which QB will have the better game?
Clemson Player To Watch
If North Carolina can't figure out a way to stop Tajh Boyd as both a passer and rusher, this will be a blowout. He's been phenomenal this year for the Tigers.
Bryn Renner, RB Giovani Bernard and WR Dwight Jones against the Clemson defense. That trio will need to be stellar. If Clemson can even slow them down, this one will be over fast.
On the Hotseat
Both teams have far too many stellar performers to think that anyone's job is really on the line. If Clemson struggles down the stretch, Dabo Swinney will likely survive, but that would be a consistent pattern for the Tigers.
Clemson has too much here. Playing in front of one of the rowdiest crowds in the country, there is no reason to think that they won't win relatively easily.
Clemson 44, North Carolina 24