Print and Go Back ESPN.com: ACC [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
ACC Upset Watch: Week 4


I can already tell you that Clemson fans are not going to be particularly happy with the Upset Watch this week. But just as a refresher, the Upset Watch is not meant to predict upsets. It is meant to merely show there are certain teams, week to week, that need to be on high alert, or on watch, for potentially getting upset.

Last week was quiet as both favored teams spotlighted won their respective games. Let's see what Week 4 has in store.

1. Clemson at NC State. Tigers fans are used to seeing their team on the Upset Watch list. Earlier this year, it was Clemson that pulled the upset on No. 5 Georgia. Now the Tigers are sitting at No. 3 in the rankings and face a tough road test at NC State on Thursday night. Why is it a tough road test? Well NC State has developed this reputation of taking down the top team in its division over the last several years. The last time Clemson came into Raleigh, back in 2011, the Tigers were ranked No. 7 in the nation and heavily favored to win. NC State pulled the stunning upset 37-13. Coach Dabo Swinney still has nightmares from that game. Clemson is the better, more talented team. But NC State will be fired up, and the Wolfpack have some added confidence knowing they have a knack for taking down ranked teams. NC State has beaten at least one every year, going back to 2005.

2. Wake Forest at Army. When you lose to Boston College and ULM, there are no gimmes the rest of the way for Wake Forest. Not even against a 1-2 Army team. The Black Knights played No. 5 Stanford tough last week, trailing only by seven at halftime before losing 34-20. Wake Forest has some serious issues it has to figure out quickly. Most pressing is establishing a ground game that has been perhaps even worse than a year ago. The road gets harder from here for the Deacs. After Army, they face Clemson, NC State, Maryland and Miami -- teams that are undefeated to this point. If Wake Forest wants to keep their bowl hopes alive, this Army game qualifies as a must-win.

3. West Virginia vs. Maryland. The Terps go into this game favored, but West Virginia showed some signs of life on offense last week behind Ford Childress, who was named the starter for this week. Childress is option No. 3 at quarterback so far this year. While it is true he threw for 359 yards against Georgia State, there was a better sense of cohesion on offense than there had been the first two weeks. Charles Sims is a tough running back to defend, too. What could pose a problem for Maryland is a wide-open West Virginia passing game with a depleted secondary now that veteran cornerback Dexter McDougle is lost for the season. This is not a gimme game for the Terps.