Here are 10 things worth keeping an eye on this week in the ACC, in no particular order:
1. Bowl eligibility. If Clemson and Georgia Tech both win this weekend, they will become the first teams in the conference and only two of seven in the country to become bowl eligible this week.
2. The Coastal Division standings. One team -- Miami or Virginia Tech -- will drop to 0-2 in the ACC race. With Georgia Tech off to a 2-0 start for the first time under coach Paul Johnson, it’s a borderline elimination game in Blacksburg, though it’s not unheard of in the ACC for a three-loss team to play its way into the ACC title game.
3. Run defenses in Blacksburg. Miami and Virginia Tech have two of the ACC’s leading rushers in Lamar Miller and David Wilson, respectively. The Hokies lost starting defensive tackle Antoine Hopkins to a season-ending knee injury, and Miami’s rushing defense is No. 104 in the country. Miller is the first Hurricane to begin a season with four-straight games of 100 or more rushing yards in at least the past 30 years. Wilson is the fourth Tech back of the ACC era to post four or more games with 100 or more rushing yards in a season.
4. Quarterbacks in Blacksburg. How will Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas respond to last week’s 20-3 loss to Clemson? Can Jacory Harris go two games without throwing an interception against a Virginia Tech defense that has had at least one interception in each of the past 12 games?
5. Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel. If he plays -- and he is expected to play -- how will Manuel look in his first game back since he injured his shoulder on Sept. 17 against Oklahoma? Manuel returned to practice this week, but it’s been a while since he’s been hit in a game.
6. Pass defenses in Winston-Salem. Both Florida State and Wake Forest have fallen below expectations in the running game this year, and the passing games have carried their respective offenses. Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price will face the best defense he has seen yet this season, as the Noles are No. 13 in the country in pass defense. Don’t sleep on the Deacs’ secondary, though, as cornerback Merrill Noel of Pahokee, Fla., could grow into the same category as Alphonso Smith.
7. Big plays in Atlanta. Yes, Georgia Tech can eat up the clock with its drives, but Maryland needs to be wary of its big-play capabilities as well. Georgia Tech has had four pass plays and two rushing plays of 70-plus yards this season. The Yellow Jackets have produced 40 plays of at least 20 yards this season and have allowed opponents just 15 plays of 20-plus yards.
8. BC running back Montel Harris. He played a full game for the first time this season last weekend against Wake Forest and had 22 carries for 108 yards. Harris needs 868 yards in his final seven games of the year to break the 37-year-old ACC career rushing record held by former NC State great Ted Brown (4,602). He would need to average 124 yards a game over the final seven games. Last year against Clemson, Harris had 37 carries for 143 yards rushing and had a 36-yard receiving touchdown, Boston College’s only offensive touchdown of the game.
9. UNC running back Giovani Bernard against Louisville’s run D. Louisville has the nation’s No. 13 rushing defense, holding opponents to just 85 yards per game. Bernard has rushed for 100 yards in three straight games. He is the first UNC player to do so since Natrone Means in 1992.
10. Turnovers in Raleigh. Central Michigan has lost the ball 10 times this season, two fumbles and eight interceptions. NC State has returned two fumbles for touchdowns this season, and is tied for fourth in the country with eight interceptions.