A couple of marquee match-ups in the ACC this weekend as #2 Clemson travels to Tallahassee to take on the upset-minded Seminoles while the Wolfpack look to put last week’s beating behind them as they travel to the Carrier Dome for a tough contest with the Orange.
Saturday’s night cap will pit #22 NC State against Syracuse. On paper these two teams are virtually deadlocked. Even Vegas is only giving the Wolfpack a 2pt favorite in this match-up.
Both teams are on the verge of cementing a bowl game and NC State is looking to retaining its poll ranking, but Syracuse has shown it can play with an advantageous defense and a quick strike offense this season.
Syracuse vs #22 NC State (Saturday at 7pm ET on ESPN2)
NC State head coach Dave Doeren knows the challenge facing his team in the dome this weekend.
“They’re a really good opponent that leads the ACC in scoring, has two quarterbacks playing at a high level, always has good receivers. I think the running backs are really playing well. Defensively they’re very disruptive, have an active defensive front, lead the ACC in takeaways and turnover margin.”
Look for this game to go the full 60 minutes before a winner is crowned. Look for NC State having to rally late and escape the Dome with a close victory.
Florida State vs #2 Clemson (Saturday at noon ET on ABC)
On paper this game should be one that would see the Tigers roll through the motions and give FSU a woodshed beating. But these aren’t the same Noles that had shaky games over the first month of the season. They slowly seem to be coming into their own and gelling at the right time against the stiffest competition they’ll face all season.
Throw records out the window and you have a game that pits the ACC’s leading passer in Deondre Francois (1,859 yds and 13 TDs) against a defense that has allowed an average of 13.4 points-per-game this season. FSU can’t afford to get into a shootout against this team if they hope to pull off the upset.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney knows his team will have a tough challenge against an FSU team that is starting to find their groove.
“This is a really good football team. I know they didn’t get off to a great start, but sometimes, you know, with coaching changes and transition, it takes a little time to get things going. But these last four games, they have played a lot better and kind of gotten in the rhythm of the season.”
Look for the Noles defense to keep them in this game while the offense looks for ways to get points on the board. Florida State will get a key stop late in the game to get the winning score.
A side note that the winner of this game has gone on to represent the division in the ACC Championship Game every year since 2009 but look for that streak to end should FSU pull off the victory.
The one game keeping us from perfection last week was Virginia upending Duke. That one was a toss-up game for us considering the emotional high that the Cavs were on after toppling Miami the weekend before.
We’re starting to ramp up the number of games each week now that the teams have gone through their Bye Weeks. Is picking the Noles in an upset going to cost us a perfect weekend? Time will tell. But we’ll go on record saying that if this team comes out firing on all cylinders for 60 minutes then there’s no reason the Noles can’t upset the Tigers.
|Virginia Tech vs Georgia Tech||VT 31, GT 27|
|Boston College vs Miami||MIA 24, BC 20|
|Florida State vs #2 Clemson||FSU 27, CLEM 21|
|Louisville vs Wake Forest||LOU 21, WAKE 17|
|Virginia vs North Carolina||UVA 31, UNC 20|
|Pittsburgh vs Duke||DUKE 28, PITT 24|
|Syracuse vs #22 NC State||NCST 25, SYR 21|
Last Week’s Picks: 3-1
Year-to-Date Record: 53-17 (75.71%)
Here’s to hoping for a great slate of games and we’ll check back in next week and hopefully not cringe at the results.
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!