This week’s game against Middle Tennessee State is scheduled for Saturday, September 24th at 3:30 p.m. ET on ACCN.
When you’re not watching the Hurricanes, college football’s Week 4 offers up some quality matchups, particularly as several teams start their conference schedules, with quite a few on upset alert. Here’s a run down of this week’s games of interest to Canes fans:
Thursday Night Game of the Week
Virginia Tech Hokies (2-1) v. West Virginia Mountaineers (1-2)
Location: Blacksburg, VA
Date/Time: Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: West Virginia (-2.5)
Story Lines: Thursday night features two middle of their conference, likely bowl teams who have already experienced some early set backs this season.
Virginia Tech is now three weeks removed from its debacle at Old Dominion, and the Hokies rebound has been unimpressive. The Hokies offense was thoroughly mediocre in a 27-10 victory over still winless Boston College, and last week’s 27-7 win over winless FCS Wofford was equally uninspiring. Considering the early competition, VT’s stats should be eye popping. They’re not. Rushing has been particularly challenging as the team is averaging a mere 3.3 yds per rush against weak competition. The offensive line has also relinquished 9 sacks thus far, which likely confirms that the Hokies O-Line is our rival’s greatest problem.
West Virginia is a slight road favorite even though they enter with a losing record, albeit against much better competition than VT. The Mountaineers lost a thrilling opening week Backyard Brawl to Pittsburgh and then fell in overtime to undefeated Kansas. Unlike the Hokies, West Virginia crushed their FCS contest against Towson by a score of 65-7. New OC Graham Harrell and UGA transfer JT Daniels are lighting it up averaging just shy of 300 yds per game.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: Virginia Tech’s offense is struggling while West Virginia head coach Neal Brown sits on a very hot seat. Virginia Tech’s defense is in for a stiff challenge this week from a very, very motivated Mountaineer team. Should the Hokies prevail it could signal our rival has turned the corner since the Old Dominion let down. But, VT is an underdog for good reason.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 6
Friday Night Game of the Week
Syracuse Orange (3-0) v. Virginia Cavaliers (2-1)
Location: Syracuse, NY
Date/Time: Friday, September 23, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: Syracuse (-8.5)
Story Lines: Another ACC conference matchup takes the stage on Friday night before the main course of Saturday football is served. This time ESPN is offering up the undefeated Orange against the one-loss Cavaliers.
Syracuse has played like a Top 25 team and is receiving votes in both polls. The Orange opened their season by smashing UConn 48-14 and Louisville 31-7 before prevailing by a field goal in last week’s thriller against Purdue. Syracuse has to be careful not to look too far ahead. With Wagner next week, Orange fans may be dreaming of a 5-0 start before embarking on a brutal stretch versus NC State, at Clemson, versus Notre Dame, at Pittsburgh, versus FSU, and at Wake Forest. 5-0 could very easily turn into 5-6. But to get to 5-0, you first have to be 4-0 with a win this week.
Former Clemson coordinator Tony Elliot’s first season at UVA has been shaky at best. Last week, Virginia breathed a sigh of relief as the Cavaliers barely avoided Virginia Tech’s fate by squeaking out a victory against Old Dominion 16-14. Virginia’s loss came two weeks ago 24-3 against a not-exactly-elite Illinois team. Heading into the season, Cavaliers fans had to be thinking they could secure at least a bowl game, but a bowl invite seems far from a certainty three games into the season. Issues for the Cavaliers are predominately on offense, considering they only scored 16 points against Old Dominion. Slippery hands are the biggest concern. Despite seven red-zone possessions, UVA only produced 16 points thanks to a pair of fumbles and a missed field goal. That won’t cut it in ACC play.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: UVA is going to get better as the season progresses, and the Canes should expect a tougher team on 10/29 than what takes the field on Friday. The ACC needs their strong teams to be strong for national perception, and Miami needs its division foes to take conference losses. Go Orange.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 6
Saturday Early Game of the Week
No. 5 Clemson Tigers (3-0) v. No. 21 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0)
Location: Winston-Salem, NC
Date/Time: Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: Clemson (-7)
Story Lines: This is arguably the game of the week. Clemson is the most talented team in the conference, but that and a quarter will buy you a gumball. This game presents our first sign that
Clemson is on a 13 game win streak against the Demon Deacons, despite Wake Forest’s significant improvement the past few years. Last year, Clemson took at 17-10 lead into the half before blitzing Wake Forest in the 3rd quarter by pushing the lead to 38-13, effectively securing the win. Clemson running backs Kobe Pace and Will Shipley combined for 303 rushing yds and 4 touchdowns.
