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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Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2013: Week 8

Following a Convincing Victory over Washington, it Gets Even Tougher to Pick Against the Ducks

Following a Convincing Victory over Washington, it Gets Even Tougher to Pick Against the Ducks

The dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (immediately following the 2014 season), so this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-another-year feature actually has some outside guidelines to follow: four teams, two semifinal spots and then a championship game. We currently have no clue how teams will be determined, how polls will be released, or a large majority of the individuals who will ultimately decide who’s in and who’s out.

So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (projected by BCSGuru), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. We’ll also fill in the major bowl games also slated to be part of the playoff structure. Additionally, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below, too. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Rose Bowl (semifinal): #2 Oregon vs. #3 Clemson

Sugar Bowl (semifinal): #1 Alabama vs. #4 Florida State

National Championship: #2 Oregon over #1 Alabama

Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Ohio State

Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs. Stanford

Fiesta BowlTexas A&M vs. UCLA

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Louisville vs. LSU

Last week’s upset-riddled Saturday shakes up a lot of what this playoff has looked like up to this point, with two (!!) ACC teams occupying the top four spots, yet both exiting in the semi-finals. In the top money bowls, Miami becomes ACC team no. 3 to enter the conversation, while Baylor also moves into one of the major slots to face a fading Stanford team. No, I’m still not sold on Alabama, which is why they’re losing to Oregon here.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 8

Clemson's Tajh Boyd is Still Very Much in Control of Heisman Race, Though Jameis Winston is Gaining

Tajh Boyd is Still Very Much in Control of Heisman Race, Though Jameis Winston is Gaining

Like the national Heisman race, the ACC‘s version is packed very tightly with a bevy of spectacular passers leading undefeated teams. There’s very few ways to separate any of these players from each other, but we try our best with what we have at hand. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (1,970 total yards, 20 total TD, 2 INT, 66.5% completion) (Last: 1)

No, Boyd’s performance against Boston College wasn’t amazing, but at the end of the day, he still managed over 360 total yards and two TDs. In a game that only featured 38 combined points between the two teams, I’d still say that’s pretty impressive. Under pressure, the senior’s accuracy has fallen off a bit, so that’s something to watch for. Though the main concern at the end of the day is to continue winning football games.

2. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (1,576 total yards, 19 total TD, 2 INT, 73.2% completion) (Last: 2)

Winston had a bye last week, though it’s tough to forget how well he’s played up to this point. He’s played second-fiddle to Boyd all season, but that could all change should he lead FSU to a victory against the Tigers on Saturday. In last year’s ACC Heisman race, EJ Manuel and Boyd were both pretty equal until the ‘Noles beat Clemson in late September. Winston has an opportunity to repeat the feat this year, and truly state his case for the trophy.

3. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,921 total yards, 20 TD, 2 INT, 71% completion) (Last: 3)

Louisville appears bored with their opponents, and that goes double for Bridgewater, whose incredible statistics have fallen off somewhat from the early part of the season, but still possesses one of the best number lines in the entire sport. Just like the two gentlemen in front of him, if Bridgewater can continue to generate wins without many mistakes, his candidacy will only continue to improve. Unfortunately, Friday against UCF is likely to be one of his final performances on a national stage.

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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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ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 8

The ACC's Top Two Teams Faceoff In Front of a National Audience This Weekend

The ACC’s Top Two Teams Face Off In Front of a National Audience This Weekend

We’re finally here. The biggest game in the history of ACC football is upon us, and as a result, college football’s eyes are all directed right at our humble conference. Even last year’s FSU-Clemson matchup couldn’t meet the hype we’ll see leading up to Saturday and I, for one, couldn’t be more excited the country finally cares. 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 8)

1. Clemson Tigers (6-0) (4-0) (Last: 1): It wasn’t pretty or confidence-inducing, but Clemson beat Boston College on Saturday and remained undefeated. That’s really all that was asked of them. Likely looking ahead to their matchup with the ‘Noles, it’s at least a little understandable that Clemson’s attentions were elsewhere. But this Tiger team seems different. No “Clemsoning.” No slip-ups thus far. Just dominant play en route to a huge regular season spectacle this weekend. Everything, from ACC title hopes to Heisman trophies and BCS National Championships, are all on the line.

