Courtesy of Stuart Barefoot at GreensboroSports.com…
#8 Clemson-55 Georgia Tech-31
Clemson kind of won on Thursday night. Despite downing Georgia each 55-31 to improve to 9-1 on the season and 7-1 in the ACC, the Tigers received a scare when Tajh Boyd left he game with a shoulder injury. Reports are that he has a bruised collarbone and should be able to play, but still, it’s worrisome for Clemson.
Boyd was excellent like usual. He threw for 340 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Boyd passed Phillip Rivers as the all time ACC leader in career touchdowns passes, with 97. Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant caught the majority of Boyd’s passes; catching five passes each and each tallying over 100 yards. Watkins caught two touchdown passes while Bryant caught one.
The game was never close. Clemson jumped out to a 20-0 lead, after Boyd tossed a 41-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins and a 4-yard pass to Mike Williams. He later connected with Bryant for a 76-yard-touchdown pass.
The yellow Jackets came within 10 points when Robert Godhigh busted through Clemson’s defensive line and ran 65 yards for a touchdown. But Clemson outscored them 28-14 through the final two quarters.
#2 Florida State vs. Syracuse
The 5-4 Syracuse Orange pose little threat to the second-ranked Florida State. To be fair, very few teams do. But FSU’s biggest concern right now is the sexual battery allegations facing Jameis Winston. For now, they are only allegations and the case has been closed and reopened. For now, Winston can still play.
The Seminoles destroyed Wake Forest 59-3 last week, who is just their latest victim. Syracuse, who is likely to suffer a similar fate, is coming off a 20-3 win over Maryland. While the Orange have had something of a rollercoaster season, they have been crushed by the some of the better teams they’ve played. For example, they lost 56-0 against Georgia Tech, and 49-14 to Clemson. They have, however, won their past two, with to 20-3 win over Maryland and a 13-0 over Wake Forest. Perhaps their defense has turned a corner.
Prediction: FSU-58 Sryacuse-10
#23 Miami vs. Duke
This ought to be good. The Hurricanes will travel to Durham to try to a)justify their Top-25 ranking, and b) try to put a damper on Duke’s exciting and impressive season thus far. Miami has been crushed two weeks in a row, 41-14 to FSU and 42-24 to Virginia Tech. Duke, on the other hand, has won five straight, including a 13-10 win against Virginia Tech and a 38-20 win over N.C. State
Duke’s improving defense will try to exploit Miami’s hot and cold offense. Stephen Morris has had an erratic season, as he’s thrown 12 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. Given those struggles and Miami’s dynamic duo at Duke Johnson and Dallas Crawford at running back, it’s always a safe bet that the Canes will run a lot.
Duke boasts a balanced offense and a defense that has been really bad at times. Anthony Boone continues to play well at QB and their defense has kept offenses at bay lately.
Prediction: Duke-28 Miami-27
North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh
After starting the season poorly, UNC has won their last three, most recently crushing Virginia 5-14 and are no 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. With Marquise Williams as the full time starter for injured Bryn Renner, the Heels are more of a running team than before. Williams, completed just 15 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns last week, but ran for 46 yards and a touchdown. Paired with Running Backs Romar Morris and A.J Blue, Williams will have plenty of options on the ground while he’ll still have guys like Quinshad Davis and Eric Ebron to throw to.
Pitt despite sporting a mediocre 5-4 record this year is coming off a 28-21 over Notre Dame. They also beat Duke in an incredible 58-55 win over Duke. Tom Savage has been a solid QB for the Panthers, with 16 touchdowns through nine games. He’s main tow targets Devin Street and Tyler Boyd have caught six passes each, including a 67-yard and a 69-yard touchdown pass respectively. Running Backs Issace Bennet and James Connor get the bulk of the carries for Pitt, as they have rushed for five and six touchdowns respectively.
Defensively they allow about 26 points per game, which ranks them 63rd in the nation. Given how well they play at home, UNC’s road struggles and their recent win over Notre Dame, Pittsburgh should be favored to narrowly beat an inconsistent Tar Heel team.
Prediction: Pittsburgh-27 UNC-24
N.C state vs. Boston College
The Wolf Pack has had one of their most disappointing seasons in recent history. At 3-6 overall and 0-6 in the ACC, State will travel to Boston College to take on the 5-4 (2-3) Eagles.
BC runs the ball very well, averaging nearly 200 yards per game. Andre Williams has rushed for 12 touchdowns this year, including a 80-yarder. His QB Chase Rettig has fared well, throwing 14 touchdowns through nine games. Defensively they allow about 28 points per game, but an ailing N.C state offense might be pretty easy for them to handle.
State actually doesn’t look too bad on paper until you examine their win loss record, or until you just watch them play. Collectively, they’ve thrown for just five touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Shadrac Thornton has been the one bright spot for their offense, as he’s rushed for a decent four touchdowns, but overall, their offense average just 22 points per game. Defensively they’ve kept teams within arms reach, aside from FSU and Clemson. Still, it probably wont be enough against the eagles
Prediction: BC-28 N.C State- 21
The Only Other One
Virginia Tech will host Maryland, who is just 1-4 in the ACC. The Hokies, have a chance to win the coastal division this year, but a loss to Maryland would kill those chances.