The ACC has gotten off to a bit of a rough start this year, but there’s a lot of season left to prove some of the doubters wrong. However, with conference play beginning in earnest over the next few weeks, there are some important match-ups to take a look at.
Unfortunately, the biggest game involving an ACC team this week was cancelled, when NC State decided not to play its’ game against No.14 West Virginia, Virginia Tech and UNC also cancelled their games. Of course, we’ll keep all of the locations affected by Hurricane Florence in our thoughts this week.
Thursday, September 13th
Boston College 41, Wake Forest 34 F
Boston College and Wake Forest played a game that could become a huge factor in determining who, if anyone, can compete with Clemson in the Atlantic Division this season. A.J. Dillon looked impressive again, rushing for 185 yards, and Anthony Brown, the Eagles’ quarterback, had a monster game, posting 304 yards and 5 touchdowns on route to a road victory for BC.
Wake Forest looked impressive on offense in this game despite the loss, but it’s yet to be seen if either of these teams can play a close game against Clemson to make anything resembling a true effort for the division title.
Saturday, September 15th
No.21 Miami (1-1) at Toledo (1-0), 12:00 PM Eastern, ESPN2
Miami enters this game looking to continue to get back on track after a disappointing loss in Week 1. The Hurricanes’ quarterback position continues to be a point of controversy this week, and it most likely will be all season unless someone emerges as the undisputed best player at the position on the roster. Whoever that quarterback is this week, they’ll have to play well against a Toledo team that can score a lot of points quickly. The Rockets have played just one game this season, a 66-3 win over VMI, but they feel confident, and they’ll have one of the largest crowds in their history on hand to watch them take on the Hurricanes.
Obviously you should root for the Hurricanes here. Many will hope that Miami can repeat a performance similar to the one they put together against Appalachian State a few years ago, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Georgia Southern (2-0) at No.2 Clemson (2-0), 12:00 PM Eastern, ESPNU
Clemson returns home after getting a big, if controversial, win over Texas A&M last week. Fortunately the Tigers got the job done, because that was a win the ACC desperately needed. Clemson did not look perfect in that game however, their secondary showed some serious signs of weakness that they’ll look to figure out against Georgia Southern this weekend. Additionally, Dabo Swinney will continue to try to look for separation between Trevor Lawrence and Kelly Bryant at quarterback, and this should provide ample opportunity to do so.
Obviously you should root for Clemson here, but this game should not even be close. This is another tune up game before the Tigers enter into the more intense part of their schedule.
Florida State (1-1, 0-1 ACC) at Syracuse (2-0)
The Seminoles come stumbling into this game after a week one blowout from the likes of Virginia Tech and a week two struggle against FCS opponent Samford. The biggest issue for the Seminoles so far this season has been offense, and considering their opponent this weekend, they’ll need to figure out a way to score points quickly. Syracuse has scored a combined 117 points over their first two games, and they have a talented and tough quarterback in Eric Dungey. FSU has leaned on their defense heavily to stay in games in the first two weeks of the season, but they haven’t quite seen an offense as prolific as this one yet this year. The Carrier Dome is never an easy place to play in, and this game could go right down to the wire.
I’d say go Orange in this game, it’d be absolutely incredible to see Syracuse get a win over Florida State. While an FSU victory could help Miami’s strength of schedule a little bit, the Seminoles have already lost all credibility after the first two weeks of the season. As a result there is little to be gained by an FSU victory from a Miami perspective, so it’s better to root for the feel good story.
Georgia Tech (1-1) at Pitt (1-1), 12:30 PM Eastern, ACCNE/ESPN3
This is an interesting game, both teams come off disappointing performances last week. Georgia Tech suffered a hard fought loss to the USF Bulls, and lost star RB KirVonte Benson for the season. Meanwhile, Pitt was blown out 51-6 on national television by rival Penn St. Both teams will be looking to get back on track. This is especially true for the Yellow Jackets, who many picked as their dark horse team in the ACC this season.
I’d root for Pitt in this game. Due to Georgia Tech’s unique style of offense they are probably a bigger threat to Miami in the ACC Coastal this season, and Miami will have to face them in Atlanta. It’d be nice for Miami if Pitt could hand them an early conference loss.
Duke (2-0) at Baylor (2-0), 3:30 PM Eastern, FS1
Duke won the first half of this home and home series last year, but they’re facing a consistently improving Baylor program on the road this season. Duke would still be the easy favorite this weekend if the Blue Devils hadn’t lost star DB Mark Gilbert for the season, and QB Daniel Jones for at least the next few weeks. As a result Baylor has become the home favorite this week, and I’d expect Duke to struggle a bit both offensively and defensively at the beginning of the game due to the leaders of both the offense and defense being out with injury.
Obviously you should root for Duke in this game due to the ACC connection. It’ll be interesting to see how the team plays without their two best players this weekend.
Ohio (1-0) at UVA (1-1), 4:30 PM Eastern, ESPN 2
The Cavaliers return back to Virginia after suffering a disappointing road loss against Indiana last week. If UVA wants to become bowl eligible again this season they’ll need to win the rest of their out of conference games this season. Virginia is still trying to take their next step as a program, and they’ll need to play better in order to stay competitive this season.
Root for UVA in this game to help improve the opinion of the ACC. It’ll be interesting to see how UVA responds to some early adversity this season, and it’s important that they don’t stumble this week.
Western Kentucky (0-2) at Louisville (1-1), 7:30 PM Eastern, ACCNE
UL suffered an extremely deflating defeat at the hands of Alabama in week one, but bounced back last week with an easy victory over Indiana State. They face a WKU team that has struggled through two weeks of 2018. The Hilltoppers lost 34-3 to Wisconsin in week one, and things got worse last week after a home loss to FCS opponent Maine. This game should really not be close, Louisville should be a somewhat competitive team in the ACC this season, and Western Kentucky has looked lost over the last few weeks.
Root for Louisville here because of the ACC connection. I doubt this game will be close, but if you want to see a blowout this is the game for you.
That’s it for today. Enjoy the games this weekend even if there isn’t an ACC game in prime time.