This week, North Carolina heads to Atlanta to face off against Georgia Tech. While that game will be key to UNC’s season and whether or not they can still make a bowl, it’s probably not going to have an impact on a national scale, unless Georgia Tech goes on a run.
Elsewhere in the ACC, there are some games that will have an impact within the conference and on the national stage. Let’s leave Chapel Hill and take a look at some of the other big games around the conference.
#2 Clemson (4-0, 2-0 ACC) @ #12 Virginia Tech (4-0)
Saturday, September 30th at 8:00 PM ET on ABC
The marquee game in the conference this week is not only a game between top 15 teams, but also a rematch of last year’s ACC Championship Game.
After a slow start against Boston College last week, Clemson picked things up in the second half. Kelly Bryant had probably his worst game throwing the ball since taking over as the Tigers quarterback, getting intercepted twice. He made up for that by running for 106 yards and scoring two touchdowns, with Clemson in total rushing for over 300 yards in what ended up being a comfortable win.
Virginia Tech also won comfortably, beating familiar face Old Dominion 38-0. The Hokies defense has shutout their opposing teams twice already, and has allowed just 41 points in total this season. Virginia Tech has the defense to possibly slow down Clemson, but do they have the offense to not get shut down on the other side of the ball? VT quarterback Josh Jackson has thrown for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns through the first four game, but the Clemson defense is another level from what he’s faced so far.
Add in this being a night game in Blacksburg, and this has the potential to be one of the best games in the ACC this season.
Florida State (0-2, 0-1 ACC) at Wake Forest (4-0, 1-0 ACC)
Saturday, September 30th at 3:30 PM ET on ABC
Going into the season, if you had said one of these teams would be undefeated and one would be winless going into this game, people probably wouldn’t have picked Wake to be the undefeated one.
The Demon Deacons narrowly got past Appalachian State on the road after blocking a late field goal attempt. Wake has allowed 46 points across their four games, and still has yet to allow 20 or more in a game. Now they get to face a Florida State team that is talented, but hasn’t totally clicked on offense
Florida State missed two game weeks due to Hurricane Irma, and then dropped their conference opener to NC State. James Blackman took over at quarterback, and threw for 278 yards against the Wolfpack, but FSU could not establish much of a run game.
As in pretty much every game they play, Florida State will be be the more talented team against Wake. It’s hard to see them dropping to 0-3, but Wake Forest didn’t get to 4-0 by complete accident.
#14 Miami (2-0) at Duke (4-0, 1-0 ACC)
Friday, September 29th at 7:00 PM ET on ESPN
Thanks to their win over (prolonged sigh) North Carolina, Duke look like a legit contender in the Coastal Division. Now they get to take on the preseason pick to win it.
Miami also returned after a two week break last Saturday, but they ended up beating Toledo 52-30. The Hurricanes went into halftime losing, but they pulled away thanks to 42 second half points. Malik Rosier went for 333 yards and one touchdown in the air, while Mark Walton ran for 204 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Their defense gave up over 300 passing yards to Toledo, but the Rockets have been one of the best teams in their conference for several seasons now, so that may not end up being as big of a deal as it seems on the surface.
Duke also did some stuff last week, as you may know. If they win this game too, they will really cement themselves in the Coastal race. Miami is probably a bit of a step up from any team they have faced so far, which isn’t great for UNC considering who one of those teams was.