ACC Football Outside the Triangle: Week 11 Previews

No. 8/6 Florida State (8-1, 5-1) at Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3), Thursday, 7:30 PM, ESPN

Moments in Florida State-Virginia Tech history: This is the first time these two teams have faced off since the 2010 ACC Championship game, when Virginia Tech won 44-33. Since the Hokies joined the league, the series is tied at 2-2 and two of the four meetings have been in the ACC Championship. Virginia Tech leads the series 6-5-1 at home. Shockingly, this will be the first time FSU and Virginia Tech have played on a Thursday night. The Seminoles are 7-5 on Thursday night. They’ve only faced one ranked team in those games (in 1995, at No. 24 Virginia) and lost. FSU has been ranked in nine of the 12 games and is 4-5 when ranked (including three straight losses: 2006 at NC State, 2007 at Wake Forest and 2010 at NC State). Virginia Tech is 19-6 on Thursday night, including 11-3 at home.

Hey, FSU? Remember when you did this? The ACC needs you to, um, do this again. And soon, please. First wire-to-wire No. 1 team ever culminated in a national title win over Virginia Tech in 2000.

While we’re on the subject, remember when Virginia Tech’s defense used to make hits like this? Sigh.

Prediction: Florida State, 31-16. Yes, strange things happen on Thursday nights in Blacksburg. But Florida State has already done its Florida State thing for the year with the loss at NC State. The Seminoles understand what’s at stake for them. Oh, and most of what made Blacksburg a difficult place to play had to do with how good Virginia Tech was. This year, they’re not great. Virginia Tech has forced one turnover and committed seven in its last two games, leading to two straight losses. Florida State has actually committed six turnovers and gained just two, but has still won by a combined 53 points.

Miami (5-4, 4-2) at Virginia (3-6, 1-4), 12:00 PM, ABC

The night Miami closed out the Orange Bowl, this happened.

Moments in Miami-Virginia history: Miami doesn’t have the commanding lead you’d think in this series – just 5-4 – but they played just once prior to the Hurricanes joining the league, a 31-21 Miami win in the 1996 Carquest Bowl. The fact that series is tied at 4-4 since Miami joined the league says a lot about how disappointing the Hurricanes have been in that span (and also that Virginia used to be pretty good, too).

This is just about the only thing that went wrong for UVa last week against NC State, but it was unbelievable:

This is meant without sarcasm: it really is crazy how much Sun Life Stadium fills up (relatively speaking) after kickoff:

Sebastian the Ibis makes sure the frat guys go to the games.

Love the comment section after this video of UVa students rushing the field post-the 2010 win. “Didn’t we used to wear ties?” “We still do.”

Prediction: Miami, 37-33. Virginia has found some offense during its bye week, and its defense has played very well too. The Cavaliers are still rotating quarterbacks Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims, but the key to their success (or failure) will be on the ground, both running the ball and defending the run. Miami has let up at least 200 rushing yards in eight straight games, but has held six opponents to less than 215 yards passing. Virginia Tech’s 248 rushing yards last week were a season-high for the Hokies, and Miami is last in the league in rush defense by nearly 12 yards per game. Since letting Duke run for 182 yards, Virginia has allowed 122 total rushing yards in its last three games. Miami is 4-1 when running for 100 or more yards, but the Hurricanes don’t always commit to the run like they should. The Hurricanes should be well higher than seventh in the league in rushing, particularly since they have two of the league’s top-ten rushers.

Maryland (4-5, 2-3) at No. 10/8 Clemson (8-1, 5-1), 3:30 PM, ESPNU

Perhaps Maryland can break out a particularly bizarre uniform combination to distract Clemson?

Moments in Maryland-Clemson history: When people refer to Clemson “Clemsoning”, they’re generally talking about them losing to Maryland. Or almost, as was the case last season. The series is very close, as Clemson leads just 32-26-2 and just 17-13 at home. Maryland has been the most ACC team ever recently, beating four of the five ranked teams it faced in 2008 (including winning at No. 19 Clemson), but losing to teams like Middle Tennessee State and a bad Virginia team. From 2001 until present day, Clemson is just 5-6 against Maryland, though the Tigers have won the last two. Just one game in that span has been decided by 20 or more points, but considering Maryland’s roster has approximately 95 injuries right now, Clemson had better hope this one is a blowout.

Randy Edsall might want to find 20 more similar videos: he showed it to his team before last year’s Clemson game, and Maryland very nearly won.

Can you imagine if this happened today? After a Maryland come-from-behind win in 1985, the Clemson players jump a Maryland player.

Clemson Tom, you’re my favorite: “Crab cakes, football and ugly jerseys”.

Prediction: Clemson, 44-12. Against weaker opponents the last few weeks, and considering how well Maryland’s defense had been playing, it was easier to predict a Maryland win somehow. Clemson is not a weaker opponent. Also, Maryland has lost four starting quarterbacks – four! – and will be without star freshman wideout Stefon Diggs and starting running back Wes Brown. Really?! And seriously – Maryland now has to play at Clemson, host Florida State and go to North Carolina for its final three games? What did Maryland do to upset the football gods?

Boston College (2-7, 1-5) vs. No. 4 Notre Dame (9-0), 8:00 PM, ABC

Notre Dame nearly started its ACC membership early last week as the Irish scraped past a mediocre Pittsburgh team, which also seemed to be getting a jump on its membership by playing poorly most of the year only to knock off a championship contender.

Moments in BC-Notre Dame history: The Holy War is actually a relatively new rivalry that didn’t begin until 1975, but it’s been a good one over the years. Notre Dame leads 12-9 in all games and it’s tied 4-4 at Boston College. BC’s first win in the series came in 1993 when the No. 17 Eagles upset No. 1 Notre Dame at home. After Notre Dame started out with a 9-3 edge in the rivalry through 2000, from 2001-08, BC won six straight, including a 14-7 win over No. 4 Notre Dame in 2002. BC is 2-0 against top-five Notre Dame teams, which could be about to change this weekend. Notre Dame has won the last three games, but two of those wins have been by four points or less.

“Kind of ironic, isn’t it, that I cheer for Notre Dame and I’m not Catholic?” That’s not what irony means.

BC has a pep rally every year before the Notre Dame game. Here’s a clip from 2010:

And here’s Notre Dame’s video from its pep rally last year:

Game Day at BC, for Notre Dame? Here you go.

Prediction: Notre Dame, 36-12. It’s pretty simple: while BC’s offense has improved this season, it’s nowhere near good enough to do anything against Notre Dame’s stout defense. And BC’s defense has been pretty terrible all year: the fewest yards it has allowed to an FBS team was 337 to an injury-riddled Maryland team two weeks ago. Notre Dame’s offense isn’t great, but if Wake Forest put up 409 on the Eagles, the Irish should move the ball just fine.

Week 10: 3-2 (3-2 ACC)

TOTAL: 48-17 (21-11 ACC)


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