ACC Week 10 picks: Clemson, Miami chart course for ACC title game?

There are two blockbuster matchups in the ACC this weekend in what feels like two ACC championship "semifinal" games: Clemson plays at NC State and Virginia Tech is at Miami. The winners will be in the driver's seat to make it to Charlotte.

There is one clinching scenario, and it is not in the Atlantic Division. Miami can clinch the Coastal with a win over Virginia Tech and a Virginia loss to Georgia Tech. So who will win? Andrea Adelson and David M. Hale weigh in with their Week 10 ACC picks. Visit our college football PickCenter page for additional information on these games and many more.

Syracuse (4-4, 2-2) at Florida State (2-5, 2-4), 12:20 p.m., ACC Network

David Hale: If I keep picking Florida State, I have to be right eventually, right? The truth is, there’s zero reason to think the Seminoles will win this game, coming off a blowout loss to Boston College. Even playing at home means nothing. They haven’t won there yet this season. But at some point, FSU has to decide that wasting so much talent is an utter embarrassment and try to change some things. Or, you’d think so anyway. Florida State 24, Syracuse 23

Andrea Adelson: Ah yes, the dreaded noon game to get the juices flowing -- or not. Florida State has done nothing to inspire confidence or belief that it can win a game like this, especially after its last performance against Boston College. Syracuse has had a week off to prepare, and we already saw Dino Babers & Co. knock off Clemson a few weeks ago. It is hard to pick against the Seminoles because of the talent mismatch, but given what we have seen this season, I am going with the Orange. Syracuse 30, Florida State 28

Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2) at Virginia (5-3, 2-2), 3 p.m., ACC Network

David Hale: Bronco Mendenhall said this week that he’s steering into the skid with his team, talking up the need for another win to make a bowl rather than ignoring it. He thinks the pressure was getting to his players, and they were too tight. It’s worth a try, but the problem is, the Cavaliers’ most winnable games are behind them, and Georgia Tech is just a much better team. Georgia Tech 40, Virginia 24

Andrea Adelson: Paul Johnson had the perfect response this week when he was told that Mendenhall had a passion for defending option offenses. Johnson shot back: "My passion's playing against 3-4 teams." Um, yeah, the Yellow Jackets will roll. Georgia Tech 38, Virginia 28

Wake Forest (5-3) at No. 3 Notre Dame (7-1), 3:30 p.m., NBC

David Hale: Wake has very little working in its favor this week. They’ll need to go against former defensive coordinator Mike Elko, who knows the Deacons inside and out. They’ll do it without Greg Dortch, their best offensive weapon, and Cade Carney, one of their top runners. Add the loss of safety Jessie Bates for this game, and everything points to an Irish win by a sizable margin. Notre Dame 36, Wake Forest 17

Andrea Adelson: Could not agree more with David's assessment. This is the worst possible time for injuries to hit Wake Forest, a team that is vastly improved over the last time it went to Notre Dame in 2015. The Irish simply have too much going for them on the offensive and defensive lines. Notre Dame 30, Wake Forest 17

No. 4 Clemson (7-1, 5-1) at No. 20 NC State (6-2, 4-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC

David Hale: The question here is how much Clemson's defensive line can win in the trenches. Three weeks ago, the Tigers were handled by a far less talented Syracuse group, and NC State’s offensive line might be one of the best in the country. If Dexter Lawrence & Co. can control the line of scrimmage, the Clemson D should be enough to win. If not, we saw a year ago how close these two teams really are. Clemson 17, NC State 14

Andrea Adelson: NC State coach Dave Doeren expects Nyheim Hines, Josh Jones, Darian Roseboro and Eurndraus Bryant to play, which is a huge boost considering how much the Wolfpack missed them after they got hurt a week ago against Notre Dame. This game is so evenly matched, especially on the offensive and defensive lines, that it could go either way. But Clemson thrives in pressure games on the road. I'm going with the Tigers in a close one. Clemson 35, NC State 33

No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1) at No. 10 Miami (7-0, 5-0), 8 p.m., ABC

David Hale: Do I like this pick? No. Do I have a good explanation for it? No. Have you seen my picks record? I’m awful. So chalk this up to a gut feeling. Miami will hit a few big plays downfield and the Canes’ D will force a key turnover. Or, I’m way off again. Miami 24, Virginia Tech 20

Andrea Adelson: Miami has not looked great, and many are questioning its legitimacy. That's all fair, given how the Hurricanes have played the past few weeks. But Miami will rise to the occasion in a prime-time home game with an inspired defensive effort that really gets after Josh Jackson and shuts down the run game. This is shaping up to be a defensive struggle, because Virginia Tech's defense will create its own problems for Malik Rosier and Miami. But Miami is a team that finds ways to win, and it will do it again. Miami 21, Virginia Tech 17

Overall records:

  • Andrea Adelson: 63-15

  • David Hale: 56-22