Yeah right, I'm not going near that one.
These four early matchups involving ACC clubs provide a superb opportunity for you to mow your lawn, paint your house, clip your nose hairs or perform any other general household or bodily maintenance. The sex appeal of these contests rivals that of a hungover and splotchy Sarah Jessica Parker, so only Terp, Jacket, Pack and Eagle fans are expected to even pay attention to these games let alone read the below previews...
MISSISSIPPI STATE (1-2) at GEORGIA TECH (2-1)
Saturday, 9/20/08, noon ET - Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 2-0; the Yellow Jackets won the last meeting 27-13 in 1929
Storyline: Can the Yellow Jackets' bats overcome the Bulldogs stellar pitching?
Brief Overview: MSU's 3-2 defeat to Auburn last week removed any possible sizzle that this formerly interesting matchup might have held. Now, the Dogs are merely an annoying test the Jackets must pass so that they can put the Virginia Tech loss in the rearview mirror. And oh yeah, Tech has to win this one or all remaining shreds of ACC '08 credibility flutter away. Normally I would say that the Jackets' fumblitis exhibited in the last two games would be cause for concern, but Auburn lost 3 fumbles to State last week and didn't suffer in the least for it (116 yards - and 1.8yds per play - was all the Bulldogs could muster). The Tigers were still able to churn out 156 yards on the ground and to say that the Jackets are light-years ahead of AU in that department is an understatement. For the Ramblin' Wreck to lose, they'd need to be -5 in TO ratio, the defense would have to completely collapse and MSU QB Wesley Carroll would have to be body snatched and replaced with Chase Daniel.
Prediction: Not as impressive as it probably should be, but Tech gets a solid win nonetheless. Georgia Tech 23, Mississippi State 7
EAST CAROLINA (3-0) at N.C. STATE (1-2)
Saturday, 9/20/08, noon ET - Carter Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Series Record: N.C. State leads 15-10; the Wolfpack won last year's meeting 34-20
Storyline: The Pirates take their next step toward their honorary 2008 ACC title.
Brief Overview: The Wolfpack's win over ECU last year sparked a mini-resurgence that saw them rise from a 1-5 record to a 5-5 mark before running out of gas - and healthy bodies - at the end of the season. Don't look for a repeat this season; the Pirates have gone 7-1 since that defeat to State eleven months ago and are eyeing a possible BCS bid if they can run the table. A pseudo-rivalry game such as this can always throw a monkey wrench into any cold analysis, but I find it difficult to see how the Pack can score enough points to pull this one off - Patrick Pinkney and Co. are too good to be stifled for an entire game, and the State offense has been so inept that they've been outscored by their own defense this season against 1-A competition (one field goal for the offense against Clemson & S. Carolina combined, while the defense had a pick six against the Tigers).
Prediction: No surprises here - the Pirates win big and State looks fairly awful in the process. East Carolina 27, N.C. State 6
UCF (1-1) at BOSTON COLLEGE (1-1)
Saturday, 9/20/08, 1pm ET - Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Series Record: first meeting
Storyline: The Eagles try to avoid their first 1-2 start since 1996.
Brief Overview: Meh. I'm feeling no vibe about this game. Both teams are coming off bye-weeks. Both teams lost heartbreakers two weeks ago (the Eagles to Georgia Tech, the Knights to rival USF in OT). Both teams have QB concerns. The only difference I see is that the Eagles have played fairly consistently all the way through their first two games, while the Knights really only showed a pulse in the fourth quarter against the Bulls.
Prediction: It certainly won't be a classic, but it'll be a win - for BC. And that's all that matters at this point. Boston College 23, UCF 14
EASTERN MICHIGAN (1-2) at MARYLAND (2-1)
Saturday, 9/20/08, 1pm ET - Byrd Stadium, College Park, MD
Series Record: Maryland leads 3-0; the Terrapins won the last meeting 37-13 in 2003
Storyline: The Maryland Magical Mystery Tour enters week four.
Brief Overview: Raise your hand if you wouldn't be surprised in the least if the Terps are on the wrong end of a 14-3 halftime score. OK, now put your hands down. All of them. Please. Of course Maryland would get drilled by Middle Tennessee and then come back and own Cal. It's nonsensical, it's mystifying, but it's the essence of Terp football since 2004. They will lose to NC State this year but will wind up knocking off Clemson. Just watch. Anyway, I have no idea whether the Cal-Chris Turner or the MTSU-Chris Turner shows up, just as I have no idea if the 1st-through-3rd quarter Terp defense against Cal shows or whether the 4th-quarter collapsing unit shows on Saturday. But since it's Eastern Michigan on the other sideline, a win should still be assured. Just don't expect the Turtles to have learned a thing from the Cal victory.
Prediction: Maryland wins. That's all I'm certain of, but I suspect a letdown from last week is coming. Maryland 28, Eastern Michigan 10
Part II of the preview should appear tomorrow.