2009 ACC Fearless Predictions
Week 6 ... Oct. 10 Games
Boston College |
ACC Fearless Predictions
Week 1 |
| Week 3
Week 4 |
Week 6, Part 2 (Maryland at
Wake Forest, and More)
Game of the Week
Georgia Tech (4-1) at Florida State (2-3),8:00 EST, ESPN2, Saturday, October 10
Why to watch: These are troubling times in Tallahassee. The entire decade has been a rollercoaster ride at Florida State, but the car has careened off the tracks in the early part of this season. As the Seminoles slip into also-ran status in the ACC, the cries for Bobby Bowden to relinquish his throne have become louder, creating a very awkward and unsettling situation. The blowout of BYU now a distant memory, the ‘Noles have lost back-to-back games to South Florida and Boston College. Georgia Tech comes in on a completely different spectrum. After hitting the wall in a Sept. 17 blowout loss at Miami, the Yellow Jackets have rebounded with impressive wins over North Carolina and Mississippi State. The resurgence has them eyeing the Coastal Division once again, but even one more loss could destroy that goal.
Why Georgia Tech might win: The triple-option is officially back on line again. Over the last two games, the Yellow Jackets have consistently moved the sticks on a pair of pretty feisty defenses. Fueled by RB Jonathan Dwyer and QB Josh Nesbitt, they’ve churned out more than 200 yards on the ground, wearing out the Tar Heels and the Bulldogs. As an added bonus, Nesbitt is coming off a career-day through the air, throwing for 266 yards and finding Demaryius Thomas all day. Tech will be facing a beleaguered D that’s slipped into the ACC cellar, is tackling poorly, and is anything but vintage Florida State.
Why Florida State might win: Stopping the bleeding will fall on the shoulders of QB Christian Ponder, who’s hanging in through adversity and plenty of contact. He’ll have to exploit a Georgia Tech defense that’s been vulnerable all year and has had particular problems defending the pass. The Jackets are 88th nationally in pass efficiency defense, yielding 10 touchdown passes through five games. Ponder isn’t getting much from the running game, so he’ll have to work the perimeter and the passing lanes, employing the services of top pass-catchers Bert Reed, Richard Goodman, and Rod Owens. If the ‘Noles don’t have success through the air, they’ll have a hard time keeping pace with the Tech offense.
Who to watch: One of many disappointments in Tallahassee has been the play of the offensive line, which was supposed to be one of the team’s pillars. It’s had problems opening running lanes and in pass protection, often stalling the rest of the offense. If Ponder is going to deliver a win, he’ll need his tackles to wall off Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan, who’s been quieted the last few weeks, yet still has the pass-rushing skills to completely take a game over.
What will happen: Georgia Tech has never won at Doak Campbell Stadium, but how much mystique remains after Florida State lost to Miami and South Florida, and darn near gagged to Jacksonville State? While the Seminoles are certainly capable of rising up and winning one for Bowden, they’re also liable to keep running a fade pattern. Anything is possible with this team. The Yellow Jackets are simply executing better than the ‘Noles these days, and will compound their misery with a third straight loss. Tech will pop a few big plays on offense from Dwyer and Thomas, holding off a late challenge and leaving the state with their first-ever win in Tallahassee.
CFN Prediction: Georgia Tech 28 … Florida State 23 ... Line: Florida State -2.5
Must See Rating: (A Serious Man 5 … Couples Retreat 1) … 3-
Free Expert Football Predictions
Boston College (4-1) at Virginia Tech (4-1),12:00 EST, ESPN360, Saturday, October 10
Why to watch: The ACC is home to three 4-1 teams. Two of them will be meeting in Blacksburg for a showdown between the participants in the last two league championship games. Virginia Tech failed to pick up any style points in last weekend’s 34-26 win over Duke, but what did you expect? The letdown in Durham was inevitable after the Hokies had just gotten done finishing off Nebraska and Miami in back-to-back emotional victories. The last serious contender without a conference loss, they remain the favorite to win a third straight crown. Did anyone see this coming from Boston College? In a certain rebuilding year, the Eagles have raised the bar unexpectedly with consecutive wins over Wake Forest and Florida State. In a wide-open Atlantic Division, Frank Spaziani’s kids have as much a shot as anyone of representing this bracket in December.
Why Boston College might win: A work-in-progress in August, the defense has really begun to flex its muscles, ranking 25th nationally against the run and only allowing three touchdown passes all year. The Virginia Tech offensive line will have problems containing a solid front that’s getting more from LB Mike McLaughlin and DT Damik Scafe than earlier in the year. Plus, DE Alex Albright has been outstanding in run support and LB Luke Kuechly is on his way to becoming a Freshman All-American. Now that Dave Shinksie has given the Eagles a threat behind center, opposing defenses can’t zone in on just stopping RB Montel Harris.
Why Virginia Tech might win: Have the Hokies finally mined something out of the passing game? Sure, it was Duke, but Tyrod Taylor was crisp through the air, going 17-of-22 for 327 yards and two scores. While a repeat isn’t likely, it’s one more thing for Boston College to think about when trying to devise a plan for stopping backs Ryan Williams and Josh Oglesby. This is also the best defense the Eagles have faced so far this season, a problem as they venture out on the road for the first time in three weeks. The last time they left Chestnut Hill, they were completely shut down by Clemson.
Who to watch: Virginia Tech DE Jason Worilds and Boston College OT Anthony Castonzo will both be in the NFL someday. When they’re lined up across from each other, it’ll be one of the most intriguing match ups of the day. Worilds has the closing speed of an outside linebacker, but Castonzo has long arms and outstanding pass protection skills. If Worilds can unnerve Shinskie, it could create some cherry-picking opportunities for the Hokie secondary.
