Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas
By LAUREN BROWNLOW  |  Last updated 9/13/13
The way football works, talent usually wins the day and Duke hasnt had as much as their opponents in the past. The last few years, Duke (2-0) has kept it close with most teams but still cant hang in games against ACC powerhouses like Clemson and Florida State. (There are plenty of other ACC teams in that predicament, by the way.) That hasnt been the case with Georgia Tech (1-0), though. As Duke coach David Cutcliffe discussed this week, Duke has always made slowing the option offense a priority in the offseason. And thats why two of the past three meetings with the Yellow Jackets have been decided by ten points or fewer and last years was deceptively lopsided, as Duke had a chance to tie late. Could this be the year that Duke finally beats Georgia Tech? It could be. Dukes defense is much improved, and it is obviously used to facing the Georgia Tech offense. The only problem here is that while Dukes starting quarterback is plenty capable, Brandon Connette is still in his first real start against a Georgia Tech defense that has improved quite a bit in its own right. Duke will put up a real fight, but theyll fall just short. Prediction: Georgia Tech, 24-21. Virginia Tech (1-1) at East Carolina (2-0) When: 12:00 p.m (Saturday)Where: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Breakdown: East Carolina is a dangerous opponent for any major-conference team, especially at Dowdy-Ficklen. The Pirates can put up points, but the defense is suspect. Will that matter if Virginia Techs offense cant get going? That will be the key in this game. Prediction: Virginia Tech, 31-20. Boston College (2-0, 1-0 ACC) at USC (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12) When: 3:00 p.m.Where: Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, Calif.) Breakdown: Boston College still hasnt really beaten anyone, but this game seemed like a lot more of a long shot for the Eagles until ... well, until things fell apart in Los Angeles. The Trojans lost 10-7 last week to Washington State AT HOME and looked awful doing it. Things are a hot mess right now at Southern California for Lane Kiffin. Kiffin always seems to survive in these situations, though, and while BC is much-improved, the Eagles probably arent ready to win a game like this yet. Prediction: USC, 17-12. Maryland (2-0) at Connecticut (0-1) When: 7:30 p.m. (Saturday)Where: Rentschler Field Breakdown: The winner of the Edsall Bowl gets to keep Randy Edsall? With the way Maryland has started this season, I dont think theyd give him up without a fight. And as angry as UConn fans were after his departure, considering the Huskies started this season with a resounding home loss to Towson, they might take him back at this point, too. Prediction: Maryland, 33-9. Louisiana-Monroe (1-1) vs. Wake Forest (1-1, 0-1 ACC) When: 12:30 p.m.Where: BB&T Field Breakdown: The Warhawks are not too different from the team that beat Arkansas in Little Rock last year. Wake Forests offense was dreadful in Chestnut Hills last week, but Jim Grobe is still Jim Grobe. He didnt become a bad coach overnight. Hell find a way to fix it, and Wake is a sneaky-tough place to play. The Deacs will find a way. Prediction: Wake Forest, 23-22. Nevada (1-1) at Florida State (1-0, 1-0 ACC) When: 3:30 (Saturday)Where: Doak Campbell Stadium Breakdown: Nevada might have the second coming of Colin Kaepernick in quarterback Cody Fajardo (though hes listed as day-to-day with a sprained knee). But they also have defensive end Brock Hekking, who even impressed FSUs quarterback Jameis Winston with his lustrous blonde mullet. FSUs defense is good enough to contain Nevadas potent offensive attack, and FSU should put up plenty of points as well. Prediction: Florida State, 59-17. New Mexico (1-1) at Pittsburgh (0-1, 0-1 ACC) When: 12:30 p.m. (Saturday)Where: Heinz Field Breakdown: New Mexico runs the ball well. Florida State passed the ball well on Pittsburgh. New Mexico barely ever passes. Also, New Mexicos defense isnt very good. Look for Pitt to get out to a fast start and regain some of the confidence it might have lost in the blowout loss to Florida State. Prediction: Pittsburgh, 40-17. Video: Hog Blog: Respect for ACC Wagner (1-1) at Syracuse (0-2) When: 4:00 p.m. (Saturday)Where: Carrier Dome Breakdown: After playing two Big 10 teams in the first two weeks, this should feel like a breeze for Syracuse. But can the Orange get their passing attack going? They have one passing touchdown and six interceptions through two games. Prediction: Syracuse, 44-13 Week 2: 8-2 (0-1 ACC)Overall: 20-3 (1-1 ACC)
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