While Week 4 lived up to the low expectations it had nationally, there were some eye-opening results in the ACC. Virginia Tech kept its season alive by squeaking out a win over Marshall. Maryland throttled West Virginia in Baltimore. And Pitt and Duke put on a low scoring basketball game in Durham, with the Panthers coming out on top 58-55. Week 5 should continue the intrigue as more teams enter ACC play.
As always, we'll split this week's games into categories.
Miami is a 19-point favorite on the road at South Florida.
NC State is a 23.5-point home favorite against Central Michigan
Florida State is a 21.5-point favorite on the road at Boston College
Clemson is a 29-point home favorite against Wake Forest
Duke is a 10.5-point home favorite against Troy
I really don't see any possibilities for upsets here. Boston College looked good defending its home turf against Wake Forest, but the Deacons went on to lose to ULM and to struggle against Army. So that doesn't inspire a ton of confidence that the Eagles can put up much fight against Florida State. I could see BC covering the spread but not threatening the game result in the least. Clemson should roll, especially after having a sub-par game against NC State last week. Wake should be happy to get out of that game healthy. This is Miami's first true road game (though I'm betting the Florida game had a road game atmosphere), but South Florida looks historically bad this season.
When I look at NC State's game against the Chippewas and Duke's game against Troy, I just shake my head. Talk about two feckless non-conference schedules. The Wolfpack took on Louisiana Tech and Richmond this year, while Duke played NC Central and Memphis. After playing two more juggernauts this weekend, the Pack has an eventual game against East Carolina, while Duke will take on Navy. Those are two pretty embarrassing nonconference slates and they make me thankful for Virginia's ambitious schedule.
2) Intrastate battle
3) Two Coastal battles
Georgia Tech is 7-point home favorite against Virginia Tech.
Pitt is a 6-point home favorite against Virginia.
Each week l wait for Virginia Tech to get its next comeuppance. The Hokies should have lost to Marshall last week, but eked out a sloppy comeback victory in a "driving rain" at Lane Stadium. Meanwhile, a win by the Yellow Jackets would put Georgia Tech in the drivers seat in the ACC Coastal Division. The Hokies won't survive the trip to Atlanta if their offense continues to play like it has. That said, Logan Thomas has shined against Georgia Tech in the past. The Jackets should win this one, but a Thursday-night surprise wouldn't shock me.
Meanwhile, this might be Virginia's biggest game of the season. The Hoos are 1-0 in games with a spread of a touchdown or less and a win against Pitt would go a long way towards bowl eligibility. It's a tough game to call. Pitt's defense was great last year but has been awful this year. Virginia's offense has struggled so far but showed signs of life against VMI. Pitt's offense has performed well against weaker competition the last two weeks, while Virginia's defense looks much improved. If David Watford can protect and move the ball, Virginia could be in line for a road upset.
4) Opponent specials
BYU is a 22-point favorite at home against Middle Tennessee.
Oregon is a 36-point favorite at home against Cal.
BYU lost a rivalry game last week at home to Utah. They won't lose this week against Middle Tennessee. Oregon will be tested at some point between now and the National Championship in January. It won't be this week, however.
Until next week...