We missed the mark on our weekly ACC football picks last season but we’re looking to get back into it.
All the summer camps and fall training is about to pay off as the first week of the regular season is on the cusp of kicking off.
The conference will get an early look with a game Thursday night (tonight) as Wake Forest travels to Tulane for an 8pm ET kickoff and the weekend will wrap up when the Hokies travel to Doak Campbell Stadium to take on the Seminoles Monday night.
The fanboys are still swooning over Clemson as the Tigers are the favorite, once again, to claim the conference title. They’ll have a moderate test to open their season as they host Furman on Saturday for a mid-day bout. We don’t expect this game to be competitive for very long with Clemson piling up yardage and points before halftime.
Dabo Sweeney had this to say in yesterday’s ACC Football Coaches Teleconference about starting the season off against a local team.
Furman is a local opponent here for us. We’re excited about having a great crowd here in the valley. It’s going to be a great game day environment. Furman is just up the road. Clay Hendrix has done a great job. Coming off an excellent season last year, will be a big challenge for us especially with their style of play is stressful to have to prepare for, especially when they’ve had a lot of time and there will be some wrinkles that you have not seen.
On the flip-side, Miami is expected to claim the Coastal Division title and challenge the Tigers for the conference title. Their first test will come in a heated match-up on Sunday as they travel to Death Valley to take on the LSU Tigers.
LSU will bring a stout defense to challenge Miami’s offense early and often. Miami head coach Mark Richt knows the Tiger defense is loaded with talent but believes he will have his team ready to play.
Well, you know, I coached 15 years in the SEC, and I don’t know how many times we played LSU while I was at Georgia, probably five or six. I can’t remember exactly how many exactly. But you’re going to find some of the greatest athletes in America on that team. They’re one of the best recruiting teams in America. I think right now of every team in college football right now, they have more guys that are on an NFL roster than anybody in America. You’re going to be hooked up against some great players, and they’re going to be coached well. It’s just going to be a war, going to be a battle. They can go toe to toe with anybody in America physically, and like I said, they’re well-coached. It’s just going to be a battle.
The Louisville Cardinals will have their hands full right out of the gate this year, traveling to Orlando to take on the reigning National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night. Being a neutral field battle may take some of the sting out of the Tide’s athletic potency but it won’t be dialed down by much. This team knows how to get up for big games in front of a national audience.
Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino feels his team is as prepared as they can be and are up for the challenge ahead of them.
We’re excited to go down to Orlando and play a great football team with a tremendous tradition and the defending national championships in Alabama. I do like what we’ve done in camp. I think our guys have done a nice job. We’ve gotten better. We improved, worked hard. We know we have a great challenge ahead of us. We just got to do things right here for the rest of the week, do a great job on our traveling, getting prepared for the game, go out and compete.
Hopefully their QB fairs better then Florida State’s starting QB did last year when they opened the season against Alabama.
The last major game on the table for the conference will come Labor Day night as the Hokies travel to Tallahassee to welcome Willie Taggart as the newest Seminole head coach to lead this storied program.
Both teams are picked to finish second in their respective divisions and are looking for that crucial win to jump-start the 2018 campaign.
FSU head coach Willie Taggart knows this will be a good test for his young team, taking on another young team looking to get a statement win.
Well, I think they can say the same thing, too, looking at our football team, really young football team as well. Really trying to exploit another young team, I think the only thing we can do is go out and try to play the very best we can. That’s the challenge of our football team each and every week, is seeing how good we can play. That’s going to be a challenge against a well-coached football team.
Will the “lethal simplicity” formula that Coach Taggart is looking to use be effective? Time will tell but we are definitely excited at the possibilities.
Enough talk. It’s time to get down to business and lay out our picks for the opening weekend.
Thursday, August 30th:
Wake Forest at Tulane: The Deacs squeeze out a win 24-21
Friday, August 31st:
Syracuse at Western Michigan: Syracuse pulls away late 28-17
Army at Duke: Duke falls on a late FG to Army 25-24
Saturday, September 1st:
James Madison at NC State: NC State rulls 38-17
Furman at #2 Clemson: Clemson pulls away early 51-10
Alcorn State at Georgia Tech: GaTech rolls 44-17
UMass at Boston College: Boston College finds a way to win 28-24
Albany at Pitt: Pitt gets rolling in the 2nd half winning 38-20
North Carolina at California: UNC struggles early but limps away winning 24-20
Richmond at Virginia: Virginia falls victim to Richmond, losing 28-21
Louisville at #1 Alabama: Bama starts slow but pulls away winning 38-28
Sunday, September 2nd:
#8 Miami at #25 LSU: Miami finds a way to win late, topping LSU 31-27
Monday, September 3rd:
#20 Virginia Tech at #19 FSU: See the game preview for our prediction
What a stellar lineup to kick things off. Hope everyone is excited as we are, especially if the ACC can knock-off their SEC opponents and get a leg-up on the national spotlight.
Don’t forget to sign-up for our weekly ESPN College Pick ‘Em challenge. Top entry at the end of the season will get a nominal cash prize!
We’ll see you all on the flip-side and hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend!
Note: At the time of our article we haven’t seen any picks from the ESPN ACC Bloggers but we’ll touch on those with next week’s picks, if any are made.