Continuing the fine tradition I established for myself in college (prolonged procrastination that resulted in pressure-induced yet still reasonable quality work), I present - just in the nick of time - the week 1 ACC preview.
Thursday, Aug. 31, 2006
Boston College at Central Michigan, 6:00pm ET
For starters, why in blazes is BC heading to lovely-this-time-of-year-I'm-sure Mt. Pleasant, MI? That aside, this may be a bit tougher than expected for the Eagles, at least on the defensive side of the ball since the Chippewas sport a pretty damn good RB in Ontario Sneed and BC is throwing out a relatively unproven DL. Expect LB Brian Toal to notch about 15 tackles while Matt Ryan and the Eagle O pull away in the 4th quarter.
The Pick: Boston College 30, Central Michigan 14
Saturday, Sept. 2, 2006
Northeastern at Virginia Tech, 1:30pm ET
Hokie QB Sean Glennon couldn't have asked for a more relaxing debut than this one - a nice toasty late summer day at home with 65,000 of your closest pals, against a defense that is a welcome break from the one he's seen in practice all this month.
The Pick: Virginia Tech 48, Northeastern 3
Florida Atlantic at Clemson, 3:30pm ET
This is loss #1 of plenty in Howard Schnellenberger's sickeningly masochistic 2006 tour. At least for one week, the plethora of preseason love the Tigers are getting will look deserved. Over by the 2nd quarter.
The Pick: Clemson 45, Florida Atlantic 6
Rutgers at North Carolina, 3:30pm ET
A few years ago this would have been one dreary matchup of colossally underachieving programs, but in 2006 I'd say this easily qualifies for the "Not Too Shabby" category of week 1 matchups. Rutgers is positively all giddy about last year's 7-5 bowl season, but let's not forget that they began last year blowing an out of conference game against another inexplicably bad big time program (Illinois), and methinks it may happen again, only UNC is a few notches better than the Illini were.
The Pick: North Carolina 31, Rutgers 28
William & Mary at Maryland, 6:00pm ET
The second of way too many opening week games pitting 1-AA foes with ACC clubs. Nice use of the 12th game fellas. We shall see if Sam Hollenbach can remain interception free this game, and the return of RB Josh Allen for the Terps makes this somewhat interesting, at least for a little bit. But this one is also over by the 2nd quarter.
The Pick: Maryland 38, William & Mary 7
Appalachian State at N.C. State, 6:00pm ET
The defending national champions begin the defense of their crown in their home state of North Carolina. What? Ha, I had you going for a sec, didn't I? 2005 1-AA national champ Appy State tries to do the unthinkable and conquer a 1-A foe. And I for one wouldn't be flabbergasted if the game is at least very close. This is not a good NC State team. Still, while the Wolfpack offense may be comparable to a typical ASU foe, the defense most certainly is not. Expect an "interesting" first half, and then the Pack D shuts the door.
The Pick: N.C. State 31, Appalachian State 13
Richmond at Duke, 6:00pm ET
The only thing worse than a conference opening up the season against four 1-AA opponents is that there's a reasonable chance that said conference may fall in one of those games. Losing QB Zack Asack in the offseason will take a few games for the Blue Devils to get over, so don't be surprised to see this one come down to the 4th quarter; Richmond is one of the best 1-AA teams this year.
The Pick: Duke 17, Richmond 10
Syracuse at Wake Forest, 6:30pm ET
OK, let's get the "what time is tip-off?" jokes out of the way. There. Happy now? I don't think the Orange is going to know what hit them after seeing the Wake offense up close and personal, and the Demon Deacon defense should be good enough to stifle the pathetic Cuse offense anyway.
The Pick: Wake Forest 35, Syracuse 13
Virginia at Pitt, 7:00pm ET
Most publications are listing Pittsburgh as "Pitt" again, so I guess I'll follow suit. If any ACC club could have used a 1-AA tune up, it's UVA. Instead, they get a reasonably difficult road matchup against a fairly talented but overall boring Panther club. Pitt QB Tyler Palko against the Cavalier secondary looks to be the best battle all night, but I'll give the edge to Palko since he'll likely have a few years to find his receivers, given the green Wahoo front seven.
The Pick: Pitt 23, Virginia 14
Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, 8:00pm ET
One of two things will happen: like the Notre Dame at Pitt opener last year, the Irish offense will blitzkrieg a highly regarded opponent early and often, or this will come down to the very end. I'm going with the second option, given all the returning talent on this Yellow Jacket squad; Reggie Ball to Calvin Johnson has to be good for at least eight-to-ten connections, with at least one TD in there as well. But, I just don't have the gonads to pull the trigger in favor of The Ball Club. Hmmm....The Ball Club....I need to trademark that, especially if Tech catches fire this year.
The Pick: Notre Dame 29, Georgia Tech 24
Monday, Sept. 4, 2006
Florida State at Miami, 8:00pm ET
Please please please make these teams stop playing the first week of the year. You don't ask rusty and creaky Texas and Oklahoma to play in week one, and You don't ask Michigan and Ohio State to butt heads after 8 months off. You saw the last two Cane-Nole matchups. Not pretty. Failing that, at least dispense with them playing on frickin' Labor Day which is always right around my anniversary (Sept. 3), which means there's an awfully good chance I'll be on some long weekend getaway and not allowed within a city block of a TV.
I know better than to do this, and I fully expect that on Tuesday I will be blogging about how blindly stupid I was, given the Seminoles' crushing history here, but man these Canes are doing their best to keep ol' Mojo on the FSU side this year.....suspensions, panicky coaching changes, a dearth of playmakers (at least on offense), and now a tropical storm disrupting practices a few days before this game. And come on, it was The U who blew a late game kick last year; hell, they couldn't even get it off the ground. But still.....I know better than this, I know better than this, I know better than this.....
The Pick: Florida State 23, Miami 16