Wake Forest had comfortable victories to start the season over Vanderbilt and VMI, before surviving last week against Liberty 37-36. The good news for Wake is that their all-conference quarterback Sam Hartman seems back to form after experiencing a blood clot scare a few weeks ago. Hartman will be the best quarterback on the field, and every time that happens your team has a shot at the win.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: This is Clemson’s first real test this season after comfortable wins over ACC bottom dweller Georgia Tech, FCS Furman, and 1-2 LA Tech. With apologies to NC State, this also might be Clemson’s biggest hurdle to an ACC Championship game return. Of all the top 10 teams in action this week, Clemson is arguably facing the toughest challenge.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 8
Saturday Early Co-Game of the Week
Duke Blue Devils (3-0) v. Kansas Jayhawks (3-0)
Location: Lawrence, KS
Date/Time: Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: Kansas (-9)
Story Lines: What in the name of Rock Chalk Cameron Indoor is this? Duke and Kansas are both undefeated in football and receiving votes in the polls?? And the winner of this game will be 4-0 heading into October and likely ranked??? Headlines are being made that basketball blue bloods Duke, Kansas, UNC, and Kentucky are all 3-0 in football for the first time ever - and two of these teams face off this weekend.
Duke is particularly surprising considering the Blue Devils were 3-9 last season and predicted to finish dead last in the conference. Longtime coach David Cutcliffe stepped down and in steps Mike Elko who was Texas A&M’s defensive coordinator the past 3 years. The Blue Devils responded well to Elko’s arrival, particularly on defense, opening the season with an impressive 30-0 shutout of Temple followed by victories at Northwestern and versus North Carolina A&T.
Kansas is off to an equally surprising start after finishing last season 2-10. To be fair, things were starting to click for the Jayhawks towards the end of 2021 as they beat Texas in overtime and lost one possession games against TCU and West Virginia. Now, coach Lance Leipold is the toast of Lawrence after starting this season with wins over West Virginia and Houston. The Jayhawks have been lighting it up, averaging 53 points per game against fairly respectable competition. The big matchup here is the Kansas offense against the Duke defense.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: Sheer curiosity that this matchup means something in college football. Winner moves to an improbable 4-0 and likely an appearance in the polls. Here’s hoping the Blue Devils accomplish that for the ACC.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 7
Other Early Saturday Games
Maryland Terrapins at No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (12pm ET, Fox)
No. 17 Baylor Bears at Iowa State Cyclones (12pm ET, ESPN2)
Story Lines: There are two potential upset watches to start the day. Undefeated Maryland looks to give Michigan its first B1G Ten test in Fox’s Big Noon Game, while Baylor is heading to Ames to face undefeated Iowa State. I think Michigan will be fine, but Baylor still has much to prove after losing at BYU in overtime two weeks ago. A second early road loss would likely boot them from the rankings and cast doubt on their Big XII Championship aspirations.
Canes’ Commercial Break Game of the Week
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-2) v. North Carolina Tarheels (3-0)
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Date/Time: Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 3:30pm ET
Draft Kings Line: Pick ‘em
Story Lines: The Tarheels have to be the most scrutinized undefeated team in the nation. One possession wins over Georgia State and Appalachian State, and a thoroughly mediocre first half of football against Florida A&M, has left many believing Mack Brown’s team is ripe for a whooping. But it’s questionable if Notre Dame can deliver. No team has fallen further from its preseason expectations than the Fighting Irish. Marcus Freeman finally picked up his first win as a head coach last week over Cal to avoid a complete 0-3 freefall. Perhaps UNC’s swiss cheese defense is just what the Leprechaun ordered to cure Notre Dame’s offensive struggles.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: If North Carolina can dispatch the Irish then only Virginia Tech stands between them and a undefeated record in two weeks when they visit the Canes. And frankly, beating a 5-0 ACC opponent could be just what the Canes need to move on from Texas A&M. As for the Irish, a three loss September could jeopardize Notre Dame’s Top 5 recruiting class. Not to mention a remotely decent bowl appearance. Of all the games opposite the Canes, this is the score I suggest Canes fans watch the closest.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 0...it’s always zero opposite the Canes’ game.
