Miami at Houston – This is kind of an odd matchup. Miami doesn’t really have much to gain here other than maybe some recruiting help in Texas. Otherwise, you wouldn’t expect a team like Miami to go on the road against a mid-level (I’m being kind) program like Houston. As for the matchup – it shouldn’t be too close. I’m guessing Miami wins something like 38-13. 😉
Maryland at Duke – Both schools are having quarterback problems, but for Maryland, the rest of the team is good enough to compensate. They almost beat West Virginia on the road last week despite five turnovers. Duke, on the other hand, has rotated three different QBs and got blown out last week by Virginia Tech.
I’m thinking Duke will get an upset this year against one of the teams in the top half of the conference, but not this week. They just aren’t ready.
NC State at Virginia Tech – Now, this is a good matchup, easily the most interesting of the week. Before the season, I would have said that State was a much stronger team, but I don’t feel that way now. I think State has better skill position players. In fact, their talent at RB and WR matches up favorably with just about any team in the country. The problem is that they just didn’t look good against Ohio State. Actually, their defense looked solid, but the offense was inept and the whole team made way too many mistakes.
The Hokies, on the other hand, have all the markings of a team that’s prepared to have an unexpectedly good season. They looked good in their loss to #1 USC and followed that up with two blowout victories.
This should be a tight game. Pundits are saying it will be a defensive struggle, but I’m not so sure. State has given up only about 150 yards per game, but they’ve only played two games and both were against weak offensive teams. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see this one turn into a shootout. I think the Hokies will win, as State isn’t disciplined enough yet to win in a place as hostile as Lane Stadium.
Boston College at Wake Forest – This is one of several interesting non-conference matchups this week. One point of interest, of course, is that BC will be joining the ACC next year, so this is a bit of a preview. Another tidbit that sparks this one a bit is that Wake staged a big comeback on the road to upset the Eagles last season and ruin their homecoming.
This BC team looks pretty solid, beating Penn State and UConn, although they had a fairly tight game against Ball State. BC’s strength is their defense, giving up less than 10 points a game (eighth best scoring D in the country). For Wake, it’s the opposite, with their offense producing 34 points per game and rushing for more than 275 yard per game. Something has to give.
I’m not really sure who I like in this, so I’ll go with the home team. Wake Forest has some offensive schemes that are very confusing to prepare for. I say they beat BC in a close one.
Louisville at North Carolina – The easy prediction here is that North Carolina will get smoked. I mean, everyone knows they are bad and have been for several seasons now, and Louisville is ranked #22 in the country. Well, as some not-so-wise man once said, not so fast. Carolina is one of those classic good-bad teams. They have plenty of talent and can score on everyone. Their problem is that they are poorly coached. They’re inconsistent, so you never really know from game-to-game, hell from series-to-series, which Carolina you’re going to see. They’re like Jerry Seinfeld’s two-faced girlfriend.
Last week, we saw good Carolina, as they trounced Georgia Tech. Some may say that signals that the Tar Heels are on the rise, but I think it’s just as likely that it means they are due to take a dump at midfield this week.
One thing’s for fairly certain – there will be some points in this one. I don’t know what the line is, but bet the over. I pick Louisville in another shootout.
Clemson at Florida State – The Bowden Bowl again. Anyone else tired of that? Every year, I have to read about how Bobby Bowden’s wife hates the game – either her husband or son loses. I get it. Enough.
Last year, Clemson came in to the this game in a shambles and it looked like Tommy’s job was in serious peril. This year, things are diff … uh, well actually, things are exactly the same.
This time though, the game’s in Tallahassee and pop isn’t going to lose this one to save his boy. Clemson is dangerously close to going into a death spiral so they should be fired, but FSU needs this one too, given their early loss to Miami. I think the ‘Noles will win by at least two touchdowns as they start to figure out how to run an offense. Don’t be surprised if Clemson melts down in the second half and gets blown out.
Syracuse at Virginia – This sounds like a really good game, doesn’t it? Syracuse and UVA are pretty similar programs in terms of football strength. Also, there was the whole ACC courtship that turned sour for Syracuse, in large part because Virginia insisted that Virginia Tech be included.
Unfortunately, the game itself likely won’t be as interesting. Virginia is on the climb (although they aren’t as good as the national media seems to think – the Cavs are becoming media darlings), and the ‘Cuse, well, they aren’t climbing. Did you see that pounding they took from Purdue? Man. Expect Syracuse to put forth a better effort than that, but still lose by two or three touchdowns (or more).
Syracuse’s best team ranking in any offensive or defensive category is 58th in turnover margin (where they are even). UVA’s worst ranking is 50th in passing offense.
Virginia tailback Wali Lundy’s nine rushing touchdowns are better than 105 Division 1-A teams.