ACC Football: Week 7 Previews

North Carolina (4-2, 1-1) at Miami (4-2, 3-0)

North Carolina cornerback Jabari Price will be back home this weekend as the Tar Heels travel to Miami.

Moments in North Carolina-Miami history: Sure, there’s the 2003 UNC upset over No. 3 Miami that essentially saved John Bunting’s job. But with all the recent twists and turns this rivalry has taken since, that one doesn’t seem as memorable. In a moment that summed up the rivalry throughout the Butch Davis era, the Miami players – down 20-0 in Chapel Hill in 2007 – began dancing during a TV timeout. Carolina didn’t appreciate it, and Brandon Tate scored on the next play to give UNC a 27-0 lead. (Now, UNC went on to win just 33-27, but still.)

Jacory Harris giveth, and….Jacory Harris giveth.


Imagining this guy arguing with Tom O’Brien about which team beat itself more, NC State or Miami, makes my head hurt. “Wieclaw, man….Wieclaw.” “He kind of looked like Sean Taylor for a second, man!” Oh, and “firing on all pistons”.

Prediction: North Carolina, 54-48. Yep. A basketball score. Considering how both of these teams have struggled on defense, especially Miami (and Carolina’s defense on the road), this figures to be a high-scoring affair. Which probably means one of the teams will win like 20-6. Carolina has looked like the better all-around team, and a 48-34 beatdown of Virginia Tech last weekend more or less proved that the Tar Heels are for real. Carolina has been much crisper offensively over the past few weeks, and that figures to carry over to the Miami game. They wore down Virginia Tech’s defense as they executed their up-tempo offense to near perfection. Tailback Giovani Bernard’s impact on the offense was on display against Virginia Tech as he turned ordinary-looking runs into explosive plays, and he will be back in his home state on Saturday in front of tens…of fans. Miami quarterback Stephen Morris put up 566 yards against NC State, though, so he could be in for a big day too.

Duke (5-1, 2-0) at Virginia Tech (3-3, 1-1)

Duke linebacker David Helton and the rest of the Duke defense are getting healthier by the week.

Moments in Duke-Virginia Tech history: We’ll go the funny video route.

Bud Foster isn’t just a defensive coordinator. He can also surf.

I’m sorry, Anthony Boone. Still funny.

Duke safety Chris Tavarez was in “Avalon High”, a Disney movie. When you have a chance to see him act alongside another great in WTVD’s Mark Armstrong, you can’t pass it up.

Prediction: Duke, 26-24. It seems like too tall an order to ask Duke to go up to Blacksburg and beat an angry Virginia Tech team for the first time since 1981. But almost everything Duke has accomplished this year, particularly considering all of its injuries, has seemed improbable. Also, I’m not convinced that Virginia Tech’s players aren’t starting to give up on this season. They seemed demoralized last Saturday. All it will take is Duke sticking around in this one, or even getting out to an early lead. But if Duke reverts to the team it has been at times that can’t move the ball and/or turns it over, Virginia Tech will gain confidence. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree is questionable for the game, but backup Anthony Boone performed well in his absence. But Duke will need to run the ball effectively on the Hokies to win the game, and the defense will have to play as well in the first half as it has in the second to have a chance.

Boston College (1-4, 0-2) at No. 12/11 Florida State (5-1, 2-1)

The 1902 “F’s”.

Moments in Boston College-Florida State history: Well, this is recent history: BC’s Jaryd Rudolph was charged with secretly making an audio recording of two students having sex. We’ll just avoid comment there.

Not sure how I missed this, but a Boston College fan threw a fake flag in from the stands. That is just awesome.

This guy involves his daughter, a state championship and Tyga in a “Chop City” FSU rap.

I could be wrong, but I’m reasonably sure there are a number of personal fouls in this pump-up video.

Prediction: Florida State, 44-17. If Jimbo Fisher is ever going to trust quarterback EJ Manuel, now’s the time to show it. Boston College’s defense is horrendous. But it’s more than just a strategic decision: Fisher clearly didn’t trust Manuel to put his proverbial foot on NC State’s throat a week ago after he threw an interception. Even Manuel said he thought the Seminoles would have thrown more against the Wolfpack. FSU is clearly not “back”, as they say, but they’re getting closer. It would be nice to see Fisher trust himself, and his starting quarterback, more going forward. Bobby Bowden was a lot of things, but he was never someone who played not to lose. There’s something to be said for that.

Maryland (3-2, 1-0) at Virginia (2-4, 0-2)

UVa head coach Mike London getting ready to go over film. Creepy.

Moments in Maryland-Virginia history: In 2003, there was a pregame scuffle between Virginia head coach Al Groh and former Maryland offensive coordinator (and current Vanderbilt head coach) James Franklin. It resulted in a bizarre moment where Maryland’s team got a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by running onto the field just before kickoff as a group. And ACC fans everywhere I’m sure were comforted to see it was Ron Cherry meting out justice.

Prediction: Maryland, 24-16. Oh and also, pain. Virginia’s Phillip Sims had some nice moments in his first start at Duke before the Cavaliers were forced to go one-dimensional and try to make a comeback. But Maryland’s defense has been excellent this year. Virginia’s defense has struggled, but Maryland’s offense would seemingly struggle to score against no defense. This game figures to be a low-scoring slugfest, and I mean that in the worst way possible.

Last week: 5-2 (4-1 ACC)

TOTAL: 35-10 (8-4 ACC)


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