ACC Football Outside The Triangle: Week 5 Previews
No. 17/16 Clemson (3-1, 0-1) at Boston College (1-2, 0-1)
Moments in Clemson-BC history: In 2006, Clemson came into its game against BC ranked 18th and with a lot of optimism. They lost a heartbreaker, 34-33, in double overtime. They would then win six in a row, including upsetting then-No. 10 FSU the next week on the road. They got as high as 11th before losing four of its final five, including home games against Maryland and South Carolina.
Prediction: Clemson, 37-13. It would be the most ACC thing ever (not to mention the most Clemson thing ever) for the Tigers to lose this game, right? Boston College had an early bye week this past week, but the Eagles have played surprisingly well this year, averaging 26.3 points in three games, two against very competitive opponents (Miami and Northwestern). This will be a big test to see how much Clemson’s defense has actually improved. FSU has talent all over the field on offense, so even allowing 49 points is understandable. (And it’s still 21 fewer than West Virginia scored, am I right?)
No. 4 Florida State (4-0, 1-0) at South Florida (2-2, 0-1)
Mascot facts: South Florida held a contest in 1956 (shortly after the University was founded) to determine a mascot. The finalists included The Golden Brahman, the Olympian, the Cougar, the Buccaneer and the Golden Eagle. The Golden Brahman won; in the 1980s, it was shortened to Bulls.
Prediction: Florida State, 49-12. A letdown after an emotional win over Clemson would be understandable, but FSU really needs to win this one convincingly to keep the metaphorical ball rolling in the “FSU is back” discussion. And FSU’s defense should win the day: South Florida beat Chattanooga in Week 1 and Nevada in Week 2, but lost 23-13 to Rutgers in an ugly one and then 31-27 at Ball State last week in a shocker. The Bulls’ offense has been downright putrid at times.
Georgia Tech (2-2, 1-2) vs. Middle Tennessee State (2-1, 1-0)
Mascot facts: In 1934, a Middle Tennessee State football player known as Charles “Stumpy” Sarver won a $5 prize in a local newspaper contest to name the school’s mascot with “Blue Raiders”. (Nowadays, I’m sure that would be an impermissible benefit.) He borrowed that name from Colgate, which was known as the Red Raiders. The actual costumed mascot is a horse.
Prediction: Georgia Tech, 44-23. Considering the ease with which Georgia Tech dominated Virginia in Week 3, it was a complete stunner to see them fall at Miami in overtime last week. Middle Tennessee State has been a sneaky good program recently, and the Blue Raiders rebounded from a loss to McNeese State with wins over Florida Atlantic and Memphis in Weeks 2 and 3. Nothing earth-shattering. But…wait for it…Middle Tennessee State has had two weeks to prepare for Georgia Tech! Nothing to see here, folks.
Virginia (2-2, 0-1) vs. Louisiana Tech (3-0)
Mascot facts: Louisiana Tech’s bulldog mascot, Tech XX, was declared missing in late July. Turns out, a worker at the veterinary clinic let him out to use the bathroom and forgot to let him back in. He died of heat stroke as temperatures reached as high as 102 degrees. And the reason the bulldog was chosen as a mascot in 1899 allegedly is some students found a bulldog on campus and adopted it. When a fire started at their home, the bulldog barked at all of them until they woke up and escaped. The bulldog didn’t make it.
Prediction: Virginia, 24-20. Just when you think the Cavaliers will get a break….turns out Louisiana Tech might actually be good. They pounded Illinois – at Illinois – 52-24 last week. That’s not a misprint. The Bulldogs are averaging 54.7 points in three games. Virginia head coach Mike London will be under a lot of pressure to play backup quarterback Phillip Sims this week, though, and the offense could really use a spark. Virginia has played very tough games so far this year, and the Cavaliers are better than they played last week against TCU.
UR/No. 25 Virginia Tech (3-1, 1-0) vs. Cincinnati (2-0, 1-0) (FedEx Field)
Mascot facts: A bearcat is essentially a made-up thing (the Cincinnati cheerleaders made it up during a game against Kentucky in 1914 (based on fullback Teddy Baehr), but a bear cat is real. It’s called a binturong. No word on whether it too likes to throw snowballs.
Prediction: Virginia Tech, 27-20. Cincinnati blew out Pitt 34-10 in Week 1, so by transitive property, they should blow out the Hokies as well. But the Bearcats struggled with Delaware State in a 23-7 win on September 15th. They will have had two weeks off, which is certainly a factor.But Virginia Tech isn’t as bad as they played against Pittsburgh, and the Hokies likely have their annual awful loss out of their system at this point.
Last week: 8-1 (1-1 ACC)
Season: 26-4 (2-2 ACC)