What will happen: Boston College has been one of the feel-good stories of the early going, but it’s about to get taken down a peg by a more talented Virginia Tech team. While the Hokies will sputter at times on offense, the defense will blanket an average set of Eagle receivers with man coverage, pouring resources into stopping the run. Once Tech goes two scores up, the game will already be out of reach.
CFN Prediction: Virginia Tech 28 … Boston College 13 ... Line: Virginia Tech -13.5
Must See Rating: (A Serious Man 5 … Couples Retreat 1) … 2.5
-Free Expert Football Predictions
Georgia Southern (3-2) at North Carolina (3-2),3:30 EST, Saturday, October 10
Why to watch: If you’re looking for one of the biggest disappointments of the first half of the season, take a gander at North Carolina. Once a trendy pick to take the ACC by storm, the Tar Heels have disappeared the last two weekends, losing back-to-back clunkers to Georgia Tech and Virginia. Barely showing up at home in the 16-3 loss to the Cavs was a low point in the Butch Davis era. A visit from Georgia Southern is timely, affording Carolina an opportunity to work on its offensive issues, as if it’s a spring game. The Eagles are a decent Southern Conference team that shouldn’t be overlooked. They’re off to a 2-1 start in league play, but have yet to hit the meat of their schedule.
Why Georgia Southern might win: If the Carolina offense can’t locate a pulse real soon, the team is going to be vulnerable week-in and week-out. Over the last two games, the Heels have managed to score just 10 points, slipping to 113th in the country in total offense. If QB Lee Chapple can get the offense moving, feeding RB Adam Urbano and finding top receiver Jamere Valentine, Carolina could have problems scoring enough points to avoid a third loss in-a-row.
Why North Carolina might win: The one constant in Chapel Hill all season has been the play of the defense, the backbone of the program. Despite being on the field more than any unit should, the Heels have held up extraordinarily well, ranking No. 8 nationally and yielding just 14 points a game. DE Robert Quinn is emerging into a young star, collecting three sacks last week, and linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter have the sideline-to-sideline speed to keep plays in front of them. The secondary has given up only one touchdown pass all year, a daunting challenge for Chapple and his young receivers.
Who to watch: If Cam Sexton hadn’t transferred, he’d almost certainly be the Carolina starting quarterback at this point. He did, so the Heels can only hope that T.J. Yates makes strides before the conference schedule resumes in a week. While the offensive meltdowns certainly aren’t all his fault, he has to absorb a lot of the blame for a passing game that’s been AWOL since the opener with The Citadel.
What will happen: Although the outcome may never be in doubt, this is a critical week for North Carolina, which has to produce something positive before the season starts circling the drain. The defense will eliminate any possibility of the upset, while the offense avoids the snooze button with 125 yards on the ground out of Shaun Draughn and a pair of short scores from Ryan Houston.
CFN Prediction: North Carolina 31 … Georgia Southern 3 ... Line: No Line
Must See Rating: (A Serious Man 5 … Couples Retreat 1) … 1
-Free Expert Football Predictions
Indiana (3-2) at Virginia (1-3),3:30 EST, Saturday, October 10
Why to watch: Well, welcome to the 2009 season, Virginia. As has been customary during the Al Groh era, the Cavaliers rose up when few expected it, going on the road and surprising North Carolina to snap a seven-game losing streak. A program with a lot of underclassmen in key places, it has the potential to stabilize and grow now that a third of the season is in the rear view mirror. For a team, like Indiana, which was supposed to be 3-2 at this point of the season, Saturday’s trip to Charlottesville is a pivotal one that could dictate whether it’s bowl eligible in December. The Hoosiers have been scrappy and resourceful through the first five games, nearly beating Michigan in Ann Arbor two weeks ago. With three homes games remaining, a win this weekend would make the postseason a very realistic goal.
Why Indiana might win: Just because Virginia finally won a game does not indicate it’s solved its problems on offense. The Cavaliers are averaging less than 20 points a game, which includes an outburst at Southern Miss two weeks ago. Don’t expect the trend to change against the Hoosiers, which have an underrated defense. In ends Jammie Kirlew and Greg Middleton, and linebackers Matt Mayberry and Will Patterson, Indiana has a veteran D that’ll test the limits of the Cavs’ pass protection problems. Kirlew and Middleton have combined for 16 tackles and 6.5 sacks, and will flush QB Jameel Sewell out of his comfort zone.
Why Virginia might win: After experiencing too many breakdowns in Hattiesburg, the Cavalier defense appears to be rounding into shape. Yeah, North Carolina is hardly a juggernaut, but limiting any league opponent to 174 yards and a field goal is cause for celebration. The secondary, led by CB Ras-I Dowling, is second in the league in pass defense, and DE Matt Conrath is beginning to approach his potential up front. The Hoosiers have been erratic with the ball, scoring just 19 points on Eastern Kentucky last month and having issues converting on third down.
Who to watch: Now that Virginia utilityman Vic Hall is healthy enough to play again, he could be a key weapon the rest of the way. After challenging Sewell for the quarterback job in the offseason, he expects to freelance and do whatever it takes to help the Cavs win. One of the best all-around athletes in the program, he played some cornerback, safety, and wide receiver in last Saturday’s win in North Carolina.
What will happen: Get to know your placekickers for this one, folks. They’ll play a key role in the outcome. In a rather sloppy game that’ll be short on offensive fireworks, Virginia’s Robert Randolph will out kick Indiana’s Nick Freeland, pulling the Cavs to within a game of the .500 mark.
CFN Prediction: Virginia 19 … Indiana 16 ... Line: Virginia -7
Must See Rating: (A Serious Man 5 … Couples Retreat 1) … 1.5
-Free Expert Football Predictions