It’s a good thing I don’t have to pick college football games for a living. Two weeks into the season, and I’m 41st in the Streaking The Lawn ACC Pick ‘Em pool. I’m 15-8 overall, but I’m a miserable 5-8 against the spread! Needless to say, my thoughts below are for entertainment purposes only.
While I’m not thrilled with my performance heretofore, I am excited about this week’s slate of ACC games. After 2 weeks where we saw ACC teams load up on cupcakes, the menu for Week 3 is much heartier. The only ACC team facing an FCS team this week is our beloved Virginia Cavaliers. And let’s face it...they deserve a break.
To the games!
Brief, Obligatory UVA Preview
Virginia vs. William & Mary (no spread)
Dear God, please let the Cavaliers take care of business this weekend in Charlottesville. Virginia showed plenty of life in the loss to Notre Dame. Here’s hoping the Wahoos can wrap this one up early and get some reps for the reserves. Watch out for the Tribe, though. W&M upset Virginia in 2009, and Tribe coach Jimmye Laylock is as solid as they come.
The Big One
#14 Georgia Tech is a 2.5-point favorite on the road at #8 Notre Dame
Virginia was able to gash the Notre Dame defense in the second half Saturday. I can only imagine that Paul Johnson is licking his chops. Injuries are piling up for the Fighting Irish on offense, and Georgia Tech’s defense will have had a full week to prepare for back-up quarterback DeShone Kizer. I’m going with Georgia Tech here.
Side Note: I enjoyed all of the Notre Dame fans I met in Charlottesville last week. Fans from big-time programs can sometimes be hit or miss (Penn State fans...terrible), but I’d rank the Irish supporters as the best I’ve met. Here’s hoping Notre Dame eventually joins the ACC full-time. At least then the ACC could remove "it's complicated" from its Facebook relationship status.
#11 Clemson is a 6.5-point favorite on the road at Louisville
#9 Florida State is a 7.5-point favorite on the road at Boston College
If they’re not panicking yet in Louisville, just wait until they get drubbed Thursday night by Clemson. Bobby Petrino needs to find a quarterback, while the Tigers have the best quarterback in the league in Deshaun Watson. Louisville turned the ball over 4 times in a home loss to Houston last week. If the Cardinals don't protect the ball better, this one could get ugly.
As Southern Cal can attest, you don’t just WALTZ into Alumni Stadium and beat up on the Boston College Eagles. BC made USC look silly last season when the Trojans flew across the country as a heavy favorite. Still, what do we know about the 2015 Eagles so far, other than that they’re great against FCS teams? I think Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook will prove too much, and the Noles will win by double digits.
Power 5 Games
North Carolina is a 10-point favorite at home against Illinois
Duke is a 3.5-point favorite at home against #23 Northwestern
Miami is a 3-point favorite at home against Nebraska
Virginia Tech is a 6.5-point favorite on the road against Purdue
Pittsburgh is a 5.5-point underdog on the road against Iowa
North Carolina desperately needs a win at home against the Fighting Illini. Illinois is off to a 2-0 start under interim coach Bill Cubit. Cubit is doing a great job so far auditioning for the full-time gig, and an upset in Chapel Hill would be huge for him. It’s hard to know what to make of North Carolina after their Week 1 loss to South Carolina. The Gamecocks, in turn, lost their next game at home to Kentucky. The spread seems high to me on this one. I’m going with Illinois.
For the latest proof of the Duke football program ascendancy, note that the Blue Devils are favored against a ranked Northwestern team. David Cutcliffe is a heckuva a coach, and I like him to get the win here. I’m going with the Devils to cover. Meanwhile, I’m not yet convinced on Miami. I look for Nebraska to pull the upset in South Florida and for the vultures to start circling around Al Golden.
Virginia Tech and Pitt both go on the road to face Big Ten opponents. Can Hokies quarterback Brendan Motley steer Tech to a win at Purdue? I like Tech to win on the strength of its defense, but I’m taking Purdue to cover. Pitt, meanwhile, has a quarterback controversy brewing. I think the Panthers fall into that brew this week and lose by a touchdown to the Hawkeyes.
Group of 5 Games
Wake Forest is a 6-point favorite on the road against Army
Syracuse is a 7-point favorite at home against Central Michigan
NC State is a 19-point favorite on the road against Old Dominion
Really quick, Wake Forest covers against Army. The Deacs had Syracuse on the ropes in the Dome. This week Dave Clawson’s team will get the job done. Speaking of the Orange, they’ll pick up victory #3 against Central Michigan and cover the spread in the process. NC State struggled with Old Dominion last year, but the Wolfpack have since gotten their act together. The Monarchs, my Norfolk relatives tell me, are in a rebuilding year. State gets the win, but ODU gets the cover at home.
The fun officially starts this week, ACC fans. Grab your popcorn and enjoy the weekend!