Wow! Time flies when you are trying to force a coach out the door. Four ACC teams have a bye this week: NC State, Maryland, Florida State and North Carolina. All three could probably use the rest though UNC's case this is technically the second straight bye week for them since no one in their right mind can call what they did at Clemson last week actually playing a game. We are also absent a Thursday night game for the ACC which will be the last such occasion into the forseeable future.
Saturday, September 30th
Virginia at Duke, 12:00 PM, Raycom/Lincoln Financial Network
This is going to be a bad game. And I do not mean the Clemson-UNC kind I mean the kind where two football teams stumble around the field like some drunk guy at a bar looking for his car keys which his friends have hidden from him so he won't go out and kill himself. UVa has no offense. None, zilch, zero. So far this season UVa is averaging 10.5 points a game and has accumulated a total of 841 yards of total offense in four games. That averages out to something line 210 yards of offense per game. And just when you think that is absymal you look at Duke which as scored only 13 points and that was all against Wake Forest in the second week. But at least the Devils' offense is moving into the mid-200 yard range per game at 238 yard per game. No way around how ugly this game will be and since I have pretty much strapped myself to the "Duke Will Not Win This Season" train I am duty bound to call for a UVa win. Virginia 5 Duke 3.
Maine at Boston College, 1:00 PM
Maine is one of those schools that as soon as you see it on a scoreboard you automatically assume they are toast against whoever they might be playing. This is being a tad judgmental since the Black Bears are 2-1 and then I realized after seeing they beat Shaw 62-12 that they are a I-AA school and this game is not against UNC so yes Maine will be toast. The Eagles had serious damage done to their pride last week in Raleigh so I expect this one will be over by halftime. BC 41 Maine 10.
Liberty at Wake Forest, 3:30 PM
I forsee the headline of this game as "Baptists Bludgeon Baptists" And Wake Forest has a chance to move to 5-0 on the season and all without their starting QB and RB. I mean who, outside of Jim Grobe, thought this kind of start was possible for the Demon Deacons? This kind of stuff really messes with my sense of reality as though the reclassification of the planet Pluto as some kind of asteroid wasn't enough to shake my foundations now I have Wake Forest on the verge of being 5-0 in football. I mean what's next Miami, Florida State, and Virginia Tech making it through a whole season without having a player arrested? Anyway, Wake should win and if they are indeed the real deal, they should win big. WF 42 Liberty 7.
#24 Georgia Tech at #11 Virginia Tech, 3:30 PM, ABC Regional
"Tech" Bowl 2006! This also has huge ramifications for the divisional race thought VT still has BC, Clemson, and Miami to deal with while GT only sees the latter two teams in the trio. Part of me really wants to pick Georgia Tech here. VT will be missing a pair of defensive starters and the VT offense is quite inept at moving the ball sometimes. GT showed the ability to shutdown a potent offense against Notre Dame and since VT is not a great offensive team the Yellow Jackets could be in a prime position to steal this game if they (a) do not give up points on special teams and (b) scores some points on offense themselves. Yeah, cutting edge analysis, I know. Frank Beamer has been very successful in getting points off special teams by blocking punts or returning one for a touchdown. These are points you cannot give up if you want to beat the Hokies. On offense QB Reggie Ball seems to have a problem getting the ball to Calvin Johnson. Here you have a receiver who is NFL ready and a head taller than the DBs that cover him and he has less than five catches per game. Granted all the defenses they play probably key on him but also consider the Notre Dame game. (Yes I keep harping on that game but simply because it showed us a lot about Georgia Tech) The Jackets scored a total of 10 points on a defense which in the subsequent weeks has surrendered 21, 47, 37 points to three opponents who did not have a wide receiver the same caliber as Calvin Johnson. And I would surmise that the Hokie defense, even minus the latest two lawbreakers, is still a heck of a lot better defense than Notre Dame. So I just cannot get past certain logical limitations which say that VT will get at least one TD from special teams, one TD and two field goals from it's offense and hold GT's offense mostly in check. VT 20 GT 7.
Houston at Miami, 6:00 PM
At first glance you see that Houston is 4-0 and you think: "This could be a problematic game for Miami." Then you see that Houston barely beat a Rice team who was ripped to shreds by Texas and Florida State so the idea kind of loses it's luster. This is an important game for Larry Coker who got smacked at Louisville and knows they are in the process of distributing pitchforks and torches to the angry mob. If you thought the reaction of Tar Heel nation was severe following the Clemson game it will be a tea party compared to the manner in which Hurricane nation will react if Miami gets upset here. I do not think they will. In fact they may very well find their offense which will not bode well for UNC the next week, not that UNC had a prayer anyway. Miami 38 Houston 13.
Lousiana Tech at #18 Clemson, 7:00 PM
One question: Can Clemson beat the Bulldogs worse than they beat UNC. The following over/unders are in play:
Points scored: 52(Over)
Points allowed: 7(Over)
Points scored by the end of the 3rd quarter: 52(Under)
Margin of Victory: 45(Under)
Clemson 55 Lousiana Tech 14
NC State vs BYE
Nothing like an extra weekend to bask in the glory of miracle win and the optimism surrounding a new QB. NC State gets the short week as they play FSU next Thursday. Nothing like a little extra time to prepare for a big game.
#19 Florida State vs BYE
The fact the schedule makers are smart enough to give these teams a bye prior a Thursday game reeks of common sense I am unaccustomed to seeing from college athletics. FSU is still looking for a running game.
Maryland vs BYE
Maryland concluded their OOC schedule 3-1 with a very bad loss at West Virgnina and three fairly unimpressive wins at home against lightweight competition. So the bye week comes at a good spot for the Terps who need to figure out a few things on offense before seeing the ACC portion which, with the exception of UVa and Duke is not very kind.
UNC vs BYE
UNC 47 BYE 44. But only because the players are not giving a good effort, the coaching staff was also suprised by how aggressive the offense for Bye was and did not prepare for their rare Flex Bone Wish Split End Option Set.