Thursday, September 15, 2011
ACC predictions: Week 3
By Heather Dinich
I went 9-1 in my picks last week. You’d think that was a good week, right? Heck, it’s a good season. But no. As soon as the Jackets took the lead over Middle Tennessee, I heard from more Georgia Tech fans in a skinny minute than I have all offseason. Some of them conceded via Twitter that they were happier about my erroneous pick than they were about the actual win. Seriously. Hey, whatever I can do to make you Jackets happy. Watch out, though, I’m picking Georgia Tech to win today.
After last week, my grand total is a 16-5, for a 76.1 winning percentage. Not bad, but could be better, starting now:
Duke 24, Boston College 21 (OT): Despite their struggles in the first two games, the Blue Devils seem to be on the brink of breaking through for their first win. The Eagles, however, seem to be on the brink of a breakdown. There has been more turnover at the coordinator position and more injuries for BC to deal with. Duke’s staff and preparation will be the difference.
Auburn 28, Clemson 27: Clemson continues to say it's a “work in progress,” but time has run out for the teaching phase. This begins a tough three-week stretch, and it's either ready or it's not. Based on what we’ve seen in unconvincing performances against Troy and Wofford, the past two weeks, it's not.
Oklahoma 21, Florida State 17: The Seminoles will play much better than they did a year ago, but in the end, the Sooners’ passing game and maturity will be the difference. The Seminoles have a lot of young talent and the defense has been outstanding, but FSU won’t be able to stop Landry Jones & Co. while at the same time eke out enough from its own offense.
West Virginia 31, Maryland 24: The Terps will have the advantage in the running game, quarterback Geno Smith will pick apart Maryland’s secondary, but West Virginia's stingy defense will be the difference. The Mountaineers got off to slow starts in their first two games, but Maryland coach Randy Edsall was 1-6 against West Virginia while at Connecticut.
NC State 42, South Alabama 7: The Wolfpack will get a chance to regroup from their loss to Wake Forest, but this victory will ring hollow, as it will be the second FCS opponent on the schedule. It will be another chance, though, for quarterback Mike Glennon to get more comfortable and for the defense to both heal and make strides.
Wake Forest 45, Gardner-Webb 10: The Deacs could be without one of their top playmakers, receiver Michael Campanaro, who is doubtful because of a hamstring injury, but it shouldn’t matter. Wake Forest should overpower Gardner-Webb, and quarterback Tanner Price should have another impressive performance.
Georgia Tech 56, Kansas 21: The Yellow Jackets were embarrassed on the road last year at Kansas, so the chances of it happening again at home are slim, especially considering how strong Georgia Tech has looked in its first two games. Georgia Tech’s running backs have only been pushed back 5 yards for losses in the first two games.
Miami 27, Ohio State 24: The Buckeyes’ suspensions will be a factor, as will the return of five of Miami’s suspended players, including quarterback Jacory Harris. Harris will prove to Miami fans that he’s a better quarterback than he was the last time he faced Ohio State and threw four picks.
North Carolina 21, Virginia 17: The Tar Heels will look much better than they did a week ago when they had five turnovers in the win over Rutgers and will win the turnover battle against the Hoos. UNC’s D will force quarterback Michael Rocco into one or two costly mistakes like he had when he played sparingly against the Tar Heels last year.
Virginia Tech 42, Arkansas State 3: The Hokies should return to the comfort of their home with a comfortable win against another unheralded opponent. It should be yet another chance for quarterback Logan Thomas to learn from his mistakes against East Carolina, and for the offensive line to regroup after some injuries.