For the first week this season, all ACC teams in action are playing conference games. And once again, the conference is involved in one of the biggest games of the weekend. Here is a look at Saturday action in the Atlantic Coast Conference:
Virginia Tech at Boston College (Saturday, 12 noon)
The Hokies will attempt to rebound from a disappointing loss at home to Duke last week. They are facing a team who were manhandled by North Carolina last week.
The Eagles will have to attack a team who only gives up 14 points per game and will do so with a steady diet of Andre Williams who has rushed over 1000 yards on the season. Williams has scored 8 touchdowns and will be key in the effort of a team who have lost 4 of their last 5 games, including two in a row.
Logan Thomas has been inconsistent for Virginia Tech. When he plays well, the team thrives, evidenced by their 6 game winning streak. However, when he struggles, the team follows. Last week Thomas tossed 4 interceptions in the Duke loss.
The key to the game will be whether the Boston College running attack can budge the stingy Virginia Tech defense.
Prediction: Virginia Tech by 6
North Carolina at N.C. State (Saturday, 12:30pm)
This is the game that both alumni and fan bases circle for each school every season. Losing this game simply brings heat on the losing team and head coach.
North Carolina enters the game off of their best performance of the season against Boston College. Coach Larry Fedora has been using two quarterbacks more frequently in Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams and the Tar Heels have responded with the 19th best passing attack in the country. With Eric Ebron and Quinshad Davis as targets, UNC has weapons at their disposal. But North Carolina has struggled finding footing in their running game.
Meanwhile, N.C. State looks to snap a 3 game losing streak. To do so, they must have a solid game from the defensive side of the ball. In their last 3 losses, the Wolfpack have given up an average of 33 points a game. They have decent balance on the offensive side of the ball but will depend on the running game as quarterback Pete Thomas has only thrown 3 touchdowns to 8 interceptions.
With a win, North Carolina can jump to the middle of the pack in the Coastal Division, while N.C. State looks for their first win in conference play.
Prediction: North Carolina by 3
Wake Forest at Syracuse (Saturday, 12:30pm)
Wake Forest has quietly become a factor in the conference with 2 wins in their last 3 outings. The lone loss was a 24-21 outcome against Miami last week, in a game they led for a majority of the game.
The Deacons will rely on their combination of Tanner Price at quarterback and Michael Campanaro at receiver. Price has thrown for 1778 yards and 12 touchdowns while Campanaro has racked up 792 yards receiving and 6 touchdown receptions.
On the flipside, Syracuse has a solid running attack behind Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gulley. The pair have combined for 12 touchdown runs this season.
The Orangemen look to get to .500 with a win while Wake Forest hopes to remain bowl eligible.
Prediction: Wake Forest by 5
8)Clemson at Virginia (Saturday, 3:30pm)
The Tigers shook off the early cobwebs against Maryland last week, following the Florida State loss. Tajh Boyd got back on track after a dismal performance against the Seminoles in their victory against the Terps.
Boyd will, once again, be a factor. With 2243 passing yards and 17 touchdown passes, he may not be a Heisman candidate but he is formidable. With Roderick McDowell at running back and Sammy Watkins leading the receiving corps, there are plenty of offensive weapons.
The Tigers will face a team who have lost 5 games in a row and have struggled on defense. The Cavaliers give up almost 30 points a game. They will look to Kevin Parks to grind it out on the ground. Parks has rushed for 614 yards and 9 touchdowns this season.
David Watford leads Virginia at quarterback, with over 1700 yards passing.
The Tigers look to keep pace with Florida State in the Atlantic division with a win.
Prediction: Clemson by 27
Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech (Saturday, 7:00pm)
In a game featuring two bowl eligible teams, the Panthers will look to bounce back after a tough out of conference loss to Navy.
The Panthers will look to quarterback Tom Savage to lead the way. Savage has thrown 13 touchdown passes this season. Isaac Bennett leads Pitt rushing with 527 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets will bring their 4th ranked rushing offense into the game. Led by David Sims, Zach Laskey and quarterback Vad Lee, the Ramblin' Wreck average 315 yards a game on the ground.
The Yellow Jackets have appeared to right the ship after a three game losing streak. with two straight wins. They can separate themselves from the middle of the pack in the Coastal division, with a win.
Prediction: Georgia Tech by 5
7)Miami at 3) Florida State (Saturday, 8:00pm)
In the big game of the day, two unbeaten teams will square off against each other in prime time.
Florida State has been impressive while Miami has struggled maintaining their undefeated record. Nonetheless, they have remained that way going into the game against their in state rival.
The Hurricanes have a balanced attack on offense behind quarterback Stephen Morris and running back, Duke Johnson. Morris has passed for 10 touchdowns while Johnson has rushed for 6.
It is the underrated and improved defense that has led the way for the Hurricanes. The Miami defense allows just 17 points against, per game.
Florida State has benefited from stellar play by freshman quarterback Jameis Winston who is now firmly in the Heisman trophy race. Winston has passed for 23 touchdown passes and 2177 yards passing.
When you pair those passing numbers with a rushing attack that averages 212 yards per game, you have an offense that averages 52 points per game. That is 3rd best in the country.
It is not just offense on this Seminole team. Their defense ranks 4th in the nation, giving up only 13 points per game.
With a win, Florida State could jump back to 2nd in the BCS. For Miami, a win may finally convince the naysayers that they are a team worthy of their ranking.
Prediction: Florida State by 16
Week 9 Results:
Miami 24 Wake Forest 21
Georgia Tech 35 Virginia 25
Navy 24 Pittsburgh 21
Florida State 49 N.C. State 17
Clemson 40 Maryland 27
North Carolina 34 Boston College 10
Duke 13 Virginia Tech 10