Miami (5-5) at Virginia (4-6)
Super-Fun Stats: MIAMI- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (37.0%, #72)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (29.6%, #11); VIRGINIA- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (29.0%, #114)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (30.3%, #14)
Series Record: Miami leads 3-0; last meeting- Miami 25, Virginia 17 (2005)
In Summary: It's hard to imagine this game being anything but a defensvie battle. Both offenses have been so inept all year, while both defenses have performed quite admirably given the circumstances. I wouldn't discount the possibility of an outright UVA upset, given Miami QB Kirby Freeman's lack of experience, but the Canes are fighting for a bowl bid while the Cavaliers are just looking to close out their dismal 2006.
The Pick: Miami 16, Virginia 10
N.C. State (3-7) at North Carolina (1-9)
Super-Fun Stats: NC STATE- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (33.8%, #93)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (30.7%, #17); NORTH CAROLINA- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (32.6%, #104)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (46.1%, #106)
Series Record: North Carolina leads 54-27-5; last meeting- North Carolina 31, N.C. State 24 (2005)
In Summary: Good Lord, I truly have no idea how this game's going to turn out. The Wolfpack are on a 5-game skid, however each loss has been by 6pts or less. UNC is still looking for their first win over a 1-A school this season. Bunting's already out, while Amato's status is uncertain. Whatever happens in this game probably tips the scales on Chesty's continued employment in Raleigh. That said, UNC will get their chance for that first 1-A win next week against Duke. I'm going to guess that State's close calls in the past month finally pay off this Saturday.
The Pick: N.C. State 20, North Carolina 10
Maryland (8-2) at Boston College (8-2)
Super-Fun Stats: MARYLAND- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (33.6%, #94)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (42.1%, #89); BOSTON COLLEGE- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (40.1%, #50)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (35.4%, #43)
Series Record: Boston College leads 2-1; last meeting- Boston College 31, Maryland 16 (2005)
In Summary: Of note- in Maryland's impressive 5-game winning streak, they have prevailed in those matchups by a combined 13 points. This is a team that knows how to, and expects to, win the close ones. That said, I don't think this will be a close one. Outside of beating a reeling Clemson team, the Terps have eked out those wins against four squads that have yet to qualify for a bowl (Virginia, NC State, Florida State, Miami). Boston College is a club that is healthy, coming off a win, and much less prone to the self-destructive patterns of the Cavaliers, Wolfpack, Noles and Canes.
The Pick: Boston College 27, Maryland 17
Duke (0-10) at Georgia Tech (8-2)
Super-Fun Stats: DUKE- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (29.5%, #112)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (44.2%, #100); GEORGIA TECH- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (38.6%, #62)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (29.5%, #10)
Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 42-30-1; last meeting- Georgia Tech 35, Duke 10 (2005)
In Summary: Now that the Jackets have kicked in the teeth of the cursed Chan Gailey Equilibrium, and clinched a spot in the ACC Championship Game, the sky's the limit. Literally so in fact, since Saturday's competition is winless Duke. If Calvin Johnson can't grab 10 catches and at least 2 scores, even against a great corner like the Devils' John Talley, Reggie Ball and offensive coordinator Patrick Nix should be brought before the World Court on charges of Gross Mistreatment Of Uber-Talent.
The Pick: Georgia Tech 34, Duke 10
Western Michigan (7-3) at Florida State (5-5)
Super-Fun Stats: W. MICHIGAN- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (38.2%, #63)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (32.8%, #29); FLORIDA STATE- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (37.2%, #68)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (30.0%, #13)
Series Record: Florida State leads 1-0; last meeting- Florida State 58, Western Michigan 0 (1991)
In Summary: That matchup headline above is enough to make one's head spin. It's mid-November and the Broncos have qualified for a bowl bid yet the Noles have not. Strange times indeed. FSU is coming off one of their more eventful weeks in years - the rock-bottom loss to Wake Forest followed up by the most lucrative "resignation" in sports history of Jeff Bowden. All that aside, Jeffrey is still in the booth, but you have to figure that we'll see a different Fredo one way or the other...he can totally go for broke in his playcalling now, or he can just mail it in. As for Western Michigan, they haven't beaten anyone with a winning record, got clobbered last week by Central Michigan and squeaked by 1-9 Eastern Michigan and 2-9 Miami (OH) prior to that. The Noles are vulnerable, but the Broncos just ain't the team to take advantage of it.
The Pick: Florida State 31, Western Michigan 9
Virginia Tech (8-2) at Wake Forest (9-1)
Super-Fun Stats: VIRGINIA TECH- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (35.4%, #83)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (28.9%, #8); WAKE FOREST- 3rd Down Efficiency-Offense (37.1%, #71)....3rd Down Efficiency-Defense (33.8%, #37)
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 21-11-1; last meeting- Virginia Tech 17, Wake Forest 10(2004)
In Summary: The nation's least regarded major 1-loss team hosts the nation's least-regarded major 2-loss team in what should be a classic matchup. While the Hokies boast the nation's top overall defense, their key to that is stopping the pass, something that is not a major part of the Demon Deacon offense. On the flipside, the Deacs' sport a spectacular run-stopping defense, which then squarely puts the game in the hands of Tech QB Sean Glennon. That won't cut it against such a solid team as Wake Forest; but it will be close......very close. The Jim Grobe Masterpiece Of 2006 adds another chapter.
The Pick: Wake Forest 24, Virginia Tech 23