ACC Week 9 picks: Will NC State upset the Irish?

Notre Dame-NC State a strength-on-strength matchup (2:11)

Brad Edwards breaks down top 25 showdown between the Irish and the Wolfpack. (2:11)

Week 9 serves as a prelude to what is shaping up to be a huge Nov. 4 weekend in the ACC. But we can't look too far ahead. There are plenty of good games to pick starting Friday, and Andrea Adelson and David M. Hale weigh in with their selections. Visit our college football PickCenter page for additional information on these games and many more.


Florida State (2-4, 2-3) at Boston College (4-4, 2-3), 8 p.m., ESPN

David Hale: On one side, FSU’s offense is a mess and fans want major changes. On the other, BC is suddenly one of the most explosive teams in the country, topping 40 in back-to-back games for the first time since 2002. What do we make of all this? Best answer is that the world makes no sense anymore, so I’m going in the other direction and taking the Noles. Florida State 24, Boston College 21

Andrea Adelson: Florida State opened the season with national championship aspirations but is now in a fight just to become bowl-eligible. The Seminoles have to win four of their final five games to get there, and none of their FBS games left is a gimme. That includes Boston College, which gave the Seminoles all they could handle the last time they played in Chestnut Hill on a Friday night two years ago. Still, I have to think the Seminoles players realize what is at stake and play that way. But it won't be easy. Florida State 26, Boston College 24


Louisville (5-3, 2-3) at Wake Forest (4-3, 1-3), 12:20 p.m., ACC Network

David Hale: They won’t say it, but I can’t imagine any game means more to Wake’s players and coaches than this one. Last year’s “Wakeyleaks” fiasco still looms large, the motivation is high and this game has been close into the fourth quarter in each of the last three years. Because no one is sharing playbooks this year, the Deacons might finally pull off the win. Wake Forest 30, Louisville 28

Andrea Adelson: It's tempting to go with Wake Forest for all the reasons David just mentioned. I don't think the defensive issues with the Cards are immediately fixed because they beat Florida State. But Lamar Jackson is in the middle of another outstanding season, and he's such a difference maker, I give Louisville the edge. Louisville 33, Wake Forest 28.

Virginia (5-2, 2-1) at Pittsburgh (3-5, 1-3), 12:30 p.m., ACC Network

David Hale: I’ve been wrong on every Virginia game this year, I think. But here’s my thought: Duke’s defense had been stout against the run this season, but Darrin Hall walloped the Blue Devils a week ago. Virginia’s run defense has been shaky (just 16.5 percent of runs vs. FBS teams have gone for a loss or no gain), so perhaps Pitt can keep it up on the ground. But, hey, odds are I’ll be wrong again. Pitt 30, Virginia 27

Andrea Adelson: In all likelihood, the Cavaliers will be an underdog in their remaining five games, including this one. But of all the games left, this is the one that could be most crucial for their bowl hopes. I like what Bronco Mendenhall has done so far, and though it's not a huge sample size, Virginia has won both its road games. I'll go with the Hoos in a close one. Virginia 28, Pitt 27

No. 14 NC State (6-1) at No. 9 Notre Dame (6-1), 3:30 p.m., NBC

David Hale: This is the ACC, so something has to go wrong before the much-hyped showdown between NC State and Clemson next week. Still, this should be a terrific showdown between NC State’s stout run defense (3.96 yards per carry on non-sack plays) and Notre Dame’s elite rushing offense (327 yards per game, third among Power 5 teams). Slight edge to the Irish. Notre Dame 33, NC State 30

Andrea Adelson: I've gone back and forth on this game all week, but here are two factors that stand out to me that should be considered: Notre Dame is coming off an emotional win over a rival in which it could not have played any better; NC State is well rested off a bye and won't be intimidated going into South Bend. I love the matchup between the Irish offensive line and NC State defensive line -- this is the best the Irish have faced to date, and I think Bradley Chubb makes some plays to help the Wolfpack win. NC State 35, Notre Dame 33

Georgia Tech (4-2, 3-1) No. 7 Clemson (6-1, 4-1), 8 p.m., ABC/ESPN2

David Hale: This is the best the Yellow Jackets’ offense has looked since the 2014 Orange Bowl season, but Brent Venables seems to have the option attack figured out. Tech has averaged 3.21 yards per carry against Clemson since 2014 but averaged 5.82 yards per carry against everyone else. In their last three games, the Jackets have just one rushing TD against the Tigers. Clemson 27, Georgia Tech 21

Andrea Adelson: I expect a much healthier Kelly Bryant to get the Clemson offense rolling again against a Georgia Tech defense that has been far too inconsistent throughout the season. The Jackets will get their yards on offense, but it won't be enough. Clemson 35, Georgia Tech 27

Other unanimous picks

  • Miami over North Carolina

  • Virginia Tech over Duke


Andrea Adelson: 60-11

David Hale: 50-21