Other Commercial Break Games
No. 20 Florida at No. 11 Tennessee (3:30pm ET, CBS)
No. 15 Oregon Ducks at Washington State Cougars (4pm ET, Fox)
Georgia Tech Yellowjackets at UCF Golden Knights (4pm ET, ESPNU)
Story Lines: Meanwhile, the nation is about to learn a lot more about Florida and Oregon. Are the real Gators the ones who slayed the defending PAC 10 champion, or are the real Gators the ones who lost to Kentucky and struggled mightily to dispatch a 1-2 USF team. Meanwhile, Oregon bounced back from their Week 1 whipping by Georgia to decisively beat a ranked BYU team last week. Up next for the Ducks is undefeated Washington State fresh off its upset of Wisconsin. Also of potential interest is Georgia Tech trying to keep the wheels from falling off tasked with visiting UCF’s Bounce House.
Saturday Night Game of the Week
No. 10 Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0) v. No. 23 Texas A&M Aggies (2-1)
Location: Arlington, TX
Date/Time: Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 7:00pm ET
Draft Kings Line: Texas A&M (-2.5)
Story Lines: The lone Top 25 matchup this evening pits Arkansas against TAMU at Jerry World in Arlington, TX. Last year was a 20-10 defensive slugfest victory for the Razorbacks.
This year, the Arkansas offense looks solid while the defense has been a bit leaky. The opposite is true for Texas A&M, as Canes fans saw first hand last week. I’ll say the same thing about Arkansas that I said about the Canes in last week’s State of the U roundtable - if the Razorbacks put up 20, they should expect to win the game. If they match their 30+ point output from the first three games, we could be talking blowout.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: Time for Arkansas to help Canes fans determine what type of team just beat Miami. An SEC title contender, or a regressing mid-tier bowl team with a great defense and underperforming offense.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 8
Other Saturday Night Games
Wisconsin Badgers at No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (7:30pm ET, ABC)
Vanderbilt Commodores at No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (7:30pm ET, SECN)
Kansas State Wildcats at No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (8pm ET, Fox)
Boston College Eagles at Florida State Seminoles (8pm ET, ACCN)
Story Lines: Three national championship contenders are on upset alert Saturday night. Ohio State hosts an always plucky Wisconsin team in a match that lost some luster thanks to Washington State’s victory in Madison last week. Alabama is also hosting an undefeated Vanderbilt squad. Finally, Oklahoma is at home against a seemingly rejuvenated Kansas State team that will serve as Brett Venables toughest test. Our rival Seminoles are also hosting a struggling two loss Boston College squad that is unlikely to pose much problem for FSU.
Games of the Week - Cheat Sheet
For those who scrolled to the end, here’s a tl;dr cheat sheet of our games of the week:
- Thursday Night: West Virginia at Virginia Tech (7:30pm ET, ESPN)
- Friday Night: Virginia at Syracuse (7pm ET, ESPN)
- Saturday Early (1A): No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest (12pm ET, ABC)
- Saturday Early (1B): Duke at Kansas (12pm ET, FS1)
- Canes Game: Middle Tennessee at No. 25 Miami (3:30pm ET, ACCN)
- Commercial Breaks: Notre Dame at North Carolina (3:30pm ET, ABC)
- Saturday Night: No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 23 Texas A&M (7pm ET, ESPN)
Which Game of the Week Are You Most Excited For?
This poll is closed
West Virginia at Virginia Tech
Virginia at Syracuse
No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest
Duke at Kansas
Notre Dame at North Carolina
No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 23 Texas A&M