Oct. 29, 2010
By Wes Durham
Georgia Tech enjoys its only “open date” of the season this weekend, but already things have gotten interesting in the ACC. When NC State beat Florida State on Thursday night, 28-24, in Raleigh, it tightened things up considerably in the Atlantic Division race.
That makes the Atlantic even with the Coastal, which has four teams within two games. The Wolfpack win gives the Atlantic four teams within one game.
It will be interesting what the shake-out is from this weekend, because on paper it doesn’t look like much, but those are the kind of weekends that usually turn things upside down in conference races.
There are only three other conference games on the schedule today, so the shake-up could be pretty minimal by Saturday night.
Here’s the breakdown…
Clemson (4-3, 2-2) at Boston College (2-5, 0-4), 12 noon, ACC Network
The biggest winners outside of the Wolfpack on Thursday night are the Tigers, who have lost twice in the ACC, but both times outside of the division (Miami, North Carolina). Just like Georgia Tech, Clemson is back in the race and has the benefit of playing the field in their last three conference games (already beat Maryland, 31-7). But first, Boston College waits on the Tigers.
The Eagles have lost five straight, and it’s happened in all shapes and sizes. But the biggest concern might be BC’s inability to run the ball. In its last six games, only once has Coach Spaz’s team rushed for more than 100 yards.
Clemson had 403 yards last week in the win over Tech, but three of the last four games in the ACC are on the road, starting with Boston College.
Miami (5-2, 3-1) at Virginia (3-4, 0-3), 12 noon, ESPN
Miami looks for its third straight win in the series on Saturday in Charlottesville. Last year, the Hurricanes pounded the Cavs, 52-17, in South Florida. Two years ago, it took OT for Miami to win.
Last Saturday, Virginia beat Eastern Michigan, 48-21, but still rank 114th in rushing defense, allowing 211.4 per game. The makes the game plan pretty simple for the Hurricanes.
Get the ball to Damien Berry, who is averaging 105.5 yards rushing against the conference (2nd in ACC play). A loss here would be devastating to the `Canes division hopes in the Coastal.
Duke (1-6) at Navy (5-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
The Blue Devils losing streak is at six, following last week’s 44-7 loss at Virginia Tech. Duke allowed 159 yards of rushing last week in Blacksburg, but are 107th nationally, giving up 203.4 per game.
That stat must make the Mids feel good. Navy looks to get bowl-eligible with a win over Duke, which won last year’s game 41-31, in Durham.
Douglasville’s Ricky Dobbs is the ignition in Navy’s Spread Option. Last week, Dobbs guided the Mids to Navy’s third win over Notre Dame in last four years. Alexander Teich rushed for 210 yards in the win.
William & Mary (6-1) at North Carolina (4-3), 3:30 p.m., ESPN3.com
It’s the 15th meeting all-time between W&M and UNC. The Heels won a 49-38 shootout in 2004, which was their last meeting. The loss at Miami last Saturday was Carolina’s second Coastal Division loss, and likely one that would keep them from making the title game in Charlotte.
But the Heels are finally whole for this season. CB Kendric Burney will take the field for the first time this Saturday. Burney is the last of the Heels involved in their off-field issues to have his situation resolved. His tune-up against the Griffins (formerly known as the “Tribe”) should serve Carolina well in following games against Florida State and Virginia Tech in the next couple weeks.
Jimmy Laycock is the veteran coach of W&M, and his team arrives in Chapel Hill off a 17-16 win over #2 Delaware in FCS play.
This is no pushover for Carolina. The Heels need two wins to be bowl eligible.
Wake Forest (2-5, 1-3) at Maryland (5-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
This game could be pretty interesting in the Atlantic Division because Maryland, which has just one division loss, could secure bowl-eligibility with a win over the visiting Deacons.
Wake has been banged up, but after a week off, it’ll be interesting what tweaks Jim Grobe has made to the Deacons attack. Wake has lost five straight since its win over Duke in week 2 at Groves Stadium.
Maryland beat Boston College last week, 24-21, to get its fifth win of the year, but the Terps have had success by committing only three turnovers in the last four games. They are +7 in takeaway/giveaway in those four games. That helps win games.
Maryland only had 222 yards of offense against Boston College. Wake Forest gave up 605 yards of offense in its 52-21 loss at Virginia Tech. Wake Forest has four Atlantic games left in its schedule, while Maryland has three of their last five games at home.
Seems simple, right? So often, it never is. We’ll see this weekend.