Top Storylines for Week Four in the ACC

By B.L. Lippert
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd Prepares to Throw Downfield
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Week three was relatively uneventful for teams in the ACC.  That is, unless you are a Wake Forest fan.

Saturday’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe marks a low point in the program and moves their recent successes in the mid-2000s into the rear view mirror.

Week four looks to have a number of lopsided match-ups, but there are still a few intriguing storylines to follow as some of the top ACC games are looming on the horizon.

Here’s a look at three storylines to follow for week four:

1.) Can North Carolina State pull off another shocking victory against Clemson?

Last year, the Wolfpack had one of the bigger upsets in the country when they beat the previously undefeated and No. 3 ranked Florida State Seminoles.  This year, they once again host the No. 3 ranked team in the country, the Clemson Tigers.

While it seems preposterous that they can knock off the Tigers, the same was said last year.  They are currently a two touchdown underdog and are playing without quarterback Brandon Mitchell, so the deck is stacked against them.

Clemson is a veteran team with lots of big game experience, and if they can handle the tough task of playing on the road on Thursday night, they should have no problem with the Wolfpack.

2.) Is Maryland for real?

Given their 4-8 record a year ago, Maryland fans are excited about their 3-0 start in 2013.  Tempering their enthusiasm is the knowledge that those wins haven’t come against quality opponents.  That makes this week’s battle against West Virginia a good litmus test for the Terrapins.

Senior quarterback CJ Brown has played brilliantly thus far but faces a dramatically improved Mountaineers defense.  He has some weapons at his disposal, including all-everything wide receiver Stefon Diggs.  If they can find a way to get the ball into his hands consistently, they can pull out a victory and move to 4-0.  If not, they might not have the firepower to do so.

3.) Is North Carolina a serious contender in the ACC Coastal?

A number of college football analysts predicted that the North Carolina Tar Heels had the talent to win the ACC Coastal division in 2013.  Saturday’s game against the defending Coastal champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets could go a long way in determining whether or not that is realistic.  If the Tar Heels lose to Georgia Tech, it might be hard for them to make up that game, although they do have a favorable ACC schedule.

Quarterback Bryn Renner hasn’t been quite as productive to start the 2013 season, and it might not get better as he’s facing the number one ranked defense in the country right now (although those numbers could be inflated because of the competition they’ve faced).  If the Tar Heels have any chance on the road Saturday, they’ll need Renner to play like he did at the end of 2012.

A loss won’t end their chances in the ACC, but it would certainly be deflating to a team with high expectations.

Enjoy the weekend.

B.L. is an ACC football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip and on Google.

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