There's so much fun to be had in the ACC this week, I pity anyone who won't be able to get near a TV. Let's get right to it.
1) The Big Game
Florida State hosts Notre Dame and is *nominally* a 12-point favorite.
There are 6 undefeated teams left in college football, and two of them will clash Saturday night in Tallahassee. The winner between the 'Noles and the Fighting Irish will have a clear shot at an undefeated season and a trip to the college football playoff. The loser, especially if it's Florida State, is likely out. It would be hard for the stakes to be any higher.
FSU opened as almost a two-touchdown favorite, but there's some uncertainty surrounding Jameis Winston amid reports that he got paid to sign autographs. As ESPN reported, that uncertainty has led a number of Vegas casinos to close the line on the game. This isn't a walkover game even if Winston plays. If he's out, things could get really dicey for the 'Noles...and the ACC's playoff hopes.
2) Coastal Division Games
Pitt is a 1-point favorite at home against Virginia Tech
Duke is a 2.5-point favorite at home against Virginia
North Carolina is a 2.5-point UNDERDOG at home against Georgia Tech
Pitt and Virginia Tech will play somewhat of a Coastal Division elimination game Thursday night. The loser will pick up a second ACC loss and will need significant help to win the division. The winner, meanwhile, controls more of its own fate. Pitt's grind-it-out offense will square off against Tech's usually-stout run defense. Over the years, these have been the types of games that good Tech teams have won. We'll learn a lot about how good the Hokies are in this one.
Duke has taken Virginia's lunch money over the past 6 years. Add in the fact that the winner here will be in first place in the division, and this game is set up to be an all-out brawl. Virginia has had trouble stopping David Cutcliffe's offense, but this year's defense is the best Mike London has had. If Greyson Lambert or Matt Johns can give the 'Hoos a solid passing effort, Virginia could leave Durham 3-0 in the ACC.
Georgia Tech needs a win in Chapel Hill Saturday night to keep its divisional hopes alive. North Carolina showed signs of life against Notre Dame last week and will look to build on that effort. Another loss, and the Heels might phone it in the rest of the way.
3) Atlantic Division Games
Boston College is a 5-point UNDERDOG at home against Clemson
Wake Forest is a 5-point UNDERDOG at home against Syracuse
Louisville is a 17-point favorite at home against NC State
The BC/Clemson game is a trap game for the Tigers. And that's before you remove Deshaun Watson from the equation. Clemson is a different (read: worse) team when Cole Stoudt is under center. And BC already has one home win over a ranked team this season. They'll certainly turn some heads if they can pull off another.
NC State is in a tailspin and won't turn this ship around against Louisville this weekend. The Cardinals are establishing themselves as an upper-tier team in their first ACC season. This game will show off just how far NC State has to go to be a division contender again.
Lastly...we can't forget Syracuse and Wake Forest. These are two teams that have been at the bottom of the Streaking The Lawn Power Rankings almost all season. And they're FINALLY squaring off! It doesn't get much better than that. I admittedly don't know much about either of these squads. But I hear Wake has a good defense. And with this being their best chance at a conference win, I think the Deacs will be out for blood. Look for Wake to pull the upset.
Get your popcorn ready, folks. It's gonna be a fun weekend in ACC country.