Wow! For once, a week I said looked chalky actually didn’t turn around and make me look like a dummy! All but two of our staff writers went 4-0 last week in the ACC, as even though a couple of the results were a little bit tighter than we’d have liked, the generally favored team won each intra-conference game. The leaderboard, of course, couldn’t really change with so little dissent among us. Fortunately, this week brings a bunch more spice in its 5 games. Here’s what we’re looking at as UNC gets its second week off this season:
We’ve got five games, and just one of them is uncontested among the staff, namely Wake Forest hosting a fairly hapless Boston College team. Everywhere else, there’s at least somebody picking against the majority, and I don’t think any of them are unreasonable. Clemson are nearly two-touchdown favorites against Syracuse, but that seems super generous to me. Syracuse has been very, very good this year, and they handled an N.C. State defense that’s close to on par with Clemson’s pretty well last week. They’ll have much more on their hands on the other side of the ball, but it would only mildly surprise me if they pulled off the upset and made Max look good. On the other hand, I’m baffled by none of my colleagues joining me in what I thought was the reasonable pick when I made it. Vegas has the Cards as 2.5-point favorites at home against Pittsburgh, which would make it a push on neutral grounds. Malik Cunningham should be coming back from injury this week, giving a Louisville team that had looked bad the past couple of weeks a boost. The bigger picture in Louisville doesn’t look great, but this is a game that seems to me at least to be within their control.
Elsewhere, Duke and Miami will take part in a battle of UNC’s last two opponents, and the two games were so similar that it’s hard to tell who’s going to come out on top if you’ve only watched UNC play. Miami’s got athletes and Tyler Van Dyke showed that he can hurt a team if they let him, which Duke could — UNC’s receivers had a field day against them. On the other hand, Duke’s discipline as a team is exactly the kind of thing that Miami has folded against throughout the season, most notably of course against Middle Tennessee State. That latter factor seems bigger to me, but it’s an either/or proposition, and Vegas disagrees with me, as Miami are 9-point favorites. And rounding things out, we’ve got the ACC Sickos Game of the Week between two of the worst teams in the ACC, and indeed two of the worst Power Five teams in the country, in Georgia Tech-Virginia. Georgia Tech is still technically undefeated since firing Geoff Collins, and probably have a decent chance of maintaining that against a Virginia team for whom things just aren’t working, but that doesn’t make them good. Both of those games are split 6-3 for the staff, so they could cause some shakeups.
What are you watching this week? What do you think of our picks? Let us know below!