ACC Football Outlook with Stuart Barefoot:Clemson tops N.C. State and the others on this weekend’s slate

Posted by Guest Columnist on September 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

Courtesy of our new writer Stuart Barefoot…Stuart has all the insides and insights on this week’s ACC gridiron contests and he has predictions ready for you too….We welcome the work of UNCG-grad Stuart Barefoot, to….

Clemson Vs. N.C State

No. 3 Clemson and N.C State got ACC football started this week when the Tigers defeated the Wolf Pack 26-14 on Thursday. Clemson’s senior QB Tajh Boyd continued to make his case for the Heisman Trophy by amassing 266 yards and three touchdowns en route the their third win this year. It was the first loss that the Wolf Pack has suffered but they are now 0-1 in ACC play.

One of the game’s most exciting moments was when Clemson left tackle, Isaiah Battle, punched N.C State’s Javaris Byrd. It looked as though the two exchanged words between plays, and whatever the discussion entailed, it evoked enough passion from Battle to knock Byrd on his back. Battle was taken out by Clemson coach Dabo Sweeney and ejected from the game soon after.

Looking ahead, the Tigers have what should be three easy wins against Wake Forest, Boston College and Syracuse the next three weeks. But on October 19 they host Eighth ranked Florida State in what is likely to be the best ACC regular season matchup this year. State, for some reason, will host Central Michigan next week.

North Carolina at Georgia Tech

UNC and Georgia Tech faced off in Chapel Hill last year when neither team played any discernable defense. The Yellow Jackets won 68-50 in the highest scoring football game ever played in Chapel Hill. Should The Heels avenge last year’s disastrous loss on Saturday it will be the first time they leave Atlanta with a win since 1997.

UNC does not possess the scoring prowess they did last year since Gio Bernard was drafted. They do however, boast a fine offense anchored by Bryn Renner under center and a talented receiving core led by Quinshad Davis and Eric Ebron.

Another scary prospect for Carolina is trying to stop the high powered Yellow Jacket Offense. QB Vad Lee has started off very well, having already thrown six touchdowns to just one interception. Additionally he’s rushed for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

The Yellow Jackets eradicated Elon 70-0 in their season opener before they beat Duke 38-13 two weeks later. UNC lost on national television to South Carolina 27-10 to begin their season. They halfway made up for that when they beat Middle Tennessee State 40-20.

This is a tough game to predict. Neither team has given us much to go on. A 70-0 rout of Elon isn’t a great measure of GT’s ability, and UNC losing 27-10 to South Carolina is a similar fate many ACC teams would meet against a top-10 opponent. But given the recent history and UNC’s ugly losing streak in Atlanta it’s hard to imagine the Heels pulling this one off.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 28 UNC 21

Duke Vs. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh will get their second dose of ACC action when they travel to Durham this weekend. After getting trounced 41-13 by eighth ranked Florida State the Panthers recovered to beat New Mexico 49-27. Duke is 2-1 having beat N.C Central 45-0 and Memphis 28-14 before they were soundly beat by Georgia Tech 38-14.

Brandon Connette and Anthony Boone have split passing duties for the Bue Devils, but its Connette who has thrown all four touchdown passes this year. The sophomore has also amassed 375 yards through three games. His main two receiving targets will likely be Jamison Crowder and Isaac Blankeney. Crowder has already caught 23 passes for 240 yards while Blankeney has caught two TD passes so far. Duke doesn’t run the ball very often, but sophomore RB has rushed for two touchdowns and has nearly 200 yards on the season.

Pittsburgh will counter Duke’s offense with a defense that has allowed over 800 yards and nine touchdowns already. Anchoring their offense is senior Tom Savage who is coming of off a decent performance against New Mexico when he threw 236 yards for a pair of touchdowns. He was picked off twice however. His main two targets will likely be Devin Street and Tyler Boyd. Street leads the teams in receptions with 11 and yards with 221 though he has yet to score.

Neither team performed well in their other ACC games but they have shown the ability to a least score a lot of points against bad teams. Honestly it’s kind of a wash when trying to predict the outcome, but lets go with the in state team.

Prediction: Duke 21 Pittsburgh 17

Wake Forest vs. Army

Wake Forest is one of two ACC teams with a losing record. Syracuse is the other. They need to a win against Army to prevent a miserable start to what has been a sub par 2013 so far. Since beating Presbyterian 31-7 to start the season, the Demon Deacons have lost Boston College and Louisiana Monroe. Their silver lining so far has been QB Tanner Price, who has racked up 720 passing yards and four touchdowns. He’s paired up with his best receiver from a yea ago in Michael Campanaro who has already caught 21 passes.

Prediction: Wake Forest 27 Army 24

8 Florida State vs. Bethune-Cookman

The Seminoles get the daunting task of facing Bethune Cook. Okay, sarcasm aside, this is part of what has been an easy first part of the schedule for FSU. Having already beaten Pittsburgh and Nevada, they will likely make the Beth Cook their third victim. For their part the Wildcats are 3-0, fresh off of a 34-13 beat down of Florida International.

One thing to watch for is freshmen QB Jameis Winston. FSU was excited about him and he has not disappointed so far. In just two games he’s thrown six touchdowns and amassed 570 yards.

Prediction: Florida State- 40 Bethune-Cookman 7

Other ACC games

Some other ACC games to note of include 16th ranked Miami against Savannah State. The Hurricanes beat Florida two weeks ago and could be in the mist of resurging their program. The lacks a lot of representation in the top 25 so it’s good to have someone other than just Florida State and Clemson.

Maryland will try to stay perfect against West Virginia will Virginia Tech will also be playing a team from the Mountain State when they host Marshall. Syracuse destroyed Wagner last week 54-0 for their first win, and will try to notch another against Tulane.

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