ACC Upset Watch Week 9: Florida State has Clemson on high alert

There are a handful of games that could go either way in Week 9. So let's take a look at who is on upset watch.

Thursday night

No. 25 Virginia Tech (5-2, 3-1) at Pitt (5-2, 2-1), 7 p.m., ESPN. Line: Virginia Tech by 4. The last time we saw the Hokies hit the road they turned in a disappointing performance in a loss to Syracuse. The last four times they hit the road to Pittsburgh, they lost. So does that mean the arrow should be pointing toward the Panthers? Both teams have been terrific at stopping the run all season long, so what happens in the pass game is going to be crucial. Where Syracuse excelled was getting pressure on Jerod Evans and taking away the big plays in the pass game. Pitt has the players to put the pressure on, but its pass coverage has been questionable at times. Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman can make some plays with his legs, and stopping that aspect has to be a priority for the Hokies' D.


Duke (3-4, 0-3) at Georgia Tech (4-3, 1-3), noon, ACC Network. Line: Georgia Tech by 6.5. The Jackets used to dominate this series, but Duke has won two straight and is much improved up front, where the Blue Devils are giving up only 3.8 yards per carry and already have 21 sacks. The Blue Devils played keep away against Louisville and nearly won. It would not be a surprise if they used the same strategy against the ball-control Jackets. If they can capitalize on more of their opportunities and continue with success on third down, they will have a chance at a third straight win in the series.

Miami (4-3) at Notre Dame (2-5), 3:30 p.m., NBC. Line: Miami by 2.5. One of the nastiest rivalries in all of college sports has arrived with a whimper. Their past selves would shudder at their respective performances and records this season. Miami comes into the game having lost three in a row, with an offense that is suddenly lacking in confidence and the ability to score. Notre Dame has last two in a row, and though the defense has tightened up a bit, its offense also suddenly has forgotten how to score. Miami has not scored more than 20 points since Oct. 1; Notre Dame has not scored more than 20 since ... Oct. 1. So will the first team to 20 win?

No. 3 Clemson (7-0, 4-0) at No. 12 Florida State (5-2, 2-2), 8 p.m., ABC. Line: Clemson by 4.5. Let's get the history out of the way first. The Seminoles are 11-1 against Clemson in Tallahassee over the last 25 years, with the only loss coming in 2006. Dabo Swinney has never won there as a head coach, but this is the best team he has taken into Doak Campbell Stadium. Though the Tigers have looked shaky at times, they remain one of the league leaders on offense and defense. Florida State, meanwhile, has played much better defensively over its last two games. The contest could very well be decided on red-zone performance. Clemson's 58-percent red zone efficiency this season ranks 89th in the FBS. The Tigers had two turnovers in the red zone all of last season. Through seven games this year, they already have four. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the only FBS schools with more are East Carolina, SMU and New Mexico State.