Conference play kicked off with Syracuse and Wake Forest last weekend. This week, the Atlantic Division continues its inter-divisional matches with Clemson-Louisville Thursday night and Florida State-Boston College on Friday. Meanwhile, in the Coastal Division, members are set with a Big Ten-ACC challenge of sorts with five games pitting the two conferences against each other. Georgia Tech joins in the action with its first test of the season coming against Notre Dame. Let's delve into that matchup and more as we parade around the ACC.
Thursday, September 17th
Clemson Tigers (2-0, ACC 0-0) at Louisville Cardinals (0-2, ACC 0-0) - 7:30 PM ET - ESPN
While Clemson has been steamrolling through its early non-conference opponents, Louisville has dropped two close games, falling to 0-2 on the year. When the Cardinals lost to the Auburn Tigers in the Georgia Dome to begin the year, they looked like dark horse candidates to win the Atlantic Division. However, after an ugly 34-31 loss to Houston, which saw the Cards surrender 465 yards and five turnovers, their outlook became grim. Clemson is favored (-7.0) in this matchup.
Friday, September 18th
Florida State Seminoles (2-0, ACC 0-0) at Boston College Eagles (2-0, 0-0 ACC) - 8:00 PM ET - ESPN
The Florida State Seminoles head to Chestnut Hill to kickoff conference play. Both squads have put away their lesser non-conference foes handedly to begin the year. Florida State is favored (-7.5) in this matchup.
Saturday, September 19th
Duke Blue Devils (2-0, ACC 0-0) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (2-0) - 12:30 PM ET - ESPN3
The Duke Blue Devils square off with a top-25 Northwestern Wildcats squad that surprised many with their opening day 16-6 upending of Stanford. Thomas Sirk and the Blue Devils read-option attack have been clicking, amassing 1,885 yards with 6.6 yards per play, placing them 9th in total offense. However, with Duke's two wins coming over Tulane and North Carolina Central, they haven't faced a defense as dominant as the Wildcats. Northwestern ranks 3rd nationally in total defense, averaging 189 yards allowed. With the game taking place at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, the Blue Devils are favored (-3.5) in the matchup.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-0, ACC 0-0) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0) - 3:30 PM ET - NBC
Georgia Tech faces its toughest opponent yet as they showdown with Notre Dame in a top-15 matchup. The Fighting Irish are without quarterback Malik Zaire for the season and will rely on sophomore DeShone Kizer, who threw a 40-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left to beat Virginia last weekend. Running back C.J. Prosise will be a key factor on offense for the Irish. Prosise rolled for 155 yards on 17 carries against the Cavaliers. Notre Dame's veteran defense will need to stop a Yellow Jackets option attack that's averaging 9.14 yards per play. Georgia Tech comes into South Bend as early favorites (-2.5).
North Carolina Tar Heels (1-1, ACC 0-0) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0) - 12:00 PM ET - ESPN2
Illinois travels to Chapel Hill to take on a North Carolina squad that obliterated North Carolina A&T, but struggled in their opener with South Carolina. After recording three interceptions against the Gamecocks, Tar Heel quarterback Marquise Williams registered a clean sheet against the Aggies. Williams threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns on 15 of 20 passing last weekend. For North Carolina to find success, it will need Marquise Williams on his game. The Fighting Illini have allowed only three points on the year. North Carolina is favored (-9.5) in this matchup.
Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1, ACC 0-0) at Purdue Boilermakers (1-1) - 3:30 PM ET - ESPNU
Virginia Tech quarterback Brenden Motley had a slow start last weekend against Furman, but improved his play in the second half, leading the Hokies on three straight scoring drives. The Boilermakers head into the matchup 1-1 after losing to Marshall on opening day. Purdue should offer a better test against Motley's arm and whether he can keep the Hokies competitive in the Coastal Division. Virginia Tech comes into West Lafayette as favorites (-6.0).
Pittsburgh Panthers (2-0, ACC 0-0) at Iowa Hawkeyes (2-0) - 8:00 PM ET - BTN
After a shaky 45-37 win over Youngstown State to begin the season, Pittsburgh bounced back from their poor defensive performance with a 24-7 victory against Akron. While James Conner's replacement, freshman running back Qadree Ollison didn't have his best showing against the Zips, the Panthers defense kept Akron at bay. The Pittsburgh defense that had given up 407 yards to Youngstown State made dramatic improvements, allowing just 110 yards against the Zips. Unlike its other Coastal members, Pittsburgh comes into its matchup with Iowa as the underdog (-5.5).
Before our Hurricanes square off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers there's plenty of action to tide you over. Use this time to scout our Coastal competition and future Atlantic Division opponents in Florida State and Clemson. #GoACC