Thursday, Nov. 1
Virginia Tech (4-4, 2-2) at Miami (4-4, 3-2)
Where:Miami Gardens, Fla., Sun Life Stadium (74,916)
The blitz:Two teams that had bigger plans do battle on the national stage, and the winner likely will be the team that makes the fewest mistakes. Even though the Hokies have not been anywhere close to their usual selves, they have a significant edge on defense and enough veterans on offense to win with room to spare. That said, the Hurricanes possess plenty of big-play potential, and the law of averages says they are bound to play well defensively at some point. Virginia Tech, by the way, may be the favorite to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC title game. Winning this one will go a long way toward making that happen.
Pick:Virginia Tech, 30-20.
Saturday, Nov. 3
Georgia Tech (3-5, 2-3) at Maryland (4-4, 2-2)
Where:College Park, Md., Byrd Stadium (54,100)
The blitz:Its almost impossible to imagine the Terrapins beating any FBS team now that all of its quarterbacks are injured and out of action. A converted linebacker and walk-on tight end are now Marylands quarterbacks. If the Yellow Jackets cant win this game regardless of what its struggling offense does, the Tech program is in serious trouble. Unfortunately for the ACC, Tech improving to 3-3 in the league after suffering ugly home losses to Middle Tennessee State and BYU will make the ACC look real bad.
Pick:Georgia Tech, 17-0.
Virginia (2-6, 0-4) at N.C. State (5-3, 2-2)
Where:Raleigh, N.C., Carter-Finley Stadium (57,583)
The blitz:Big game for the Wolfpack, as they cant afford a slip up to a team they should handle with relative ease. N.C. State has a tendency of losing a game like this, so getting on the board early and often is vital, but wont be so simple given that Virginia's defense has been solid -- though the Cavaliers dont force turnovers, which has been the Wolfpack's biggest bugaboo in its defeats. How much of the play book did Phillip Sims learn during the open week?
Pick:N.C. State, 28-16.
Boston College (2-6, 1-4) at Wake Forest (4-4, 2-4)
Where:Winston-Salem, N.C., BB&T Field (31,500)
The blitz:The Demon Deacons likely wont qualify for a bowl without winning this game because they have road tilts at N.C. State and Notre Dame and a home date with Vanderbilt remaining. They need two more victories. Wake must jump on the Eagles early, force a couple of turnovers, and opportunistically use its trickery. The defense cant let Chase Rettig go off through the air, which is the only way the Eagles can move the ball.
Pick:Wake Forest, 27-17.
No. 10 Clemson (7-1, 4-1) at Duke (6-3, 3-2)
Where:Durham, N.C., Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941)
The blitz:Another big night game at home for the Blue Devils should mean a large crowd and a rare buzz at Wallace Wade. Duke certainly has the ability to make this game interesting, as its been much better at home than on the road thus far. And theres always the possibility that Clemson pulls a Clemson. But this is a different Tigers team and the matchups strongly favor the visitors. Clemson is too talented and too fast, and while Duke may score some points, Dabo Swinneys team is just too potent.
Last week: 3-2
Season record: 56-13