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Thursday, October 22, 2009
ACC predictions: Week 8

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

When it comes to my picks this season, I like to compare myself to Clemson. I know I’ve got the talent, it just doesn’t show up every weekend. My winning percentage is 68.9 after last week’s 3-2 effort, having picked 40 of 58 games correctly. Like the rest of the ACC, I’m hoping to improve in the second half of the season, starting today:

Notre Dame 24, Boston College 20: Notre Dame won’t overwhelm them with Virginia Tech toughness and athleticism, but quarterback Jimmy Clausen is on a hot streak and the Eagles have yet to win a game on the road. BC's defense will be prepared, but Clausen will exploit some weaknesses that can youth can't hide.

Miami 28, Clemson 17: In a game that will feature two outstanding defenses, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris will be the difference. He’s calm under pressure, and that’s exactly what the Tigers are going to bring. While Clemson has talented stars, Harris has more options around him.

North Carolina 17, Florida State 14: Considering how well UNC’s defense is playing and how poorly its offense has played, this could very well be a 7-3 Carolina win, but FSU quarterback Christian Ponder continues to amaze and will get the Noles into the end zone more than once. It won’t be enough, though, to overcome the emotion and atmosphere of UNC’s first-ever Thursday night game.

Duke 28, Maryland 20: The Terps won’t be able to stop Duke’s passing attack, led by senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis. Duke is averaging almost 32 points per game, while the Terps average 23, and that’s because Lewis is given the time and protection he needs to find his receivers. Both teams will continue to struggle to run the ball.

Navy 21, Wake Forest 20: This was a trap game for the Deacs during the regular season a year ago, and it could be again, especially considering the game is in Annapolis, its homecoming, the Mids are on a four-game winning streak and need just two more to become bowl eligible.  

Virginia 21, Georgia Tech 17: If the Jackets are going to go down, it’s going to happen this weekend. Consider this your upset pick. Georgia Tech is coming off a big, emotional win, and is ripe for a letdown on the road. They haven’t won in Charlottesville since 1990, and the Cavs will do their best defensively to make sure that streak isn’t broken on Saturday.