Week 2 - Wake Forest at Boston College & More

Posted Sep 6, 2013

Week 2 ACC Fearless Predictions - Wake Forest at Boston College & More

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Wake Forest (1-0) at Boston College (1-0) Sept. 6, 8:00, ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: There's a vacancy behind Clemson and Florida State in the ACC Atlantic that Wake Forest and Boston College would love to fill. The Demon Deacons and the Eagles both started 2013 with wins over FCS opponents. BC got all it could handle in the debut of head coach Steve Addazio, narrowly escaping Villanova, 24-14, on the Heights. Facing a lesser opponent, Presbyterian, Wake Forest produced a somewhat lethargic 31-7 victory. Both schools will need to raise their level of play on Friday night.
Why Wake Forest Might Win: The Deacons are a veteran squad led by a veteran coach, Jim Grobe. They've got a senior under center, Tanner Price, and a defense that showed some life a week ago. Wake Forest also expects to get a major boost from the return of All-ACC WR Michael Campanaro, who missed the opener with a sore hamstring. In Campanaro's absence last week, rookie Jonathan Williams debuted with five catches for 143 yards.
Why Boston College Might Win: The Eagles are very much a similar team to this week's opponent. They're led by a senior quarterback, Chase Rettig, boast an all-star wideout, Alex Amidon, and are seasoned on D. Boston College, though, has the better back in Andre Williams. The north-south veteran kicked off the season with 114 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Who To Watch Out For: Assuming Campanaro is truly at full-strength, he and Amidon are both capable of ringing up double-digit catches this week.

- Each team has a defensive star who'll be looking to leave his mark the game. BC must contend with Wake Forest NG Nikita Whitlock, while Eagle LB Kevin Pierre-Louis will make stops from sideline-to-sideline.

- BC had six sacks throughout all of 2012. On Saturday, the Eagles had four. The start of an uptick in production, or is the Villanova O-line just that futile?

- It's early, but Friday night's game could have eventual bowl implications. Since six wins will be a challenge for both programs, a loss here will make the postseason far less attainable.
What Will Happen: Close, low-scoring and probably a little unappealing at times. There's not a lot of separation between the two schools. Boston College, though, has the better backfield, more accurate placekicker and home crowd support, which will be enough to propel it to a rather meaningful 2-0 start to the season.
Prediction: Boston College 24 … Wake Forest 20
Line: Boston College -3 – O/U: 49
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 2

South Carolina State (0-1) at Clemson (1-0) Sept. 7, 12:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Clemson is all the rage, courtesy of its Saturday night victory over No. 5 Georgia. It's obviously early, with a ton of football left to be played, but the Tigers are now one of the trendy programs when the topic is the national title chase. They'll look to remain hungry—and healthy—when South Carolina State visits Death Valley this weekend. The Bulldogs, coming off their first losing season since 2000, blew a second-half lead in a loss to Coastal Carolina.
Why South Carolina State Might Win: Well, obviously, it'll be next to impossible for head coach Dabo Swinney to his kids up for these Bulldogs after last Saturday's emotionally-draining win. South Carolina State will pin its longshot hopes on fifth-year senior QB Richard Cue, who'll attack a Clemson D that still has issues.
Why Clemson Might Win: Too much offense. Way too much offense. QB Tajh Boyd is the leading man at Clemson, of course, but the program is ecstatic that RB Roderick McDowell appears ready to handle a starring role on the ground. He sprinted and juked his way to 132 yards on only 22 carries, which will make coordinator Chad Morris' attack that much harder to contain.
Who To Watch Out For: While the Clemson D made tremendous adjustments versus Georgia, it still yielded 545 yards, and needs to seal lanes better.

- Tigers DE Vic Beasley is poised for a breakout junior season, kicking it off with two sacks of Aaron Murray.

- With NC State up next, this represents a great opportunity for Swinney to get much-needed work for his second and third-teamers.
What Will Happen: The heavy lifting now completed, Clemson can go about the business of fine-tuning both sides of the ball. The Tigers will operate like an NFL team in Week 3 of the exhibition season, using the starters for a half before emptying the bench to get a look at the reserves.
Prediction: Clemson 55 … South Carolina 10
Line: Clemson -52
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 1.5

Middle Tennessee (1-0) at North Carolina (1-0) Sept. 7, 12:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: North Carolina went big-game hunting on the opening night of the 2013 season, but came up short in a 27-10 loss to South Carolina. The loss provided a measuring stick for head coach Larry Fedora, who can now take the necessary measures to right the wrongs and point the Tar Heels in the direction of ACC Coastal Division contention. Next up for Carolina is Middle Tennessee, the first time these programs have ever met. The Blue Raiders kicked off their 99th season in operation by jetting past Western Carolina, 45-24. The newest member of Conference USA has two more games before league play begins.
Why Middle Tennessee Might Win: Opponents can beat North Carolina up the middle this year, the result of losing DT Sylvester Williams and LB Kevin Reddick to the NFL. The Blue Raiders will test the soft underbelly of the Heels with a deep collection of running backs. Sophomore Jordan Parker is a rising star in Murfreesboro, kicking off his second year with 156 yards and a score on 22 carries.
Why North Carolina Might Win: Middle Tennessee had a few too many defensive lapses against Western Carolina. Things are about to get a whole lot tougher against North Carolina. The Heels boast a terrific offense, one that was muted in Columbia. Against a much weaker opponent, though, they'll showcase all of their weapons. Bryn Renner is a polished passer, with access to terrific weapons, such as WR Quinshad Davis, speedy back Romar Morris and power runner A.J. Blue.
Who To Watch Out For: The quarterback duel between Renner and Logan Kilgore was going to be a good one, but the latter might be scratched with an injured shoulder. Redshirt freshman Austin Grammer has been taking first-team snaps in practice.

