ACC upset watch: Week 14

November, 26, 2013
11/26/13
2:00
PM ET
It is time for our final regular-season installment of the Upset Watch. All the favorites on the list last week won. Will that be the case in Week 14?

1. No. 24 Duke (9-2, 5-2) at North Carolina (6-5, 4-3). The Coastal-leading and BCS-ranked Blue Devils are the underdog in this game. We can hear folks in Durham chanting, "No Respect!" Both teams are hot, but Duke is hotter, having won seven straight for the first time since 1994. The Blue Devils have won three games this year after trailing by at least 10 points, including last week against Wake Forest. We have spoken repeatedly about their fourth-quarter performance, and these numbers from ESPN Stats & Info show how dominant they have been in the final period. Duke ranks No. 1 in the nation in points margin in the fourth quarter (plus-76) and second in turnovers forced (11). Duke has not won consecutive meetings against North Carolina since 1987-89. But this year has been full of history making turns for Duke. Why not make some more?

2. No. 6 Clemson (10-1) at No. 10 South Carolina (9- 2). We know Tigers fans are used to seeing their team here, but their spot on the list this week is good news. It means we believe they have a good shot at upsetting their in-state rivals. We all know Clemson has not won in this game since 2008. We all know Tajh Boyd has not fared well in this series or against Florida State, going a combined 1-4 as a starter. But South Carolina has looked pretty beatable this year, losing to Georgia the week after Clemson beat the Bulldogs; losing to 4-7 Tennessee and struggling to beat 2-9 Kentucky and 4-7 Florida. The secondary has been inconsistent, and Clowney has not been the force of destruction everybody anticipated he would be this season. Meanwhile, the Clemson offense is playing its best football of the year. Sammy Watkins has quietly had one of the best seasons in the nation and Martavis Bryant has come on strong in the last month. If the offensive line can adequately protect Boyd, Clemson has a terrific shot to win.

3. Georgia (7-4) at Georgia Tech (7-4). The Jackets have only beaten the Bulldogs twice since 2000, with the last victory coming in 2008. But the M*A*S*H unit that is Georgia football has all of a sudden made this game much more winnable for the Jackets. Georgia will be without record-setting senior quarterback Aaron Murray, out for the season after tearing his ACL last week. Murray had been a pest for the Jackets to deal with, throwing for 738 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception in his three victories in the series. Even when healthy, Georgia has had its share of struggles defensively this year, while the Jackets are vastly improved in that category -- ranking in the top 20 in the nation in total defense. If the Jackets do not hurt themselves with turnovers and penalties on offense, the way they have in several big games this year, they could pull the upset.

4. Miami (8-3, 4-3) at Pitt (6-5, 3-4). Teams from Florida are automatically on upset watch when they travel to the cold weather, right? Hope you detected the sarcasm there. Simply put, Miami has not been the same team offensively with Duke Johnson out of the lineup. Stephen Morris continues to struggle and the offense as a whole is not good enough on third down. Now the Canes have to face one of the best defensive players in the nation in Aaron Donald, who changes the complexion of games entirely on his own. Pitt has been plenty inconsistent all year, and is one of the hardest teams to figure out on a weekly basis. But the Panthers tend to play up to the level of competition (see Notre Dame) and will no doubt be ready to go in this one.

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ACC SCOREBOARD

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