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ACC Rooting Guide Week 2

After the first full week of college football, the ACC has won most of its games against out-of-conference opponents, but there have been some close calls. But who should you be rooting for in week 2?

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The teams from the Atlantic Coastal Conference have played 16 games so far in 2022. In those games, the conference has accumulated a record of 12-4 with two of those losses coming from games between ACC teams.

The further into the season we get, the more conference games there will be. And each of those games will have more importance for the Miami Hurricanes when it comes to division standings.

But until then, finding a team to root for in each ACC matchup can be weird based on either wanting the conference to look strong against other conferences or wanting division rivals to lose since the tie-breaker is the overall record.

There is no real correct answer to who you should root for in a lot of these early-season games. But this is who I think Miami fans should be rooting for in each game during week two.

Friday, September 9

Louisville @ UCF, 7:30 p.m.

Unlike last week which had four games being played by ACC teams before Saturday, this week is just one on Friday night. After not just an upset by Syracuse in week one, but a blowout win over Louisville, they head on the road again, this time to Orlando to face the UCF Knights.

The Louisville Cardinals are a team the Hurricanes have had to consistently recruit against for quite some time now. But that doesn’t matter this week. Playing a program from Florida that has been loudly claiming some things like National Championships and kings of the state means I lean Louisville.

Losing to an ACC team that got beat 31-7 a week ago by one of the lower-level programs would look bad for UCF, and I am here for that.

Saturday, September 10

Wake Forest @ Vanderbilt, Noon

After a 44-10 win over VMI last week, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons take on a 2-0 Vanderbilt team. But the best news for Wake Forest is they expect star quarterback Sam Hartman to be available after having a blood clot removed before the season began.

If the Demon Deacons can win their next two games, they set up a home game against Clemson that could be huge in the Atlantic Division race. I am rooting for that game to be between two undefeated teams. So I want Wake Forest to take care of an SEC team to move the conference to 2-0 against what is widely seen as the best conference in college football.

Duke @ Northwestern, Noon

The Duke Blue Devils beat down Temple last week, putting up 500 yards and only allowing 179 yards. As a program that was seen as one of the worst in the conference entering the season, it could make things interesting if they can continue winning games outside of the ACC.

Quarterback Riley Leonard put up 328 yards and two touchdowns in the air with another 64 yards on the ground. Can he do that against Northwestern, who beat Nebraska a week ago?

The Blue Devils likely won’t be in the discussion for winning the Coastal Division later in the season and don’t see them as a threat to Miami. So I will root for them against a Big Ten team.

North Carolina @ Georgia State, Noon

The North Carolina Tar Heels have scored a ton of points through two games, but they have also allowed a ton of points. Through their first two games, they have won by a combined score of 119-85. This includes a nail-biter last week against Appalachian State, with the Mountaineers missing a two-point conversion with nine seconds remaining.

Georgia State lost to South Carolina in their first game and now hosts North Carolina. It would look pretty bad for the conference if they were to have two of their better programs lose to some low-level programs. But, I won’t root for the Tar Heels. I would get a good laugh out of Mack Brown and North Carolina losing to a Sun Belt team.

Charleston Southern @ NC State, 12:30 p.m.

Thought to be one of the top teams in the ACC entering the season, the NC State Wolfpack won a nail-biter against East Carolina in their opener thanks to a missed extra point with less than three minutes remaining.

Star quarterback Devin Leary struggled in the game against the Pirates, but I am sure will bounce back against Charleston Southern. There is a situation where there are three really good teams in the Atlantic Division and I want them to beat each other up and make the others work all season to get to the ACC Championship.

And let's face it, Charleston Southern has played a Power 5 team every season over the past 10 seasons and has kept a game within 40 just once. That came against Colorado in 2013, losing 43-10 to a team that went 4-8 that season. So expect this to be a blowout.

Furman @ Clemson, 3:30 p.m.

Like I said about Wake Forest: I want both teams undefeated for their game on September 24. And either way, Furman is extremely unlikely to compete against Clemson. The Tigers pulled away late against Georgia Tech on Monday night, but they are still way more than a team like Furman could handle.

Tennessee @ Pittsburgh, 3:30 p.m.

It took two late touchdowns from Pittsburgh to beat West Virginia in their season opener. They take on a Tennessee team that handled business against Ball State. This may be the best game of the week for the ACC.

It was a pick-six against the Mountaineers for a Panthers win. This game will say a lot about them as a team. If they are able to beat the Volunteers, Pittsburgh will definitely be seen as a serious contender for the ACC once again. With the Hurricanes fininshing the season against them, it is important to at least be within a game of them by that point.

The conference games will matter more, but them each getting an SEC game could be important as far as nonconference strength of schedule is concerned. I see the Panthers as Miami’s biggest competition in the division, so I will be hoping for them to lose as often as possible because it could easily come into play as a tie-breaker by the end of the season.

Virginia @ Illinois, 4 p.m.

Brennan Armstrong and the Virginia Cavaliers won a closer-than-expected game against Richmond to open their season. Armstrong passed for 246 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 105 yards and another score in the win.

The Cavaliers go on the road to take on a 1-1 Illinois team that lost on a touchdown to Indiana with 23 seconds left in the game. Virginia is always a thorn in the side of Miami when they play each other, even when they aren’t necassarily a good team. The important piece is just beating them each season. But until then, I’ll take an ACC team beating a low-level Big Ten team.

Syracuse @ UConn, 7 p.m.

One of the big surprises of week one was the Syracuse Orange beating Louisville 31-7. They get a much easier opponent this week in UConn. The Huskies are 1-1 with win over Central Conneticut and a loss to Utah State.

The Orange should handle business and I have no issues rooting for that. How they perform this season has no impact on the Hurricanes other than hopefully beating some Coastal Division teams in Virginia and Pittsburgh. So I hope they can be a solid team, at least two weeks out of the season.

Western Carolina @ Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.

The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets looked to have a chance at beating Clemson to open their season. A late run for the Tigers helped them earn a 41-10 win, but the Yellow jackets trailed 14-10 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The story of that game was more about the struggles of the Clemson offense since the beginning of last season. But Georgia Tech should get their own offense off to a better start against Western Carolina. As one of the bottom teams in the division entering the season, they should pick up a win against a team from the Southern Conference.

Boston College @ Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.

The final game of the ACC slate for week two has two teams who account for the two losses outside the conference. Virginia Tech lost to Old Dominion to begin their new coaches tenure with the Hokies. Boston College allowed a touchdown with just under three minutes remaining to lose to Rutgers.

With cross-conference games, I will usually say Hurricanes fans should root for the Coastal team to lose because it helps in the division standings. Especially when we are getting Clemson and Florida State as ot matchups and others pull much easier Atlantic teams.

Even though Virginia Tech lost to Old Dominion, that doesn’t mean they can’t rally and push for a spot in the ACC Championship if the division beats each other up and a 5-3 conference record can sneak in. So we should all be rooting for the Eagles to win and knock the Hokies down to 0-2.