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ACC Rooting Guide: Week Six

Most of the conference rests this week as college football enters the middle of the season.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Miami Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

There are just eight conference teams in action this weekend as most of the ACC gets a bye to prepare for the meat of their conference schedules. However, despite just four games on Saturday, there could be lasting ramifications from this weekend for the ACC, especially in the case of the Coastal Division.

Saturday, October 5th

Boston College Eagles (3-2, 1-1 ACC) @ Louisville Cardinals (2-2, 0-1 ACC), 12:30 P.M. Eastern, ACC Network Extra

Louisville has been the conference’s most surprising team through six weeks. Scott Satterfield’s outfit was expected to be terrible, with the possibility of a winless conference schedule on the table. However, the Cardinals have two dominant wins and two respectable losses through four games, and find themselves a six and a half point home favorite against Boston College this week.

For the Eagles, the jury is still out. Some see BC as a talented team that hasn’t lived up to its’ potential yet this season, while others see the Eagles as deeply flawed and destined for a fight for bowl eligibility. A tough road test at UL this weekend will reveal just how far BC can go this season.

Root for Louisville in this game. Boston College isn’t on Miami’s schedule this season, but Louisville is. As a result, root for the Cardinals to strengthen the ‘Canes schedule.

Virginia Tech Hokies (2-2, 0-2 ACC) @ Miami Hurricanes (2-2, 0-1 ACC), 3:30 P.M. Eastern, ESPN

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Miami
Miami will set out to gain some momentum and quiet the numerous critics they’ve earned over the last two weeks.
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Miami vs Virginia Tech has long been a historic rivalry. This year’s matchup represents a game between two programs that are similar, yet different. Both teams are similar in that they have struggled through their first four contests. The two are arguably the most disappointing teams in the Coastal Division so far this year. However, their struggles are coming for very different reasons...

The Hurricanes, and most especially their leader Manny Diaz, are trying to instill and develop a new culture, a culture that has been missing since 2004. With that new attitude comes new challenges and teething problems, which were most obviously on display in a woeful performance against CMU two weeks ago. The ‘Canes will need to take the next step forward, and fast. VT will give Miami their best shot, no matter how badly the Hokies played last week.

Virginia Tech, on the other hand, finds themselves struggling for a very different reason. VT has struggled to play solid, fundamentally sound football for the last two seasons. Matters have been made worse as tension continues to rise regarding the program. Some even thought things had gotten so bad that Justin Fuente would be fired after a 45-10 drubbing at the hands of Duke at Lane Stadium last Friday. This Saturday, Fuente and his Hokies have to get a big win, otherwise a total rebuild could be underway in Blacksburg.

Obviously you should root for Miami this weekend. The ‘Canes need to win this game, and by a wide margin, to truly prove that they’ve turned a corner, and to gain some confidence heading into a showdown with Virginia next Friday night.

North Carolina Tar Heels (2-3, 1-1 ACC) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-3, 0-1 ACC), 4:00 P.M. Eastern, ACC Network

North Carolina played their best game of the season last week, taking Clemson down to the wire in a thriller in Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels are getting better week after week, and if they avoid another loss in-conference they control their own destiny in the Coastal Division. UNC is well coached and disciplined, and they are tough for any team to beat.

Georgia Tech is struggling in 2019 as so much changes within the program. Most notably the Yellow Jackets are still trying to learn a new offense as they transition out of a triple-option attack. For the time being, GT is one of the worst Power Five squads, but they’ll get better as time goes on, even if they don’t beat an ACC opponent this year.

Root for Georgia Tech to pull off the upset, Miami still needs UNC to lose another conference game in order to win the Coastal Division.

Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2, 0-1 ACC) @ Duke Blue Devils (3-1, 1-0 ACC), 8:00 P.M. Eastern, ACC Network

NCAA Football: Duke at Virginia Tech
The Duke defense dominated Virginia Tech last week, they’ll hope to do the same against Pitt in a prime time showdown.
Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Duke dominated Virginia Tech, on the road, in one of the most impressive performances of David Cutcliffe’s long tenure as the Blue Devils’ Head Coach. This week, they’ll face Pitt in a prime time home game between two surprising Coastal Division contenders. Duke’s defense has truly turned a corner this season, allowing just 41 points over their last three games.

The Panthers have had their fair share of great performances this season as well. Pitt popped up on many people’s radars after coming a drive away from defeating Penn State on the road. Then, the next week they shocked college football by handing UCF their first regular season loss in two years. However, last week the Panthers struggled against Delaware without QB Kenny Pickett, leaving many wondering if those two weeks were just a flash in the pan.

Root for Pitt in this game. Miami wants as many different teams to have as many conference losses as possible. Additionally, Duke looks like a very strong challenger for the Coastal Division, so one extra conference loss could be crucial at the end of the year.

Despite nearly half of the conference having the week off there are still some important games taking place this weekend, especially for teams trying to turn around disappointing starts to 2019.