Tuesday, November 5, 2013
ACC upset watch: Week 11
By Heather Dinich
The No. 1 game on this list came to fruition last week, as Boston College knocked off Virginia Tech and snapped a five-game losing streak to the Hokies. The Upset Watch is back this week, with two ranked teams making an appearance ... and no, one of them is not Florida State:
1. No. 23 Notre Dame at Pitt -- Last year, Notre Dame was ranked No. 3 and that’s exactly how many overtimes the Irish needed to beat the Panthers, 29-26. Notre Dame trailed 20-6 in the fourth quarter -- in South Bend -- and had three turnovers. In 2011, Pitt pushed Notre Dame to the fourth quarter before losing, 15-12. Is this the season the Panthers finally break through? Pitt will have home field advantage, and the Irish are banged up defensively. Last week’s win over Navy came with a price, as linebacker Ben Councell is out for the season with a left knee injury and defensive lineman Kona Schwenke is out for Saturday's game with a high-ankle sprain. Sheldon Day aggravated a high-ankle sprain he had suffered earlier this season but may be ready to play against Pitt. The past five games in this series have been decided by an average of four points, and two of them have gone into overtime.
2. Virginia Tech at No. 11 Miami -- Both of these teams are trying to rebound from disappointing losses, and yet both still have everything to play for. The Coastal Division will be on the line when the Hokies travel to South Florida this week. Miami is the only team left in the division that can get to Charlotte by winning the rest of its remaining games. If the Hokies win, they’re right back in the race, despite back-to-back losses to Duke and Boston College. Virginia Tech has turned the ball over eight times in the past two games, but Miami will be without its top offensive player in injured running back Duke Johnson. Neither team is flawless, and both are playing with embattled quarterbacks trying to carry their respective teams on their shoulders. This is going to be a gut-check game for both programs, but Virginia Tech has more to prove. The Hokies have made improbable comebacks before. Can they do it again?