ACCBlogger.com picks week 12 in the ACC…
- 11/15/12 – UNC (6-4, 3-3) [-3.5] @ Virginia (4-6, 2-4) / 7:30 p.m. ET / ESPN
The Lead: Round four of Thursday ACCtion is the 117th installment of “The South’s Oldest Rivalry” – UNC going for a second win-in-a-row in Charlottesville after losing 14-straight up to 2010.
Watch 4: Surging ‘Hoos to bring ACC home teams to 2-2 on Thursdays
Suddenly, Virginia is playing well, and in turn, UNC isn’t. Virginia had 20 turnovers in its first eight games (going 2-6) – ranking dead-last nationally in turnover margin, but in the last two, not coincidentally wins – accounted for two turnovers while averaging 37 points and 464 yards per game. The ‘Hoos are on a similar upswing to last season’s four-game winning streak, averaging a 26-17 final with a couple road wins in that run. UNC is smarting off the 68-50 home loss to Georgia Tech, and have given up 544 yards and 44.3 points per in their last three games. The ACC did them no favors by a road trip on the short turnaround, and Virginia is playing better overall anyway going into this one.
The Picks: Brandon Rink – UVa. 34-28; Griffin Wong – UNC 23-13; J.J. Greenstein – UVa. 31-28; W. Gustin Vandiford – UNC 34-14; Billy Watson – UNC 28-14;
- 11/17/12 – No. 10 FSU (9-1, 6-1) [-31] @ Maryland (4-6, 2-4) / 12 p.m. ET / ESPNU
The Lead: The No. 10 ‘Noles can clinch the Atlantic and Maryland’s December plans as over four-touchdown favorites.
Watch 4: Beleaguered Terps’ offense to struggle against Seminoles
It’s about as anticlimactic a division-deciding game as there is – Maryland, on its fifth-QB-that’s-actually-a-linebacker, that can’t move the ball, facing a top-5 defense and the ACC’s No. 2 offense. But hey, the Terps have some pretty sweet unis for gameday.
The Picks: Rink – FSU 38-6; Wong – FSU 41-6; Greenstein – FSU 42-10; Vandiford – FSU 42-17; Watson – FSU 56-7;
- Virginia Tech (4-6, 2-4) [-10.5] @ Boston College (2-8, 1-5) / 12:30 p.m. ET / ACC Network
The Lead: Coastal out of reach (wow, that’s weird to say for the Hokies), they pay their last respects to the Spaz era and try to stay on track for a bowl.
Watch 4: Hokies to build on Thursday success, BC to hang around
Both games involving Commonwealth teams are hard reads this week, as the Hokies gave FSU all they could handle last week, but off that close loss, must stay motivated to go on the road to BC and win a noon game. But BC has the emotional loss to work with too – sticking with, but not really challenging No. 3 Notre Dame last week, 21-6. After giving up over 500 yards in five-straight games, the Eagles have surrendered less than 400 in 2-of-3 and 409 in the other, but have seen their offensive production drop as well – from 52nd in total and 65th in scoring offense after five games to 95th in total and 104th in scoring offense in the last seven. Basically, it evens out and Virginia Tech is the better team.
The Picks: Rink – VT 27-20; Wong – VT 21-9; Greenstein – VT 21-14; Vandiford – VT 28-6; Watson – VT 31-14;
- USF (3-6) @ Miami (5-5, 4-3) [-7] / 3:00 p.m. ET / RSN
The Lead: Miami can set things in motion for the Coastal, with a non-conference win, over the in-state USF Bulls.
Watch 4: ‘Canes, Bulls to score more than 9 points combined
A 36-yard Jake Wieclaw field goal ended an ugly affair between the two in Tampa last season – 6-3 in Miami’s favor, before they self-imposed a bowl ban. And the same scenario is in play this season with the NCAA slow to drop the dreaded “letter of allegations” (and NCAA experts are urging them to self-impose apparently), which would shake up the Coastal race going into the final week of the season. Last week’s 41-40 shootout loss at Virginia was Miami’s season in a nutshell – a potent offense, sometimes lethal special teams (231 return yards and a score) and a defense that cannot stop anything on the ground or the air. USF has been the definition of mediocre statistically en route to a disappointing 3-6 start (picked second preseason in Big East) – in the 50-70 range nationally in total offense and defense and scoring defense, but only scoring 25 points per (85th nationally). They snapped a six-game losing streak last week, but with 283 total offensive yards and plus-two in turnover margin. There’s not a lot to like about Miami going into this one, but not so much for the Bulls either.
