ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 3

Vad Lee Leads Georgia Tech to Durham to Face Coastal Rival Duke

QB Vad Lee Leads Georgia Tech to Durham to Face Coastal Division Rival Duke This Saturday

Another week, another big ACC win this season. Might as well continue riding the wave of good vibes and hope the conference’s top teams continue winning — Clemson is ranked third in the country at this point, you know. Just like normal, we’re running down the list of every ACC (plus Louisville) game and predicting outcomes that will almost undoubtedly be wrong. Have some picks of your own? Predict away in the comments!

Game of the Week

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0) (0-0) at Duke Blue Devils (2-0) (0-0): Georgia Tech looked phenomenal in game one, while Duke’s getting used to life without starting quarterback Anthony Boone. The Blue Devils’ defense has shown improvement through two games, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to put a stop to Tech’s revitalized offensive attack. Vad Lee was incredibly efficient to start the year and with a more versatile attack (still centered on the triple-option, of course), Tech is looking to top 2012’s 7-7 finish. This one will be close for as long as Duke backup Brandon Connette keeps it that way, but eventually, he’s going to be forced into a mistake by the Wreck defense. Once he does, it’s all over from there. Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, Duke 26

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

Louisville Cardinals (2-0) at Kentucky Wildcats (1-1): Louisville’s started the year on a tear, and that’s not about to change against the cross-state Wildcats. Kentucky’s played pretty solid pass defense against its two opponents thus far (just 147 yards allowed per game), but then again, neither had much of a passing game to speak of either. Despite Mark Stoops’s specialty with the secondary, his UK team just isn’t up to snuff at this point, leaving plenty of opportunities for Teddy Bridgewater to continue padding his impressive numbers. Kentucky should be able to put up some points, but for the Cards, this will be treated like a track meet if necessary. They have no intentions of losing this contest with so much on the line. Prediction: Louisville 41, Kentucky 23

Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1) (0-0) at East Carolina Pirates (2-0): What would normally be an easy non-conference matchup turns into a pretty harrowing contest for Virginia Tech this Saturday against East Carolina. Not only is the game on the road, but ECU is extremely proficient at the main thing Tech isn’t: scoring points, with an average of 41.5 in two contests so far. With offensive production mostly out of the question, that’ll leave it up to the Hokies defense to try and create scoring opportunities similar to what they did against Western Carolina last week. The Pirates also have their own penchant for forcing turnovers (four this year), and if Tech falls behind early, it could spell doom for them. It’ll be close, but count on Frank Beamer’s defense to find a way at the end. Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, ECU 27

UL-Monroe Warhawks (1-1) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-1) (0-1): Which version of “Funroe” is showing up to Winston-Salem this Saturday? The one that was shut out by Oklahoma in week one, or the one that put up 48 against Grambling in week two? For the Deacs’ sake, they better hope it’s the former, because once again, the Wake Forest offense has some very severe scoring issues. With no real ability to generate points and a dangerous visiting opponent with nothing to lose, this is a contest the Deacons should be concerned about. If they can find a way to contain Warhawks QB Kolton Browning, they stand a chance, but that still means avoiding mistakes themselves. Unfortunately, the ACC suffers its first real surprising loss of the year with this one. Prediction: ULM 24, Wake 20

New Mexico Lobos (1-1) at Pittsburgh Panthers (0-1) (0-1): Very little went right for Pitt against Florida State, so obviously this is a team anxious to reverse the tide of their season immediately. Tom Savage appears primed for a bounceback performance, and Khe keep ahead of UNM, that should mean more support from the running game this time around as well. For the Panthers’ defense, the key will actually be stopping the run game, though. Through two games, the Lobos are averaging 294 yards per on the ground, so it’s up to the Pitt front to put a stop to that type of production. Kasey Carrier is one of the best rushers in the country and will press the line throughout. Without a pass game to speak of though, Pitt can focus on run-stopping, which should lead to the season’s first victory. Prediction: Pitt 31, New Mexico 17

Boston College Eagles (2-0) (1-0) at USC Trojans (1-1): If there was ever a USC team Boston College could beat, it’s this one. Through two games, the Trojans have only put up a combined 38 points and have generally looked miserable as head coach Lane Kiffin rides out what’s assured to be his final season in Los Angeles. As much as the Eagles’ defense figures to keep the SC offense in check, there’s just too many factors that point to a Trojans win just the same: Marqise Lee, typical East-to-West performance lag and what should be a very partisan crowd. Add in some players-only meetings and a desire to quiet their critics and this looks like a USC win — albeit a closer one than most might have envisioned. Prediction: USC 23, Boston College 17

Nevada Wolf Pack (1-1) at Florida State Seminoles (1-0) (1-0): At this point in the season, Nevada’s got the 80th-ranked passing defense in the country. That’s not a good sign against FSU and Jameis Winston. For an encore performance to his stellar debut, expect much of the same from the true freshman passer, albeit with a bit more help from the running game this time around too. While it’s all well and good to see Winston dominating teams through the air, they’ll need to utilize the run a bit more to prep for the rest of their schedule. Once Winston sits (likely by the third quarter), fans will see plenty of handoffs. Prediction: Florida State 51, Nevada 14

Wagner Seahawks (1-1) at Syracuse Orange (0-2) (0-0): Syracuse is reeling from two straight defeats, so it’s nice to get a bit of a breather (hopefully, anyway) against a FCS like Wagner. We’ve chronicled the struggles of quarterback Drew Allen through two weeks now and for the senior, this has become a make-or-break game. Should he struggle against an inferior opponent, he’ll ride the bench in favor of Terrel Hunt before the weekend’s over. Past the passing game, it’ll be interesting to see if the Orange finally get the running game going (as it was supposed to be all season) and if they can at least begin to correct last week’s egregious mistakes in the secondary. Obviously the goal is to win big, but I’d rather win by 14 instead of 24 if it means fixing some problems on the way. Prediction: Syracuse 31, Wagner 13

Maryland Terrapins (2-0) (0-0) at Connecticut Huskies (0-1): Maryland visits a less-than-hostile environment up in East Hartford as coach Randy Edsall looks to beat up on his former employer and continue the Terps’ hot start to this season. Unlike Maryland, the Huskies appear to be going in the opposite direction this year. When you give up 393 offensive yards to a FCS team like UConn did against Towson, it’s certainly not a good sign for your chances against FBS competition, and the Terrapins should take full advantage. C.J. Brown should have yet another inspiring performance, while the Terps defense applies consistent pressure to a struggling Huskies offense in a one-sided victory. Prediction: Maryland 38, UConn 20

Last Week: 10-1; Season: 22-3

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