It’s been a stellar first two weeks as far as headlines go for teams from the ACC. In Week 1, the Clemson Tigers held off the Georgia Bulldogs at home, a win which vaulted them into the Top 5 in the polls. Last week, the Miami Hurricanes also took down an SEC power in the Florida Gators, albeit in a pretty sloppily played contest.
This week, there’s a team from Massachusetts that has a chance to grab some headlines, but not for beating a team considered to be far superior. No, they have a chance to steal the spotlight by possibly putting the final nail in the coffin for the head coach of a once-superior program which has fallen on its worst times in quite a while.
Let’s take a look at that game, as well as the entire ACC slate set up for this week:
Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina, Noon on FSN: After dropping a game the opening week in which many expected them too, Virginia Tech rebounded last week with a victory over Western Carolina. However, this East Carolina squad is not a team that the Hokies should take lightly. Shane Carden is an impressive quarterback that can do some damage when he’s feeling locked in. Also, East Carolina is no easy place to play on the road neither. While I think the Hokies’ running game could control things, Virginia Tech walking away from this game 1-2 wouldn’t be a complete shock to me neither.
ULM vs. Wake Forest, 12:30 PM on ESPN3: Last week, we learned the hard way that Wake Forest running the option is a horrible experiment. In the loss to Boston College, it just seemed as if QB Tanner Price and the rest of the offense just couldn’t get the proper execution down to a science. ULM, their opponent this week out of the Sun Belt Conference, is not a team that they want to get cute with neither. Teams from the Sun Belt have a history of messing with teams from the BCS conferences, and Wake could easily wind up another victim if they don’t get it together offensively. You do not want to give ULM QB Kolton Browning too many chances to stick a dagger in you, because he will.
New Mexico vs. Pitt, 12:30 PM ESPN 3: On Labor Day night, the Pitt Panthers began their ACC tenure by running into the buzzsaw that is Florida State and their dynamic freshman QB, Jameis Winston. This week, I think we’ll get a better look at where exactly this Pitt team stands, which I actually don’t think is that bad to be honest. I expect Isaac Bennett to have a good outing rushing the ball, and I think we’ll get a better look at what true freshman WR Tyler Boyd can bring to this Pitt offense.
Boston College vs. USC, 3 pm on Pac-12 Network: This is the game that everyone should keep an eye on. The USC football program has fallen on some of its hardest times. As if the cries weren’t loud enough already for the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin, last week’s 10-7 loss to Washington State has only further amped up the volume on those. Meanwhile, this Boston College team does look rejuvenated under new head coach Steve Addazio. They appear tougher, more disciplined–just an overall better football program than they have been recently. With the eyes of the country on the woes of USC, this Boston College program has a chance to showcase themselves by possibly adding to the Trojans’ string of horrible outings.
Nevada vs. Florida State, 3:30 PM on ESPN:
The Florida State Seminoles, last Monday night, may have shown that they finally have the consistent, dynamic quarterback that they’ve been searching for. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston went 25-of-27 for over 350 yards and four touchdowns in his inaugural performance and immediately took the nation by storm. Because of that, what may have been overlooked was just how well the FSU defense played–again. This week, they’ll face a different test than they did with Pitt, in Nevada. That pistol offense is tough to deal with, but QB Cody Fajardo has not practiced all week while nursing a knee injury he suffered last week. Either way though, if UCLA handled the Wolfpack as dominantly as they did in Week 1, I fully expect more of the same from the Seminoles.
Georgia Tech vs. Duke, 3:30 on ESPNU: No one is going to confuse this as any sort of significant rivalry, but it should be noted that the Yellow Jackets have won nine straight over the Blue Devils. Both of these teams come into this game having not lost yet this year. Duke has played quite impressively on the defensive side of the ball so far, so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they can stop this vaunted triple-option attack and put an end to this losing streak.
Wagner vs. Syracuse, 4PM on ESPN3: The Scott Shafer era in Syracuse hasn’t gotten off to the start that they’ve wanted, but this week is a chance to rebound and get that initial win notched. Following two consecutive losses to the Big Ten in Penn State and Northwestern, the Orange need to see more out of QB Drew Allen. He’s made some questionable miscues and, if they don’t get those cleared up soon, you may start to hear some cries for Terrel Hunt to get some reps at QB.
Maryland vs. UConn, 7:30 PM on ESPN3: It’s amazing what happens to a team when you add a top JUCO wide receiver and play someone at QB that–you know–isn’t a linebacker. That’s exactly what happened to this Maryland offense, an offense that is no. 1 in the ACC. QB C.J. Brown and wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long have been as dynamic as we thought they would be. This week they face the UConn Huskies, the team that current head coach Randy Edsall brought to prominence, and should have yet another offensive explosion. If you’re looking to see Maryland’s offense try to explode against the Huskies, Uconn football tickets are still available for Randy Edsall’s return.