ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 3

Vad Lee Leads Georgia Tech to Durham to Face Coastal Rival Duke

QB Vad Lee Leads Georgia Tech to Durham to Face Coastal Division Rival Duke This Saturday

Another week, another big ACC win this season. Might as well continue riding the wave of good vibes and hope the conference’s top teams continue winning — Clemson is ranked third in the country at this point, you know. 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

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0) (0-0) at Duke Blue Devils (2-0) (0-0): Georgia Tech looked phenomenal in game one, while Duke’s getting used to life without starting quarterback Anthony Boone. The Blue Devils’ defense has shown improvement through two games, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to put a stop to Tech’s revitalized offensive attack. Vad Lee was incredibly efficient to start the year and with a more versatile attack (still centered on the triple-option, of course), Tech is looking to top 2012′s 7-7 finish. This one will be close for as long as Duke backup Brandon Connette keeps it that way, but eventually, he’s going to be forced into a mistake by the Wreck defense. Once he does, it’s all over from there. Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, Duke 26

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

Louisville Cardinals (2-0) at Kentucky Wildcats (1-1): Louisville’s started the year on a tear, and that’s not about to change against the cross-state Wildcats. Kentucky’s played pretty solid pass defense against its two opponents thus far (just 147 yards allowed per game), but then again, neither had much of a passing game to speak of either. Despite Mark Stoops’s specialty with the secondary, his UK team just isn’t up to snuff at this point, leaving plenty of opportunities for Teddy Bridgewater to continue padding his impressive numbers. Kentucky should be able to put up some points, but for the Cards, this will be treated like a track meet if necessary. They have no intentions of losing this contest with so much on the line. Prediction: Louisville 41, Kentucky 23

Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1) (0-0) at East Carolina Pirates (2-0): What would normally be an easy non-conference matchup turns into a pretty harrowing contest for Virginia Tech this Saturday against East Carolina. Not only is the game on the road, but ECU is extremely proficient at the main thing Tech isn’t: scoring points, with an average of 41.5 in two contests so far. With offensive production mostly out of the question, that’ll leave it up to the Hokies defense to try and create scoring opportunities similar to what they did against Western Carolina last week. The Pirates also have their own penchant for forcing turnovers (four this year), and if Tech falls behind early, it could spell doom for them. It’ll be close, but count on Frank Beamer’s defense to find a way at the end. Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, ECU 27

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 3

Florida State and Jameis Winston Take on Nevada on Saturday as One of the ACC's Featured Games

Florida State and Jameis Winston Take on Nevada on Saturday in One of the ACC’s Featured Games

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 3 TV Schedule & Spreads

Saturday, September 14

Louisville Cardinals at Kentucky Wildcats (+14), noon ET, ESPN

Virginia Tech Hokies at East Carolina Pirates (+7.5), noon ET, Fox Sports 1

UL-Monroe Warhawks at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-3.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gamplan

New Mexico Lobos at Pittsburgh Panthers (-21.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gamplan

Boston College Eagles at USC Trojans (-14), 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Duke Blue Devils (+8), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Nevada Wolf Pack at Florida State Seminoles (-32.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Wagner Seahawks at Syracuse Orange (-27.5), 4 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Maryland Terrapins at Connecticut Huskies (+7), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #80-71

The Oregon Ducks Pay a Visit to Virginia in Charlottesville This Fall

The Oregon Ducks Pay a Visit to Virginia in Charlottesville This Fall

The 2013 ACC football schedule has officially been released, meaning we finally have some clarity as to whom the conference’s 14 teams will face-off with from week-to-week next season. So with that in mind, we thought it would be an entertaining undertaking to rank all 112 ACC football games for 2013 because, well… it’s the offseason.

Today, we take a quick glance at numbers 80 through 71; several in-conference games in this list, as an unfortunate result of the league’s severe imbalance between its best and worst teams, respectively. Additionally, there’s a marked uptick in quality of non-conference games as well — though we’re still nowhere near the highlights of the ACC slate.

#80: Florida State Seminoles at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Saturday, November 9)

#79: Boston College Eagles at Clemson Tigers (Saturday, October 12)

#78: UL-Monroe Warhawks at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Saturday, September 14)

#77: Maryland Terrapins at Virginia Tech Hokies (Saturday, November 16)

#76: Maryland Terrapins at Connecticut Huskies (Saturday, September 14)

#75: East Carolina Pirates at North Carolina Tar Heels (Saturday, September 28)

#74: Maryland Terrapins at Florida State Seminoles (Saturday, October 5)

#73: Clemson Tigers at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday, November 2)

#72: Clemson Tigers at Maryland Terrapins (Saturday, October 5)

#71: Oregon Ducks at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday, September 7)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • The 10 games appear on eight different dates
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent leagues: Big East (1), C-USA (1), Pac-12 (1), Sun Belt (1)
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent home states: Connecticut (1), Louisiana (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: Four public

Previously: #112-101, #100-91, #90-81

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Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2012: Week 11

The BCS Computers Are Coming Around On the Ducks, and So is Our Hypothetical Playoff

Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years 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 who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. Also, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Top Eight Seeds (in order): Alabama, Kansas StateOregon, Notre Dame, Georgia, FloridaLSU, South Carolina

