Graphic Courtesy: The ACC.com

A couple games got away from us last weekend.

We knew the Miami/Louisville contest would be a good one but we thought that the Cardinals would be able to pull out the win.  Same being said of the Duke/BC contest, it was anticipated that Duke would rebound but the Eagles had different thoughts.

While we could technically count the cancelled UNC/Charlotte game in our favor we’ll just consider that a wash.

The conference has a couple key match-ups this weekend as well as a postponed contest between #7 Notre Dame and Wake Forest due to COVID19.

First we’ll dive into the only ranked match-up of the weekend: #24 Louisville at #21 Pittsburgh.

#24 Louisville (1-1) vs Pitt (2-0) 

The Cardinals might have lost to Miami, but the passing game still works.

They blew past the 300-yard mark through the air in the first two games, with Malik Cunningham getting off to a great start, and they’re about to give Pitt a battle.

The Panthers haven’t had any problems so far in easy wins over Austin Peay and Syracuse, but now the secondary is going to get pressured with the quick-hitting Cardinal attack.

The offensive line hasn’t been bad so far in pass protection, and it should be able to be just good enough to keep Cunningham from being under constant attack.

Kenny Pickett has been fantastic so far for Pitt.

The Panther quarterback only threw 13 touchdown passes and nine picks last year, but he hit 70% of his passes with three scores and an interception in the first two games. Now he’s about to roll against a Cardinal secondary coming off a rough day against Miami – D’Eriq King threw for 325 yards and three scores.

And then there’s the pass rush.

Yes, Louisville was able to hold up a bit against the Hurricanes, but the Panthers have the defensive front that should be among the nation’s best for a second straight year. It hammered Syracuse for seven sacks – the Orange line is awful – and it’ll at least do enough to be a bother.

Pitt will finally get a battle.

Louisville will throw well – Tutu Atwell hit Miami for 114 yards and two touchdown catches last week – but it can’t be -3 in turnover margin again, and it’ll be close.

Pitt will rely more on the running game and the defense than Pickett, and it’ll control the time of possession enough to keep Cunningham on the sidelines for close to 35 minutes.

Louisville vs Pitt Broadcast

Date: Saturday, September 26
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Network: ACC Network

Next up is an annual rivalry game that has taken on a slightly different tone: FSU vs #12 Miami.

Florida State (0-1) vs #12 Miami (2-0)

It’s been a rough few weeks.

First, FSU starts its season – and the Mike Norvell era – with a clunker of a home loss to Georgia Tech, star DB Hamsah Nasirildeen missed the game as he’s still trying to come back from a torn ACL, and Norvell contracted the coronavirus.

On the plus side, the Noles were miserable and still had several shots to win the game.

Nasirildeen is expected to be back, the defense has had a few weeks to ramp it up after an okay opener, and the offense should start turning it loose.

This was a team that desperately looked and played like it needed a tune-up – but that’s what Georgia Tech was supposed to be.

James Blackman is a veteran quarterback who should be able to push the ball down the field a bit against a Miami secondary that struggled against Malik Cunningham and Louisville. Defensively, the Noles have the starting 11 to keep Cane QB D’Eriq King from getting too creative, but Florida State’s offensive line hasn’t been fixed yet.

It allowed three sacks and six tackles for loss against Georgia Tech, didn’t spring the big holes for the ground game, and never let Blackman settle in. Now it goes against a Miami defensive front that’s a whole lot stronger than the stats look over the first few weeks.

The offensive line for Miami is the real star – even more so than King – plowing away for almost 500 yards in the first two games with five touchdowns and averaging over six yards per carry. However King is the real deal, and he’s showing it off under new Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.

There’s a night-and-day difference in the Hurricanes after two games – there’s a swagger back, even if it’s just a sliver of what it was when the program was really rocking.

This isn’t a Florida State program that exudes a whole lot of confidence at the moment, but it’s the Miami game. It’ll be a battle for about a half, and then the Hurricane lines will take over in the fourth straight win in the series for The U.

Florida State vs Miami Broadcast

Date: Saturday, September 26
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
Network: ABC

Can our picks hold up against a season that could prove to be a roller coaster ride?  Which teams will prove to be “rock solid picks” week-in and week-out?  Here’s to hoping we can reverse our pair of losses last weekend and secure our first week of “perfect picks”.

Saturday, September 26th

Match-UpOur Prediction
#21 Pitt vs #24 LouisvillePITT 30, LOU 24
Syracuse vs Georgia TechGT 31, SYR 21
Virginia vs DukeUVA 21, DUKE 17
Boston College vs Texas StateBC 31, TXST 14
#12 Miami vs Florida StateMIA 31, FSU 21
#20 Virginia Tech vs NC StateVT 31, NCST 20
Wake Forest vs #7 Notre DamePostponed

Last Week’s Picks: 5-2 (one game was cancelled)

Year-to-Date Record: 11-3 (78.57%)

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 first revamp 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!

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