Week 1 was a mixed bag for the dear ol' Atlantic Coast Conference. The league didn't suffer any unexpected losses, but it didn't come away with any signature wins either. Louisville, North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech each missed out on chances to leave their mark on the national landscape.
Week 2 should bring more one-sided games to the television sets of ACC fans. Let's see what the Vegas odds-makers have in store.
Category 1: Games Against FCS Opponents
Boston College vs. Howard (no spread)
Virginia Tech vs. Furman (no spread)
Duke vs. North Carolina Central (no spread)
North Carolina vs. North Carolina A&T (no spread)
NC State vs. Eastern Kentucky (no spread)
Let’s be honest…none of these games look terribly appealing. Virginia Tech and North Carolina will be seeking their first wins of the season, and they should both get them easily. The Hokies might struggle somewhere down the line without quarterback Michael Brewer, but I’m confident in saying that "the struggle" won’t come against Furman. NC State, after an exhausting home blowout of Troy, takes a much-deserved break this week against Eastern Kentucky.
It’s worth noting that Boston College will face an FCS opponent for the second straight week. Unless the rules have changed, the Eagles will only be able to count one of those wins towards bowl eligibility. Assuming BC can handle Howard (which lost 49-0 last week to Appalachian State), the Eagles would still need to win 5 more games to make it to a bowl.
Category 2: Games Against "Group of Five" Schools
Miami is a 17.5-point favorite on the road against Florida Atlantic
Clemson is a 17-point home favorite against Appalachian State
Florida State is a 27.5-point home favorite against South Florida
Louisville is a 12.5-point home favorite against Houston
Georgia Tech is a 28.5-point home favorite against Tulane
Pittsburgh is a 13-point favorite on the road against Akron
The Pittsburgh-Akron game provides the most intrigue here. The Panthers struggled to put Youngstown State away at home in Week 1 and lost reigning ACC Offensive Player of the Year James Conner in the process. Things could get even trickier when Pat Narduzzi’s squad crosses state lines to take on the Zips. Akron beat Pitt 21-10 last year at Heinz Field, and it returns its starting quarterback and tailback from that upset.
Miami shut out Bethune-Cookman, but we won't really know much about the Canes until they play some tougher competition. Florida Atlantic won't count. Louisville played Auburn closer than the experts predicted and will look to get on track at home against a Houston team was picked second in the AAC West. The key match-up in that one will be Louisville's defense against Houston's offense.
Tulane lost at home to Duke by 30 last week. It’s scary to think what Georgia Tech will do to the Green Wave in Atlanta. While Clemson should prove too fast and skilled for an upset in Death Valley, the name "Appalachian State" will always give pause to Power 5 opponents after the Mountaineers' 2007 shocker in the Big House.
Lastly, the Seminoles should roll against South Florida, but it will be interesting to see if Jimbo Fisher receives any blow back from fans after bringing Charlie Ward's number out of retirement.
Category 3: "Conference Games"
Syracuse is a 4.5-point home favorite against Wake Forest
Virginia is an 11.5-point home underdog against Notre Dame
The winner of the Orange and the Demon Deacons gets a first-class trip to #13 in next week's ACC power rankings. How will Syracuse respond to the season ending injury to quarterback Terrel Hunt. The answer to that question might foretell whether Syracuse can follow up it's 30-7 victory last year in Winston-Salem.
Finally, can Virginia pull off a shocker against Notre Dame? While I was confident in a Virginia cover against UCLA, I'm less confident in a cover this week against the Irish. Watching the Wahoos crumble in the second half against a superior opponent served as a serious wake-up call and reminder of just how far this program has fallen. I wouldn't be shocked if Notre Dame follows up its 38-3 pasting of Texas with a similar effort in Charlottesville. I seriously hope I'm wrong.