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ACC Rooting Guide: Week Three

Another week of conference play has some games that could significantly impact the conference.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 07 ACC Championship Game Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The ACC season is well underway, and the first big conference games are getting closer on the schedule. In addition, the two teams from Virginia both start their seasons this week, after long delays prevented them from getting on the field.

Saturday, September 26

No. 24 Louisville Cardinals (1-1, 0-1 ACC) @ No.21 Pittsburgh Panthers (2-0, 1-0 ACC), 12:00 P.M., ACC Network

Austin Peay v Pittsburgh Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

One of the marquee matchups in the conference this weekend is between Louisville and Pitt. The Cardinals are coming off a rough home loss to Miami that revealed the issues that still remain on defense. Fortunately for the Cardinals, they have a very strong offense that put up 34 points on a talented Miami defense.

The Panthers have had a strong start to the season, dominating Austin-Peay and then following that up with a win over Syracuse. Pitt’s defense could be one of the best in the ACC, and Kenny Pickett’s experience should help the Panthers’ offense put up enough points to win a lot of games they play this season. However, the test will be hard this weekend, as Louisville is steadily proving they can score on anyone, and it’s not clear whether or not Pitt’s offense can keep up.

It’s hard to say who to root for in this game, since both are on Miami’s schedule. Hurricanes fans should probably hope for a Pitt victory, since that would leave the Panthers undefeated as we get closer to the Hurricanes’ matchup with them.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1, 1-0 ACC) @ Syracuse Orange (0-2, 0-2 ACC), 12:00 P.M., ESPN3

Georgia Tech got off to a 1-0 start in conference play with an upset win over Florida State on the first weekend of the season. They cooled off last week however, losing 49-21 at home to UCF, although they kept the game close for three quarters. Syracuse has gotten off to a rough start this year. The Orange look improved on defense, but the offense remains inconsistent and to have any hope at winning a significant amount of games this year it’ll have to get better, fast.

Root for Georgia Tech in this game. GT is on Miami’s schedule, while Syracuse isn’t, so it benefits Miami for the Yellow Jackets to look stronger.

Duke Blue Devils (0-2, 0-2 ACC) @ Virginia Cavaliers (0-0, 0-0 ACC), 4:00 P.M., ACC Network

The Blue Devils have had a disappointing start to the year. Duke kept a road trip to Notre Dame close, giving many hope that they could surprise in the ACC this year, but a blowout loss to Boston College last week dampened the hopes of many. Virginia, meanwhile, gets their season underway this weekend. The Cavaliers have to replace a multitude of key players this season, including star QB Bryce Perkins.

Root for Virginia in this game. They stand a better chance of improving the Hurricanes’ strength of schedule, because Duke already has two losses.

Texas State Bobcats (1-2, 1-0 Sun Belt) @ Boston College Eagles (1-0, 1-0 ACC), 6:00 P.M., ESPN3

Texas State has been surprisingly solid this season, despite their record. The Bobcats gave SMU a close game in week one and lost in double overtime in their second game against UTSA before beating ULM for their first win of the season. They’ll face a much tougher test this week however, facing a solid Eagles team under first-year head coach Jeff Hafley. An interesting thing to watch in this game is BC starting QB Phil Jurkovec, a transfer from Notre Dame who was an incredible 17-23 for 300 yards and two touchdowns against a solid Duke defense last week.

Boston College is definitely the team to root for in this game. The ACC needs to earn out-of-conference wins in this strange season.

Florida State Seminoles (0-1, 0-1 ACC) @ No.12 Miami Hurricanes (2-0, 1-0 ACC), 7:30 P.M., ABC

NCAA Football: Miami at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Miami gets set for their second consecutive College Gameday and ABC primetime game in a row when the Florida State Seminoles come to town this weekend. Rhett Lashlee’s new offense faces it’s toughest challenge of the season so far this weekend against a talented Florida State defense. Miami’s defense, meanwhile, has some things to clean up after struggling a bit against Louisville last week.

Florida State will be without Mike Norvell this week after the head coach tested positive for coronavirus. FSU’s offense struggled against Georgia Tech, scoring just 13 points and gaining 307 yards. They’ll hope to improve with more game experience in a new system. On defense, the Seminoles allowed just 16 points against Georgia Tech, but did allow over 400 yards to the Yellow Jackets.

It’s easy to know who to root for in this game. It’ll be an interesting test for a Miami team that has to stay focused after winning a big game against Louisville last week. FSU will come prepared and pull out all the stops to try to win in an upset this weekend.

NC State Wolfpack (1-0, 1-0 ACC) @ No. 20 Virginia Tech Hokies (0-0, 0-0 ACC), 8:00 P.M., ACC Network

Virginia Tech gets their season started this weekend. Justin Hamilton enters as the Hokies’ new defensive coordinator after the retirement of longtime DC Bud Foster. His defense will face a stiff test in their first game. NC State put up 45 points against Wake Forest last week and QB Bailey Hockman seems to have taken a step forward this season as the Wolfpack’s starting quarterback.

Root for Virginia Tech in this game, they’re one of the ACC’s ranked teams and a victory for them would help boost Miami’s strength of schedule.

That’s the ACC’s slate of games this weekend. It should be an interesting week, especially with one of the conference’s biggest rivalries taking place this weekend.