Week 1 Fearless Predictions - ACC Sat, Part 1

Posted Aug 30, 2013

Week 1 Fearless Predictions - ACC Saturday, Part 1

Elon (0-0) at Georgia Tech (0-0) Aug. 30, 12:00, ESPN3.com

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The ACC is ready to shock the world with a monster season, and there is no doubt that Georgia Tech will be capable of being one of the better teams. Paul Johnson is coming back after a tremendous Sun Bowl victory over USC, and the coach has plenty of talent returning to Atlanta for another season.

Why Elon Might Win: So you're saying there's a chance? Elon has a shot, despite going up against a solid ACC program, because the Yellow Jackets have never faced them before. Georgia Tech is 13-1 in its last 14 home openers, which means Elon has a glimpse of hope to keep it close. Vad Lee may be talented at quarterback, but he will have increased pressure now that he's the clear-cut starter. Youngsters often make mistakes in September, especially with All-SoCon LB Jonathan Spain licking his chops on the other side of the ball.

Why Georgia Tech Might Win: The gaudy stats this team has put up on offense over the last several seasons has been impressive, and that trend will not change this week. Georgia Tech's defense has given its fanbase some headaches over the years, and the lack of a passing attack is a tough pill to swallow in the current day of spread offenses, but it still find ways to field winning teams. The Yellow Jackets will dominate Elon with their relentless rushing attack, peppering the Phoenix with a wave of A-backs and B-backs.

Who To Watch Out For: Lee. The starting quarterback may only play one half in this opener, but his stats could be robust. Throw in 200 yards of offense and a few touchdown drives in one half, and Lee will make everybody forget the name Tevin Washington. Lee will only be a sophomore this season, but he is posturing for one fine season on the Flats.

What Will Happen: This a nightmare for the Phoenix, and a beatdown will occur in Atlanta with a score similar to the one Carolina put on them in 2012. The Yellow Jackets have a shot to compete in the Coastal Division, which is a mouthful with Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Miami. It all begins with a rout in front of the Bobby Dodd Stadium faithful.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 63 … Western Carolina 0
Line: Georgia Tech -46
Must See Rating: (5 Hard Knocks – 1 N'Sync on the VMAs) … 1

Villanova (0-0) at Boston College (0-0) Aug. 31, 12:00, ESPN News

Why You Should Give A Hoot: For those who weren't paying attention, this is the first game for head coach Steve Addazio at Boston College. This is not a huge season for Boston College, but it is in the ACC and a solid victory in the opener could be a trend setter. Addazio is not working with the most amount of talent, but one should care about this matchup since Boston College has USC in the third week of the season on the road. Will they be able to compete and keep it close? A dominating performance out of the gates could answer that question.

Why Villanova Might Win: Villanova won the last meeting between these two schools, and it wouldn't be the biggest shocker on the planet if it happened again. Larger upsets have happened, but the last time these two met was in 1980. Still, Boston College is 12-4 in home openers so the ability to lose certainly is there, and the Wildcats are coming off a solid 8-4 season. Winning the turnover battle and field position is a must, which gives them a shot.

Why Boston College Might Win: Everybody loves to talk about the difference in speed and skill players when the FBS and FCS matchup, however the dominance won in the trenches is tremendous to watch. The Eagles have been known for their will to win based at the point of attack on both lines of scrimmage. Nothing will change with the majority of their starters coming back on both sides of the ball up front. BC is vastly improved from their 2-10 campaign last season, and the hope is an opening victory can propel them towards big things in 2013.

Who To Watch Out For: Boston College QB Chase Rettig. With 6,253 career passing yards, Rettig is a monster season away from cracking into the top three in the school annals alongside the likes of Matt Ryan and Doug Flutie. Returning all of the skill players around the quarterback will be vital for success, and there is a shot that Boston College can go bowling if they pull off a few upsets. It all starts with a virtuoso performance in the first half by Rettig, because hopefully they will be up a few touchdowns by then.

What Will Happen: The Eagles' offense expects to be much improved from a season ago, when it was an abysmal 109th in scoring offense, averaging 19.8 points per game. The majority of the starters are back, including the duo of Rettig and All-ACC WR Alex Amidon, which will wreak havoc on Villanova. The defense isn't stout, though it should be able to stifle this FCS squad in the opener.

Prediction: Boston College 23 … Villanova 17
Line: Boston College -16.5
Must See Rating: (5 Hard Knocks – 1 N'Sync at the VMAs) … 1.5

Florida International (0-0) at Maryland (0-0) Aug. 31, 12:30

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The Terrapins need to start fast … and remain healthy.

Maryland began 2012 with hope, but ended it with despair, crushed under the weight of its own injuries. Two years into the Randy Edsall experiment in College Park, the Terps are just 6-18 and in dire need of a postseason appearance. If this struggling program is going to take a step in a new direction, it has to take care of business whenever possible. This week's visit from lowly Florida International, for instance. The Golden Panthers will need to overachieve to avoid the lower bowels of their new league, Conference USA. FIU has endured a rocky offseason, from the surprise firing of popular head coach Mario Cristobal to the dismissal of the team's top offensive weapon, RB Kedrick Rhodes.
Why Florida International Might Win: Yeah, the defense disappointed in 2012, but new coordinator Josh Conklin believes he can get more out of this group this fall. The Golden Panthers have speed at every level, a concern for a Maryland offense that's shaky in the trenches and without injured WR Deon Long. FIU is going to get to the ball in a hurry with some combination of linemen Greg Hickman and Giovani Francois, LB Patrick Jean and CB Richard Leonard.
Why Maryland Might Win: While the Terps need new stoppers on D, they won't have to be otherworldly to trip up the Golden Panthers on Saturday afternoon. FIU has the Jake Medlock-to-Willis Wright connection, but not a lot else now that Rhodes has been booted. The corner duo of Jeremiah Johnson and Dexter McDougle will neutralize Wright, leaving the Panthers without the weapons to convert on third down.
Who To Watch Out For: The Terps will be an entirely different offense in 2013 thanks to the healthy return of QB C.J. Brown. Maryland must do whatever is necessary to keep No. 16 healthy this year.

- The athletic Brown will need to avoid the quick front seven of the Panthers. He'll also need to know the whereabouts of Leonard, a speedy defender with a possible NFL future.

- The Terps need Brown. So does sophomore WR Stefon Diggs. One of the top young playmakers in America will be even better if there isn't a turnstile behind center in 2013.

- Maryland better use these first few games wisely to develop a few pass rushers. Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis aren't easily replaced, and the start of the ACC schedule will be here before you know it.

What Will Happen: Brown is available to Edsall. Maryland has a shot to be more competitive this season. The Terrapins have issues on both lines, which make a visit from Florida International so timely. The Golden Panthers lack the spark and the continuity on offense to deliver an upset once this game reaches the twenties. Brown will earn game MVP honors with 250 total yards and a couple of scores.
Prediction: Maryland 31 … Florida International 13
Line: Maryland -20 O/U: 49.5
Must See Rating: (5 Hard Knocks – 1 N'Sync at the VMAs) … 2