ACCBlogger.com picks week 11 in the ACC…
- 11/08/12 – No. 8 Florida State (8-1, 5-1) [-13.5] @ Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3) / 7:30 p.m. ET / ESPN
The Lead: Round three of Thursday ACCtion is what was supposed to be the preview of the ACC title game, and still can be, but with both teams needing a lot of help for that to happen.
Watch 4: ‘Noles to find a way on road, in tough atmosphere
Will home-FSU make the trip to Blacksburg Thursday night? In the friendly confines of Doak Campbell against FBS competition, FSU is scoring more than three touchdowns per game than on the road (50-26.3 PPG) and more than 200 yards offensively (622-404.7), while defensively, they’ve only given up one more point per game (18-17) on the road. Speaking of erratic, Virginia Tech. The Hokies are the definition – offense, defense and special teams, as we saw last Thursday, and the home-field (and cold temps) can only go so far. Home teams in the Thursday ESPN games have lost 6-of-11 this season, but have covered 6-of-11 too. The Seminoles are a much better team, but we shall see if they can finally put it together on the road.
The Picks: Brandon Rink – FSU 34-17; Griffin Wong – FSU 28-17; J.J. Greenstein – FSU 31-19; Billy Watson – FSU 28-24;
- 11/10/12 – Miami (5-4, 4-2) @ Virginia (3-6, 1-4) [-1] / 12:00 p.m. ET / ABC
The Lead: Vegas, and the stats coming in, ignore the records and division-standing, as Virginia rides a one-game winning streak as the narrow favorite over Coastal-leading Miami.
Watch 4: Miami to take another step towards Coastal crown
Gut-feeling pick. In many respects, the stats are even offensively (rushing offense ranking: UM – 94/UVa. – 83; passing offense: UM – 34/UVa. – 36; total offense: UM – 58/UVa. – 56), but on defense, Virginia is in the top-40 in total, pass and rush defense, while Miami is 113th in total D, 119th in rushing D and 69th in pass D. Oh, and the ‘Canes could be missing a starter in the secondary and at linebacker. Why like Miami here? Virginia hasn’t played especially well at home (1-3 vs. FBS opponents), while Miami has two road ACC wins (BC and Georgia Tech). Their two road losses were both to top-5 teams (Kansas State and Notre Dame in Chicago), and averaged 512 yards and 41.5 points in those wins. And defensively, Miami has slowly, albeit really slowly, improved, holding the last three teams to 21.3 points per (1-2 in those games) after surrendering almost five touchdowns per in the first six.
The Picks: Rink – Miami 27-24; Wong – Miami 24-14; Greenstein – Miami 28-24; Vandiford – Miami 35-14; Watson – Miami 24-10;
- Georgia Tech (4-5, 3-3) @ UNC (6-3, 3-2) [-9] / 12:30 p.m. ET / ACC Network
The Lead: UNC’s spoiler tour continues, after basically beating rival NC State twice, and this week, can keep the division-foe Yellow Jackets home for the holidays.
Watch 4: UNC to slow GT rushing game enough, put up points
Georgia Tech hit the road last week and took care of business, never really letting Maryland breath in a 33-13 win. The challenge increases in Chapel Hill though, with a UNC team fresh off exorcising some demons against NC State – dropping 43 points and 534 yards. They have all-purpose threat running back Gio Bernard, who by himself, has nearly 1,500 yards with 15 touchdowns. UNC has a 19th-ranked rush defense (111 YPG), but Paul Johnson has to be salivating over the 234 yards Duke ran for a couple weeks ago to dominate much of the game. If I had more faith the Jackets as a team, this might be an upset alert, but Larry Fedora has him team ready off the bye.
The Picks: Rink – UNC 41-31; Wong – UNC 23-17; Greenstein – UNC 24-14; Vandiford – UNC 34-24; Watson – UNC 23-17;
- Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4) @ NC State (5-4, 2-3) [-8] / 3:00 p.m. ET / RSN
The Lead: A season of struggles for both Atlantic rivals yields the bowl eligibility bowl in Raliegh here in early November, where we see if State rallies or continues its descent this season.
Watch 4: State passing game to push Pack over top, out of funk
Almost literally nothing went right for NC State last week – 40 rushing yards and 4.3 yards per pass in the 33-6 loss to Virginia. Odds-on, they will be improved, but how much? Tom O’Brien has had his fair share of puzzling losses, and also been able to rally the troops from them. The Deacs bounced-back from some of their struggles in a win over BC, 28-14, with Michael Campanaro’s return to the lineup for a second week from a broken hand the factor (16 catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns). State comes off their worst passing performance of the season (197), but have the overall matchup advantage – averaging 294.7 yards per game (24th nationally) while the Deacs are giving up a 96th-ranked 261 yards per game. As I said in the bowl projections, this might be Wake’s best shot at bowl eligibility, but State has to respond here (right?).
The Picks: Rink – NCSU 27-17; Wong – NCSU 24-20; Greenstein – NCSU 7-3; Vandiford – NC State 28-21; Watson – NCSU 27-21;
- Maryland (4-5, 2-3) @ No. 10 Clemson (8-1, 5-1) [-31.5] / 3:30 p.m. ET / ESPNU
The Lead: The great Maryland quarterback experiment takes its show on the road to Clemson, where the Tigers are rolling, and seek a school-record 12th-straight home win.
Watch 4: Clemson to continue to build its case for a BCS bowl
The Tar Heel State road trip was kind to the Tigers, jumping into the top-10 nationally in total (522.4 YPG) and passing (324.4 YPG) offense in twin blowouts at Wake Forest (42-13) and Duke (56-20). Besides the whole linebacker-at-at-QB thing, Randy Edsall is also seeing slow declines defensively, exacerbated by leading-tackler Demetrius Hartsfield’s ACL injury this week. Rising as high as seventh in total defense after five games, the Terps have since given up 357.3 yards and 23.3 points per game – not bad (mid-30s in total and mid-40s in scoring D there nationally), but still trending the wrong way going into the wrong game for that. Update: Maryland is also missing all-purpose leader Stefon Diggs and leading rusher Wes Brown with ankle injuries. I just have no words on the Terps so-so-so-unlucky injury woes.
The Picks: Rink – Clemson 45-10; Wong – Clemson 27-3; Greenstein – Clemson 41-10; Vandiford – Clemson 44-17; Watson – Clemson 45-13;
- No. 4 Notre Dame (9-0) [-19] @ Boston College (2-7, 1-5) / 8:00 p.m. ET / ABC
The Lead: The eyes of this fine country will be on Chestnut Hill, where they get to see Notre Dame…and 2-7 BC.
Watch 4: Irish to over-power Eagles
BC’s problem is last week’s 3OT struggle against Pitt was probably the wakeup call for the undefeated Irish, and while Notre Dame isn’t lighting it up offensively – BC’s track record against elite-to-good defenses this season isn’t encouraging (Notre Dame 2nd in scoring D; BC has averaged 260 yards and 13.5 points against the two top-20 defenses faced). For entertainment’s sake, let’s hope the Eagles can at least make it interesting into the fourth quarter.
The Picks: Rink – ND 34-16; Wong – ND 30-6; Greenstein – ND 31-14; Vandiford – ND 31-6; Watson – ND 24-21;
Season Pick Records: Rink – 60-15 (34-25-2 ATS, FBS v. FBS games); Wong – 57-16; Greenstein – 52-23; Vandiford – 48-25; Watson 16-11.