Atlantic Coast Conference Week 8 Preview
Generally, when thinking of a big game involving the ACC it is the Carolina-Duke game and it is in the sport of basketball. But, Saturday finds the biggest game of the weekend in College Football, right in the heart of the conference when Clemson meets Florida State. A look at what is on tap on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference:
5)Florida State at 3)Clemson (Saturday, 8pm)
In a game with not only major conference implications, but national ones as well, the Seminoles will travel to Death Valley to meet Clemson. The winner will take a big step towards an opportunity to play in the conference Championship Game, but will also remain in the discussion for national championship contender.
The Tigers bring in a team that is stout on both sides of the football. Tajh Boyd leads the 10th ranked passing attack in the nation while the Clemson defense only allows 16.2 points per game, good for 9th in the country.
Boyd has passed for 1783 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season and is in the discussion for the Heisman Award. The Tiger quarterback has also rushed for 5 touchdowns.
Sammy Watkins leads the Tiger receiving corps with 4 touchdown receptions and will be key in this game as Clemson receivers, aside from Boyd, have not been as consistent.
Jameis Winston has put together a huge season at quarterback for the Seminoles with 17 touchdown passes and 1441 passing yards. The Tigers will look to pressure the freshman who has yet to see the type of rush that their front four are capable of.
But, Florida State has been big on defense, as well. They boast the 3rd best scoring defense in the Country and get plenty of help from their offense who have averaged 53.6 points a game this season.
Both teams enter the game undefeated and the winner will come away in the drivers seat for the top of the Atlantic Division and a trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship.
Prediction: Clemson by 3
Syracuse at Georgia Tech (Saturday, 12:30pm)
In a game featuring two 3-3 teams, one of them will look to put themselves one step closer to becoming bowl eligible.
The Orangemen have won 3 of their last 4 games and have been helped tremendously by their running attack featuring Jerome Brown who has rushed for 482 yards and 8 touchdowns. Prince-Tyson Gulley gives them a second option at running back and a formidable one-two punch at that position. Gulley has scored 4 times this season.
Georgia Tech will look to snap a 3 game losing streak and like Syracuse, will look to ride the shoulders of their running game.
David Sims has rushed for 6 touchdowns this season and quarterback Vad Lee has contributed with 282 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. The Yellow Jackets have the 6th ranked rushing attack in the country.
Lee has struggled passing this season and will need to run the offense efficiently against a Syracuse team who have only given up 27 points total, in their combined last three wins.
Both teams sit in the middle of their respective division and can stay in contention with a win.
Prediction: Georgia Tech by 6
Maryland at Wake Forest (Saturday, 3:30pm)
C.J. Brown will return at quarterback for the 5-1 Terrapins, after suffering a concussion two weeks ago. The all purpose quarterback has passed for 7 touchdown passes and rushed for 6.
Stefon Diggs gives Brown a playmaker at receiver racking up 520 yards receiving on the season to go with 3 touchdowns.
Wake Forest has pulled to 3-3 on the season after a slow start. The Deacs go as quarterback Tanner Price goes. Price has thrown 9 touchdown passes.
Wake struggles to rush the football but have a stud in receiver Michael Campanaro who has 582 yards receiving and 4 touchdown receptions.
In a series that has strongly favored the home team, Maryland will have their hands full despite the more dominant record as Wake coach Jim Grobe has had an extra week to prepare for the game.
Prediction: Wake Forest by 1
Duke at Virginia (Saturday, 3:30pm)
The Blue Devils have quietly improved to 4-2 on the season, but have yet to notch an ACC victory.
Anthony Boone returned last week for Duke and put up good numbers in an out of conference victory. He will be key for David Cutcliffe's Blue Devils, in order to come away with a road win.
Boone will be targeting one of the best receivers in the conference in Jamison Crowder who has grabbed 47 passes for 618 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
Meanwhile, Virginia will look to Kevin Parks to lead them on offense. Parks has rolled up 510 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns.
The 2-4 Cavaliers need more consistent play out of quarterback David Watford who has struggled this season.
Can Duke's defense show up on Saturday? In their two conference games, they have given up a total of 96 points.
Prediction: Duke by 3
Old Dominion at Pittsburgh (Saturday, 7pm)
The Panthers will step out of the conference and look to get back on the winning track against the Monarchs, an FBS Independent. ODU comes into the game with a 4-2 record.
After a tough game against Virginia Tech last week, Tom Savage will look to rebound for the 3-2 Panthers. Savage has thrown 10 touchdown passes.
Savage will look to his favorite target in Devin Street who has 549 yards receiving thus far. Pittsburgh is hopeful that James Connor can give them stability at the running back position to add balance to a passing game that averages 249 yards a game.
Old Dominion will ride quarterback Taylor Heinicke who has passed for 14 touchdowns and an impressive 2088 yards passing.
The Monarchs have won four straight games and averaged 55 points per game during that streak.
Prediction: Pittsburgh by 18