A 3-2 record last week keeps me in the Atlantic Division race, but then again, who’s not a contender in this league? Clemson and North Carolina proved me wrong, bringing my season record to 54-20 (72.9 percent). I’m slipping, but just like Virginia Tech, I’ve got some margin for error. Will the Hokies need it? I sure do …
Boston College 24, Duke 21: The Eagles are too well-coached on defense, and it will be the difference in the game against a Duke defense that ranks last in the ACC in scoring defense, allowing 38.9 points per game. BC will force the Blue Devils into a few turnovers, create a short field, and Montel Harris will do his part to control the clock.
Clemson 21, Florida State 20: This was one of the toughest picks of the week, but I’m going with the Tigers because their defense is better. Just ask NC State. Clemson held the Pack to 63 rushing yards and 13 points. FSU held the Pack to 189 rushing yards and 28 points. Christian Ponder’s health is a question, but regardless of who starts the game, Clemson will shut down the offense and do just enough things right to find a way to win.
Maryland 21, Virginia 17: The Terps’ defense is holding opponents to 20.4 points per game and will put a damper on the seniors’ final game in Scott Stadium. Turnovers and penalties will once again doom the Cavaliers, as the Terps rank fifth in the nation in turnover margin. Maryland will snap its three-game losing streak in the series.
NC State 35, Wake Forest 14: It’s going to be another rough weekend for the Deacs’ injury-laden defense. The Wolfpack still have something to play for, and with all three running backs cleared to play, NC State’s offense will be clicking again. Russell Wilson leads the ACC’s top pass offense while Wake is No. 10 in pass defense.
Georgia Tech 28, Miami 24: In a battle between two rookie quarterbacks, both will make mistakes, leaving the defenses the deciding factor. Miami allowed Florida State 298 rushing yards. It’s not going to get much better against an offense that leads the nation with 320 rushing yards per game.
Virginia Tech 21, North Carolina 17: The Hokies’ secondary will come out on top against quarterback T.J. Yates and his talented receivers, especially if UNC turns one-dimensional because of the lack of depth at tailback without leading rusher Johnny White. The Hokies will miss the production of kick returner David Wilson, but the tailback duo of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans will open things up for Tyrod Taylor and the Heels won’t be able to stop the high-scoring Hokies.