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Previewing the ACC: The Other Half of October

October 18th

Florida State at N.C. State: I think State got used to upsetting Bobby Bowden with his former defensive coordinator on their sideline. It's tougher now.

Georgia Tech at Clemson: This is the game Clemson overlooks. This is the game where Tech makes their play for the Coastal Division crown. This is the pick that will look particularly stupid if GT flames out and Clemson wins the conference.

Miami at Duke: The Hurricanes squeaked by Duke after stopping a late drive in a game that foretoled the 1-6 stretch that would follow the game; that alone makes the outcome of this match not a foregone conclusion. And I think Duke will soon beat Miami (as Miami falls, more than Duke rises) but this is not the year.

North Carolina at Virginia: Picking UNC to win in Charlottesville is always a dicey proposition. I was there in 1996 when the Hoos busted the Heels' major bowl bid, but I'm not alone in being dissappointed in Scott Stadium - Carolina last won there in 1981. This is the year that streak is broken.

(Note: I thought UNC would win there in '06 - as I did in '96. The Heels lost 23-0.)

Virginia Tech at Boston College: The rematch of the conference championship nobody watched, without most of the players that made it watchable. Set thy TiVos now.

Wake Forest at Maryland: Nobody wins at home! Nobody wins at home!

October 25th

Self-evident: Virginia at Georgia TechWake Forest at Miami. They might not seem obvious now, but believe me, come October they will.

Boston College at North Carolina: BC hasn't been to Chapel Hill since 2005, when Carolina squeaked out a 16-14 win. Of course, UNC hasn't travelled to Foxboro since 1984, so there's not much room to complain. Three years ago, BC was a team ascendant, one year off a Big East championship and two years away from winning the Atlantic Division. Now there headed in the opposite direction, with UNC on the rise - the Heels should be able to handle them a little easier at home.

Duke at Vanderbilt: Duke aspires to be Vanderbilt. Let's all stop and let the sadness of that sink in for a moment.

N.C. State at Maryland: This is one of those games that is almost impossible to pick two months out. Will Maryland be clicking at this point in the season? The Wolfpack? And will it matter? The bottom half  of the Atlantic Division is full of similar teams that would perform much better in the Coastal; I'll pick the Terps here just because I like them more than State.

Virginia Tech at Florida State: The Hokies snapped a twelve-game losing streak against the Seminoles last year; I'm sure they think of themselves as the de facto champion team at this point (This guy does). This, I think, will disabuse them of this notion.