This week sees North Carolina host Duke in one of the biggest games on the ACC conference slate. For UNC, it’s a chance to get right and get back to .500. For Duke, it’s a chance to further their undefeated run to start the season.
Beyond the Victory Bell, it’s an intriguing slate in the ACC this week. There aren’t quite any College Gameday worthy matchups like last week. However, there are some potentially crucial conference games, and some chances for the ACC to get big non-conference wins.
NC State (2-1) @ #12 Florida State (0-1)
Saturday, September 23rd at 12:00 PM ET on ABC/ESPN2
After having two games cancelled/postponed due to Hurricane Irma, Florida State finally takes the field for their second game of the season on Saturday.
In their opener, FSU not only lost the game, but also lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois to an injury. James Blackman has gotten some time to get ready, but the true freshman will be making his first start against the Wolfpack He’s a Florida State quarterback, so he’s probably talented, but it’s still a difficult ask to have him come and and play well immediately.
Since NC State lost their first game to South Carolina, a lot of the preseason buzz they were getting has dropped off. The Wolfpack have since rebounded with two wins against Marshall and Furman, but they were also playing Marshall and Furman. On paper, they’ve got a talented enough defense to bother the freshman Blackman. That being said, that defense also gave up some points to South Carolina, who last week scored just 13 against Kentucky.
Syracuse (2-1) @ #25 LSU
Saturday, September 23rd at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN2
One week ago, this game probably wouldn’t have stood out as one of the more interesting ones on the ACC slate. Things have changed, however. Last weekend, LSU unexpectedly gave up 37 points and 465 yards to Mississippi State. LSU came into the season with a talented and well-regarded defense, but that’s come into question.
Mississippi State’s dominance against the Tigers had a lot to do with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald success in the air and on the ground. If LSU is susceptible to dual threat quarterbacks, that could be a problem, because, hey, Syracuse has got one of them. Eric Dungey has thrown for nearly 800 yards through the first three games, and also leads the Orange in rushing yards.
LSU might just be way too talented for Syracuse, especially considering that the game is in Baton Rouge. If last week was anything to go by, the Orange can at least keep it closer than expected.
Virginia (2-1) at Boise State (2-1)
Friday, September 22nd at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN2
Virginia’s start to the season hasn’t been overly impressive considering their schedule. However, they do go to Boise with a winning record.
In Boise State’s two wins, their defense has forced five turnovers and held Troy and New Mexico to a combined 27 points. However in their one loss, they gave up 433 passing yards and a 21-point lead. Considering how Virginia has done through the air so far, that could at least be something to watch.
Cavaliers’ quarterback Kurt Benkert has thrown for 976 yards, seven touchdowns, and just one interception through the first three games of this season. Going by their play calling from this season so far, they are more reliant on the passing game, and have found success with it. They’re not quite the passing powerhouse that a Mike Leach Washington State team is, but they can throw the ball.
Boise State is probably going to win this game, possibly easily. If the Cavaliers can replicate what Washington State did to some extent, they could at the very least make it interesting.