Thursday, September 13, 2012
ACC predictions: Week 3
By Heather Dinich
Who knew Maryland would go on the road last week and beat Temple? Not I. The Demon Deacons put me in my place, too, but it was still a respectable 9-2 finish last week for an overall record of 17-4 heading into Week 3. The Terps have gotten my attention:
Maryland 21, Connecticut 17: Randy Edsall has to come out a winner in the Edsall Bowl, right? Maryland’s coach has downplayed the storyline about facing his old team all week, but the bottom line is that he should have some insight into the competition considering he recruited half of it. The Terps have home-field advantage and should have some confidence after a 2-0 start.
ANDREA ADELSON'S TAKE: UConn at Maryland, 12:30 p.m., Big East Network. The long-anticipated Edsall Bowl is finally here. Both sides have downplayed the emotions going into this game, but you have to think UConn players left in the dust by Edsall are going to have a little something extra in their tanks. I picked UConn to beat NC State last week because of its defense and lost on that pick. I am sticking with the UConn defense again in this one, because I think the Huskies will confound and frustrate true freshman quarterback Perry Hills. How is UConn going to score, you ask? Chandler Whitmer will find a way. UConn 17, Maryland 13.
Northwestern 24, Boston College 21: The Wildcats’ defense will make just enough stops in this game, but it will come down to the fourth quarter. Northwestern has had dramatic wins over Syracuse and Vanderbilt thanks to quarterback Venric Mark, who will have the edge in this game.
Clemson 52, Furman 10: The Sammy Show begins again, but expect this to be another game in which Clemson spreads the wealth. Furman hasn’t won a game in this series since 1936. As long as the Tigers aren’t looking ahead to Florida State, that shouldn’t change this year.
NC State 35, South Alabama 7: The Wolfpack will be without left tackle Rob Crisp, and the offensive line will need all the help it can get right now after allowing six sacks last week against UConn. Still, South Alabama should be overmatched in this game, and the Pack will get a better performance from Mike Glennon and the offense.
Duke 49, NC Central 21: The Blue Devils will rebound from an anemic offensive performance in the loss at Stanford and get right back in the bowl picture with another win. The team will be inspired by the presence of injured receiver Blair Holliday, who has made a miraculous recovery from his summer boating accident.
Georgia Tech 28, Virginia 21: Both defenses will be the story in this game, but Al Groh’s group showed significant improvement against the Hokies and will do so again against the Cavaliers. The Jackets will play with a sense of urgency, trying to avoid an 0-2 start in conference play.
Miami 48, Bethune-Cookman 10: The Canes are 114th in the country in total defense, allowing 517 yards per game, and they are No. 109 in the country in scoring defense, allowing 42 points per game. Yeah, I’m predicting Bethune-Cookman gets on the board.
Louisville 28, North Carolina 24: This will be the best game in the lineup as far as entertainment factor goes, but Louisville’s defense and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be the difference. Bryn Renner will be flushed out of the pocket, where his completion percentage drops dramatically. Louisville will force him to scramble, and Carolina’s defense will struggle against Bridgewater just like it did against Wake Forest QB Tanner Price.
AA's TAKE: North Carolina at No. 19 Louisville, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2. This is a huge game for the Cardinals, because they have a chance to show their 2-0 start and No. 19 ranking are completely legitimate against a pretty good team from the ACC. North Carolina won this matchup last year, but the Tar Heels now feature a spread hurry-up that can cause some major problems for a defense. But the way Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price dominated the UNC defense leads me to believe Teddy Bridgewater will be able to do the same. Louisville 33, North Carolina 28.
Virginia Tech 21, Pittsburgh 17: Consider this a vote of confidence that Pitt is better than it has played so far this season. Virginia Tech’s defense, though, is too good, and the Hokies will force a turnover or make a play on special teams (remember Beamerball?) that changes the game.
AA's TAKE: No. 13 Virginia Tech at Pitt, noon, ESPNU. A sneak peek at a future ACC Coastal Division matchup is here. Before the season started, I thought this would be a good game. Now? Not so much. Pitt has done little to get me to believe it can beat a team ranked No. 13 in the nation. Virginia Tech has had some slow starts on offense, but I don't see how a Pitt defense that has gotten no push up front will be able to contain the highly versatile Logan Thomas. Pitt better keep an eye on Virginia Tech linebacker Jack Tyler, a tackling machine. Virginia Tech 35, Pitt 17.
Florida State 35, Wake Forest 28: Ahh, the big one. With or without injured starting noseguard Nikita Whitlock in the lineup, the Deacs will be overmatched up front against the Noles’ rapidly improved offensive line. Wake will struggle to put pressure on quarterback EJ Manuel, and Florida State’s speed on the perimeter will be too much for the Deacs to overcome.