ACC Football 2013 Week 9 Lessons: Are the Duke Blue Devils For Real?

Anthony Boone's Duke Team Pulled a Major Upset and Suddenly Looks to be  Factor in the Coastal Race

Anthony Boone’ & Duke Pulled a Major Upset, Suddenly Looks to be Factor in the Coastal Race

Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 9 of the ACC football season:

1. Duke Blue Devils are a real football program: Up until this weekend, we thought of Duke as a solid offensive team taking advantage of a very manageable schedule. But after defeating Virginia Tech, that narrative’s shifted completely. The Blue Devils are bowl-eligible for the second time in as many years (first time in program history for that) and now own their first win over a ranked team in nearly 50 seasons. But there’s still more work to be done. Last season’s 6-7 record fell short of the ultimate goal — a winning record — and that provides plenty of motivation for the rest of 2013. Based on what we saw from this team on Saturday, I’d say the Devils are well on their way to upping the ante going forward. Bowl games are now the norm, and they’re looking for much much more.

2. Miami wins again, but still looking shaky: Yet another game, yet another Miami comeback. At some point, we know the luck’s going to end though, and that’s the bigger issue here. The ‘Canes have not faced much in terms of challenges lately, so that leaves them with something to prove once again. Luckily (or unluckily) they’ve got Florida State up next — and on Gameday. Can they shake the recent issues of last-minute wins, or score a signature victory over the ‘Noles? Based on what we’ve seen lately, an upset here is starting to seem less and less likely.

3. North Carolina‘s not done yet: The Heels are starting to make their way out of the 1-5 hole, as they picked up a big win over Boston College this past weekend. From what we’ve seen in recent weeks, there’s a real possibility they’ve figured things out, at least enough to get to six wins. Their remaining schedule features just two teams with records above .500 and even then, both (Pittsburgh and Duke) could prove to be winnable. Should be an interesting run to the finish.

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 9

Miami Breathed a Sigh of Relief on Tuesday -- Will it Help Them Avoid Trap v. Wake?

Miami Breathed a Sigh of Relief on Tuesday — Will it Help Them Avoid Trap v. Wake?

A week after Florida State asserted itself as the ACC‘s top dog, we get a bunch of games that won’t really help us determine the pecking order beyond the ‘Noles. Despite being nearly halfway through conference play, this weekend feels like a bit of a lull — though still, plenty of chances for surprising (but hopefully not to surprising) results. 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

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-3) (2-2) at Miami Hurricanes (6-0) (2-0): A matchup with a 23-point spread being the featured game of the week? #goacc… But honestly, that line’s a bit overblown and it’s not as if the ‘Canes have much of a home-field advantage anyway. Miami also struggled to get by a hapless North Carolina team last Thursday, while Wake Forest is suddenly coming on strong offensively, scoring 62 points over the past two weeks (strong for them, obviously). If Tanner Price can move the ball well on the ground, it should help set up the Deacs’ passing game for more success, though Miami’s offense might be too much for them. Whether it’s Duke Johnson or Dallas Crawford carrying the load, expect the Hurricanes to try and test Wake’s strong running defense all afternoon. Miami is likely to win this one — just not by as much as Vegas might think. Prediction: Miami 31, Wake 24

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

Louisville Cardinals (6-1) at USF Bulls (2-4): Louisville’s coming off a tough loss last Friday that killed off any national title hopes. USF’s riding a surprising two-game winning streak and actually holds a share of first in the American Athletic Conference right now. While the Bulls have played better of late, it’s unlikely that’ll be enough against a team out for a bit of redemption this week. USF is still a struggling offense that only puts up 16 points per game, and to be honest, UConn‘s the first offense they’ve really stopped all year. Teddy Bridgewater should make short work of the secondary and get the Cards back on track. Prediction: Louisville 41, USF 13

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-3) (2-2) at Virginia Cavaliers (2-5) (0-3): It’s unlikely Georgia Tech will be able to replicate last week’s 56-point output, though if there was an opponent that could happen against, I guess it would be UVa. The Hoos have been a mess all season, with an offense that can’t score (less than 18 points per game vs. FBS competition) and a defense that simply gets abused in second halves. Maybe Mike London coming under fire serves as motivation for Virginia? There’s a chance of it, though this really is a lopsided matchup of two teams going in opposite directions. Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, Virginia 20

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ACC Football 2013 Bowl Projections: Week 9

Florida State, Now No. 2 in the BCS Rankings, May Be Headed to Pasadena at Year's End

Florida State, Now No. 2 in the BCS Rankings, May Be Headed to Pasadena at Year’s End

ACC teams are moving closer toward bowl eligibility — and a few of them have even punched their ticket to the postseason already. For most, however, still a lot left to figure out. As you’ll notice below, some shifting compared to last week, with the Florida State win obviously throwing a wrench into what we previously thought would happen. Disagree with any of these? Share your own picks below.

