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Week 3 predictions: ACC

9/17/2009

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

Last week will probably be my best week for predictions. In fact, I'm willing to predict I don't get 9 out of 10 right again. I got every one right but the Duke game (sorry, Blue Devils). That raises my season total to 76 percent (16 of 21 games correct). It’s still early, though. Let’s see what kind of damage I can do this week:

Miami 24, Georgia Tech 21: Miami will score on impact plays, and Georgia Tech will control the clock, so it should be another Thursday night thriller for the ACC, but the Canes will redeem themselves defensively from last year’s performance. Plus, Miami is 13-2 on Thursday nights.

North Carolina 17, East Carolina 14: The Pirates will have trouble moving the ball against the Tar Heels’ defense, especially without leading rusher Dominique Lindsay. UNC opponents have converted just 4 of 29 (13.8 percent) attempts on third down, which ranks fourth in the country.

Clemson 21, BC 17: Clemson has better athletes, more team speed and a better overall skill level, but don’t underestimate Frank Spaziani’s defense. It should be a better game than some might think, but the Tigers have home-field advantage, have found consistency at quarterback and found many positives in their loss to Georgia Tech.

BYU 28, Florida State 10: Max Hall will pick apart the Noles’ secondary. He threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns in a 54-3 win over Tulane last week. The Cougars are a more mature team with home-field advantage and have already proven themselves in a 14-13 upset over then-No. 3 Oklahoma.

Maryland 17, Middle Tennessee 14: Brace yourself for another near upset. The Terps just lost their best corner, Nolan Carroll, and will be facing dual-threat quarterback Dwight Dasher, who leads the Sun Belt Conference and ranks 20th nationally in total offense with 292.5 yards per game. He has accounted for 80 percent of the team’s total yards during that span (585 of 735 yards).

NC State 38, Gardner-Webb 10: Tom O’Brien has been talking GW up all week like they’re the FCS champs, but there’s no excuse for the Pack not to earn a convincing win. Gardner-Webb is a better team than Murray State, but there shouldn’t be any upset watch here.

Wake Forest 24, Elon 17: This game will probably be a little too close for comfort until the second half, but if the Deacs are lucky, they won’t have to receive the wrath of Jim Grobe this weekend at halftime. The Phoenix will try to win with its passing game and disrupt a young secondary still coming together.

Kansas 34, Duke 21: The Blue Devils just aren’t ready to upset a Top 25 team yet, but the coaching is good enough and there are enough veteran players on the roster that Duke can keep this game interesting and respectable.

Southern Miss 31, Virginia 10: The Rock will be a tough place for the Cavaliers to play their first road game, but more importantly, it doesn’t seem like the players have bought into the spread offense or what the staff is trying to do on special teams.

Virginia Tech 31, Nebraska 24: Ryan Williams will have another strong running performance, as long as the offensive line can handle itself. Nebraska will play them tough, but the Hokies’ running game, the crowd at Lane Stadium, and special teams will win out.