2. Florida State Seminoles (5-0) (3-0) (Last: 2): Coincidentally, Florida State also had some recent trouble with Boston College as well, so at least both of the league’s top teams are in the same boat. After a bye week, FSU should be well-rested and ready for the speed Clemson’s offense will present. But will the offense loose momentum after the long rest? After the last bye week they put up 62 points so no, I wouldn’t be too worried about this team’s ability to keep running.

3. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (5-0) (1-0) (Last: 3): Stephen Morris, your ankle is terrifying the rest of us — or at least those of us who think it would benefit the league for Miami to be a national power again. The ‘Canes and their quarterback have looked resilient this season, meeting every challenge large and small this season, though there are also some questions about style points (and a distinct lack of them). I don’t buy that argument since a win’s a win, but if they’re going to move up in the BCS title race, I suppose they’ll have to start demolishing the schedule’s less challenging teams.

4. Louisville Cardinals (6-0) (Last: 4): Another game which the Cardinals won easily, but apparently not easy enough according to media observers who dropped the Cards two spots in the latest AP Poll just because. At this point, Louisville fans have stopped caring and are actually embracing their role in this last season of the BCS. It’s a commendable outlook for a program that deserves better than the general dismissal they’re seeing from the larger college football consciousness.

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 8

Florida State at Clemson in Primetime on ABC is All You Care About This Weekend

Florida State at Clemson in Primetime on ABC is All You Care About This Football 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 8 TV Schedule & Spreads

Thursday, October 17

Miami Hurricanes at North Carolina Tar Heels (+8.5), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Friday, October 18

UCF Knights at Louisville Cardinals (-12), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday, October 19

Syracuse Orange at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-7), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Maryland Terrapins at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+6.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Duke Blue Devils at Virginia Cavaliers (-2.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Old Dominion Monarchs at Pittsburgh Panthers (No Line), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Florida State Seminoles at Clemson Tigers (+3), 8 p.m. ET, ABC

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ACC Football 2013 Week 7 Lessons: College Gameday, Top-Five Matchup Set Between Clemson and Florida State

Florida State Visits Clemson in a Huge Top-5 Matchup on College Gameday This Saturday

College Gameday Features Florida State and Clemson in a Huge Top-5 Matchup  This Saturday

Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 7 of the ACC football season:

1. Next Saturday’s top-five showdown is on: After Clemson finally got past Boston College (way to scare the rest of us, Tigers), it officially set us up for one of the biggest weekends in ACC football history. College Gameday returns to Death Valley for the second time this season, and we get a top-five matchup on top of it. Florida State‘s fairly untested and the Tigers have been among the top five or so literally all season. Whoever wins will have both an inside track at winning the Atlantic Division and possibly playing for a National Championship come January. Saturday night will be an electric atmosphere — the type of which this conference needs more of in order to show itself off as one of the nation’s elite leagues.

2. Georgia Tech‘s in a free fall: Ever since dashing out to a 3-0 start, something’s been amiss about the Yellow Jackets. Granted, they’ve had a pretty rough slate these past few weeks (Miami, Virginia Tech and BYU will do that), but now sitting at .500, the season’s taken a bit of a negative turn. With two FCS opponents on the schedule, Tech has to go 4-2 down the stretch in order to wrap up a bowl bid. There’s a significant level of difficulty involved and no guarantees they can pull it off despite fielding a better team than last season’s by far.

3. Boston College is almost back: Yes, BC has lost to both Florida State and Clemson, but let’s focus on the positives: they were incredibly competitive against both as well. In just one year, coach Steve Addazio has this group believing they can win any game on the schedule, which is huge compared to what the last few years entailed. This is a senior-heavy class, so there’s plenty of rebuilding that needs to happen come next year. But with this sort of buy-in so early, the Eagles are well on their way to not just being respectable but competitive once again.

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