ACC Bowl Projections 2013: Week 9

BCS National Championship Game: Florida State Seminoles (6-0) vs. BCS #1

Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (6-1) vs. BCS at-large

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Miami Hurricanes (6-0) vs. SEC

Russell Athletic Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1) vs. AAC

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-3) vs. Pac-12

Belk Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers (4-2) vs. AAC

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Duke Blue Devils (5-2) vs. SEC

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Boston College Eagles (3-3) vs. SEC

Military Bowl: Maryland Terrapins (5-2) vs. C-USA/MAC

As per usual, we include Louisville (6-1) in these things. While they dropped out of BCS contention (at least for now) this past weekend, we’ve got them slotted in opposite Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 9

Miami Hosts Wake Forest in One of the Top ACC Matchups of the Weekend

Miami Hosts Wake Forest in One of the Top ACC Football Matchups of the Weekend

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 9 TV Schedule & Spreads

Saturday, October 26

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Miami Hurricanes (-23.5), Noon ET, ESPNU

Louisville Cardinals at USF Bulls (+20), Noon ET, ESPN 2

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Virginia Cavaliers (+10), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Pittsburgh Panthers at Navy Midshipmen (+8), 1 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

Boston College Eagles at North Carolina Tar Heels (-7), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Tech Hokies (-13), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Clemson Tigers at Maryland Terrapins (+14), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

NC State Wolfpack at Florida State Seminoles (-31.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN 2

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ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 9

After Saturday's Stunning Win Over Clemson, There's No Question FSU's On Top in the ACC

After Saturday’s Stunning Win Over Clemson, There’s No Question FSU’s On Top in the ACC

Plenty left to digest in the ACC after a weekend of national poll carnage. FSU’s obviously the king of the hill after massacring Clemson, but every other spot appears up for grabs. With the season more than halfway over, the conference appears to be angling for two BCS bids (hopefully), adding some extra intrigue to the top four or so spots as well. As always, the poll includes all 14 current ACC members, plus future member Louisville. Feel like I’m totally right or completely off-base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

ACC Football Power Rankings 2013 (Week 9)

1. Florida State Seminoles (6-0) (4-0) (Last: 2): So much terror. The Seminoles undressed Clemson in a way I’m unsure any of us ACC fans saw coming, and as a result, they sit atop this subjective pile of teams for the foreseeable future. Jameis Winston has asserted himself as the ACC’s best quarterback, leader and player, and is now the nationally-relevant personality the conference has needed for some time. So is FSU “back” for all intents and purposes? We’ve been here before, but it feels very different this time. I’d take this FSU squad over just about any other team in the country right now.

2. Clemson Tigers (6-1) (4-1) (Last: 1): Bear with me here. Yes, the Tigers were demolished. Yes, they proved their doubters correct, derailed their national title hopes and murdered Tajh Boyd‘s chances at winning a Heisman, too. But one surprising blowout can’t just eliminate all the good that’s come from this season, can it? Clemson’s defense is much-improved (especially in the pass-rush) and the offense is still top-notch. When comparing them to Miami, I’d take the Tigers despite last week, and that on its own elevates them over the ‘Canes for the time being.

3. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (6-0) (2-0) (Last: 3): That Thursday night game was horrendous, and yet Miami still managed to pull it out. Stephen Morris was about as flawed as you’ll find him (threw four INTs) and Duke Johnson was injured early. And yet, this team was able to pull out a very late win on the shoulders of their defense and backup running back Dallas Crawford. Again, not pretty, but the fact that the ‘Canes showed some resiliency against a UNC team looking to save their season is a big step in the right direction.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1) (3-0) (Last: 5): The bye week gave the Hokies some much-needed rest and the additional reward of moving up further in the national polls. Inside the top 15, Tech is now a legitimate threat to be in the BCS picture, and with just one challenging game remaining (Miami), The key, of course, will be the offense’s consistency. If they can limit turnovers and score around 24 points per game, that should be enough to win with this D.

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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

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ACC Football 2013 Bowl Projections: Week 8

Now Ranked 10th in the Country, Could Miami Position Itself for a BCS Bid?

Now Ranked 10th in the Country, Could Miami Position Themselves  for a BCS Bowl Bid?

A couple ACC teams have already locked up bowl eligibility and a few more on knocking on the door around the halfway point in the season. For the time being, just trying to go in order based on both current record and projected outlook with the schedule ahead — really the only thing you can do. Disagree with any of these? Share your own picks below.

ACC Bowl Projections 2013: Week 8

Discover Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (6-0) vs. BCS at-large

Allstate Sugar Bowl: Florida State Seminoles (5-0) vs. SEC

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Miami Hurricanes (5-0) vs. SEC

Russell Athletic Bowl: Virginia Tech Hokies (6-1) vs. AAC

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Maryland Terrapins (5-1) vs. Pac-12

Belk Bowl: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (3-3) vs. AAC

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: Pittsburgh Panthers (3-2) vs. SEC

Advocare V100 Independence Bowl: Syracuse Orange (3-3) vs. SEC

Military Bowl: Duke Blue Devils (4-2) vs. C-USA/MAC

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl: Boston College Eagles (3-3) vs. BYU/Pac-12

As per usual, we include Louisville (6-0) in these things. As has been the case for several weeks, we’ve got them headed to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the Big 12 champion, which may or may not be Baylor.

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