Welcome to your preview for Week 8 in the ACC. Much like the movie trailer for that January movie you know you aren’t going to go see, there’s not a lot to see here. The one game that was supposed to be the marquee has lost quite a bit of its luster, and the rest of the slate is just lacking in a real splashy matchup. Clemson and NC State being off has something to do with that.
That said, football will still be played, so let’s take a look at the most intruging games of the weekend.
Louisville (4-3, 1-3 ACC) @ Florida State (2-3, 2-2 ACC)
Saturday, October 21st, Noon, ESPN
Just what everyone expected when the calendar was set, a battle between a teams trying to stay out of last place in their division.
To say this season hasn’t gone according to plan for either team is an understatement. Louisville got off to their expected start, but perhaps the game against Carolina served as a warning that Louisville was going to be hard-pressed to repeat their success of last year. The Cards haven’t won a game in the conference since, possibly hitting rock bottom in losing to Boston College last weekend. At home.
The problem isn’t Louisville’s offense, their lowest point output of the year was the 25 against the Wolfpack, and reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson is a big reason why. It’s the defense that can’t seem to help Louisville out. In P5 games, they’ve given up 28, 35, 47, 39, and 45 points.
That weak defense sounds like just the thing Florida State needs. Ever since losing Francois, the offense has really struggled to be consistent. Still, they recovered from their painful loss to Miami and broke through against Duke in Durham last weekend. Now, they get a chance to avenge the pounding they recieved at the hands of Louisville last year, and this time in Tallahassee.
How upside down is this year? FSU is still waiting for their first win at home.
Boston College (3-4, 1-3 ACC) @ Virginia (5-1, 2-0 ACC)
Saturday, October 21st @ 12:30 PM, ACC Network (Raycom)
Call this the “how did they get here?” game. Boston College all of a sudden has a legitimate shot at getting bowl eligible. This statement alone seemed unthinkable going into last weekend against Lousivlle, but their sudden offensive explosion gained them an unlikely 3rd win. With FSU, NC State, UConn, and Syracuse left after this one, UVa represents a must-win for the Eagles if they want to continue on this path.
BC did this only passing for 191 yards. The bulk of the work was done on the ground by AJ Dillon, who put up a ridiculous 39 for 272 and four TD’s. Considering the success Carolina had on the ground last weekend, the Eagles will look to replicate that effort against the Cavaliers. How BC responds after the upset will tell you a lot about the rest of their season.
UVA, meanwhile, is riding high as one of the co-leaders of the Coastal division. It probably won’t last, but even so this year has already been way above expectations for Virginia. With only one more win, the Cavs will be able to look forward to a bowl game, and they are looking to go ahead and sew that up this Saturday. With Pitt, Georgia Tech, Louisville, and then the Daily Double of Miami and VT to end the year, racking up the wins now is a pretty good idea. This game has a chance of being strangely entertaining, as the both of their games last weekend did.
Syracuse (4-3, 2-1 ACC) @ Miami (5-0, 3-0 ACC)
Saturday, October 21st, 3:30 PM, ESPN
Somone here may have hinted that an upset was possible last week. Now, you can’t predict that a quarterback is going to get hurt, but Syracuse brought about the “Clemsoning” that everyone expected to happen at some point. But the win wasn’t a fluke, as Eric Dungey tossed for 278 yards against a stingy Clemson D, scoring 3 TD’s. The Orange felt like they had momentum building to this win, and they were able to take advantage of their shot on a Friday night to pull off perhaps the biggest upset of the year so far.
A bowl game is no longer out of the question for the Orange, and with the extra day off they’ll be looking to continue the momentum against the Hurricanes. To say their 5-0 record is tenuous is being kind. They’ve needed a final drive against both Florida State and Georgia Tech in order to pull out the win. You can’t keep living on the edge like that and expecting to win every time, and Syracuse is coming in full of confidence that they can take down anyone in their path.
The Hurricanes are going to look to stay healthy against the Orange and the Tar Heels next weekend with their eye on Virginia Tech on November 4th. Can the Orange pull off two stunners in a row?