Sorry folks, but the ever popular yet quite horrible Haiku Previews have been relegated to the recycle bin of blog-history. Instead, I figured I should do some actual research and compile somewhat respectable game previews. While this takes approximately 3,492x longer than posting a cute little haiku, I want respect dammit.
Clemson at Virginia Tech
Super-Fun Stats: Clemson- Total Offense (#6), Rushing Offense (#4), Passing Offense (#65); Total Defense (#4), Rushing Defense (#7), Passing Defense (#17).....Virginia Tech- Total Offense (#71), Rushing Offense (#82), Passing Offense (#46); Total Defense (#6), Rushing Defense (#22), Pass Defense (#15)
In Summary: Much has been made about Clemson travelling to Blacksburg on just 5-days rest, yet the Hokies also played last Saturday. Under normal circumstances and on a neutral field, Clemson wins by 17+. Virginia Tech's only real shot to win is to get games-of-the-year from each of the front seven, so that Thunder Davis and Lightning Spiller are contained enough to put the game in the hands of Tiger QB Will Proctor. Alas, I don't see it happening, but these won't be the Hokies we saw 2-weeks ago at BC either.
The Pick: Clemson 27, Virginia Tech 20
N.C. State at Virginia
Super-Fun Stats: N.C. State- Total Offense (#96), Rushing Offense (#62), Passing Offense (#94); Total Defense (#43), Rushing Defense (#77), Pass Defense (#65).....Virginia- Total Offense (#108), Rushing Offense (#93), Passing Offense (#91); Total Defense (#24), Rushing Defense (#46), Pass Defense (#53)
Summary: Good Lord, one of these two teams is actually going to be above .500 in the league going into November. The key matchup on Saturday looks to be the Wolfpack's inexplicably underused Andre Brown against UVA's decent run defense. Nonetheless, the Pack has faced much better offenses (BC, Wake) and held them relatively in check. UVA's offense barely has a pulse and it won't be enough.
The Pick: N.C. State 23, Virginia 14
Vanderbilt at Duke
Super-Fun Stats: it's a game involving Duke....does it really matter?
In Summary: The Blue Devils shot their wad twice this month at Alabama and at home against Miami, and couldn't close the deal. The good news is, they're not quitting on Ted Roof. The bad news is, Alabama and Miami barely bothered to prepare for the Devils. Vandy will be prepared.
The Pick: Vanderbilt 24, Duke 9
Buffalo at Boston College
Super-Fun Stats: it's a game involving Buffalo....does it really matter?
In Summary: Yes, BC could get the pants scared off of them in the 1st half if they have a post-FSU hangover, but even that can only go so far in the Bulls' favor. The Eagles would do well to get up early and then rest much of their starters in the second half, so they can enter November games with Wake, Maryland and Miami at full-strength.
The Pick: Boston College 42, Buffalo 10
Wake Forest at North Carolina
Super-Fun Stats: Wake Forest- Total Offense (#99), Rushing Offense (#55), Passing Offense (#104); Total Defense (#41), Rushing Defense (#27), Pass Defense (#34).....North Carolina- Total Offense (#103), Rushing Offense (#85), Passing Offense (#93); Total Defense (#96), Rushing Defense (#114), Pass Defense (#92)
In Summary: Color me stunned that Wake Forest has just the #99 ranked total offense this year; for all the raves Grobe's offense gets, it's the Deacon D that really gets it done. Anyhoo......so John Bunting was fired last week but was allowed to stay on for the remainder of the year. That means that either UNC will play inspired for the rest of the year (ala' Florida '04 after Zook got canned), or they will play as sloppily and unprepared as they have their first 7 games of 2006. Arrggghhhh....Bunting usually pulls out a shocking upset once per year, but I just can't pull the trigger on this one, even though I probably should.
The Pick: Wake Forest 27, North Carolina 24
Miami at Georgia Tech
Super-Fun Stats: Miami- Total Offense (#61), Rushing Offense (#74), Passing Offense (#44); Total Defense (#8), Rushing Defense (#3), Pass Defense (#23).....Georgia Tech- Total Offense (#69), Rushing Offense (#29), Passing Offense (#95); Total Defense (#37), Rushing Defense (#32), Pass Defense (#11)
In Summary: Well judging by the fun stats above, this should be a Cane rout....but of course it won't be. However, allow me to declare that an offense that includes Calvin Johnson and yet ranks just 95th in passing is a crime against humanity and I will be notifying Amnesty International pronto. For all the flack Larry Coker's getting, the Canes are quietly eking their way to the top of the Coastal Division. And hell, they're not Florida State. But wait........Miami's two ACC wins are against UNC and Duke (baaaaaaaaaarely). Coker's career effectively ends in Atlanta. It just becomes official next month.
The Pick: Georgia Tech 24, Miami 16
Florida State at Maryland
Super-Fun Stats: Florida State- Total Offense (#57), Rushing Offense (#95), Passing Offense (#20); Total Defense (#23), Rushing Defense (#13), Pass Defense (#44).....Maryland- Total Offense (#92), Rushing Offense (#54), Passing Offense (#97); Total Defense (#77), Rushing Defense (#98), Pass Defense (#45)
In Summary: I'm guessing that the Genius of the Jeff (Bowden, that is) still won't be able to find a way to run the ball with studs like Lo Booker and Antone Smith, even against the #98 rush D in the country. Bad Maryland QBs (Joel Statham, namely) have had career days against the Noles the last two years so there's no reason for me to go against that kooky mojo this season. Jiminy Christmas, the Noles are going to enter November at .500 overall and comfortably in last in the Atlantic.
The Pick: Maryland 21, Florida State 17