It’s Thanksgiving week, so our schedule is a little different and the picks are coming at you early.
I got one wrong last week. I should’ve stuck with my gut and picked North Carolina, but I was impressed with BC’s ability to win at home. So it goes. My overall picks percentage stands at 70.4 percent (62 of 88), and I’ve got one final week in the regular season to redeem myself. Here goes:
Maryland 21, BC 17 – If the Terps were going to give up this year, they would’ve done it long before the last play of the fourth quarter at Florida State last week. Boston College is turning the ball over at an alarming rate, and got fortunate with its road win over Virginia. I say the Terps win one for the Fridge on Senior Day.
Clemson 20, South Carolina 10 – The Gamecocks’ offense is inept, but their young defense is respectable. Just ask NC State, which is scoring 30.5 points per game now but was held to three in the season opener. Still, the Tigers’ defensive line will handily win the battle up front and that will be the difference.
Florida 31, Florida State 21 – This isn’t going to be a “name your score” type of game, but Florida’s defense will be too much for the Noles to overcome. Odds are it takes E.J. Manuel some time to settle down in his first trip to the Swamp, but Jimbo Fisher’s offense will continue to score and Florida’s offense will continue to look pedestrian, even against FSU’s defense.
North Carolina 21, NC State 17 – In the end, North Carolina’s defense will outweigh all of the Wolfpack’s emotion, and the Tar Heels’ juniors will get their first win in the series. UNC will pressure quarterback Russell Wilson into a few mistakes, and the Tar Heels will have a respectable day on offense against a defense ranked No. 100 in the nation in scoring defense.
Georgia Tech 35, Georgia 17 – The Bulldogs don’t have a dependable quarterback or a defense, and the Yellow Jackets have both. Georgia Tech’s defense has shown steady improvement over the past few weeks, while Georgia’s has allowed at least 30 points in 10 of its past 20 games. The Jackets were able to run at will in their win in Athens last year and should have similar success at home on Saturday.
South Florida 24, Miami 21 – The Bulls' loss at Rutgers was a fluke, but it seems like they go as their quarterback, B.J. Daniels goes. Same situation at Miami, as the Canes seem to thrive on the energy of Jacory Harris. We saw what Daniels was able to do against Florida State, and Miami’s defense doesn’t seem as scary these days.
Virginia Tech 21, Virginia 17 – Because this game is in Charlottesville, it should be close. It’s likely to be a final farewell not only to the seniors, but also to coach Al Groh, whose future at Virginia is in doubt. But the Hokies are the better team and they’ve held the upper hand in this rivalry. There’s no reason to think that will change now.
Duke 28, Wake Forest 24 – Both teams have lost their bowl opportunities, and are very similar statistically, but this game will feature two of the ACC’s most accomplished senior quarterbacks, and neither of them want to go out on a losing note. Wake quarterback Riley Skinner took the loss to Florida State pretty hard, and he had the bye week to think about it. Duke squandered a third-quarter lead at Miami, but quarterback Thaddeus Lewis has a chance to leave with six wins.