The ACC is riding high as a conference at present. Clemson and Miami have knocked off two SEC powers, Virginia has beaten BYU (who in turn trounced Texas), and the league as a whole has avoided the terrible losses to lower-division teams that have plagued it in recent years. Five ACC teams are off this week, leaving us fans with a lighter slate of games. But there should be a few interesting scores to watch if the Vegas lines are to be believed.
As always, we'll split this week's games into categories.
1) Projected Blowouts
Florida State is a 34-point home favorite against Nevada.
Syracuse is a 27-point home favorite against Wagner.
Pittsburgh is a 21.5-point favorite against New Mexico.
FSU fans will undoubtedly be watching wunderkind quarterback Jameis Winston. If he repeats anything close to his jaw-dropping Week 1 performance, it will be a long day for the Lobos. Syracuse and Pittsburgh, meanwhile, should get their first victories as ACC members. #goacc
2) Statement games
Virginia Tech is a 7.5-point favorite on the road at East Carolina.
Maryland is a 7-point favorite on the road at UConn.
Wake is a 3.5-point home favorite against Louisiana-Monroe.
The Terps have pounded two of the worst teams in the FBS in Weeks 1 and 2. Will UConn give them more of a challenge? Virginia Tech has played quite a few close games with ECU over the years. After a loss to Alabama and a program-defining win against Western Carolina, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Hokies hungover a little bit. ECU comes in banged up in the defensive backfield, but they'll put up a fight on their home field.
Wake badly needs a win over Louisiana-Monroe after last week's loss at Boston College. Look, I know there isn't much pressure to win in Winston Salem. After all, the fans there would claim that Wake is a basketball school (How's that been going?). But still, Jim Grobe could encounter some rumblings if he loses at home to the always-dangerous Warhawks.
3) Hey -- a conference game!!
Georgia Tech is a 10.5-point road favorite in Durham against Duke.
It's hard to know what to make of this Duke team. The Devils are 2-0 and won at Memphis despite playing their back-up quarterback for the last three quarters. The fact that they won that game shows you how far the program has come under Coach Steve? Jim? Stan? David! Cutcliffe. Still, Georgia Tech's offense has made better teams look silly in years past. A Yellow Jacket ramblin' wrecking (see what I did there?) of the Blue Devils wouldn't surprise me.
4) The ACC Statement Game Of The Week!
Boston College is a 14-point underdog at Southern California.
If there's anything you can count on when it comes to Lane Kiffin's Trojans, it's that they won't play inspired football. Exhibit A - last year's Sun Bowl drubbing at the hands of the Yellow Jackets. Exhibit B - a near loss to a 4-8 Virginia team at home in 2010. Exhibit C - a loss last week a Washington State team that only won 3 games in 2012.
The Eagles look to be the opposite -- scrappy, enthusiastic, fighting for every inch. Clearly they've been watching the Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday. Can they go to the LA Coliseum and knock off USC? I won't got that far. But the spread in this one opened at +17 and has moved in BC's favor. Time will tell.
5) Opponent special
Oregon is a 27-point favorite at home against Tennessee.
The Ducks started as a 20-point favorite and have been bet up significantly. If this turns into the bloodbath many are predicting, it might serve as some consolation for the Wahoo faithful.
Until next week...