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Friday, October 17, 2008
What to watch in the ACC: Week 8

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

One thing that doesn't really count for this list but that Boston College fans should be aware of is that former quarterback Matt Ryan will be on the sideline Saturday. The Falcons are off. Here's what to watch on the field this weekend:

1. Clemson interim head coach Dabo Swinney. He has already taken a different approach than his predecessor with Saturday's "Tiger Walk," but he'll also be calling the plays along with recruiting coordinator Billy Napier. How much different will Clemson's offense look without Rob Spence?

2. Clemson quarterback Willy Korn. The fans have been clamoring for Korn, and now they've got him. It doesn't matter if Brett Favre is back there, though, if the line can't protect him. We'll see if Korn's mobility can provide the spark the offense needs.

3. Wake Forest in the red zone. The Demon Deacons have been inside the 20-yard line 23 times and have scored just nine touchdowns. They have the worst red zone offense in the ACC, and have just one offensive touchdown in two league games.

4. Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. Coaches throughout the league will tell you he's one of the most talented receivers in the ACC, but he has yet to reach his potential. He didn't have one catch against Clemson, and the Terps will need more from him in the second half of the season.

5. Turnovers in Charlottesville. North Carolina will pounce on opponents' mistakes, and Virginia can't afford to give away any freebies. UNC has scored three touchdowns off interceptions.

6. It's all about the Benjamins, baby. Miami true freshman Travis Benjamin leads the Hurricanes with 569 all-purpose yards, and is 18th nationally in punt return average with 14 yards. But Duke's punt coverage unit is one of the best in the nation, allowing just 3.86 yards per return.

7. Holes left by injured UNC receiver Brandon Tate. Brooks Foster has three starts at wide receiver this season, including against Virginia Tech, when the Heels went with a three-wide receiver set. Hakeem Nicks will handle the kickoff returns and Kendric Burney the punt returns.

8. Boston College's rushing defense. The Hokies have been hanging on with their running game and are averaging 174.7 yards on the ground, but the Eagles are holding opponents to just 99.8. Of the Hokies' 15 touchdowns this season, 13 have come on the ground.

9. Miami quarterback Robert Marve. He threw three interceptions in a shaky performance last week against Central Florida, but has completed 65 percent of his passes in two road games this season.

10. Boston College quarterback Chris Crane. The Hokies have a better pass defense (185 yards per game) than NC State (260.2), and Crane will have a tough time repeating his impressive peformance. Defensive end Orion Martin has had a sack in each of the past three games.