ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 9

Miami Breathed a Sigh of Relief on Tuesday -- Will it Help Them Avoid Trap v. Wake?

Miami Breathed a Sigh of Relief on Tuesday — Will it Help Them Avoid Trap v. Wake?

A week after Florida State asserted itself as the ACC‘s top dog, we get a bunch of games that won’t really help us determine the pecking order beyond the ‘Noles. Despite being nearly halfway through conference play, this weekend feels like a bit of a lull — though still, plenty of chances for surprising (but hopefully not to surprising) results. 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

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-3) (2-2) at Miami Hurricanes (6-0) (2-0): A matchup with a 23-point spread being the featured game of the week? #goacc… But honestly, that line’s a bit overblown and it’s not as if the ‘Canes have much of a home-field advantage anyway. Miami also struggled to get by a hapless North Carolina team last Thursday, while Wake Forest is suddenly coming on strong offensively, scoring 62 points over the past two weeks (strong for them, obviously). If Tanner Price can move the ball well on the ground, it should help set up the Deacs’ passing game for more success, though Miami’s offense might be too much for them. Whether it’s Duke Johnson or Dallas Crawford carrying the load, expect the Hurricanes to try and test Wake’s strong running defense all afternoon. Miami is likely to win this one — just not by as much as Vegas might think. Prediction: Miami 31, Wake 24

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

Louisville Cardinals (6-1) at USF Bulls (2-4): Louisville’s coming off a tough loss last Friday that killed off any national title hopes. USF’s riding a surprising two-game winning streak and actually holds a share of first in the American Athletic Conference right now. While the Bulls have played better of late, it’s unlikely that’ll be enough against a team out for a bit of redemption this week. USF is still a struggling offense that only puts up 16 points per game, and to be honest, UConn‘s the first offense they’ve really stopped all year. Teddy Bridgewater should make short work of the secondary and get the Cards back on track. Prediction: Louisville 41, USF 13

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-3) (2-2) at Virginia Cavaliers (2-5) (0-3): It’s unlikely Georgia Tech will be able to replicate last week’s 56-point output, though if there was an opponent that could happen against, I guess it would be UVa. The Hoos have been a mess all season, with an offense that can’t score (less than 18 points per game vs. FBS competition) and a defense that simply gets abused in second halves. Maybe Mike London coming under fire serves as motivation for Virginia? There’s a chance of it, though this really is a lopsided matchup of two teams going in opposite directions. Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, Virginia 20

Pittsburgh Panthers (4-2) (2-2) at Navy Midshipmen (3-3): Though Navy hasn’t looked all that hot this season, Pitt did have some trouble dispatching Old Dominion last week, creating at least the thought there could be an upset here. Most alarming for the Panthers was the fact that they did not move the ball through the air very well against what’s essentially an FCS team, and the Midshipmen actually have one of the better pass defenses in the country (27th overall). If this game gets one-dimensional, that’s where Pitt could face some trouble. They’ll need Tom Savage to avoid mistakes early and establish a tempo with the passing game. Since his standout six-TD performance against Duke in September, he’s failed to find any rhythm at all, which has hurt this team quite a bit. Prediction: Pitt 26, Navy 21

Boston College Eagles (3-3) (1-2) at North Carolina Tar Heels (1-5) (0-3): Which Heels team is going to show up on Saturday — the one that can’t seem to put points on the board or stop anyone in losing four of their first five, or the one that almost beat Miami on Thursday? UNC is still relying entirely too much on the pass, and the result has been more turnovers. They also managed to force four themselves last week (all picks), so the hope is that can continue. Boston College simply needs to run it with Andre Williams as much as possible, and protect the ball. The defense should be able to carry it the rest of the way. Prediction: BC 30, UNC 26

Duke Blue Devils (5-2) (1-2) at Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1) (3-0): Last time around between these two teams, Duke looked ready to pull off the big upset and then lost by three touchdowns. Two years ago, however, the Blue Devils actually took the Hokies down to the wire in a 14-10 loss. Could they be capable of finally pulling off the win this time around? As impressed as we are by the offense, they’ve feasted on lowly opponents and the defense can’t seem to stop anyone. Virginia Tech’s defense should wreak havoc, just as they have all season, allowing the offense to coast in for the points needed to take home a win. Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, Duke 17

Clemson Tigers (6-1) (4-1) at Maryland Terrapins (5-2) (1-2): This is going to get messy. Despite last week’s loss, the Tigers are still a very talented team and have more than enough ability to bounce back — so what better opponent than the banged-up Terps? Without anyone to throw to, C.J. Brown is coming back to earth, and I fully expect the Clemson pass-rush to get after him all game. The Tigers know how bad the FSU loss looked and understand they have something to prove now to right the ship. The game could very well be over by halftime. Prediction: Clemson 49, Maryland 20

NC State Wolpfack (3-3) (0-3) at Florida State Seminoles (6-0) (4-0): The last time these two teams met, I said that the Wolfpack had no shot to win. Then this happened. But this feels like a much different FSU squad this year. Jameis Winston has an irrational (and justified) amount of confidence in himself, and can take this team as far as they’ll follow him. Frighteningly enough, this defense is also getting better every week, too. If you thought they feasted on Clemson, just wait until they get a crack at mistake-prone NC State. Prediction: Florida State 42, NC State 17

Last Week: 4-3; Season: 63-11

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