ACC upset watch: Week 12

Last week, the No. 1 game on this list came to fruition, as Virginia rallied to beat Miami 41-40 in Charlottesville. NC State made sure there was no sign of an upset against the Deacs, but the Hokies came very close to knocking off the Noles, as FSU needed a touchdown in the final 40 seconds to escape Blacksburg with a 28-22 win.

Who’s in danger of an upset this week? Not Notre Dame. Not Florida State. That’s right, the Coastal Division …

1. North Carolina at Virginia: The Tar Heels will be looking to redeem themselves from last week’s loss to Georgia Tech, but Virginia and quarterback Michael Rocco are on a roll. Since its bye week, UVa has amassed 928 total yards for an average of 464 yards. UVa also has scored 10 offensive touchdowns in the back-to-back wins. The defense ranks No. 15 in the nation in forcing three-and-outs with an average of 4.5 per game. Virginia is desperately still clinging to bowl hopes. It can get one step closer against a Coastal Division opponent favored to win by three.

2. Duke at Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets return home after winning an offensive shootout against the Tar Heels, 68-50. Considering Georgia Tech is coming off an ACC record for points scored in a game, and Duke has been outscored 104-27 in its past two games, many expect Georgia Tech to win. In November, though, when the postseason is on the line, anything can happen. This will be the biggest game Duke’s program has played since 1994, the last time it beat the Jackets in Atlanta, and the last time it went to a bowl game. Duke is aiming higher than just a bowl game, though. This year, the road to Charlotte could run through Atlanta for the Blue Devils.

3. NC State at No. 11 Clemson: NC State’s 37-13 win last year in Raleigh snapped a seven-game Clemson winning streak in the series, but the Pack haven’t won in Death Valley since 2002. The quarterbacks will take center stage in this game, and both Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and NC State’s Mike Glennon are coming off impressive performances. The pressure is on Clemson to win out, as the program is penciled in for the Allstate Sugar Bowl, but a win in Death Valley would go a long way in silencing coach Tom O’Brien’s critics. O’Brien has been known for closing strong, and in yet another fickle year for NC State, it wouldn’t be out of character for the Pack to lose to Virginia and win at Death Valley in the same month. In fact, some might even expect it.