Semifinal 1: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Notre Dame

Semifinal 2: #2 Kansas State vs. #3 Oregon

National Championship Game: Alabama over Oregon

Thus far this year, there’s a top four, and then everyone else. That may change, but with the evidence we’ve amassed through nine games, these are your best teams and a playoff would be the perfect way to decide which of them is best. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait on that in real life, but here, we get to “watch” it play out. I’m more and more convinced each week that Oregon and Alabama would be the most fun you’ll ever have watching a National Championship Game, while ND vs. Alabama could be the most insufferable of all possibilities. Unless LSU creeps back into the top four, it’s hard to visualize another team punching ‘Bama in the mouth quite like the Tigers did last Saturday night.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2012: Week 10

Despite Their Continued Drop in the BCS Rankings, it’s Hard to Ignore Oregon

Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years 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 who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. Also, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Top Eight Seeds (in order): Alabama, Kansas StateNotre Dame, Oregon, LSU, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina

Semifinal 1: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Oregon

Semifinal 2: #2 Kansas State vs. #3 Notre Dame

National Championship Game: Alabama over Kansas State

While there was plenty of upheaval in and around the top 10 this weekend, we also saw some separation begin to occur. There’s little doubt that the top four teams listed here are the best in the country. Now the problems concern where they’re supposed to be seeded, and why we can’t just skip the waiting period and have a playoff this year. As SB Nation’s Bill Connelly so accurately pointed out yesterday, “We have a playoff emergency.”

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

 

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Hypothetical College Foootball Playoffs 2012: Week Nine

Alabama Continues to Look Invincible, Both on the Field and in Our Projections

Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years 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 who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. Also, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Top Eight Seeds (in order): Alabama, FloridaKansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame, LSU, Oregon State, Oklahoma

Semifinal 1: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Oregon

Semifinal 2: #2 Florida vs. #3 Kansas State

National Championship Game: Alabama over Kansas State

Oregon moved down again this week, however, they still have what may amount to four games against top 25 competition (and three against top-10 foes) left, meaning they could very well vault themselves right back up the line by season’s end. While ‘Bama-K-State may not sound like the most alluring matchup we could come up with, it’s still very much a battle of strengths: Tide defense vs. Wildcats offense.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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Assessing Clemson: What Can We Take From the Tigers’ First Two Games?

Clemson Has Looked Good Through Two Games This Season, But Are Looks Deceiving? We Discuss.

The Clemson Tigers have looked pretty impressive through two games, but of course, we know there are concerns, too — some of which may not fully come to light until their big matchup with Florida State on September 22. Recognizing this, resident Clemson fan Joel Penning and I had a quick chat about some of the pressing issues thus far, addressing offensive tempo, Sammy Watkins‘s return, the run game and more. Check it out below, and enjoy the game this afternoon!

Clemson OC Chad Morris has promised to push the tempo even more. Is it possible?

Joel: When he arrived at Clemson, Chad Morris said he’d like to run 75-80 plays per game. The Tigers met that mark last year at 75.4. Morris’ offenses weren’t much quicker at Tulsa, where the Golden Hurricane ran 77.4 plays per game in 2010.  But the more plays you run, the more chances you have to score. Clemson is on track to match last year’s results, but the length of the game and the persistence of a defense that has trouble getting off the field will limit the offense’s effectiveness. The most effective hurry-up offenses are paired with competent defenses; otherwise, every quick score can easily be matched by a slower, more plodding score that eats up the clock. It’s just a question of game management. So ultimately, I have a hard time seeing Clemson top 80 plays per game.

John: I’d agree with that. Competing directly with amazing defenses like Florida State and Virginia Tech, I find it hard to believe that shootouts are the way to go. Against a shoddy defense? Sure, bombs away, and dare them to score on you. But against teams like that, you’re giving them opportunities to create turnovers, and letting you beat yourself at your own game. Running 75 plays per game has worked pretty well to this point, and I think it’ll yield better results as the defense improves.

The run defense is a travesty. Will it end up being the team’s undoing once ACC play begins?

JP: Brent Venables was hired to shore up a shaky defense, but two games into 2012, the Tigers are giving up more yards per play than last year. Kevin Steele largely failed during his three years to check option-based offenses, whether the triple-option of Georgia Tech or the zone-read of Cam Newton-led Auburn or the new Steve Spurrier attack. This year in Atlanta, Clemson did pretty well against that type of play, although maybe the departure of Gus Malzahn has accelerated Auburn’s return to a more traditional pro-style. Two games into the season, it’s hard to make a definitive judgment, but my general impression is that defenders are more willing to give up short runs in order to avoid being gassed by option plays. Georgia Tech on October 6 will determine Venables’ success in the minds of a lot of Clemson fans. But to answer the question more directly, Clemson had its most successful season in 20 years despite an awful defense. The Orange Bowl sticks in everyone’s mind, but it was offensive ineptitude that lost games to NC State, GT, and South Carolina.  With the inauspicious start for the Wolfpack, I’m still confident slotting Clemson second in the Atlantic, despite its weakness against the run.

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