For as good as Kickoff Week was, the third week of the season could be the best yet across college football. An early inside track to the ACC Atlantic Division title will be established by Saturday evening.
The winner of this game takes early control of the Atlantic Division (and might make a run at No. 1 with Alabama visiting Ole Miss and No. 3 Ohio State at Oklahoma). Florida State contained Lamar Jackson on the ground last season, but the sophomore has added a more polished deep-passing element to his game. The Seminoles are without star safety Derwin James, too. Louisville will have to score enough points and stop Dalvin Cook, however. The Seminoles average 41.5 points against Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals, and Cook has rushed for more than 100 yards in both games.
If there was ever an opportunity to break out of the September slump, this is it for the Clemson offense. Playing an FCS opponent at home should afford a few opportunities to kick the offense into high gear. QB Deshaun Watson said he is bringing a more positive and focused attitude this week.
The Hurricanes will have to deal with a talented App State team that nearly upset Tennessee. Expect a scene unlike Appalachian State has ever seen before. Miami better be ready for a Power 5 environment.
This could be one of the quickest games of the season. Expect a lot of running in this one with Georgia Tech’s rush-based offense and Vanderbilt’s need to limit opportunities for its quarterback.
The Cavaliers have lost 16 straight on the road, and they’re an underdog to a Group of 5 team. It has been a rough start for first-year coach Bronco Mendenhall.
It’s going to take some time for the Virginia Tech offense to start clicking under Justin Fuente, and now the Hokies have to play one of the country’s best defenses. If the Eagles can score 17 points, they have a strong chance at an upset.
James Madison Dukes at North Carolina, ACC Network
The Tar Heels need to come out of this one healthy; the meat of their schedule begins next week. UNC plays Pitt, at Florida State, Virginia Tech and at Miami the next four weekends.
Both teams went through emotional games last week, so it’s hard to predict how each will respond Saturday. The Panthers can methodically move the ball down the field, while the Cowboys have big-play capabilities with receiver James Washington.
USF is starting to look like the program it was a decade ago, when it was routinely breaking into the rankings. The Orange defense could be in for another long game.
The Wolfpack need a convincing win to gain some confidence after a loss to East Carolina last week. Fans are still waiting for NC State to turn the corner under fourth-year coach Dave Doeren.
The Demon Deacons should move to 3-0 for the first time since 2008. With their next three games against Indiana, NC State and Syracuse, could the Demon Deacons be looking at a 5-1 start?
This is a game both programs desperately need to win in order to keep their postseason chances alive. There could be as many punts as points in this one.