ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 2 (Part 2)

After a Come-From-Behind Win Over BYU, Can Virginia Find a Way to Upset the Ducks on Saturday?

After a Come-From-Behind Win Over BYU, Can Virginia Find a Way to Upset the Ducks?

Welcome to part two of this week’s previews and predictions! Here’s part one if you missed it.

Western Carolina Catamounts (0-1) at Virginia Tech Hokies (0-1) (0-0): The Hokies are hungry to put last week’s disaster behind them, and rightfully so. Despite holding Alabama to just 206 yards of offense, special teams and their own offensive mistakes ultimately doomed them to a lopsided loss. Logan Thomas isn’t the only reason the offense was completely ineffective on Saturday — plenty of receivers dropped passes — but it still appears that he hasn’t progressed past last season’s struggles. He’ll have an opportunity to shake that feeling this weekend, however, against the incredibly overmatched Catamounts. The 41.5-point line on this one sounds a bit aggressive, but there’s no reason why Tech shouldn’t win handedly. Prediction: Virginia Tech 41, WCU 7

Oregon Ducks (1-0) at Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) (0-0): Virginia’s defense bailed them out last week, as the offense still attempts to get its bearings with David Watford at the helm. This week, it’s unlikely they’re so lucky, though. The Ducks will have two Heisman candidates (Marcus Mariota, De’Anthony Thomas) on the field on nearly every offensive play, plus more team speed than the Hoos can possibly compete with all at once. It shouldn’t be seen as a sign of a season dead in the water for Virginia, but Oregon is going to run away with this one. Improved defense or not, there’s just very little UVa can do about it. Prediction: Oregon 49, Virginia 13

Old Dominion Monarchs (0-1) at Maryland Terrapins (1-0) (0-0): Maryland looks like a team reborn after last week’s offensive showing (43 points), while Old Dominion actually doesn’t look too shabby themselves after putting up 38 in a loss to East Carolina. But the Terps should have very little trouble in this game. The defense, though young, looks like it may be able to measure up to last season’s standards, and as long as everyone stays healthy (no guarantee), the offense should continue firing on all cylinders. C.J. Brown should have plenty of protection when operating out of the pocket, and given ODU’s status still transitioning to the FBS, he’ll probably be able to take advantage of a size discrepancy while on the run as well. Prediction: Maryland 52, ODU 20

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 2

Duke Johnson Leads the 'Canes in a Tough Early Test Against the SEC's Florida Gators

Duke Johnson Leads the ‘Canes in a Tough Early Test Against the SEC’s Florida Gators

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 2 TV Schedule & Spreads

Friday, September 6

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Boston College Eagles (-3), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2

Saturday, September 7

Florida Gators at Miami Hurricanes (+3), noon ET, ESPN

Eastern Kentucky Colonels at Louisville Cardinals (-41), noon ET, ESPN 3

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders at North Carolina Tar Heels (-17.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

South Carolina State Bulldogs at Clemson Tigers (-52.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Western Carolina Catamounts at Virginia Tech Hokies (-41.5), 1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Oregon Ducks at Virginia Cavaliers (+22), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Old Dominion Monarchs at Maryland Terrapins (-18), 4 p.m. ET, ESPNEWS

Duke Blue Devils at Memphis Tigers (+6), 4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Richmond Spiders at NC State Wolfpack (-23), 6 p.m.ET, ESPN3

Syracuse Orange at Northwestern Wildcats (-12), 6 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2013 College Football Top 25 Rankings: Week 1

The Two-Time Defending National Champs, Alabama, Picks Up Right Where it Left Off

The Two-Time Defending National Champs, Alabama, Picks Up Right Where it Left Off

After one week of game action, don’t be too surprised at what you see below. With minimal upsets in the top 25, there wasn’t a ton of shake-up, though it was certainly interesting to see which teams were ready to be considered among the best in the nation. A few others, on the other hand, displayed some of the characteristics which instilled doubt in them the entire offseason — giving way to even more doubt.

Completely disagree with the way in which these teams are ordered? Believe that you’re better at ranking teams that have yet to play a game? Share your thoughts/gripes/manifestos in the comments.

Atlantic Coast Convos 2013 Top 25 (Week 1)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) (Last: 1)

2. Stanford Cardinal (0-0) (Last: 2)

3. Oregon Ducks (1-0) (Last: 3)

4. Texas A&M Aggies (1-0) (Last: 4)

5. Clemson Tigers (1-0) (Last: 8)

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0) (Last: 6)

7. South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0) (Last: 7)

8. Louisville Cardinals (1-0) (Last: 9)

9. Florida Gators (1-0) (Last: 10)

10. Florida State Seminoles (1-0) (Last: 13)

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ACC Football 2013 Season Preview: Syracuse Orange

Jerome Smith and the Syracuse Running Game Hope to Guide the Orange Back to the Postseason

Jerome Smith and the Syracuse Running Game Hope to Guide the Orange Back to the Postseason

Team: Syracuse Orange

2012 W-L: 8-5 (5-2 in Big East)

Head Coach: Scott Shafer (0-0; first season)

Returning Starters: 12 (6 Offense, 6 Defense)

After pulling his alma mater out from college football exile (more or less), former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone headed off to “greener” pastures this offseason: Buffalo, to coach the NFL’s Bills. While some might argue that he wasn’t exactly done with the job — after all, this was a program that just a decade or so ago was finishing in the top 15-20 every year — you can’t say he didn’t leave the program in infinitely better shape than how he inherited it. Most important in that is the Orange’s move to the ACC, and now without Marrone, they’ve got quite the challenge ahead of them. There’s faith that new coach Scott Shafer should keep the team on an upward trajectory, but it won’t be easy to keep the small private school from Upstate New York climbing.

