ACC Championship Game prediction

It’s a good thing I was assigned to only predict games last week, because there’s no way I could have possibly foreseen the firing of two Atlantic Division coaches, the hiring of Mark Stoops at Kentucky, the ACC suing Maryland, and the addition of Louisville to the conference -- all in a span of four days.

This just in: The ACC still has a championship game to be played. Now THAT I can predict.

Heading into the final week of ACC play, my overall record stands at 77-19 (80.2 percent). I gave the ACC too much credit last week and struck out on picks for FSU and South Carolina for a 6-2 mark in Week 13. FSU needs to bounce back this week. So does Georgia Tech. So do I.

Here we go:

Florida State 35, Georgia Tech 31: Defense isn’t going to steal any headlines in this game. The Seminoles allowed Florida 244 rushing yards last week and will struggle to contain the No. 3 rushing offense in the country, especially after learning it will likely be the last game with Stoops on the sideline. The emotion of last week’s letdown coupled with the news about Stoops and the difficulty of preparing for the spread option offense on a week’s notice will be evident. On top of all that, leading tackler Tank Carradine will be on the sideline with a torn ACL.

Georgia Tech’s defense isn’t much better. It has been the Yellow Jackets’ Achilles heel all season, and in the end it will be the difference in this game. Florida State has a deeper, more talented, more athletic roster with more options, and it will expose the weaknesses in the Yellow Jackets’ defense.

FSU quarterback EJ Manuel will make the clutch plays in the fourth quarter, the Noles’ defense will do just enough to win, and Florida State will win its first conference title since 2005, leaving Georgia Tech to apply for a waiver just to play in a bowl game.