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ACC Rooting Guide: Week Seven

Some ACC teams face must-win games this weekend.

NCAA Football: William & Mary at Virginia Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC has quite possibly its’ biggest weekend of the season so far ahead of it. Favorites in both the Atlantic and Coastal Divisions face off this weekend in huge games, and other teams such as Clemson and Virginia are hoping to continue to turn their seasons around on Friday night and Saturday afternoon respectively.

Friday, October 15

Clemson Tigers (3-2, 2-1 ACC) vs Syracuse Orange (3-3, 0-2 ACC), 7:00 p.m., ESPN

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / staff / USA TODAY NETWORK

Clemson had a rough start to 2021 through four weeks of the season, with the Tigers sitting at 2-2 and a tough game against Boston College next on the schedule. However, the Tigers managed to get a hard-fought win against the Eagles and were able to head into their bye week with some positive momentum. After the week off, the Tigers will face a tough road trip to face a much-improved Syracuse team.

Syracuse comes into this game after back-to-back heartbreaking loses. The Orange lost on the road to Florida State on a last-second field goal two weeks ago, before losing in overtime to Wake Forest last weekend. Syracuse’s offense will have to find a way to score against a Clemson defense that has allowed just 12 points per game in what will be their toughest test of the season so far.

This game doesn’t have much impact on Miami’s chances of winning the ACC, but root for Syracuse. Its’ always fun to see an underdog win, especially when it contributes to more chaos in the ACC.

Saturday, October 16

Duke Blue Devils (3-3, 0-2 ACC) vs Virginia Cavaliers (4-2, 2-2 ACC), 12:30 p.m., ESPN 3

Virginia finished their first two weeks of conference play with an 0-2 record, but have turned it around and gotten back to .500 in the two weeks since. The Cavaliers enter this game against Duke after back-to-back tough road wins against Miami and Louisville, and quarterback Brennen Armstrong continues to lead one of the best passing offenses in the country. Duke, meanwhile, turned things around after a season-opening loss to enter ACC play at 3-1, but two consecutive losses have left the Blue Devils likely to miss a bowl game once again.

Root for Duke in this game. Virginia holds a tiebreaker over Miami after defeating the Hurricanes which has left Miami needing other teams to help them in order to win the division.

Pittsburgh Panthers (4-1, 1-0 ACC) vs Virginia Tech Hokies (3-2, 1-0 ACC), 3:30 p.m., ESPN 2

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Pitt at Georgia Tech Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pittsburgh travels to face Virginia Tech in a matchup that sees the ACC Coastal Division favorites face off. The Panthers have had a great start to the season despite an upset loss to Western Michigan a week after beating Tennessee on the road. Quarterback Kenny Pickett has continued an incredible career, with 19 touchdowns against just one interception so far in 2021. Pittsburgh feels like the division is theirs to lose, and if they win this weekend, it likely is.

Virginia Tech enters this game after a heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame on a late field goal last weekend. Virginia Tech’s two losses are by a combined nine points this season, and if a few things had gone the Hokies’ way they could have been the ACC’s second undefeated team at 5-0 this weekend. As things stand Virginia Tech is hoping that an improved defense continues its’ success so far this season against an experienced quarterback on Saturday afternoon, as that will be the key to the game for VT.

This game will put Pitt or Virginia Tech in control in the Coastal Division, and Miami will be in the same position in the conference no matter which team wins on Saturday afternoon.

No.22 NC State Wolfpack (4-1, 1-0 ACC) vs Boston College Eagles (4-1, 0-1 ACC), 7:30 p.m., ACC Network

Clemson v NC State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

NC State is one of the favorites to win the ACC in 2021, along with Wake Forest. They’ll face one of their toughest tests of the season on Saturday afternoon on the road against a very good Boston College team. The Wolfpack are excellent on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Devin Leary has proven himself as one of the best players in the ACC.

Boston College is hoping to get things back on track this weekend after a heartbreaking loss to Clemson in their last game. The Eagles have remained a dangerous team even despite the loss of starting QB Phil Jurkovec, with Boston College averaging more than 400 yards and 35 points per game on offense.

This game doesn’t have much impact on the Hurricanes, so root for whichever team you prefer. Either way, this could be one of the best games in the ACC this season.

Week Seven could end up being one of the most important weekends of this season for the ACC. The Atlantic and Coastal Division races will have clear favorites by the end of this week, and some of the preseason favorites in the conference could be knocked out of contention with a loss this weekend.