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We’re on the back-end of the schedule now and the ACC is heading toward a match-up of Wake Forest and Pitt in the championship game, if the season ended today.

Who would have called that match-up?

Granted there is still a lot of football left to be played but that would definitely be a fun game to watch.

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FSU is looking to build on its two previous wins coming off the bye week and should have a nice tune up game against UMass this weekend.

Let’s see what the team at College Football News has to say on tomorrow’s game.

Florida State (2-4) vs UMass (1-5) Preview

Why UMass Will Win

The UMass running game is having its moments.

The team is rested after getting two weeks off following the win over UConn, running for 247 yards a few weeks after the O cranked up over 500 yards against Eastern Michigan.

It’s not like Florida State can take anyone lightly – it’s still smarting from the loss to Jacksonville State earlier in the year – but this is the breather between going to North Carolina and getting Clemson next week. The full and undivided attention probably won’t be there, but …

Why Florida State Will Win

The Florida State running game has settled in.

It wasn’t good enough over the first part of the season, but it went for over 200 yards in each of the last three games with 247 against Syracuse and 238 against North Carolina in their first two wins of the season.

The Noles will run for at least 250 yards against the UMass defensive front. That all ties into the other big key for them over the last two weeks – they’re converting on third down conversions. That was a problem in the three losses after the fight with Notre Dame.

The UMass defense is the second-worst in the nation in third down stops.

What’s Going To Happen

UMass will get the offense working a little bit to make this interesting for a about 20 minutes, but the Florida State running game will start working right away and will stay effective on the way to – finally – an easy win.

Broadcast Information

Date: Saturday, October 23
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
How To Watch: ACC Network

Another great match-up on this weekend’s docket is #18 NC State traveling to face a struggling Miami team.

The Hurricanes are seeing similar struggles to the Seminoles while NC State is vying for the top-spot in the division.  

Let’s see how this match-up is predicted to play out.

Miami (2-4, 0-2) vs #18 NC State (5-1, 2-0) Preview

Why NC State Will Win

The defense is doing a phenomenal job of generating stops to get off the field.

No. 1 in the nation at generating third down stops, the Wolfpack allowed 11-of-33 conversions over the last two games and they’re still giving up just 25% on the year.

Miami’s defense isn’t generating those stop on third downs, and it’s not coming up with enough big plays period. The offense needs any sort of help it can get without D’Eriq King around, and the other side just isn’t getting the job done.

On the flip side, NC State leads the ACC in total defense and comes up with the takeaways the Hurricane defense is supposed to.

Why Miami Will Win

The offense hasn’t been bad under Tyler Van Dyke.

He’s not King, and he only hit 44% of his passes with three picks against North Carolina, but he’s thrown for over 200 yards in each of his three starts and the team was in a position in each of the last two games to get wins.

No, the Hurricane defense hasn’t been good enough, but the plays in the backfield are there and any pressure should be enough for the secondary.

NC State is doing a lot of things right, but it’s not coming up with a whole lot of big plays down the field – last week’s win over Boston College aside.

What’s Going To Happen

Can Miami finally catch a break and be on the right side of a close game? Eventually, yes, but not against this NC State team.

The Wolfpack D is too strong, and the O is too good at consistently just keeping things moving, and three takeaways will be enough to open things up by the early fourth quarter.

Broadcast Information

Date: Saturday, October 23
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
How To Watch: ESPN2

The last big match-up we’d like to dive into Clemson traveling to #23 Pitt.  The Panthers are looking strong this season and could take advantage of a struggling Tiger team that looks like miss out on a title game appearance for the first time in many, many years.

#23 Pittsburgh (5-1, 2-0) vs Clemson (4-2, 3-1) Preview

Why Clemson Will Win

The defense still works.

The offense has a few issues, but the defensive side has yet to allow 400 yards, the run D has been great, and the pass defense only got hit for 300 in the loss to NC State.

For all of the disappointments and all of the problems across the board, the Tigers are still No. 1 in the ACC in pass efficiency defense, they’re great at holding up in the red zone, and they’ve only allowed more than 14 points once.

On the other side, as bad as the O has been, and as mediocre as the line has been for the running game, it’s not giving up a ton of plays behind the line. Pitt can be bombed on, but …

Why Pitt Will Win

No, really, the Clemson offense …

It’s all just a puzzling mess. There’s a ton of talent still there, but the ground attack just doesn’t go anywhere – even though it had a nice day against Boston College – and this thing just doesn’t score.

On the flip side, Kenny Pickett and the Pitt passing game have been tremendous. He’s coming off his worst game of the year – throwing for 2-3 yards after throwing for over 300 against everyone else – and the O should stretch out and test the Clemson D from the start.

The Panther defense is good enough. It’s been a tad inconsistent, but the pass rush is once again a killer and it’s nasty on third downs against an offense that can’t get the chains moving.

What’s Going To Happen

While it goes against every fiber of being to pick against Clemson in an ACC game …

Pitt is playing too well.

Pickett won’t go off, but the Panther defense will keep the Tigers to their normal 17ish points whether they need them or not.

Clemson has been walking a tightrope in way too many games, and this time it’ll be just barely on the other side.

Broadcast Information

Date: Saturday, October 23
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
How To Watch: ESPN

Should be some fun games to watch as we get closer to the end of October.

We were able to pull out a perfect weekend for our picks last week.  Yes, we understand there were only five games on the slate but it’s still a win for us. 

Though that Clemson game was a lot closer than it should have been.

Here’s our picks for this weekend’s slate of ACC games.

Saturday, October 23rd

Match-UpOur Prediction
Army vs #16 Wake ForestWAKE 31, ARMY 27
Florida State vs UMassFSU 51, MASS 23
Virginia Tech vs SyracuseVT 28, SYR 24
#23 Pittsburgh vs ClemsonCLEM 27, PITT 25
Louisville vs Boston CollegeLOU 34, BC 24
Miami vs #24 NC StateNCST 31, MIA 27
Virginia vs Georgia TechUVA 29, GT 24

Last Week’s Picks: 5-0

Year-to-Date Record: 45-20 (69.23%)

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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