Previewing Week Three in ACC Football
College football’s biggest story lines this week center around the SEC</strong> (of course). Will Tyler Wilson play when No. 1 Alabama comes to Fayetteville? Can ULM‘s Kolton Browning singlehandedly upset another SEC power at Auburn? Who’ll win the big Third Saturday in September game between Florida and Tennessee? But that doesn’t mean ACC football fans don’t have anything exciting to watch.
Here’s the rundown on this week’s ACC football schedule:
Wake Forest at Florida State, noon, ESPN
Finally Florida State gets to pick on someone its own size. The ‘Noles are picked to win by four touchdowns, but the Demon Deacons have been their Achilles’ heel in recent seasons. Last year, Wake beat Florida State, 35-30, for the fourth time in six seasons, but they’re coming off a tough win over North Carolina last Saturday. Florida State, meanwhile, has whipped Murray State and Savannah State, but this will be the first opportunity to see if the Seminoles might be as good as advertised.
Virginia Tech at Pitt, noon, ESPNU; Bethune-Cookman at Miami, noon ESPN3
Nothing to see here, folks. Pitt has been abysmal and the Hokies should beat them handily. If they don’t, it’ll be a big blow to the already-mediocre perception of ACC football around the nation.
Connecticut at Maryland, 12:30, ESPN3
The Edsall Bowl could be a close one, but it probably won’t be a very pretty one. I’m not going to pick Maryland to win two weeks in a row, but I’m not going to pick UConn to beat them, either. I will, however, predict that Terps’ fans will wish UConn defensive coordinator Don Brown was still in College Park. The Huskies’ defense is among the top three scoring defenses in the country, and even with the return of Maryland senior safety Matt Robinson, the Terps’ D won’t measure up – and I don’t even want to think about the things such a staunch defense might do to true freshman QB Perry Hills.
Furman at Clemson, 3:00, ESPNU
Sammy Watkins gets to stretch his legs in his first game back from suspension. He probably won’t get too much action, because the Tigers should be able to put Furman away pretty early.
North Carolina at Louisville, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2
Louisville is ranked at No. 19 and quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater has completed 87% of his passes this season. UNC gave up an early lead to Wake Forest last week and, without star running back Giovani Bernard, couldn’t come back to win. Bernard is probable for this week, but the Tar Heels defense, which gave up more than 300 yards in the air to Wake’s Tanner Price, will have its hands full with Bridgewater.
Virginia at Georgia Tech, 3:30, ESPNU
Virginia was my preseason dark horse pick to win the ACC Coastal Division, but the Cavaliers struggled to knock off Penn State last weekend, and they’ll be down a few starters this week. Offensive lineman Cody Wallace is still out with a leg injury suffered in the opener against Richmond, and wide receiver Tim Smith and defensive end Bill Schautz are doubtful. To balance things out, the Yellow Jackets are also missing key starters including linebacker Daniel Drummond and running back Charles Perkins. UVA won last season, but Georgia Tech might edge them this time.
Boston College at Northwestern, 3:30, Big Ten Network
The Eagles have struggled recently, and while they’re coming off a resounding win over FCS Maine, the Northwestern Wildcats are sitting at 2-0 after beating Syracuse on a last-minute touchdown and then beating Vanderbilt, 24-13. To put it in perspective, Syracuse hung with USC until the fourth quarter last week, while Vandy nearly knocked off South Carolina in the first game of the year, so Northwestern’s playing well. BC will have a big challenge getting a road win this Saturday.
South Alabama at North Carolina State, 6 p.m., ESPN3
South Alabama has never won a game against an FBS team. In its first-ever game against an FBS team, last year at NC State, the Wolfpack won, 35-13. If they win this week, it’ll be a huge upset, second only to Louisiana-Monroe’s win over Arkansas last week.
North Carolina Central at Duke, 7 p.m. ESPN3
They’re calling it the Bull City Gridiron Classic, but in just the second meeting in the series, it’s too early to call FCS North Carolina Central and Duke crosstown rivals. The Blue Devils got squashed by the Stanford Cardinal in California last weekend, and while no game is a “guaranteed” win, this week’s is probably as close as Duke will get.