Finally, ACC football fans, it's time to rejoice. The conference season begins in earnest this week with 5 ACC games and a marquee showdown between Clemson and Notre Dame. And finally, Virginia fans, it's also time to rejoice. The football team won't lose this week and the basketball team starts practice tomorrow!
Let's get to the picks.
The Big One
#12 Clemson is a 1-point underdog at home against #6 Notre Dame
This could be the game when Clemson makes its mark on the national stage and establishes itself as a playoff contender. This could be the game when Dehsaun Watson makes a name for himself as one of the most-dynamic players in the country. Or this could be the game when the Tigers, yet again, fail to live up to the hype. I've watched a lot of big Clemson games over the last few years, so I've become well-acquainted with the idea of "Clemsoning." Notre Dame struggled against Virginia, but the Irish will be ready to play Saturday night. Notre Dame ultimately has a little too much talent. I'm taking the Irish.
The Conference Games
Tech is coming off a tough loss to East Carolina in Greenville, while Pitt had a bye week to rest up and prepare. I think this one comes down to the fourth quarter. Pitt lost a close one earlier to Iowa this season, and I think that experience will help against the Hokies. I'm taking Pitt and the points.
NC State is 4-0 after walking through one of the easiest out-of-conference schedules in America. Louisville is 1-3, but the Cardinals took Clemson to the wire. Every week I pick against NC State to cover. And every week the Wolfies make me look silly. This week I won't make the same mistake. The Pack wins, covers, and takes aim at Clemson and Florida State in the ACC Atlantic.
Duke bounced back after its loss to Northwestern with a resounding home win against Georgia Tech. BC has a great defense, and the Blue Devils struggled against the only good defense they faced thus far. But Boston College has struggled to score points against FBS opponents. Duke gets the win at home and covers...barely.
Georgia Tech has lost two in a row and desperately needs a win against the Heels to stay in the ACC Coastal race. Neither team has a good win to its name. Carolina has improved on defense this season, but it'll have trouble stopping the triple option. If the Jackets hold onto the ball, they'll win and cover. I'm taking GT.
Wake Forest is the only team in the ACC that looks worse than Virginia. The Deacs needed a furious rally just to get their home loss to Indiana within a respectable margin. The Seminoles won't be so forgiving. Florida State covers on the road.
No Matter Who You Pick
We hope you'll participate in our ACC Pick 'Em contest on Yahoo! Sports. Head over to Yahoo! to check out full standings and submit your entry. "UVA Geek" continues to lead the field with an impressive 33-9 record, but it's tight at the top with MEllisUVa and JJuva13 just one win off the pace. It's not too late to sign up! Go to Yahoo! and enter in the group ID 7558, with the password "tohomerandback". Good luck!