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We’re back from our trek to the “Sunshine State”.

It is really difficult to adjust to the colder temps of western South Dakota after enjoying all the “fun-in-the-sun” we had in central Florida.

But we are over-the-moon excited that our pick for the FSU/UNC game was incorrect.  We’ll gladly take that if it means the Noles get to notch a signature win of that stature.

Let’s take a deep-dive into some of the top match-ups for this weekend’s slate of games.

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#14 North Carolina (3-1) vs #23 NC State (4-1)

We’re not supposed to say anything but warm fuzzy glowing things about North Carolina, but as the loss to Florida State showed the team is just okay.

Yes, this goes completely against the fawning narrative over the Tar Heels – and Mack Brown really is doing a great job at cranking up the talent level – but they’re not forcing any takeaways, they’re not getting into the backfield enough, and for all the offensive fun, they’re not making things all that easy on themselves.

NC State’s offense has been wildly inconsistent, but the special teams are fine, the pass rush has been fantastic, and outside of the issues against a Virginia Tech team that’s ripping up everyone on the ground, the run D has been terrific.

But NC State starting quarterback Devin Leary is out for at least a month with a broken leg.

He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s been able to move the offense and he’s 3-0 over his last three games as the caretaker of the attack.

North Carolina is really talented and really good – maybe just not top-five good – with Sam Howell and the passing game able to get hot and light up just about anyone. There might have been too many late dropped passes against FSU, but the offense roared back late and almost pulled off the rally.

The offense can score in bunches, the downfield attack has been dangerous, and the passing game should be able to bomb away on an NC State secondary that got hit for well over ten yards per pass in the loss to Virginia Tech and the close call win over Pitt.

NC State won three straight in the series before getting rolled 41-10 last year. It’s not going to get destroyed without Leary at the helm, but it won’t have the offensive punch to keep up.

Howell and the North Carolina passing game will get up early, and despite a mid-game lull that allows the Wolfpack back in the battle, there won’t be a ton of drama.  Look for UNC to rebound with a W this weekend.

North Carolina vs NC State Broadcast

Date: Saturday, October 24
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Network: ESPN

Louisville (1-4) vs Florida State (2-3)

Now was that so hard?

Florida State got the running game rolling against a real team – cranking out 241 yards in the win over North Carolina – and the defense was able to hold on late.

The offensive line that’s been such a problem over the last several years and the first part of the season still isn’t great, but at least it’s not a complete disaster anymore. On the flip side, the Louisville offensive front is among the worst in the nation at keeping defenses out of the backfield.

The Cardinal offense is starting to sputter, there are too many giveaways, and the D isn’t taking the ball away like it needs to. However Louisville does have a defense.

It’s one of the strangest parts of the the ACC season so far. The Cardinal offense is just okay, but the defense is among the best in the conference. It’s not exactly a brick wall, but outside of the problems in the loss to Miami, it’s been able to hold up well enough to get by.

Florida State might have been able to pull off the shocker against North Carolina, and it might have been decent against Notre Dame, but there’s no pass rush, the secondary isn’t good enough, and there are way too many penalties and little mistakes.

All of a sudden, FSU appears to have a different look and feel with Jordan Travis at quarterback. James Blackman wasn’t the problem, but he doesn’t move, and Travis does – that’s why the Seminole offensive line all of a sudden doesn’t look so awful.

But Louisville is finally back at home.

The Cardinals had a three-game road trip that didn’t exactly go well, but watch for the offense to perk up just a little bit after a rough run. Their secondary will come through when needed more often than FSU’s will but as the game wears on look for Mike Norvell and Company to keep this young team focused and hungry to get back-to-back victories.

Florida State vs Louisville Broadcast

Date: Saturday, October 24
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY
Network: ESPN3

Saturday, October 24th

Match-UpOur Prediction
Louisville vs Florida StateFSU 34, LOU 21
#1 Clemson vs SyracuseCLEM 54, SYR 9
#14 North Carolina vs #23 NC StateUNC 28, NCST 17
Pittsburgh vs #3 Notre DameND 34, PITT 21
Wake Forest vs #19 Virginia TechVT 37, WF 24
Boston College vs Georgia TechGT 21, BC 17
#11 Miami vs VirginiaMIA 34, UVA 21

Last Week’s Picks: 5-3

Year-to-Date Record: 30-11 (73.17%)

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.  We definitely need to improve on going 4-3 and 5-3 over the last two weeks.

And if you missed it, check out our first revamp of the “Laces Out” series here.

We’re looking at putting together “Episode 2” next week (our intro will hopefully be included this time) so be on the lookout for that as well.

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.

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Raised to bleed Garnet and Gold, Mike’s first passion will always be Florida State football. Though he does enjoy watching just about any sporting event if given the opportunity.


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