ACC Football Outside the Triangle: Week 9 Previews

Clemson (6-1, 3-1) at Wake Forest (4-3, 2-3), Thursday, 7:30 PM, ESPN

Last year’s Wake Forest-Clemson game was much closer than the Tigers would have liked.

Moments in Clemson-Wake Forest history: At this point last year, Clemson began to show vulnerabilities: their first loss came in Game 9 to Georgia Tech, which was at least somewhat understandable. But the Tigers would go 2-4 in their final six games.And the first real sign of impending disaster was two weeks after their first loss, at home against Wake Forest. Clemson hung on for a 31-28 win and arguably, they should have lost. They clinched the Atlantic Division against the Deacons, but would get blown out at NC State and at South Carolina to finish the regular season.

Oh, and Clemson Tom is tired of Clemson fans looking back at the past. This team is different. It’s Pawsome.

Prediction: Clemson, 27-16. Clemson has looked a little, well, Clemson-ish lately. The Tigers have won three straight since losing to Florida State, but in rather uninspiring fashion, allowing Boston College and Georgia Tech to put up 31 points each and then slogging their way through last week’s Virginia Tech game. Clemson trailed 7-3 early and while they eventually took control, they looked pretty bad, particularly on offense. Wake Forest is not much better or worse now than it was a year ago, and the Deacons under Jim Grobe have been known to pull off a few upsets. It won’t be easy for Clemson, but Dabo Swinney should have his team’s attention heading into this Thursday night primetime matchup. Wake Forest still has a number of players suspended or injured, though star wide receiver Michael Campanaro should make his return. If Clemson messes around too much with the Deacons, they might just get themselves beat.

Georgia Tech (3-4, 2-3) vs. BYU (4-4), 3:00 PM, RSN

BYU’s live cougar mascots, Cleo and Tarbo. They only lasted for five years (1925-30).

Mascot facts: Cosmo the Cougar made his first (costumed) appearance in 1953, and the name derives from BYU being selected as a “Cosmopolitan school”. Seriously. BYU did have live cougars briefly, Cleo and Tarbo. An alum captured a cougar and her kittens and donated the little ones to BYU. Tarbo died in 1930 and Cleo was sent to a Salt Lake City zoo.

Oh, and here’s a nice “this is Sportscenter” commercial spoof with BYU quarterback Riley Nelson’s summer internship at BYUtv.

Prediction: Georgia Tech, 23-21. This prediction is based almost solely on BYU’s road struggles this year. The Cougars were actually fairly competitive in their last outing at Notre Dame, losing just 17-14. But they don’t have a great win on their schedule. It’s difficult to gauge how good they really are, particularly since they are winless on the road. But Georgia Tech is difficult to assess: coming off of a bye week (and firing defensive coordinator Al Groh), the Yellow Jackets thumped Boston College at home 37-17. It was the fewest points they had allowed since September 8th. (Of course, Boston College had the ball for a little over 16 minutes out of 60, so that helps. They still averaged 6.3 yards per play.) BC converted just 1-of-9 third downs and turned it over twice, which helps. But Georgia Tech’s offense can be its best defense when it gets going, and they need to hope BYU’s inconsistent offense stalls.

Maryland (4-3, 2-1) at Boston College (1-6, 0-4), ESPN3

The folks at BC Interruption found this picture last year. There are just no words.

Moments in Maryland-Boston College history: Until Boston College joined the league, there wasn’t much history. BC leads the series 6-3 (5-2 since joining the league), and there were only two meetings prior to ’05 (1985 and 1986). But perhaps the most significant game for either team was Maryland’s 42-35 home win over No. 8 Boston College. It was just BC’s second loss of the season, while the win brought Maryland to 5-5. Just a week prior to that, BC lost for the first time that season to Florida State. So close to playing for a national title with quarterback Matt Ryan, but it wasn’t to be. And Byrd Stadium helped grow its legend as the Bermuda Triangle of the ACC (hat tip to NC State head coach Tom O’Brien).

For the uniform buffs out there, Boston College will be wearing these Saturday:

This is UConn era-Randy Edsall, but someone edited a video to make it seem like he’s doing the Soulja Boy dance:

And for those who like to kill BC fans for not showing up to games, I’d remind them that this happened at Notre Dame after a BC win there just five years ago. So it is possible.

Prediction: Maryland, 19-12. Not a lot of scoring, and a lot of general hideousness. Although it will be interesting to see which quarterback plays for Maryland, Devin Burns or Caleb Rowe. Maryland’s not talking, as you might imagine, and there’s some speculation that the athletic Burns and the accurate Rowe could split time. It may not matter, though. It’s difficult to say that BC has given up on head coach Frank Spaziani, who appears to be on his way out. But things aren’t going well right now. The Eagles are struggling to run the ball, and the last thing you want facing a pretty good Maryland defense is a one-dimensional offense. The Eagles will hit some big plays in the passing game, but BC’s defense has been – and remains – pretty bad, even against some less-potent offenses.

Week 8: 5-1 (5-1 ACC)

Total: 43-12 (16-6 ACC)

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