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ACC Football Week #2: Preview

Wow, it seems like only a few days ago the last game ended. According to everyone who lives and breathes college football the second game is supposed to be light years better than the first game. Live action has a way of ironing out many kinks, exposing parts of your teams as unadulterated preseason frauds and in rare cases offering up pleasant suprises. The second game means the coaches have had a few days to panic over evaluate their team's performance against a real opponent who actually intends harm to their players. This is where adjustments are made and in the second game the nervousness has hopefully passed.

In the ACC, six schools will taste conference action for the first time and one of those mathcups will be a crucial test for a Clemson team whose had their sights set on topping the Atlantic Division. Virginia Tech comes to Chapel Hill to see if, during the intervening seven days, John Bunting manage to find the Tar Heel defense. In Winston-Salem, Wake enters the post-Ben Mauk era with Duke. On the out-of-conference schedule cupcakes abound as well as some interesting matchups which may surprise some folks. Here are your ACC games in Week #2

Saturday, September 9th

Conference Games

Virginia Tech at North Carolina, 12:00 PM on ESPN

I will have the custmary preview of this game. The Hokie's run dominates the UNC defensive front 31-10.

Duke at Wake Forest, 12:00 PM

Wake Forest enters this game without starting QB Ben Mauk who was lost for the season when he broke his arm in a 20-10 win over Syracuse. Mauk's loss may have longer term implications for Jim Grobe's Deamon Deacs in terms of how many games they win this season but should not impact this game against Duke. Wake still has a good offensive line and will depend on the run much as they did against the Orangemen where they racked up 245 yards rushing, 142 yards from junior RB Micah Andrews. Duke is simply horrible. There is no other way to describe how bad this Blue Devil team is and regardless of how their defense might perform the offense, which was shutout by a I-AA Richmond team, will not be able to provide enough points to beat Wake. Deamon Deacons move to 2-0 with a 33-6 win.

Clemson at Boston College 3:30 PM on ABC

This is the marquee game of the week. Clemson trounced Florida Atlantic as a warm-up to this first real test. This matchup will reveal whether or not the Tigers are ready to play with FSU and Miami with the former the opponent on the road next week. Boston College is a consistent team. The only question surrounding the Eagles came last week when they seemed a little sluggish at Central Michigan and staved off a rally with a late game interception. QB Matt Ryan threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception in the 31-24 win last week. The Clemson secondary did a decent job of keeping the FAU passing game in check holding the Owls to 216 yards in the air on 20-43 passing while picking one off. Since BC depends so much on the passing game the lynch pin of the effort to slow the Eagles down may lie with the Tiger defensive front who record three sacks on Saturday. The game at Chestnut Hill may also mark the first time the Clemson punter has seen action since he was not needed against FAU. Clemson has a reputation of starting slow so this game is important to get them rolling before facing the Seminoles. Tigers should pull away in the fourth quarter for the 28-13 win lest the sideline turf feel the full wrath of Tommy Bowden's headset.

Interesting Matchups

Akron at NC State, 12:00 PM on ESPNU(translation: not televised)

This is an interesting matchup in that Wolfpack QB Marcus Stone needs to show he can pass the ball effectively enough to move the offense. Akron lost to Penn State 34-17 but held the Nittany Lions to 76 yards rushing. In fact Akron did a decent job of checking the Penn State offense in general but turned the ball over three times en route to the road loss. So the question begs to be asked: How will the NC State offense function if Akron shuts down the run like they did at Happy Valley? Marcus Stone went 7-13 for 46 yards and one interception. If Stone cannot connect with receivers or is forced into some bad passes resulting in turnovers then the Pack will be leaning heavily on their defense to keep the Zips(the Zips?) out of the end zone since the offense will be handcuffed. That being said, I think State can get it done though it will be closer than most people think it will be. NCSU 16 Arkon 7.

Wyoming at Virginia, 3:30 PM

I was not sure hot to characterize this game. UVa needs a win in a bad way after getting smacked around by Pitt last week. If the Cavs fall to 0-2 it could be a tough road for them to find their way to bowl eligibility. Especially since they will end the season with three losses against FSU, Miami, and VT. Wyoming spent last Saturday crushing Utah St. 38-7 while racking up 460 yards of total offense. I can only assume Utah St. is not that good but 38 points and 460 yards is some serious output which also makes me assume Wyoming is not to be trifled with in any way. The Cavs showed very little life against Pitt last week. The passing was horrible and the running game was non-existent. The defense was fairly pourous surrendering 390 yards of offense and 38 points. I have to think this will be one of those second games of the season where a team improves and since UVa is at home I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Cavs squeak it out 24-20.

Cupcake Specials

Samford at Georgia Tech, 3:30 PM

Perhaps I should be just as impressed with Samford's 37-7 drubbing of Miles as I was of Wyoming's handiwork. Then again while UVa was getting their clocks cleaned at Heinz Field, Georgia Tech was standing toe-to-toe with Notre Dame. GT showed a lot of promise with a strong defensive performance that held the potent Irish offense to only 14 points. If the Yellow Jackets had found something, anything on offense in the second half they may have won the game. At any rate the confidence level in Atlanta is likely to be very high now and reasonably so. Reggie Ball showed maturity at QB and did not make the "big mistake" Bob Davie kept begging him to make. Calvin Johnson should be in the NFL and Tashard Chance added a new dimension to the Ramblin' Wreck's offense with a good running effort. All this adds up to GT venting a weeks worth of frustration concerning the ND loss with a 48-10 win.

Middle Tennesee State at Maryland, 6:00 PM

I think Maryland will handle this one despite how poorly they played against William and Mary MTSU is coming off a resounding 7-6 win over Florida International last Thursday. Since I have no real data to go on here let me just call it Maryland 30 MTSU 16.

Troy at FSU, 6:00 PM
Florida A&M at Miami(FL), 7:00 PM

I am not even devoting two seperate segments for these two. These two games will be nothing short of a full blown massacre. Noles and Hurricanes win big and I just do not think the score matters that much.

Last Week: 8-2
Season: 8-2