It only took ten weeks but we finally pulled off our first perfect weekend of the season.
There were a couple games that easily could have gone the other way, we’re looking at you Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, but UNC and Miami both held on to win their respective contests.
There’s only a couple of games that were literal coin-tosses for us this weekend so we’re hoping we have the same luck when the final whistle blows and the clock reaches zero.
And while we’re on the topic of this weekend’s games let’s jump into a couple previews of games that have peaked our interest.
#21 Liberty (7-0) vs NC State (4-3) Preview
Liberty’s has been fantastically consistent no matter who it’s playing against.
The Flames have rushed for 180 yards or more against everyone, including 338 against Syracuse and 249 against Virginia Tech. It might have sputtered a bit in the easy win over North Alabama, but the O hit 400 yards or more against everyone else.
It starts with QB Malik Willis, who’s been a total offense machine, throwing for over 300 yards in two of the last three games with 12 touchdown passes and close to 300 yards on the ground in the last three.
The offensive balance has allowed the Flames to dominate in the time of possession battle – keeping the ball for well over 33 minutes per game – and NC State can’t seem to go on enough long marches.
Liberty will hold on to the ball for at least five minutes more than the Wolfpack.
But the NC State defense has the ability to get Willis and company off the field.
This isn’t a rock of a D, and it gives up way too many points, but it’s outstanding on third downs with the run defense able to hold down everyone but Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
This game, though, for the Wolfpack will be about the passing game. For all of the great things Liberty has done so far, it hasn’t had to deal with a dangerous air attack. Even so, it was hit for over 200 yards through the air against Syracuse and Virginia Tech, and even Southern Miss was able to show offensive balance.
Bailey Hockman has found his groove, throwing for well over 500 yards in the last three games while becoming more and more accurate.
NC State certainly won’t be looking past Liberty.
The Flames are ranked, they’re 2-0 on the road against the ACC, and NC State has lost two of its last three games.
How much can the Wolfpack lines dominate? Willis and the Liberty running game will keep on pressing, but NC State has the passing game to do just enough to hang punch for punch.
This will go down to the wire – just like Liberty’s game against Virginia Tech – but NC State will survive with two late key stops.
Liberty vs NC State Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 21
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Carter-Finely Stadium, Raleigh, NC
And now we’re gonna deep-dive into a game that will either be a woodshed beating and couple be one of the best upsets by FSU in recent history.
#4 Clemson (7-1) vs Florida State (2-5) Preview
We’re all having a bad 2020. Florida State – at least in the sports universe – is having a really bad 2020. It’s a program just trying to get through this and hope for 2021 spring football to start everything over again.
The team has hardly quit, but it lost a slew of the key parts coming into the season, there’s only one win over an FBS team, and now it gets a Clemson team looking to get on a roll on the way to the ACC Championship appearance.
The Seminoles are seemingly getting hit with every possible flag, there’s no downfield passing game, and there’s no pass rush whatsoever to bother Trevor Lawrence, who’s back after missing the last few weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Okay, Jordan Travis, let’s give this another shot.
Chubba Purdy gave it a go, got hurt, and now he’s done for the season, and James Blackman opted out. Travis might not be doing much for the passing game, but he’s a baller of a runner who took off for 107 yards and two scores in the shocking win over North Carolina.
There’s a nothing-to-lose factor at this point with the Noles, the parts that are still around are relatively young and looking to make their mark going forward, there’s a lot of movement around to try out a few things, and having safety Hamsah Nasirildeen in his second game back after missing most of the season.
The starting 22 should be able to hang around for a bit, especially against a banged up Clemson team that’s not running the ball all that well, but Clemson is about to go off.
There was a time not all that long ago when the world stopped for this game between two college football powerhouses and national title contenders. This year, it’s just another game on the ACC slate, but it’s important for Clemson to get its groove back after sitting on the Notre Dame loss for a few weeks and playing poorly against Boston College the week before.
Style points don’t matter for the Tigers – win out, get into the CFP – but it’s November. This is where this program starts to kick it all in, and with Lawrence back – not that DJ Uiagalelei was bad – here we go.
Clemson vs Florida State Broadcast
Date: Saturday, November 21
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Friday, November 20th
|Louisville vs Syracuse||LOU 37, SYR 21|
Saturday, November 21st
|Florida State vs #4 Clemson||CLEM 35, FSU 10|
|Pittsburgh vs Virginia Tech||VT 28, PITT 24|
|Virginia vs Abilene Christian||UVA 34, ABC 21|
|NC State vs #21 Liberty||NCST 28, LIB 27|
|#12 Miami vs Georgia Tech||Postponed|
|Duke vs Wake Forest||Postponed|
Last Week’s Picks: 5-0
Year-to-Date Record: 47-18 (72.31%)
We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a great slate of games and we’ll check back in next week and hopefully not cringe at the results.
And if you missed it, check out our latest episode of the “Laces Out” series here.
If you’ve signed up for our weekly ESPN College Pick ‘Em challenge then don’t forget to get your picks locked in. Top entry at the end of the season will get a nominal cash prize!
Information for this post was obtained from College Football News.