Every favored team on the ACC Upset Watch lost last week, which means the league was in full #goacc mode a little over a month into the season.
This week is a little different. Only one team is favored by a touchdown or less in ACC matchups. Does that mean there will be no upsets at all? Not necessarily ...
NC State (4-1, 0-1 ACC) at Virginia Tech (2-3, 0-1), Friday, 8 p.m., ESPN. Line: NC State by 1. The line might be slim, but given the way the Hokies have played in their last two games, a Virginia Tech win would be surprising. Remember, Virginia Tech had 100 total yards of offense a week ago. While the NC State defense is not as strong as the Pitt group the Hokies saw, they will have a tough time winning if the offensive line does not play better -- whether Michael Brewer returns or not. On the other side, the Virginia Tech defense has not exactly been shutting down its opponents with regularity. Most especially opponents with rushing quarterbacks. Its issues there have been well documented. Right now, Virginia Tech ranks No. 101 in the nation in rushing defense, and 101 in the nation in percent plays that have gone for 10 yards or more (21.5). But NC State struggled last week against Louisville, so if the Hokies find a way to stop the run and play better on first down, an upset is possible.
Georgia Tech (2-3, 0-2) at No. 6 Clemson (4-0), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2. Line: Clemson by 7. Not many predicted the Jackets would be sliding fast through five weeks, but it is hard to count out any Paul Johnson-coached team. Especially on Saturday. It will not be an easy one for the Tigers after going down to the wire last week in a draining win over Notre Dame. The majority of the Tigers' defensive starters played 65 snaps or more, including defensive ends Kevin Dodd (70) and Shaq Lawson (69), and linebackers B.J. Goodson (72) and Ben Boulware (72). Those numbers are exceptionally high to begin with; now add in an offense that is run driven and these players will be relied on even more Saturday. We saw Clemson get tired in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame and nearly blow the game. Preparing for Georgia Tech after an emotional win makes this game even more difficult than it already is. It goes without saying: The Tigers need to avoid a letdown in a game it should win, especially with a College Football Playoff spot there for the taking.
Miami (3-1) at No. 12 Florida State (4-0, 2-0), Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC. Line: Florida State by 9. I know what both fan bases are thinking -- Andrea is just trying to stir the pot. Not true. I am going to pick Florida State to win, but the Seminoles should be on high alert against Miami -- especially if Dalvin Cook (hamstring) cannot play. Even if he does play, the potential for an upset is there. Both teams have struggled, Miami more than Florida State. But if the Deacs and Eagles can hang with the Seminoles for four quarters, presumably Miami should be able to as well. Especially when you consider the Canes 1) nearly pulled the upset last year over a much better Florida State team; 2) have a veteran quarterback; 3) have a reliable back in Joe Yearby. The Seminoles have not exactly looked unbeatable, but they do have the advantage of playing at home and have a better defense than Miami. That combined with Cook still gives Florida State a major edge. But I am betting on Miami playing much more inspired, and way better, than it did last week against Cincinnati.
One other line to note: USF is a 3-point favorite at home over Syracuse. No matter what the spread says, if Syracuse loses, that should be considered an upset.