The last Saturday in October is upon us, the first official BCS rankings were released later in the week and that means the race for conference championships and bowl bids is in full swing. TheSportsNotebook’s college football coverage is breaking down the week with a separate post for each conference. Let’s take a look at ACC Week 9…
N.C. State-Florida State (3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2)
Clemson-Maryland (3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
Wake Forest-Miami (Noon ET, ESPNU)
Duke-Virginia Tech (3:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
Pitt-Navy (1 PM ET, CBS Sports Network)
Boston College-North Carolina
The division races in this conference are close to being over. Florida State has a loss to give in the Atlantic Division, and there’s nothing in last week’s 51-14 thrashing of FSU that suggests the Seminoles would even give up their cushion. On the Coastal Division side, the winner of Miami-Virginia Tech in November will also have a loss to give.
None of those three teams are likely to give that loss on Saturday. Florida State is a 32-point favorite. While that seems extreme, given that N.C. State is a competent opponent who beat the Seminoles last year, and that FSU is likely to have at least a bit of an emotional letdown, it does underscore how big the talent gap is between these two teams.
Wake Forest is 4-3, and 2-2 in ACC play, but nothing they have done thus far suggest they’ll be a threat to Miami. While I never underestimate the Hurricanes’ ability to cough a game up they shouldn’t, we have to be realistic–they’re playing at home, have had some extra prep time having played last Thursday, and given that they barely escaped North Carolina in that one, the ‘Canes should be awake and alert.
If Duke’s game with Virginia Tech were in Durham, it might have some upset potential, given how good returning quarterback Anthony Boone looked when the Blue Devils dismantled Navy. But playing in Blacksburg against an excellent VT defense, and an offense that’s now improved to the point of at least being watchable, it’s tough to see anything but the (-13) point spread in play here.
North Carolina is a (-6.5) favorite over Boston College in Chapel Hill, which has to be an overreaction to the Tar Heels’ near-miss against Miami. BC has played well against both Florida State and Clemson, and Carolina’s game against Miami was the Heels’ only good performance this year. The Eagles are 3-3 and need every win they can get for a bowl bid. The same goes for 4-2 Pitt, who is the next ACC team to take a crack at Navy.