GEORGIA TECH at VIRGINIA
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 12pm - Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
Series Record: tied 14-14-1; the Yellow Jackets won last year's meeting 24-7
Stat Watch: 25-4...Tech's record under Chan Gailey when committing fewer turnovers than their opponent
Quick Overview: Seventeen years ago, the eyes of the college football world were glued to this game. This Saturday? Not so much. What looked like a complete mismatch just last week now all of a sudden is the most important conference game of the season thus far. In short: a UVA win puts them at an inexplicable 3-0 in the league and drops Tech to a stunning 0-2. How the Ramblin Wreck recovers from their domination at the hands of Boston College will tell us if this is really a superior ACC club, or just another run-of-the-mill 7-5er from Chan Gailey. The Jackets appear to have the upper hand in personnel at almost every position on both sides of the ball (with the very notable exception of this supremely bred chap), so the Hoos will have to employ some confusing and heretofore unseen schemes on both sides of the ball to knock Tech for a loop.
Prediction: This is not another run-of-the-mill 7-5er from Chan Gailey. Georgia Tech 30, Virginia 16
CLEMSON at N.C. STATE
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 12pm - Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Series Record: Clemson leads 47-27-1; the Tigers won last year's meeting 20-14
Stat Watch: 101...the Wolfpack's national ranking in rushing defense
Quick Overview: Do not underestimate the effect of State's first football win in 340 days last Saturday. Even though it was against Wofford. And even though they cacked up 353 yards to the Terriers. Winning changes things. Especially when you're facing a Clemson program that is known for blowing games like this one. Think that stat about the Pack's rushing defense is alarming? It is. But so is this: Clemson, with the talents of James Davis and CJ Spiller, ranks just 86th nationally in rushing. The Tigers have ridden the arm of Cullen Harper much the same way they did with Charlie Whitehurst and Will Proctor, before teams learned to stack against the run and force those QBs to win it. Tom O'Brien knows this. The X factor is his own QB, Harrison Beck. If Beck reverts to the turnover machine he was against Boston College, no amount of defensive scheming against Clemson will matter.
Prediction: The first milestone of the Tom O'Brien Era. I'm either a genius or a fool with this pick. N.C. State 24, Clemson 21
MARYLAND at WAKE FOREST
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007, 3:30pm - BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
Series Record: Maryland leads 40-14-1; the Demon Deacons won last year's meeting 38-24
Stat Watch: 9-1...the Fridge's record in games played in the state of North Carolina
Quick Overview: The Return of Riley. Allegedly. More than just the smart and crafty play of their injured QB, the Deacs have missed the intangible qualities he brought to the offense and exhibited in the huddle. The ACC Player Of The Year If Matt Ryan Had Never Been Born - Kenny Moore - has quietly been one of the most versatile players in the country this season (and last season as well)....he leads the Deacs in rushing, receiving, and punt returns, has scored a TD in each category, and hasn't fumbled. As for the Terps, I just get the sense that they're still trying to figure out who they are on offense. Defensively, I'm not sold on them despite their #16 ranking in total-D nationally....WVU again ran all over them and their other two matchups were with Villanova and FIU. Wake earned valuable experience against heavyweights BC and Nebraska in the first two weeks, and under a coach like Jim Grobe, you expect them to learn and advance from that.
Prediction: The Deacs' battle-readiness...and Riley Skinner...and Kenny Moore...are the difference. Wake Forest 27, Maryland 20
That's all for the Week 4 Preview. I'm Marcus, and for all of us here at ACCFR....you stay classy blogosphere.