ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 8

Tajh Boyd Understands the Pressure He and His Clemson Tigers Will Be Up Against This Saturday

Tajh Boyd Understands the Pressure He and His Clemson Tigers Will Be Up Against This Saturday

We’re here! It’s the biggest week in ACC football history! The most important game, possibly, this conference has ever seen and it could end up being the college football regular season’s most important game as well. All eyes are on Clemson and Florida State, and as regular spectators, we’re happy to even be a small part of the festivities and attention sent the ACC’s way. Just like normal, we’re running down the list of every ACC (plus Louisville) game and predicting outcomes that will almost undoubtedly be wrong. Have some picks of your own? Predict away in the comments!

Game of the Week

Florida State Seminoles (5-0) (3-0) at Clemson Tigers (6-0) (4-0): The winner of this game gets a clear shot at a conference title, Heisman trophy, National Championship and so much more. So know that both teams will be fully prepared for what comes on Saturday night. Tajh Boyd‘s been here many times before, while Jameis Winston takes his first trip into the spotlight against a major opponent. The two quarterbacks may cancel each other out, which brings this game down to the defenses. Clemson’s pass-rush is one of the best in the country, and FSU’s has been iffy at times this year. Neither side’s a push-over, though something tells me the Tigers’ experience plays a major part in delivering the win. This veteran Clemson team remembers last year’s close loss to the ‘Noles and will be prepared for the rematch. It’s not to take away from Florida State. I just see the Tigers as the (slightly) better team — especially at home. Prediction: Clemson 41, Florida State 38

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

Miami Hurricanes (5-0) (1-0) at North Carolina Tar Heels (1-4) (0-2): Miami’s rocketed into the top 10, while the Tar Heels could not be in worse shape. This of course is the recipe for a major upset in most cases, though I just don’t buy it here. The Hurricanes’ offense has scored 42 points or more for three straight games, and despite a lingering ankle injury to Stephen Morris, they’ve still maintained one of the top 30-40 passing attacks in the country. The defense is also improved and given the recent state of things for the Heels, a lot would have to go their way in order to beat Miami on Thursday. Prediction: Miami 33, UNC 21

UCF Knights (4-1) at Louisville Cardinals (6-0): UCF’s without its top pass-rusher on Friday, which certainly poses an issue to their strategy of getting to Teddy Bridgewater. Still, the Knights should be well equipped to giving the Cardinals all they can handle in Louisville’s last game against real competition. If the Cards defense plays as they have lately, they’ll do just fine. But make no mistake, UCF will be able to test this team as likely no team has all year — nor will, until the postseason, that is. Prediction: Louisville 27, UCF 20

Syracuse Orange (3-3) (1-1) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-3) (2-2): Georgia Tech is dropping fast, while Syracuse is still attempting to find their way in the ACC. But in this matchup of strong running teams, which one has the advantage? Initially, you’d think the Orange’s strong front seven would be built to stop Tech’s tripe option, though with all those blitzes, perhaps they get caught out of position. And for Tech, there’s some solid play on the line, but can they avoid the perils other SU opponents have fallen victim to? Expect a low-scoring, mistake-filled contest that ultimately comes down to a field goal and immediately changes the narrative of both teams’ seasons. Prediction: Georgia Tech 30, Syracuse 27

Maryland Terrapins (5-1) (1-1) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-3) (1-2): Maryland’s well aware of what making a bowl game would mean on their way out of the ACC, while Wake would love to rain on that parade — at least momentarily. For the Deacs, this game’s also huge for their own chances to make the postseason, as a loss likely puts them in very dire straits. If C.J Brown is back at 100-percent, the Terps’ offense should be enough to guide them to victory. If he’s shaky or doesn’t start though, this could be a rough road game against a tough Wake defense. Prediction: Maryland 29, Wake Forest 20

Duke Blue Devils (4-2) (0-2) at Virginia Cavaliers (2-4) (0-2): Two teams looking for their first ACC win of the year, with both looking to write a new narrative to the season. Virginia’s offense has struggled mightily behind an ineffective passing attack and an inconsistent rushing game. Duke, on the other hand, now has their starting quarterback back in the lineup and anxious to prove he too can lead the Blue Devils to the postseason. Anthony Boone‘s anxious to deliver a conference win and step so much closer to bowl eligibility. UVa, on the other hand, is just hoping to keep their heads above water. Prediction: Duke 24, Virginia 21

Old Dominion Monarchs (4-2) at Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2) (2-2): ODU’s offense is actually worth marveling at for a few, though they’re still not up to par with Pitt’s lethal defensive line, which should make short work of the Monarchs. The Panthers were smart to schedule light in the non-conference this year and likely hand themselves win number four here just six games in. You can tell Pitt’s anxious to get past last week’s crushing loss and is very likely to take out all of those frustrations on Old Dominion in a game that should be over by halftime. Prediction: Pitt 52, ODU 21

Last Week: 6-1; Season: 59-8

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2 thoughts on “ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 8

    • Syracuse hasn’t scored a ton on BCS-level competition, while Georgia Tech has actually struggled to score a ton lately as well. Since the two teams are geared to stop each other’s strengths, a mid-range score seems about right, if not too high.

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