For the second time in the last three weeks, the ACC will be highlighted on the national stage when bitter rivals Florida State and Miami will take the field for yet another top-10 showdown within the conference. It’s another coup for a conference that has been considered somewhat of a laughing stock in recent years.
But, then again, it could also turn out to be another sign that things are right back where they were in the 90s with FSU being just that much better than everyone else.
Let’s take a look at this and some of the other ACC match ups to keep an eye on in Week 10:
Virginia Tech at Boston College, Noon on ABC/ESPN2: Just when it seemed as if Virginia Tech was ready to take firm control of the Coastal Division along with Miami, the Hokies were surprised by Duke last week. Logan Thomas turned back into Logan Thomas, throwing four interceptions in the loss.
Having your confidence shaken and then having to play a tough Boston College team the very next week is not a good mix. At 3-4, the Eagles and first-year head coach Steve Addazio are fighting tooth-and-nail for bowl eligibility at this point. They have everything to play for and it wouldn’t surprise me to see VT leave this game with a two-game losing streak.
North Carolina at North Carolina State, 12:30pm ET on ESPN3: After taking Miami to the limit two weeks ago on a Thursday night, North Carolina came back last week and beat Boston College to get their second win of the season and their first in ACC play.
N.C. State was run right off the field by Florida State last Saturday and showed that this team still has a long way to go under Dave Doeren before they’re competing again in the conference.
Although it’s too little, too late, it seems that the Tar Heels are hitting their stride late in the season here and should get the win here against a Wolfpack team trying to figure itself out.
Wake Forest at Syracuse, 12:30pm ET on ESPN3: Jim Grobe and Wake Forest almost pulled off the shocker of the season so far when they took Miami to the limit last week on the road in Sunlife Stadium. Where this team has come from the second week of the season when they were dominated by Boston College on that Friday night is remarkable and Grobe should once again be commended for his coaching performance.
Syracuse, on the other hand, is not in a good place whatsoever. After it seemed as if Terrel Hunt was the answer at QB, they’re now toying with the idea of maybe inserting Drew Allen back into the starting lineup.
Wake is determined to get themselves to a bowl game and they’re only two wins away from that goal. After this game in the Carrier Dome, they should only be one away.
Clemson at Virginia, 3:30pm ET on ESPN: After being dominated by Florida State two weeks ago, Clemson got off to a slow start last week against a Maryland team that, for the most part, is missing all of its starters for the rest of the season due to injury. The Tigers eventually found their stride, though, and were able to come away with another convincing victory.
Virginia, at this point, has more questions surrounding the future of their coach than they do what they can do on the field. Mike London just hasn’t seem to get anything going and I’m not sure how much longer the folks in Charlottesville will let these poor performances go on.
Bottom line in this one is that Clemson is still in a position where they can be invited to a BCS game, should Florida State make it in to the title game. They need to show that they’re dominant, though, and try to erase the FSU memory from people’s minds. This game should help with that.
Pitt at Georgia Tech, 7pm ET on ESPNU: Pitt took a major blow last week when they were surprised, 21-14, by Navy. Concerns are starting to arise about fifth-year journeyman QB Tom Savage as he’s been inconsistent as of late to say the least.
So, you would have to think that if Pitt had such a tough time with the Navy offense last week, then this week against Paul Johnson’s attack may be even worse.
Miami at Florida State, 8pm ET on ABC: Now, we get to the game that has been hyped up all week, and for good reason.
The Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles will take the field in Tallahassee in the highlighted game of the weekend. This year, though, the game is how it’s supposed to be in a lot of people’s minds. Both are ranked in the top-10–FSU at three and Miami at seven–and this contest carries some national title weight along with it.
Florida State has not been able to be stopped by anyone this year. In last week’s rout of N.C. State, the starters only played one possession in the second half.
Miami comes into this game as one of the surprises of the season. While you can sit back and question the schedule, you can’t ignore that it’s extremely difficult for anyone to be undefeated this far into the season.
In the end, though, for as much as the focus is constantly on Jameis Winston, this Florida State defense has been playing lights out and is one of the more complete units in the country. You add that in with the fact that Miami QB Stephen Morris seems as if he’s regressed, this could turn out to be a long night for the ‘Canes on the road.