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Monday, September 17, 2012
Week 4 sneak peek

By Andrea Adelson

Here’s a look at the top three games for Week 4, and what’s on tap in the rest of the conference:

1. No. 10 Clemson at No. 4 Florida State (8 p.m., ABC). The spotlight is squarely on the ACC on Saturday night as the two best teams in the league square off for the inside track at the Atlantic Division. The winner keeps its national championship hopes alive as well. This is the first meeting between two top 10 ACC teams since 2007, when Matt Ryan led No. 2 Boston College to a 14-10 win against No. 8 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

2. Miami at Georgia Tech (3 p.m., RSN). The Yellow Jackets looked impressive in their blowout win over Virginia last week, while Miami has struggled on defense. Still, the Hurricanes have had Georgia Tech's number of late, winning three straight in the series. Last year, Miami upset No. 20 Georgia Tech 24-7 and its hopes in this one probably ride on freshman sensation Duke Johnson, who scored four touchdowns three different ways against Bethune Cookman last week.

3. Virginia at No. 17 TCU (noon, ESPN). The Cavaliers are going to have their hands full in Fort Worth this weekend and are going to have to show some major defensive improvements if they have any shot at winning this game. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Kansas last week, and the Horned Frogs are averaging 203.5 yards rushing this season. The last time these two teams met was in 2009 -- TCU won and ended up going undefeated in the regular season.

The best of the rest (in no particular order)

Maryland at No. 8 West Virginia (noon, FX). The Terps made a game of this one last year in the second half, but the Mountaineers are much stronger this season. Quarterback Geno Smith has emerged as the Heisman front-runner after three weeks. The Maryland defense has to play perfectly for the Terps to have a chance at the upset.

Bowling Green at Virginia Tech (noon, ESPNU). The Hokies will try and bounce back against Bowling Green after dropping out of the rankings following their stunning loss to Pitt. Three areas that need immediate improvement: 1. Quarterback play. 2. Holding onto the football. 3. Run defense. Bowling Green is 1-2. These two teams last met in 1993.

Army at Wake Forest (12:30 p.m., ACC Network). Another bounce back game in the ACC, as the Deacons try to erase the memory of their 52-0 blowout loss to Florida State. Wake Forest has won the last five meetings between the two. We will see if the Deacs will have nose guard Nikita Whitlock back this week after sitting out against FSU.

East Carolina at North Carolina (3:30 p.m., ESPNU). Coach Larry Fedora has plenty of familiarity with East Carolina, having gone 2-2 against the Pirates during his time at Southern Miss. The Tar Heels showed some guts in their furious second-half comeback last week against Louisville, and perhaps that is something to build on this week.

Memphis at Duke (6 p.m., ESPN3). The is the first meeting between the schools, and the Blue Devils have an excellent shot at starting the season 3-1 for the first time since 2008. Last week against NC Central, Duke scored 54 points, its second-highest scoring total under coach David Cutcliffe.

The Citadel at NC State (6 p.m., ESPN3). The Wolfpack could have its hands full with The Citadel, which piled up 618 total yards last week in a 52-28 win over Appalachian State, snapping the Mountaineers' 18-game regular-season home winning streak.