Our ACC Football Preview for this week with UNCG-grad Stuart Barefoot, local sports fan, big follower of the Spartans and he does wear shoes, but stay off his feet if you see him walking across town….
#2 Florida State vs. Wake Forest
Okay so usually when you start to hype up a team like Florida State and a quarterback like Jameis Winston is usually the time they start to show some flaws. And yes, while Jameis Winston proved he was human and not a perfectly constructed quarterback from some kind of laboratory, he and his FSU teammates are still awesome.
Enough fawning, this is supposed to be a preview.
The main thing you should know about Florida State is that they average over 50 points per game while holding their opponents to just 13. They have yet to score less than 40 points all season, and Winston, is going to be a Heisman finalist.
Wake Forest will welcome the second ranked Seminoles to Winston-Salem on Saturday and will try to be the team that unseats the ACC’s best. Also, they will try unseating the ACC’s best without their best receiver, Michael Campanaro, who left the Syracuse game with a shoulder injury. Obviously that is really bad for Wake Forest.
Coming off a headscratching 13-0 loss to Syracuse, the Demon Deacons are now 2-4 in the ACC and 4-5 overall. The loss to Syracuse was puzzling since it came off the heels of a 24-21 loss to then seventh-ranked Miami, but without their best receiver and a very poor night from Tanner Price, it kind of makes sense.
Even worse for the Deacs, is they don’t really utilize their run game very often. As a team they have amassed just 807 yards all season and have scored only eight rushing touchdowns. In a year that a lot of people in Winston-Salem thought the Demon Deacons could finish bowl eligible 2013 has turned out to be a huge disappointment.
Prediction: FSU-54 Wake Forest-7
Duke Vs. NC State
The in-state rivals will clash on Saturday, and in a change of pace, it’s the 6-2 Blue Devils who have the upper hand. Most impressively, they are coming off a 13-10 upset over Virginia Tech, though both of their losses were conference games.
N.C state, on the other hand, has had a tough 2013 campaign at 3-5 overall and 0-5 in the ACC. Currently they are mired in a four game losing streak after falling to UNC 19-17 last week. Really, their offense has all kinds of issues. While their defense has played reasonably well, holding teams to about 25 points and five yards per play offense has been a problem all year. They’ve had four different QB’s attempt passes this season and they’ve combined for four touchdowns, three of them coming from Pete Thomas (the other wasn’t from a QB at all, it was RB Bryan Shireffs.) Not helping matters in this transition season is that their starting QB Brandon Mitchell has played in only three games. For a school that has a winning tradition and expects quality results from their team, this has been a frustrating year for sure.
Conversely Duke fields a pretty stout defense. The secondary has picked off nine passes this year and the defense as a whole holds teams to 5.21 yards per game. Also, The Blue Devils are 6-0 when Anthony Boone starts at QB and while he wasn’t exactly lights out last week against Blacksburg, he managed enough offense against one of the nation’s top defenses to pull off the win.
Prediction: Duke-28 N.C State-17
North Carolina Vs. Virginia
The Tar Heels will host Virginia on Saturday in an effort to extend their win streak to three games. Having won their last two and almost beating then seventh-ranked Miami; UNC seems to have slightly turned around their sluggish season. Virginia has struggled mightily as well, sitting at 2-7 overall and 0-5 in the conference.
Of course the biggest storyline for the Heels going into this game is that starting QB Bryn Renner is out for the season and Marquise Williams will start in his stead. A sophomore, Williams has seen some decent playing time this year, participating in six games, completing 40 passes and tossing six touchdowns. The biggest difference between Williams and Renner is that Williams is more of a run first quarterback. He’s third on the team in rushing yards with 201 and has rushed for a touchdown as well. He’s not quite as accurate a passer as Renner and UNC doesn’t run the ball a whole lot, so it will be a noticeable change of pace.
Even with the change at QB, the UNC defense has ben stellar the last three games, holding Boston College and State under 20 while taming the Miami offense for three quarters. Given Virginia’s struggles in every aspect of the game, especially on offense, there is no reason this game shouldn’t fall to the Heels. The cavaliers average only 21 points per game and have thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (7.) The 49-0 shutout of VMI not withstanding teams put up all kinds of numbers on UVA. Clemson and Oregon scored 59 each, which okay that’s understandable, but Ball. State (who is 8-1 by the way) dropped 48 and Duke and Georgia Tech scored 35 a piece. Thomas Jefferson would be very disappointed.
Prediction: UNC-30 Virginia- 13
Other games and stuff
11th-ranked Miami will host Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh will play 23rd Notre Dame. Syracuse and Maryland will face off while Boston College steps out of conference play to play New Mexico State.