All the concern — for this season, anyway — starts off with the changes on offense. QB Ryan Nassib is gone after a superb senior campaign, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett (the architect of last year’s attack) followed Marrone to Buffalo. Last year’s top two receivers are gone too, as are standout linemen Justin Pugh and Zach Chibane. So needless to say, there’s plenty of rebuilding to be done. To replace Nassib, the team is still deciding between Terrel Hunt and Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen, both of whom look ready for the job (though my money’s on Allen) and a nice change of pace from the former SU record-breaker. Hunt, a junior, is a dual-threat, while Allen is a more polished pro-style passer, and it’s likely both will see plenty of playing time this year. As far as who’s catching passes, it’s Jarrod West and tight end Beckett Wales, most importantly, with a lot of unproven alternatives along with them. The line has more experience than most realize — Sean Hickey and Macky MacPherson have both seen plenty of playing time — and despite the losses, I think this group actually holds up compared to last season. Finally, George McDonald takes over the offense, and admittedly, we don’t really know what we’re getting there.

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2013 Preseason Top 25

Without Chip Kelly, Does Oregon Still Have a Shot at a National Title?

Without Chip Kelly, Do the Oregon Ducks Still Have a Shot at a National Title This Fall?

It’s almost here! The 2013 college football season is just a few short weeks away, so it’s now socially acceptable to rank teams based on nothing prior to the games starting. Yes, we’ve all been doing this for the entire offeseason, but it feels more “real” now, doesn’t it? The fact that I can clearly see my Labor Day weekend being the wall-to-wall college football marathon I very much want it to be simply warms my heart. I’m sure it warms yours as well.

Completely disagree with the way in which these teams are ordered? Believe that you’re better at ranking teams that have yet to play a game? Share your thoughts/gripes/manifestos in the comments.

Atlantic Coast Convos 2013 Top 25 (August 12)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (Last: 1)

2. Stanford Cardinal (Last: 2)

3. Oregon Ducks (Last: 4)

4. Texas A&M Aggies (Last: 3)

5. Georgia Bulldogs (Last: 5)

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (Last: 6)

7. South Carolina Gamecocks (Last: 7)

8. Clemson Tigers (Last: 8)

9. Louisville Cardinals (Last: 9)

10. Florida Gators (Last: 10)

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Atlantic Coast Convos Early 2013 Top 25 (July 8)

Can Texas or Oklahoma State Emerge From the Big 12 to Contend for a National Title?

Can Texas or Oklahoma State Emerge From the Big 12 to Contend for a National Title?

It’s July! So the next time we turn the calendar, we’ll officially be within one month of the start of college football season. Thus, this is no longer a “too early” projection, and now just reads as “early,” since that makes such a marked difference. As always when you’re basing rankings on nothing but how a team “looks” to you, things have changed from last month’s poll, as you’ll notice below. Completely disagree? Believe that you’re better at ranking teams that have yet to play a game (and are over two months away from doing so)? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Atlantic Coast Convos 2013 Top 25 (July 8)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (Last: 1)

2. Stanford Cardinal (Last: 2)

3. Texas A&M Aggies (Last: 3)

4. Oregon Ducks (Last: 4)

5. Georgia Bulldogs (Last: 5)

6. Ohio State Buckeyes (Last: 6)

7. South Carolina Gamecocks (Last: 7)

8. Clemson Tigers (Last: 8)

9. Louisville Cardinals (Last: 9)

10. Florida Gators (Last: 10)

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ACC Football 2013 Payback Games: Syracuse

Will This Year's Syracuse-Northwestern Matchup Be a Repeat of Last Year's 42-41 Thriller?

Will This Year’s Syracuse-Northwestern Matchup Be a Repeat of Last Year’s 42-41 Thriller?

Every team in the ACC has a couple games they wish they had back from 2012. Whether they didn’t bring their A-game, or the other guys just got lucky, every school would love another shot at an opponent, for the ability to prove it won’t happen again. Luckily, because of conference play and parity in the ACC, many will get a chance at redemption immediately, with rematches already on the books for 2013.

As part of our 2013 college football season preview, we’ll be running through the biggest “payback” games for each school. As no team finished with just one loss, there are likely multiple choices for each — none more “right’ than another, necessarily. Still, every selection should help provide some extra motivation for fans as they gear up for this season’s slate of games.

Team: Syracuse Orange

Opponent: Northwestern Wildcats

Last Year: Loss, 42-41 vs. Northwestern

This Year: September 7 at Northwestern

Syracuse wouldn’t wait very long to spring their new up-tempo, pass-happy offense on the 2012 college football season. Right from the onset, anyone who’d watched the Orange beforehand saw a much different, more dynamic offense on the field, even as they failed to score very often through the first half or so of their opening game vs. Northwestern. In fact, down 35-13 halfway through the third quarter, it seemed like more of a failed experiment for Syracuse than anything else. Then suddenly, something clicked.

By the end of the third, SU was only down eight, courtesy of two touchdown passes from Ryan Nassib. Another two scoring drives in the fourth (another two TDs tossed by Nassib) and Syracuse held a 41-35 lead with just two minutes and 40 seconds to play. What happened next still irks Syracuse fans (including yours truly) today: Kain Colter drove NU down the field fairly well, but was handed the gift of a questionable personal foul call while already in Orange territory. The 15-yard penalty, tacked on at the end of a run, all but assured the Wildcats would put the ball in the end zone. They did with just 44 seconds left on the clock, taking a one-point lead. Deflated following a stunning turn of events, SU couldn’t get in scoring range and would ultimately fall to 0-1 on the season.

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