WAKE FOREST (6-2) at VIRGINIA (7-2)
Saturday, 11/3/07, 12pm ET - Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
Series Record: Virginia leads 32-12; the Cavaliers won the last meeting 27-24 in 2003
Stat Watch: 9...non-offensive touchdowns scored by the Demon Deacons this season
Brief Overview: Just as winning became a hard habit to break for the Cavs over the first 8 weeks of the season, losing can become an even harder to vice to overcome. And Wake is usually not the team you want to face when you need to get back on track. However, lost in the Deacs' 37-10 pounding of UNC last week was that the Heels held them to just 264 yards of offense. The Hoo defense is significantly sturdier than Carolina's and will be looking to regain some respectability after Daniel Evans and his Wolpack pals shredded them last Saturday. The return of QB Jameel Sewell is key for Virginia to get back in the win column.
Prediction: Both teams will play to form. The better team wins, but just barely. Wake Forest 27, Virginia 26
N.C. STATE (3-5) at MIAMI (5-3)
Saturday, 11/3/07, 12pm ET - Orange Bowl, Miami, FL
Series Record: Miami leads 7-3-1; the Hurricanes won the last meeting 45-31 in 2004
Stat Watch: 0...points allowed by the Canes in the first half of their five home games this season
Brief Overview: Miami returns to the field following a bye week, and two weeks after their inexplicable come-from-behind win in Tallahassee. The week off was probably unfortunate, as the kind of vibe after a win like that lasts only so long, and 14 days is way past the vibe-expiration date. The Pack are in a groove of their own now, what with a two-game winning streak that includes last week's upset of Virginia in which the State offense had it's best performance in ages. Nonetheless, if the Miami of the Texas A&M and Florida State games shows up tomorrow, the rout will be on. If the Miami of their other six games makes an appearance, the Wolfpack have a very real chance to pull off the upset. X-factor: the uncertain status of Cane QB Kyle Wright.
Prediction: I'm tempted to call for the upset, but winning in the Orange Bowl is just too big of a step right now for Tom O'Brien's crew. Miami 24, N.C. State 14
CLEMSON (6-2) at DUKE (1-7)
Saturday, 11/3/07, 12pm ET - Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Series Record: Clemson leads 33-16-1; the Tigers won the last meeting 49-20 in 2005
Stat Watch: 4-4...the Tigers' record in their last eight contests against Duke in Durham
Brief Overview: Tommy Bowden is the worst coach in America if Clemson comes out flat tomorrow against the Blue Devils. All he needs to do is pop in a tape of Duke's 16-13 shocker over his Tigers in 2004 (a week after they beat #10 Miami in the Orange Bowl) and a compilation tape of every wacked-out upset this season to grab his team's attention. Combine that with the fact that Duke's main offensive threat - Thaddeus Lewis chucking the ball around - should be neutralized by the Tigers' 3rd (nationally) ranked pass defense. And, the Devils appear to have run out of gas after a string of close losses earlier in the year...they lost their last two games to Virginia Tech and Florida State by a combined score of 68-20.
Prediction: The Tigers destroy what's left of Duke's mojo and set the wheels in motion for Ted Roof's dismissal at the end of the season. Clemson 45, Duke 10
MARYLAND (4-4) at NORTH CAROLINA (2-6)
Saturday, 11/3/07, 3:45pm ET - Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Series Record: North Carolina leads 35-31-1; the Terrapins won the last meeting 33-30 in 2005
Stat Watch: 48-20...the combined record of UNC's previous eight opponents this season
Brief Overview: One of these team's seasons is going to be effectively over with a defeat on Saturday. A Heel loss would give them their 7th on the year, eliminating them from bowl contention. A Heel win would put them at 3-6, and with a very manageable final three games (@NC State, @Ga Tech, Duke), a bowl berth is a real possibility. Well, that is if Butch Davis isn't already contacting realtors in NW Arkansas. A Terrapin loss on Saturday would drop them to 4-5, with Boston College, @FSU and @NC State left on the slate; it's doubtful they'll get to six wins in that scenario. X-factors: how the Turtles cope with the injury bug, and how well the very young Heels are prepared for the stretch run.
Prediction: This was the toughest one to pick this week. I've already picked two road teams to win, and Virginia Tech blasted the Yellow Jackets on the road yesterday. Gotta go with the homies here. North Carolina 19, Maryland 17
FLORIDA STATE (5-3) at BOSTON COLLEGE (8-0)
Saturday, 11/3/07, 8pm ET - Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Series Record: Florida State leads 3-2; the Eagles won last year's meeting 24-19
Stat Watch: 16...consecutive home victories for the Eagles; their last loss at Alumni was Sept. 17, 2005 - to Florida State
Brief Overview: Lost in FSU's 25-6 win over Duke was that the Noles tallied 534 total yards, ran the ball well for the second straight week, and had crisp and steady QB play. Sure, it was Duke, and yes, the Noles got only 9 points out of five trips to the redzone in the first half, but the playcalling and execution are light years better than they were just one month ago, not to mention from last year. Meanwhile, BC has had over a week to soak in the Blacksburg Miracle. A part of them has to feel charmed and invincible, given the fact they played so dreadfully for nearly an entire football game, only to be bailed out in the last minutes by their star, by the opposing defensive coordinator, and by a bit of luck. They're in trouble if they focus too much on the final five minutes against Virginia Tech, and not on what went so very wrong for the first 55 minutes of that game. X-factor: the weather. Hurricane Noel is churning north in the Atlantic - steady winds and rain are expected at kickoff, with temperatures in the low 40s. Ugh.
Prediction: If the weather is manageable - The Seminole offense continues to improve, but their redzone issues will prove fatal to the upset bid. The Eagles solidify their hold on #2. Boston College 24, Florida State 16.....If the weather looks like a scene out of The Day After Tomorrow - God help the Noles. Near freezing wind and rain ain't a picnic for the Eagles, but will be doomsday-like for FSU. Boston College 17, Florida State 6