Two weeks this year we’ve managed to pull “perfect weekends” for our picks, though it’s also another weekend without FSU football due to their game against Virginia getting scrapped.
But now we’re into the month of December and things are really heating up on who will get to face Notre Dame for the ACC Championship Game.
Clemson and Miami both have a single loss on the year but Clemson has one more conference win, giving them a slight edge in the conference winning percentage.
So the weight of the title match-up comes down to whether or not Duke or Virginia Tech can rise to the occasion and knock out their respective opponent this weekend.
While we highly doubt there will be any updates, meaning that Clemson should get the nod to play Notre Dame, it will be interesting to see just how close these games could be.
#10 Miami (7-1) vs Duke (2-7) Preview
Duke’s turnover problems aren’t slowing down.
They were horrible to start the season, had a few lulls, but then roared back last week with five giveaways in the 56-33 loss to Georgia Tech. With a whopping 30 giveaways, the Blue Devils are dead last in the nation in mistakes with 15 fumbles and 15 interceptions.
Miami doesn’t do a whole lot to take it away, but it’s amazing at generating plays behind the line and there’s no problem with turnovers, giving it up just eight times so far.
The Blue Devil passing game hasn’t been bad, and it’s coming off its first 300-yard day of the season. Chase Brice has had major issues being accurate, and Gunnar Holmberg has played a bit, but no matter what, Duke has to get throwing and keep the pressure on the Hurricane secondary.
Defensively, there’s enough from the front line to get behind the line to be a problem. The tackles for loss allowed stat is sort of skewed because QB D’Eriq King tries to make things happen, but the Hurricane O line is a bit too leaky. The Duke D has keep King from getting comfortable.
Just assume the Hurricanes will be +2 in turnover margin, at least.
Miami is still very much in the College Football Playoff hunt, but it needs a ton of help, has to get a Virginia Tech upset over Clemson, and it has to start looking the part – close wins over the last three games to Virginia, NC State and Virginia Tech haven’t helped.
Duke will be a bit inspired in its final home game of the year and Senior Day, but Miami needs to be fantastic.
Miami vs Duke Broadcast
Date: Saturday, December 5
Game Time: 8:00 ET
Venue: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Network: ACC Network
#3 Clemson (8-1) vs Virginia Tech (4-5) Preview
Clemson appears to have its swagger back.
DJ Uiagalelei was fantastic when he filled in for Trevor Lawrence, but last week the team rolled again in the 52-17 win over Pitt. Maybe it was having No. 16 back, maybe it was because the team was salty after not playing Florida State, or maybe this is just when the program is doing its annual shift into fourth gear.
To stop Virginia Tech is to stop the running game. The Hokies are 4-0 when running for more than 260 yards, and 0-5 when running for that many or fewer. Clemson hasn’t allowed more than 260 rushing yards since the beginning of October 2016 against Louisville.
However the Clemson running game isn’t working.
The team is still fantastic, and the passing game hasn’t have any issues, but the Tigers can’t get Travis Etienne going on the ground and haven’t hit the 200-yard mark against anyone but Miami.
Notre Dame stuffed Etienne, and the ground attack hasn’t hit 150 yards in any of the last four games. The Virginia Tech run defense isn’t anything special, but the pass rush is among the best in the nation. With time off to prepare, the defense should be as ready as possible for a big performance.
No, it’s not as simple as Clemson just beating Pitt by 35 and Virginia Tech losing its last game to the Panthers by 33.
This is a very, very dangerous Virginia Tech team with the parts to get hot and do something interesting from out of the blue. It’s struggling, but don’t be totally shocked if all of a sudden the team finds its fastball.
At least for a little bit.
Clemson will get that passing game going, it’ll roll for well over 350 yards, and the defense will overcome a strong day from the Hokie ground game to roll on into the ACC Championship.
Clemson vs Virginia Tech Broadcast
Date: Saturday, December 5
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Lane Stadium/Worsham Field, Blacksburg, VA
So what are the odds of us pulling back-to-back perfect weekends? I’d say the odds are definitely in our favor. Though we’d love to see the chaos that could ensue if either Clemson or Miami would fall.
Saturday, December 5th
|#17 UNC vs Western Carolina||UNC 45, WC 10|
|#2 Notre Dame vs Syracuse||ND 42, SYR 10|
|Virginia vs Boston College||UVA 27, BC 21|
|NC State vs Georgia Tech||NCST 38, GT 28|
|Virginia Tech vs #3 Clemson||CLEM 54, VT 24|
|Duke vs #10 Miami||MIA 35, DUKE 25|
Last Week’s Picks: 5-0 (FSU vs Virginia was postponed)
Year-to-Date Record: 55-19 (74.32%)
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.