Good news for the ACC, only two 1-AA opponents on tap for this week. And maybe, just maybe, the league could win both matchups.
Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006
Duke at Wake Forest, Noon ET
Nothing like a Blue Devil football game to get the juices flowing for the rest of the day. Duke's greener-than-green QBs had a somewhat difficult start against the Richmond defense, and that's not a bright sign because it won't get any easier the rest of the way. Wake looked solid, if unspectacular, against Syracuse, with the exception of RB Micah Andrews who looks like he'll make Deacon fans forget all about Chris Barclay very quickly. An easy scrimmage for the Demon Deacons, but Duke gets a moral victory in avoiding a shutout.
The Pick: Wake Forest 28, Duke 6
Virginia Tech at North Carolina, Noon ET
Under the stewardship of John "Chuckles" Bunting (click here for the Chuckles nickname origin and scroll halfway down), UNC has made a habit of pulling off games such as this after royally embarrassing the ACC in out-of-conference play. Last year's example: a 69-14 time-and-space-bending destruction at Louisville, followed a few weeks later by the inexplicable-yet-in-hindsight-cosmically-balanced upset of Boston College. Still, all Frank Beamer needs to do to throw Bunting off kilter is to ask him to pull his finger during pregame and all should be well for the Hokies. UNC's upset-to-restore-balance-to-the-universe will have to wait another day.
The Pick: Virginia Tech 30, North Carolina 17
Akron at N.C. State, Noon ET
One of those games that should scare the hell out of State fans (and Chuck Amato for that matter, if he values his employment status); Akron looked entirely and completely respectable against Penn State last week, while the Wolfpack teams of 2004 and 2005 Quantum-Leaped into last week and continued the three years and running stretch of potent defense/impotent (or is E-D the proper term here?) offense, particularly at QB. That said, the offense showed a few signs of...ummm..."interest" last week with stud RB Andre Brown, so the Pack should be safe for another week.
The Pick: N.C. State 27, Akron 14
Wyoming at Virginia, 3:30pm ET
Few folks wanted to acknowledge it in the preseason, but I and a few other brave souls recognized the oncoming carnage that will be the Virginia 2006 football season. Still, I pegged this game as a fairly comfortable Wahoo win in the preseason, but that was predicated on A) Wyoming stinking, which they do not now, at least not that badly; and B) UVA showing some sort of life in week one, which they did not. I've gone back and forth on this one all week and I've come to the conclusion that Cowboy QB Jacob Doss is going to be able to sling it all over the field against the struggling Virginia secondary, and that the football gods want to hear the name of Wyoming WR Hoost Marsh on SportsCenter, and this is the best shot for that to happen.
The Pick: Wyoming 24, Virginia 23
Samford at Georgia Tech, 3:30pm ET
I'll take a leap of faith and predict that the Yellow Jackets score more than 14 points this week, breaking their 9 1/2 month streak (OK, just 4 games, to be fair) of being held to two TDs or less despite the monster talent on offense.
The Pick: Georgia Tech 41, Samford 0
Clemson at Boston College, 3:30pm ET
This is usually the point in the season that Clemson starts laying big fat rotten eggs all over the football landscape, putting head coach Tommy Bowden on the proverbial toasty chair, and putting Tiger football out of the minds of the masses, until the inevitable last season charge that results in ginormous expectations for the following year. So....why is this year different? Two words: Rod Spence. Clemson's OC has the Tiger offense humming, yes after just one game, and yes with a new starting QB. And with the talent at WR, RB, and a seasoned O-line making it all happen, it's going to be difficult to pick against these fellas all year. Still, the host team in Saturday's contest has a say in this, and their QB actually has a whole season of experience. However, the crafty Tom O'Brien is playing the hurt/not-hurt game regarding terrific QB Matt Ryan's status, hoping to confound Bowden. BC looked less than stellar in the opener against CMU last week, and that can't do wonders for their mindset. If this were in Death Valley, I'd pick Clemson by 3 TDs. I figure Chestnut Hill is good for one touchdown on the Eagle end, so if my math is correct....
The Pick: Clemson 34, Boston College 20
Middle Tennessee State at Maryland, 6:00pm ET
Is it me or has Maryland just been in a funky daze for the last two years? I look at this game and I can't see any conceivable way that the Terps run away with this one, even though talent-wise they should. Backup QB Jordan Steffy took himself out of starting contention last week with a horrific outing against 1-AA Bill & Mary, so the Terps will sink or swim with the perennially average yet lovably erratic Sam Hollenbach. That said, underrated burly RB Lance Ball is probably good for a few earth-shaking scores, and CB Josh Wilson will likely shut down one half of the field, negating much of the Blue Raider passing attack.
The Pick: Maryland 24, Middle Tennessee State 7
Troy at Florida State, 6:00pm ET
Prediction: FSU gains more than 1 yard rushing for the game. And they get a whole lot more passing. And LB Buster Davis actually eats a Trojan RB for supper - live on the field - and throws his bones into the stands to the cheering Seminole faithful.
The Pick: Florida State 38, Troy 10
Florida A&M at Miami, 7:00pm ET
Prediction: Miami gains more than 2 yards rushing for the game. And that there will be lots of orange and green clad spectators in the stands, much to the dismay of the fashionistas on nearby South Beach.
The Pick: Miami 45, Florida A&M 3