ACC Previews & Predictions (Week 12)

Can Virginia Stay in Contention For the ACC Title This Week?

With just a few weeks left, here’s what we know: Either Clemson, Virginia or Virginia Tech will be winning the league — and one of those teams (UVa) may drop out of the running this Saturday. Two five-win teams desperately need a victory this weekend to secure their place in the postseason. While one (Wake Forest) has a pretty good shot, the other (Miami) faces a pretty tough out-of-conference test on the road. NC State is also looking to get themselves a bowl bid, but will need to win a total of seven games (they currently have five, with two games to play) due to an overabundance of FCS teams on the schedule.

*Game of the Week*

Virginia Cavaliers (7-3) (4-2) at Florida State Seminoles (7-3) (5-2): The surprising Cavaliers are just two wins away from playing for an ACC title, while the Seminoles aren’t even within sniffing distance of their season-opening top-five ranking. Still, Florida State sports one of the country’s best passing attacks, a top-10 defense and a five-game winning streak. Not to mention the fact that this one’s in Tallahassee, a graveyard for young, unproven teams. As well as Virginia has played of late, it’s too difficult to ignore their weak offense versus an FSU defense that will spend the night blitzing and forcing bad throws. Prediction: Florida St. 31, Virginia 20

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

North Carolina Tar Heels (6-4) (2-4) at Virginia Tech Hokies (9-1) (5-1): The Heels have had two weeks to prepare for this one, but I doubt even a month would have done them any good. Virginia Tech is running on all cylinders late in the season for once, and with the way UNC has failed to show up game-in and game-out this year, don’t be surprised if this one gets away from them quickly. UNC’s biggest problem is that they do everything marginally well, but fail to be exceptional in any facet of the game — something that will haunt them against one of the FBS’s top defenses. Prediction: Virginia Tech 33, UNC 17

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-3) (4-3) at Duke Blue Devils (3-7) (1-5): Scheduling-wise, Georgia Tech caught the buzzsaw in the ACC this season, meeting the league’s entire top tier except Florida State. So this will be a welcome break. Given Duke’s lack of a run game (113th in the nation) and inability to stop the run, either (the Hokies racked up 243 yards on them two weeks ago), this could be a very long afternoon. Expect the Yellow Jackets to use their dreaded triple-option to excess, with quarterback Tevin Washington probably notching a few touchdowns and at least 250 total yards. Prediction: Georgia Tech 45, Duke 27

Maryland Terrapins (2-8) (1-5) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-5) (4-3): As mentioned briefly above, Wake Forest gets a bit of a gift this week facing the woeful Terps at home. Things haven’t looked that great for the Demon Deacons of late though, who have been the league’s least impressive team, save Maryland, for the past month. Ultimately, this game will come down to whether the Terps can progress the ball through the air against Wake’s suspect pass defense. If they can, they stand a chance. But with Maryland’s 96th-overall defense, there really isn’t much room for their numerous errors, especially against Deacons’ QB Tanner Price. Prediction: Wake Forest 35, Maryland 24

Miami (FL) Hurricanes (5-5) at USF Bulls (5-4): Unlike Wake above, Miami very much has to earn win number six this week against a real, competitive team. With USF just one win away from bowl eligibility themselves, it promises to be a struggle. Which Bulls team will show up? The one that dropped two consecutive games when leading with 90 seconds to go, or the one that walloped Syracuse last Friday night? One would figure somewhere in the middle, which unfortunately may not be enough for them to pull out a big non-conference win. Without the strong defensive unit of previous seasons, USF is likely to get torched by Jacory Harris and Lamar Miller all day. Prediction: Miami 27, USF 20

Clemson Tigers (9-1) (6-1) at NC State Wolfpack (5-5) (2-4): This one has all the makings of a trap game. Clemson has the Atlantic Division wrapped up, and so they’re likely looking ahead to the final game with South Carolina. NC State, on the other hand, needs to win their final two in order to play in a bowl. While Tigers’ QB Tajh Boyd has definitely regressed a bit over the last few games, this might be the one where he bounces back. Expect a big game from him, and the Clemson defense — faced with a one-dimensional offense that plays right to their stronger suit (defending the pass). Prediction: Clemson 38, NC State 14

Boston College Eagles (3-7) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-3): The battle for the title of the FBS’s best Catholic school has seen better days, but that doesn’t mean this matchup won’t be compelling. Mired in one of their worst seasons in a couple decades, BC’s still managed to hang tough and win two of their last three — saving themselves from the ACC cellar (probably). Notre Dame has been hot as well, wining seven of their last eight, including an absolute dismantling of Maryland last week. As nice as it’s been to see the Eagles strive for respectability these past few weeks, the dream probably stops here. Prediction: Notre Dame 34, Boston College 13

Last Week’s Record: 5-3; 2011 Record: 22-12

One thought on “ACC Previews & Predictions (Week 12)

  1. Pingback: ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 12 | Atlantic Coast Convos

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