Week 7 is here, and TheSportsNotebook takes a look at the ACC football TV schedule for Saturday…
Pitt-Virginia Tech (-9, 42.5) (Noon, ESPNU): How close is Pitt to being a true contender in the Coastal Division, the side of the ACC they and Virginia Tech share with Miami? We find out Saturday afternoon in Blacksburg. The Panthers have had two weeks to prepare, and they’ve won both a conference shootout (vs. Duke) and a conference grinder (vs. Virginia). There’s no question the Hokies will make this game the grinding sort, as they do against pretty much any opponent.
Virginia Tech’s offense is never going to be confused with Oregon’s, but Logan Thomas has played well in recent ACC wins over Georgia Tech and North Carolina, and if that’s the case, they aren’t going to lose this game at home.
Boston College-Clemson (3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2): The only thing in play here is whether Clemson will cover a (-24) number, and the only thing that can prevent it is if the Tigers are peeking ahead to next week against Florida State. This matchup will provide an interesting comparison for the two heavyweights, as FSU did not play well, at least defensively, in its earlier win over BC.
And in a non-conference game of significance…
Georgia Tech-BYU (7 PM ET, ESPNU): Both of these programs have been successful over the years, but the loser will face a tough road to bowl eligibility–not impossible, but one where they’ll need every reasonably matched game the rest of the season to fall their way.
It’s going to be a battle of defenses, and I have to lean BYU’s way. It’s not that I’m convinced the Cougars are the better team, but the Yellow Jackets are coming off consecutive disheartening losses to Virginia Tech and Miami that eliminated them from the ACC race and might have a harder time getting back up for a long road trip. They’re also nicked up on the offensive line. Oddsmakers agree and have slotted BYU as a solid (-7) favorite.
Another interesting non-conference game is Navy-Duke (12:30 PM ET). The Blue Devils are 3-2, but at 0-2 in the ACC, it’s apparent that getting those last three wins to become bowl-eligible will be a dogfight. Virginia-Maryland kick off in a 3:30 PM ET game on ESPNU, that I might have given more extensive attention to, if not for how badly the Terps got manhandled by Florida State last week, and how thoroughly inept the Cavs look on offense. Syracuse-N.C. State also play in a 3:30 PM ET kick, with the Wolfpack at 3-2 and really needing this home win to keep a clean path to a bowl game in place.