Week 3 ACC - Georgia Tech at Duke & More

Posted Sep 12, 2013

Week 3 Fearless Predictions - Georgia Tech at Duke & More, Part 2

- Virginia Tech at East Carolina & More. Part 1
- Georgia Tech at Duke & More, Part 2

Nevada (1-1) at Florida State (1-0) Sept. 14, 3:30, ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Florida State returns to work, looking for an encore performance to the demolition of Pitt on Labor Day night. The Seminoles entered the national championship race discussion off the auspicious debut of QB Jameis Winston, who went from unproven to unbelievable in the blink of an eye. Ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll, the Seminoles are attempting to build a head of steam that eventually leads to hardware. Nevada has split its first two games under rookie head coach Brian Polian, failing to measure up to UCLA before handling UC Davis in Reno a week ago. This is Nevada's first meeting with Florida State, and another chance to spar with a heavyweight before Mountain West play begins.
Why Nevada Might Win: The Pack always has a chance as long as QB Cody Fajardo is on the field. He's the type of shifty dual-threat who can drive opposing defenses nuts. He's dangerous with his feet, and his accuracy as a thrower is improving. The junior will be aided by Kendall Brock and Don Jackson out of the backfield and well-sized "X" receiver Brandon Wimberly on the outside.
Why Florida State Might Win: The ‘Noles were outstanding on both sides of the ball at Pitt, and now they've had an extra to get familiar with Nevada. While Winston was the unquestioned star of the opener, Florida State also controlled the line of scrimmage, a trend that'll continue this week. It returns four starters along the O-line, while the D-line is too big and too fast for the Pack. Nevada prides itself on its multi-dimensions, but best of luck throwing on Lamarcus Joyner and one of the country's stingiest pass defenses.
Who To Watch Out For: Few opponents will stop Florida State backs James Wilder and Devonta Freeman. Nevada, which was absolutely gashed by UCLA in the opener, is not one of them.

- What can Winston do for an encore after carving up Pitt on 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns? Whatever the redshirt freshman does will be watched very closely, as he quickly evolves into one of the game's can't-miss young players.

- There'll be plenty of playmaking linemen in this one. Florida State is littered with emerging stars, like Timmy Jernigan and Mario Edwards Jr. Nevada has its own bookend in Lenny Jones and Brock Hekking that warrant maximum attention.
What Will Happen: Nevada showed its hand on opening day that it's not going to be a giant killer this season. Florida State, on the contrary, is a team without a lot of weakness. The Seminoles will roll without a lot of resistance behind a potent offense and a D that only has one playmaker with which to contend.
Prediction: Florida State 49 … Nevada 16
Line: Florida State -35 o/u: 66
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2.5

Georgia Tech (1-0) at Duke (2-0) Sept. 14, 3:30, ESPNU

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Georgia Tech and Duke meet for the 81st time in the ACC opener for both schools. The Blue Devils won a game last week over Memphis, but they also lost a quarterback, Anthony Boone, to a broken collarbone. They're seeking their first 3-0 start since 1994 and their first win over the Yellow Jackets in the last nine tries. Tech is very much an unknown at this stage of the year. It obliterated Elon in the opener, 70-0, and then went on hiatus. This week's trip to Durham kicks off a four-game stretch with Coastal Division rivals that'll begin to solve the mystery of the Jackets' ceiling in 2013.
Why Georgia Tech Might Win: The Yellow Jackets are a veteran squad, with a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. It's never easy for opponents to handle their triple-option with just a week of preparation, and the Tech D already looks as if it'll be stouter under new coordinator Ted Roof. With Brandon Connette set to replace Boone under center, the Blue Devils are going to lose some of their offensive balance and versatility.
Why Duke Might Win: All hands must be on deck in order to slow down the Georgia Tech running game. Fortunately for the host, it's played rather well in the front seven so far. Duke has only allowed one offensive touchdown over the first two games, sparked by the push of linemen Kenny Anunike and linebackers Kelby Brown and David Helton. Both Blue Devil lines, in fact, are experienced and productive.
Who To Watch Out For: Duke boasts a quality corps of receivers, led by WR Jamison Crowder and TE Braxton Deaver. It remains to be seen, though, if Connette will be able to maximize the group's Pass-catching ability.

- Georgia Tech picked off three passes in the opener in what might be a harbinger of things to come. It has a very good secondary, with CB Jemea Thomas the most active of the ball-hawks.

