With the first week of college football in the books, fans can settle into routines of tailgating, road trips, and hopefully, solid play out of their favorite team. The top of the ACC — Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech — played as advertised. The middle — North Carolina, North Carolina State– gave performances on opposite ends of the spectrum. What will the rest of the season have in store for one of the most intriguing conferences in the land?
Without further ado, a What To Watch For edition of Laces Out, ACC style.
North Carolina State Wolfpack (0-1, 0-0) at Connecticut Huskies: Can Mike Glennon bounce back against a defense that only gave up 59 yards of offense last week? The last time these programs met, Phillip Rivers and Dan Orlvosky were under center.
Maryland Terrapins (1-0, 0-0) at Temple Owls: This one comes down to the ground game. Temple looked strong and physical at the point of attack last week against Villanova. They’ll try to do it again this week against a Maryland team that nearly lost last weekend to William & Mary. If Temple can run it well, the Terps will be forced to play from behind, exposing their young QB Perry Hills.
Penn State Nittany Lions at Virginia Cavaliers (1-0, 0-0): Defense, defense, and defense. Penn State struggled to score against Ohio last week. Virginia is built on a big, strong offensive line and a smothering defense. Keep an eye on UVA defensive tackle Will Hill. He has the ability to disrupt Penn State with penetration on the run and pass.
Miami Hurricanes (1-0, 1-0) at Kansas State Wildcats: The home team here has won 10 straight and 29 of its last 32 home games versus unranked foes. If Duke Johnson continues his breakout party for Miami, that number can change. It will take a much stronger defensive effort out of the Hurricanes than what they put forth in Boston College last week.
Ball State Cardinals at Clemson Tigers (1-0, 0-0): Dabo Swinney’s crew is coming off of their first unbeaten home season (7-0) in 21 years. Odds are Death Valley will extend that streak to start 2012.
Maine Black Bears at Boston College Eagles (0-1, 0-1): If there’s an upset alert in the ACC this weekend, it lies in Chestnut Hill. The Black Bears bring five all conference players into this game. Boston College turned it over three times in a loss to Miami last weekend. If they take care of the ball, they’ll win. If not, things could get ugly in BC.
Austin Peay Governors at Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0, 1-0): This will be the 10th time in the Frank Beamer era that VT is playing two games in the span of five days. Evidence suggests that Hokies fans should sweat the short week, though. VT is 8-1 in the previous nine contests of this kind.
North Carolina Tar Heels (1-0, 0-0) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-0, 0-0): The biggest, best, and, only ACC vs. ACC game of the weekend. Keep an on eye on Wake Forest’s stamina late in the 4th quarter. Larry Fedora’s speedball offense wants to run close to 80 plays on Saturday – they ran 74 vs. Elon last week. If they get to that number, the Demon Deacons could be gassed.
Savannah State Tigers at Florida State Seminoles (1-0, 0-0): Forget the actual game. A 70-point spread is the story here.
Presbyterian Blue Hose at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: (0-1, 0-1): Paul Johnson’s offense has averaged over 300 rushing yards per game over the last 53 contests. They were held to under 200 in a loss to Virginia Tech on Monday. Expect the numbers to right themselves on Saturday.
Duke Blue Devils (1-0, 0-0) at Stanford Cardinal: Can the Blue Devils slow down the Cardinal rushing attack to keep them from winning the time of possession battle? The Blue Devils ranked on 73rd in the nation last year in rushing defense. If they can hold Stanford on the ground, their offense has the fire power to score to win a game like this against an unproven quarterback In Josh Nunes.