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The monkey is finally off their back.

It wasn’t a signature win.  It wasn’t a program-changing win.  It wasn’t even a win against a high-powered opponent.

But it was a win, and at this point you have to start somewhere.

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The Noles have a much tougher opponent this weekend as they travel to Chapel Hills to take on the Tar Heels.  North Carolina will be out for blood after suffering an embarrassing loss in Tallahassee last year.

UNC isn’t immune to another disappointing loss to FSU this season but they should be much more focused in this game.

Let’s see how the crew at College Football News sees this game playing out.

Florida State (1-4) vs North Carolina (3-2) Preview

Why Florida State Will Win

Is that going to be the breakthrough Florida State needed?

Sometimes teams just need a little positive momentum. It’s not like the Seminoles would’ve been better at football if it pulled out the overtime game against Notre Dame or wasn’t hit with a Hail Mary in the embarrassing loss to Jacksonville State, but it certainly would’ve changed the overall energy.

Beating Syracuse isn’t exactly a program-saver, but the 33-30 victory showed what’s possible. The running game was great – it’s been terrific in four of the five games so far – and now it gets to go against a North Carolina run defense that got hammered by Georgia Tech and has been a tad soft overall.

The Tar Heel offensive line can’t keep defenses out of the backfield, and the O holds he ball for just over 26 minutes a game, but …

Why North Carolina Will Win

Florida State doesn’t do anything with the time of possession battle, either.

There are too many turnovers – the six in the loss to Wake Forest were the biggest problem – and the secondary has been hit way too hard. Syracuse isn’t a passing team with Garrett Shrader at quarterback, and it showed last week.

Sam Howell can throw.

It’s been a painfully inconsistent Tar Heel attack, but Howell has thrown for over 300 yards in every game but the opener against Virginia Tech.

He’s going to throw for more than 300 yards against Florida State, and …

What CFN Thinks Is Going To Happen

The Tar Heels will be fully interested in this.

With with the two losses in ACC play, the conference is still wide open and there for the taking if they can win out. That, and the shocking choke of a loss to Florida State last year should bring out the A game.

This isn’t a great Tar Heel team, but Howell and the offense will get up fast, the Florida State running game will keep up for a while, but the Seminole turnovers will come late in the third.

Game Broadcast Information

Date: Saturday, October 9
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
How To Watch: ESPN

Another great game on the dockett this weekend features #14 Notre Dame travelling to Lane Stadium to take on the upstart Hokies Saturday night.

Let’s check out what CFN says about this match-up.

#14 Notre Dame (4-1) vs Virginia Tech (3-1) Preview

Why Notre Dame Will Win

The run defense is still fantastic.

The offense might have sputtered and coughed over the last few weeks, but the defensive front is still disruptive and the front has been a rock. Purdue, Wisconsin, and Cincinnati all failed to get 100 yards.

Virginia Tech hasn’t needed to run the ball all that much, but outside of a big day against Middle Tennessee the O hasn’t been effective on the ground. Overall, the attack hasn’t been all that explosive – it’s second-to-last in the ACC in yards – without the proven ability to comeback if it gets down big early.

The defense continues to do a nice job of taking the ball away with a takeaway against the Bearcats to make it 12 forced turnovers in five games after coming up with 17 all of last year, but …

Why Virginia Tech Will Win

Virginia Tech doesn’t screw up.

It’s one of the sharpest teams in the country when it comes to penalties, there are just four turnovers, and both sides of the ball are great on third downs. Meanwhile …

The Notre Dame offense isn’t a mess, but it’s not exactly clicking.

Neither quarterback – Jack Coan and Drew Pyne – did much of anything against the Bearcats, there’s no real running game to count on, and last week marked the third straight game without hitting 350 yards of total O.

Worst of all for a struggling offensive line, Virginia Tech’s defensive front has enough of a pass rush to be a consistent bother. There might not be anything dynamic about the attack, but it’s effective, it stays in control, and again, it doesn’t make mistakes.

However …

What’s Going To Happen

Here’s the question. Virginia Tech has an offensive style that doesn’t allow the team to get beat, but is that enough?

There’s not going to suddenly be a push for the running game against the Irish defensive front, and the passing attack is more opportunistic than dynamic.

But the other side of the ball should be able to get the job done. Virginia Tech doesn’t turn the ball over enough for the Irish to take advantage of the opportunities.

There’s going to be nothing pretty about this, but the Hokie fans will take it.

Game Broadcast Information

Date: Saturday, October 9
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
How To Watch: ACC Network

We did a lot better in our picks last week with the only loss coming in the Virginia/Miami game.  Congrats to the Hoos, and a poor FG attempt by Miami to seal that victory for Virginia.

Let’s do a quick dive into the handful of games on this weekend’s slate for our picks.

Saturday, October 9th

Match-UpOur Prediction
Duke vs Georgia TechGT 35, DUKE 31
Louisville vs VirginiaLOU 34, UVA 31
Syracuse vs #19 Wake ForestWAKE 30, SYR 26
North Carolina vs Florida StateUNC 38, FSU 28
Virginia Tech vs #14 Notre DameND 37, VT 31

Last Week’s Picks: 6-1

Year-to-Date Record: 36-19 (66.67%)

Did you notice we picked against FSU?  Yeah, it’s not an easy pick to make but they have to start proving consistency to us on the field to sway our pick.  We will gladly take the loss in our picks if it means an FSU win, though.

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.

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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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