The Picks: Rink – Miami 24-21; Wong – Miami 27-21; Greenstein – Miami 24-10; Vandiford – Miami 35-31; Watson – Miami 34-10;
- NC State (6-4, 3-3) @ No. 11 Clemson (9-1, 6-1) [-17] / 3:30 p.m. ET / ABC-ESPN2 (Reverse Mirror)
The Lead: No. 10 Clemson could be eliminated in the Atlantic Division by kickoff, but their Sugar Bowl shot has only gone up in recent weeks if they win out…and there’s a little revenge on the line after State embarrassed a similarly 9-1 Tigers team 37-13 in Raliegh last season.
Watch 4: Tigers’ train to keep rolling towards top-10 showdown
Clemson hasn’t been off, offensively, much at all this season, up to seventh nationally in total offense, and Tom O’Brien knows this well – saying in the ACC teleconference: “I don’t know if you can stop them. I think you have to try to contain them and slow them down. That’s the best thing we can do.” State contained a Sammy-Watkins-less Tigers’ offense to 337 yards and 13 points last season, while forcing four turnovers to their none. Year two in Chad Morris’ scheme is yielding a touchdown and extra point more per game (42.9-35.9), and is hitting its stride in the season’s second half – junior quarterback Tajh Boyd throwing for 1,033 yards and 13 touchdowns and wide receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins combining for 610 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in the last three games. The Wolfpack need a lot of containment to stick with Clemson in Death Valley Saturday. Next up for the Tigers is South Carolina, at No. 9 in the BCS, at night, in front of fans in Death Valley that haven’t seen a win in the rivalry since 2008.
The Picks: Rink – Clemson 44-24; Wong – Clemson 28-17; Greenstein – Clemson 42-39; Vandiford – Clemson 42-24; Watson – Clemson 31-21;
- Duke (6-4, 3-3) @ Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3) [-13.5] / 3:30 p.m. ET / ESPNU
The Lead: Georgia Tech is a win away from making things very interesting in the Coastal, while Duke controls its destiny in a two-game playoff for Charlotte.
Watch 4: With Coastal in reach, Jackets’ offense to roll to key win
Per Phil Steele, Duke is 1-16 in November under David Cutcliffe. Of course, before this season – Duke had just won 3.8 games per in four years, but the larger point is this is another frontier Cutcliffe must conquer with this team for the Coastal (or at least, a better bowl). That may come more into play next week hosting Miami, as Georgia Tech has owned the Blue Devils. They’ve won of four-straight under Paul Johnson by 21 points per game (and 20-of-22 in the series overall), but it’s been closer in the last two, 30-20 and 38-31 Nov. losses. But past results aren’t what’s going to beat Duke Saturday – it’s a Jackets’ offense executing (494.5 YPG and 50.5 PPG winning two in a row) and Duke giving up 445 yards per game coming in.
The Picks: Rink – GT 38-24; Wong – Duke 24-21; Greenstein – GT 27-24; Vandiford – Duke 48-45; Watson – Duke 27-21;
- Wake Forest (5-5, 3-5) @ No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0) [-24] / 3:30 p.m. ET / NBC
The Lead: There’s going to be a day soon when Notre Dame will face off against some of the ACC’s best – Saturday is not that day.
Watch 4: Irish to again stifle defensively, pull away
Notre Dame has the No. 1 defense according to the Football Outsiders’ FEI, after holding BC to 300 and 6 points in a 21-6 rivalry win. In that same ranking, Wake Forest is 104th in offense – 111th defensively. At least there’s a chance the Irish are looking ahead to the trip to USC next week?
The Picks: Rink – ND 34-13; Wong – ND 30-10; Greenstein – ND 21-6; Vandiford – ND 24-6; Watson – ND 38-10;
Season Pick Records: Rink – 64-17 (37-27-3 ATS, FBS v. FBS games); Wong – 61-17; Greenstein – 56-25; Vandiford – 50-27; Watson 20-13.