- As always, it's a case of pick your poison for Tech's opposing D. Duke must contend with not only athletic QB Vad Lee, who looked great throwing the ball, but also a slew of diverse running backs.
What Will Happen: Georgia Tech is going to have a say in the Coastal Division race. On Saturday, it makes its first statement to that regard. Duke won't be able to keep pace with the Yellow Jacket attack, especially now that its best passer is sidelined. Lee will thrive by ground and by air, staking his team to a lead that it won't relinquish.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 39 … Duke 21
Line: Georgia Tech -8 – O/U: 56
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2.5

Wagner (1-1) at Syracuse (0-2) Sept. 14, 4:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: A visit from Wagner could not come at a better time for Syracuse, which opened with tough Big Ten games against Penn State and Northwestern. The Orange really got roughed up by the Wildcats in Evanston, which will force the staff to evaluate the direction of the team before it gets too late. Wagner is coming off a crushing defeat at the hands of Merrimack, allowing the winning touchdown with just 30 seconds left on the clock.
Why Wagner Might Win: The Seahawks will be visiting a Syracuse team in disarray … on both sides of the ball. Wagner wants to play keep-away and control the clock with the running of RB Dominique Williams and QB Matt Misley. The pair combined for 208 yards and four scores on the ground last weekend.
Why Syracuse Might Win: The Orange has a one-two punch of its own, running backs Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, that's far more potent and explosiveness than anything Wagner can dole out. This is the week that Syracuse gets its ground troops cranking against an overmatched D that just got done being bullied for more than 400 yards by Merrimack.
Who To Watch Out For: Shafer needs to figure out if Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen is the answer at quarterback. After two starts, he's thrown just one touchdown and six picks.

- Look for a big day out of the Syracuse receivers, regardless of their battery mate. The Seahawks' secondary is shaky and undersized, and just got done being carved up for four scores by Merrimack QB Joe Clancy.
What Will Happen: Syracuse rebounded from an 0-2 start in 2012. If it's going to bounce back again this year, it'll begin this week in the home opener. The Orange will dominate on offense, building the kind of bulge that allows Shafer to test his backups after halftime.
Prediction: Syracuse 52 … Wagner 13
Line: Syracuse -27 o/u: 44
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 1

Maryland (2-0) at Connecticut (0-1) Sept. 14, 7:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Saturday night will be a homecoming of sorts for Maryland head coach Randy Edsall, who'll be making his first visit back to the school he coached for more than a decade. The Terps are showing signs of turning things around under Edsall, winning their first two games by a combined score of 90-20. However, a first road game against better competition will start to answer just how far along this program has come. UConn opened the season with an ugly loss to Towson, who ironically is coached by a former Edsall offensive coordinator, Rob Ambrose. If the Huskies can't turn things around right now for beleaguered head coach Paul Pasqualoni, the situation in Storrs could unravel quickly.
Why Maryland Might Win: The Terps have operated with maximum efficiency on offense. The Huskies? Not so much. UConn looked horrible against Towson, scoring just 18 points versus an FCS opponent. Maryland, on the other hand, is cranking out the points and the long drives behind QB C.J. Brown. The wide receiver tandem of Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, in particular, is going to be a handful for a Connecticut D replacing four of last year's all-stars.
Why Connecticut Might Win: No, it did not perform well in Week 1, but the Huskies' defense always seems to have the ability to gum up opposing offenses. UConn harbors potential next-level stoppers at each level, from Jesse Joseph and Shamar Stephen up front and Yawin Smallwood at linebacker to CB Byron Jones in the secondary. With two weeks to prepare, coordinator Hank Hughes should have his kids ready to force more punts.
Who To Watch Out For: The Terps hope they've found a complement to Brown out of the backfield. Sophomore Brandon Ross is fresh off his best game with the program, rushing for 149 yards and a score on only 18 carries. If he can carry the load, Maryland becomes a whole lot tougher to defend.

- Keep an eye on UConn rookie QB Tim Boyle. Yeah, he's still No. 2 on the depth chart, but if starter Chandler Whitmer stumbles, an improving Boyle is liable to see the field as early as this weekend.

- The Maryland offense is off to a fast start, but so is the defense. The Terps have yet to allow a touchdown pass, while collecting nine sacks over the first two games.
What Will Happen: UConn better have performed a Week 1 exorcism, because Maryland is a very different team than it saw last fall. The Terps are gaining confidence on both sides of the ball, and they'll want to deliver a meaningful win to their coach at Rentschler Field. The Huskies have too many holes to combat a surging opponent brimming with confidence.
Prediction: Maryland 31 … Connecticut 20
Line: Maryland -7 o/u: 49
Must See Rating: (5 Boardwalk Empire – 1 Teen Beach Movie) … 2

- Virginia Tech at East Carolina & More. Part 1
- Georgia Tech at Duke & More, Part 2