ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 5

Jeremiah Attaochu and the Georgia Tech Defense Are Aiming to Deliver a Big Win Over Virginia Tech

Jeremiah Attaochu & the Georgia Tech Defense Aiming to Deliver a Big Win Over Virginia Tech

Finally, some actual games that matter (a few anyway). The ACC‘s still got five undefeated teams (sort of six), but will that continue to be the case much longer. I’m sure we all hope so… 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

Virginia Tech Hokies (3-1) (0-0) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-0) (2-0): For all but one year of divisional play, this game has decided the Coastal. And while it may seem like a remote possibility given the state of Virginia Tech’s offense in particular, that’s still on the table for this season’s edition of the matchup. But this one’s not going to last long if the Hokies can’t cut down on mistakes. The kicking game’s a mess and despite some flashes of success, Logan Thomas is still as rough around the edges as he’s ever been — and as error-prone as he’s ever been too. Georgia Tech’s aggressive defense should take advantage of those opportunities, while Vad Lee could have the offense closing the deal by the third quarter. Prediction: Georgia Tech 31, Virginia Tech 21

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

Miami Hurricanes (3-0) (0-0) at USF Bulls (0-3): In the past, this contest has actually been pretty close. But that was the old version of the USF program. The version we’ve come to know lately has fallen on some hard times, and that’ll likely continue this weekend. USF can’t seem to score points (just 12.3 per game this season), though over the last two games, the defense hasn’t been all bad. It’s certainly not the best MIami’s seen though, after facing and beating Florida in week two. Expect the ‘Canes to breeze through yet another contest en route to a 4-0 record. Prediction: Miami 30, USF 13

East Carolina Pirates (2-1) at North Carolina Tar Heels (1-2) (0-1): Considering the high expectations UNC had going into the season and the way things have gone instead, this ECU game is now a must-win. The defense is a bit of a concern, especially after last week’s second-half collapse versus Georgia Tech, but the bigger issue has been and remains the offense. North Carolina’s line is struggling to protect Bryn Renner and can’t open up holes for the running game either. The result has been a neutered attack that pales in comparison to what we’ve seen from previous Larry Fedora teams. They’ve got to figure things out this week against ECU or they’re in full-on crisis mode. Prediction: UNC 41, ECU 28

Virginia Cavaliers (2-1) (0-0) at Pittsburgh Panthers (2-1) (1-1): Outside of last week’s cupcake victory, Virginia’s actually had a pretty tough schedule thus far, so the fact that they’re 2-1 is a pretty good sign. For Pitt, things have been a little more relaxed, but just like UVa, they were absolutely pounded in their biggest challenge of the year. So who’s got the advantage in this game? The Hoos have issues passing the football, but the running game appears to have turned a corner. For Pitt, the passing game has progressed well over the course of the season, with the peak of their powers showed off in last week’s 58-point display vs. Duke. The last time Virginia’s secondary was tested (Oregon) it didn’t go too well. I have a feeling Tom Savage, Tyler Boyd and Devin Street will do more of the same on Saturday. Prediction: Pitt 33, Virginia 20

Troy Trojans (2-2) at Duke Blue Devils (2-2) (0-2): Duke’s defense has been lit up for two straight weeks, so Troy should be a nice reprieve for the group. Plus, Brandon Connette could really use a confidence booster after a few rocky starts. Despite nearly 900 offensive yards and 12 total scores, he’s also become a turnover machine — one of the biggest (of many) reasons why they couldn’t get things done vs. Pitt. This team doesn’t need a shake-up just yet, but if things take a turn south against Troy, then we’re suddenly talking about a total offensive and defensive overhaul. Prediction: Duke 45, Troy 27

Central Michigan Chippewas (1-3) at NC State Wolfpack (2-1) (0-1): NC State’s likely anxious to make up for last week’s loss vs. Clemson and QB Pete Thomas is likely anxious to finally throw a touchdown pass in his fourth game. CMU’s defense hasn’t fared too well thus far, allowing over 37 points per game, and while State’s offense isn’t prolific, this isn’t looking like their day either. Thomas should finally score himself a touchdown pass or two, and the Pack should find themselves half way to bowl eligibility despite a boatload of questions still. Prediction: NC State 39, CMU 21

Florida State Seminoles (3-0) (1-0) at Boston College Eagles (2-1) (1-0): Following last week’s lazy effort from Florida State, there’s a temptation to think Boston College can keep this one close late, but the Eagles still appear to be a year away from getting to that level. BC’s defense didn’t look all that composed against USC‘s balanced attack a few weeks back, and FSU should be able to replicate that success. Jameis Winston is likely to go back to his ultra-focused self, and there’s little the Eagles can do to stop this running game considering there’s about five or six players who can break out for 100 yards. ‘Noles continue to roll. Prediction: Florida St. 49, Boston College 14

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-2) (0-1) at Clemson Tigers (3-0) (1-0): The conference’s worst offense (Wake) visits its best (Clemson). What could possibly go wrong? Last season’s matchup was a one-sided affair that the Tigers had wrapped up by halftime, and trust me, we’re going to see more of the same this season. Despite having one of the country’s best pass defenses (mostly a result of playing run-focused teams), the Deacs’ defensive backs should have their hands sufficiently full stopping Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant. If they’ve got any chance, they’ll need to take advantage of the brief portion of the game in which Bryant is out and they can double Watkins. I just can’t see it happening against this Clemson team. Prediction: Clemson 49, Wake Forest 16

Last Week: 11-0; Season: 42-3

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