- The Blue Raiders O-line will need to get a consistent hat on Carolina DE Kareem Martin and ‘Bandit' Norkeithus Otis. Otis was active in the opener, and he looks to be a great fit for the hybrid pass-rushing role.
What Will Happen: The dynamic of this matchup changed when Kilgore injured his shoulder in the opener. Without the senior calling out signals, the Blue Raiders could be rudderless on offense. Carolina, on the other hand, is set to soar now that the Gamecocks aren't on the other sideline. Pencil in prolific days for Renner and Davis, with a couple of long sprints from Morris.
Prediction: North Carolina 40 … Middle Tennessee 14
Line: North Carolina -21.5 – O/U: 67
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 2

Western Carolina (0-1) at Virginia Tech (0-1) Sept. 7, 1:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: As anticipated, Virginia Tech bowed to defending champion Alabama in Atlanta, 35-10, suffering costly breakdowns on offense and special teams. The Hokies actually played better than the final score, lending hope that the ACC Coastal is attainable. The Hokies will now begin the tedious process of regrouping, while attempting to correct their Week 1 meltdowns. It's a good for a visit from lowly Western Carolina, the Southern Conference speed bag that opened with a 45-24 loss to Middle Tennessee.
Why Western Carolina Might Win: Virginia Tech enters Week 2 physically and emotionally spent, and likely to be looking past the Catamounts. The way the Hokies are sputtering and battered on offense, it won't take a Western Carolina explosion to stay close.
Why Virginia Tech Might Win: Yeah, the Hokies fell to Bama, but the defense shares in none of the blame. Tech was smothering in the Georgia Dome, holding the Tide to just 206 total yards and 2.5 yards per carry. It'll run circles around Western Carolina, with its edge in speed and quickness at all levels.
Who To Watch Out For: Beleaguered Hokies QB Logan Thomas will need a very short memory after going 5-of-26 for 59 yards and a pick.

- Got a hunch Frank Beamer will spend more time than ever with his special teamers after they allowed Christion Jones to take a punt and a kick back for scores.
What Will Happen: Virginia Tech is poised to unleash four quarters of frustration out on Western Carolina. The Hokies won't allow the Catamounts to reach the end zone, while their own offense will get a much-needed outburst spurred by Thomas and RB Trey Edmunds.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 55 … Western Carolina 3
Line: Virginia Tech -41
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann - 1 Total Divas) … 1.5

Oregon (1-0) at Virginia (1-0) Sept. 7, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Oregon and Virginia meet for the first time, with the Ducks making a rare trip to the East Coast. Both schools opened with a victory; the Ducks routed Nicholls State in a record-setting afternoon, while the Cavaliers earned a quality win over visiting BYU. Second-ranked Oregon is steadily increasing its competition level in 2013, with Tennessee and the start of Pac-12 next on the schedule. Virginia couldn't have gotten off to a much better start for fourth-year head coach Mike London, who needs to rebound from last year's 4-8 mark. A visit from one of the country's premier teams affords the Cavs a chance to shock the world and advance the reputation of the ACC.
Why Oregon Might Win: The high-flying Ducks are going to score. The Cavaliers just don't harbor the firepower to keep pace. Virginia sputtered its way to just 223 yards and two touchdowns in its win, which just isn't going to hack this weekend. Sure, maybe the Cavs temporarily slow down QB Marcus Mariota and RB De'Anthony Thomas, but it won't matter if the offense is unable to pull more of the weight. Oregon's D is opportunistic and underrated, a problem for unproven UVa QB David Watford and his marginal skill players.
Why Virginia Might Win: Stanford defeated Oregon last year with a big and active defense. The Cavaliers will use a similar approach this Saturday. Virginia did a terrific job of slowing down BYU in Week 1, forcing 11 punts. The secondary returns all four starters, namely CB Demetrious Nicholson and S Anthony Harris, and the front seven is underrated. UVa is home to one of the better defenses that the Ducks are going to see in 2013.
Who To Watch Out For: Watford better know where No. 14, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, is at all times. The junior Duck is one of the game's most instinctive ball-hawks.

- The Philadelphia Eagles are playing at FedEx Field Monday. The Ducks are playing in Virginia on Saturday. Will Chip Kelly make the short trip south to see his old team play?

- This is a can't-miss game for NFL teams in need of an offensive tackle in 2014. Virginia's Morgan Moses and Oregon's Jake Fisher both have a chance of playing their way into next April's opening round.

- Oregon will want to employ TE Colt Lyerla against an average collection of UVa linebackers returning just one starter, Henry Coley.

- Is this the game that the Oregon takes the wrapping off prized five-star RB Thomas Tyner? While not necessarily needed as long as Thomas and Byron Marshall are around, the staff is eager to get him some touches.
What Will Happen: The long trip. The early start. The underrated ‘Hoos D. All factors with which Oregon must contend this weekend in Charlottesville. However, Virginia lacks the weapons to keep pace with an offense that can score fast and in flurries. Mariota, as he's often prone to doing, will tear off a run or two that quiets the crowd and squelches dreams of an upset. This is a good test for the Ducks as the march toward a possible title begins to slowly pick up the pace.
Prediction: Oregon 43 … Virginia 14
Line: Oregon -21.5 - O/U: 60
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) 3