Courtesy of Stuart Barefoot UNCG-grad and GreensboroSports.com ACC Football writer……
North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech
North Carolina is coming off a shameful 55-31 loss to ECU. No disrespect to the Pirates, but that was an abject disaster for the Heels, who are now 1-3. Not helping maters is the fact that they play Virginia Tech who has won their last four games.
The Hokies opened the season by getting smashed by to top ranked Alabama 35-10. They’ve won their last four, though they have all been close aside from the 45-3 win over Western Carolina. One of those close games was a 15-10 win over the afore mentioned ECU, so using the Transitive property, Virginia Tech should win this one.
UNC has had problems replicating their offensive production from a year ago, but the defense is once again their chilies “heel.” (Deduct cool points for cheesy pun.) On average they give up 226 passing yards per game and about 235 rushing yards and have yet to hold a team to fewer than 20 points all year.
Logan Thomas has been pretty average this year, having thrown five touchdowns to six interceptions, but unless the UNC defense can fix themselves, he should roll over them, though, Bryn Renner is the better of the two quarterbacks.
Prediction: VT 38 UNC 24
Wake Forest vs. NC State
The Wolf Pack annihilated Central Michigan 48-14 to improve to 3-1 on the season last week. Wake was destroyed by third ranked Clemson 56-3. State is the better of the two teams, and though they have yet to beat a very good team this year, they seem to take care of business against teams they should beat. Wake Forest, whose resume includes a 21-19 loss to Louisiana Monroe, the 56-3 drubbing mentioned above and an 0-2 start to ACC play once you factor in the 24-10 loss to Boston College.
Before this turns into a scathing review of Wake’s sluggish season, they boast a great one-two punch on offense. QB Tanner Price, who isn’t bad has one of the nation’s best receivers in Michael Campanaro. The senior already has 439 yards to his name, though he’s caught just two touchdowns. Still he ranks 16th in the nation in receiving yards per game with 103.7. That is troubling for State, but thankfully Wake averages just under three yards per carry, so their whole offense depends on Price finding Campanaro, which makes the Wolf Pack’s game plan a little simpler.
State’s best asset is their defense who has allowed just over 16 points per game, and has held Clemson to their lowest point total all year during the 26-14 loss. As far as their offense goes, they do more damage on the ground, averaging about 208 rushing yards per game. They already have 10 rushing touchdowns and Matt Dayes leads the way with four of them and has amassed 180 yards so far.
Prediction: NC State 30 Wake Forest 14
Florida State vs. Maryland
Two top-25 teams will face off in Tallahassee when eighth ranked Florida State hosts 25th ranked Maryland. The Terps have been the surprise in their final year in the ACC, coming into the game with a 4-0 record, wrecking every team in their path. Most notably they shut out West Virginia 37-0 last week, and only Connecticut has even come close to beating them during a 32-21 Maryland win.
Maryland plays a quick paced offense, not unlike the flex taking few huddles or snaps under center. C.J Brown is their QB and he’ll run the ball often with his two best receiving options being Stefon Digs and Devon Long.
They also have a tough defense with their linebacking core of Matt Robinson, Cole Ferrand, and L.A Gore being the strongest. Their safeties will have a heck of a time with Jameis Winston though, as the freshmen QB has been stellar.
Winston has had an absolute monstrous start to his college career. Through four games he’s put up some unworldly numbers, granted against questionable competition. All the same, 12 touchdowns, over 1000 yards and completing over 70 percent of his passes are the story so far. Giving that their defense has struggled a bit so farm illustrated by allowing 34 points to Boston College.
Prediction: FSU 34 Maryland 21
Georgia Tech vs. Miami
14th ranked Miami will welcome Georgia Tech. Miami is unbeaten through four games while the Yellow Jackets took their first loss to Virginia Tech last week. While Miami is off to a wonderful start capitalized by a 21-6 win over Florida, Georgia Tech is among the most underrated teams in the country. Not only is Vad Lee a tremendous QB, they have the tenth best running game in the country and their defense is nothing to sneeze at. Four Yellow Jackets have rushed for at least 100 yards, and David Sims has scored four times, and Lee has three rushing TD’s himself.
Their defense limits their opponents to barely three yards per carry and has allowed only 377 rushing yards all year. Teams have managed just three touchdowns against them, while they have picked four passes off.
Miami has a similar makeup as GT. They have a plethora of players who can run the ball, namely Duke Johnson and Dallas Crawford who have four and five touchdowns respectively. Defensively they are a massive improvement from a year ago when they gave up around 30 points a game. This will be a fast paced game that ought to feature lots of scoring, and my guess is the Canes come out on top.
Prediction: Miami 38 GT 30
Other ACC Games
Syracuse will play third ranked Clemson. The Orange are 2-2 and will play their first ACC game against the conference’s top team. Syracuse will lose and it won’t be pretty. Boston College will play Army and try to snap a two game losing streak. By the way who else wanted to see the Eagles beat USC? That would have been hilarious.