- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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Ah, it’s that time of year again. The time when you guys get to point and laugh when I am wrong, when you’re shocked into silence when I’m right, and when 12 fan bases are convinced I always pick against their team.
I heart predictions, don’t you?
As usual, my goal this year is to beat the guys over there in SEC land with a better picks percentage, but they’ve got a real tough job picking LSU and Alabama every week. Over here in ACC land, we’ve got a real conference race going on, and the unpredictability is a fabulous excuse for erroneous picks. Speaking of the SEC, I’m going to go out on a limb -- walk a plank, actually -- and say the ACC leaves Atlanta 2-0.
Undefeated … you know, just like my picks? Here we go, 2012 …
Miami 17, Boston College 14: The Eagles will give it everything they’ve got in a hard-fought game, but they’ll come up short late in the fourth quarter. Miami’s speed will be too much for a defense that will sorely miss tackling machine Luke Kuechly.
Clemson 34, Auburn 31: This has a high-scoring, last-play-of-the-game feel to it, and I’m willing to give Clemson the benefit of the doubt. Losing Sammy Watkins is going to hurt, yes, but the Tigers have enough surrounding talent that they’ll be able to compensate for his loss with a group effort.
Florida State 66, Murray State 10: Somehow I get the feeling Jimbo Fisher won’t call off the dogs in this one until later in the game. This will be a good chance for the offensive line to get the kinks and jitters out, and for the Seminoles to adjust to life without Greg Reid.
Maryland 24, William & Mary 14: Even with true freshman Perry Hills making his debut at quarterback, this is a home game the Terps should still win. It might get uncomfortably close at times, but Maryland has been embarrassed enough already not to let it happen again in the opener.
NC State 28, Tennessee 24: The Volunteers desperately need this victory, and it should be another down-to-the-wire game, but the Wolfpack will have the edge up front, and quarterback Mike Glennon will make enough plays down the stretch to be the difference.
Wake Forest 24, Liberty 10: This should be a ho-hum game for the Deacs, as long as they’re not looking ahead to next week’s game against North Carolina.
Florida International 34, Duke 31: The Blue Devils beat FIU on the road last year, but Duke’s injuries have accumulated over the past two months and will be a factor on both sides of the ball.
Virginia Tech 31, Georgia Tech 20: Did I mention this game is in Lane Stadium? Virginia Tech will come out fired up by its home-field advantage and force a fumble or a turnover that gives the Hokies the momentum early. The Hokies have questions on offense, yes, but it’s going to be Bud Foster’s defense that is the difference in this game.
North Carolina 38, Elon 10: Larry Fedora’s offense will work just fine in Week 1, but don’t expect to see the full repertoire against Elon. This will be a chance for the Tar Heels to work on the execution of new schemes on both offense and defense at game speed, and give them some game film to make corrections and adjustments before the Wake Forest game.
Virginia 24, Richmond 21: The Spiders, coached by quarterback Michael Rocco’s uncle, will keep things interesting against the Hoos. The familiarity between the coaching staffs will make this game better than it should be, as UVa coach Mike London was formerly the Richmond coach, and it is his alma mater.