An Important Saturday in the ACC

Jared KimmelContributor IOctober 17, 2008

The ACC has been more competitive top to bottom this year than any other conference. 

With no nationally elite teams, this Saturday is a pivotal Saturday in deciding which teams will be vying for a spot in the conference championship game.  Here are your ACC games this weekend (in order of importance):

  1. Virginia Tech @ Boston College: Virginia Tech is 2-0 and currently in the driver's seat of the ACC Coastal Division.  However, they just haven't been as impressive yet as they were originally thought to be this year.  They've won some close, important games against UNC and Georgia Tech.  However, this week's game in Boston should be too much for the Hokies.  Tech relies on their running game and Boston College's run defense will stop them on Saturday.  Boston College's vaunted defense won't be the only thing to watch in this game, as the Eagles have seen their offense improve greatly since their loss against Georgia Tech.  Quarterback Chris Crane leads the Eagles to a 23-15 victory at home and puts them right in the thick of the Atlantic Division race.
  2. Georgia Tech @ Clemson: Some are saying the Clemson Tigers will be ready to play Saturday under interim head coach Dabo Swinney.  Fact is, the Tigers haven't been ready to play for any significant game on their schedule this year.  Too many offensive linemen have been injured, and still are, to protect Cullen Harper or Willy Korn or lead any kind of running game.  C.J. Spiller is out.  Georgia Tech has one of the nation's top defensive lines and is leading the nation in tackles for loss.  Clemson's injuries and current situation, mixed in with Georgia Tech's defense (pass defense is in nation's top 5 to go along with the solid line), won't equal a victory Saturday for the Tigers at home.  Georgia Tech's first- and second-string quarterbacks (out last week) return to lead Tech in a pivotal game at Death Valley, winning 20-10 to move to 6-1, remaining in the ACC Coastal Division hunt.
  3. Wake Forest @ Maryland: At first glance, Wake is the easy choice here.  But, if Maryland wakes up like they have a few times this year and wins this game, they could be looking at a tie for the Atlantic Division lead.  Wake is undefeated in the conference and quarterback Riley Skinner is probably the ACC's best.  The Demon Deacon defense has been stout this year and should be able to lead Wake to a victory on the road.  Don't sleep on the Terrapins, but Wake wins by two scores to keep its division lead. 
  4. North Carolina @ Virginia: Virginia started out the season looking like one of the worst teams in the nation that plays in a BCS conference.  If you saw the Cavaliers' last two games, you know that's not the case anymore.  New starting quarterback Marc Verica is pretty good.  However, Butch Davis will have the Tar Heels (even without star Brandon Tate in the lineup) ready to go into Charlottesville Saturday and get the win.  Quarterback Cam Sexton has been almost brilliant in the absence of the injured T.J. Yates.  The Heels will remain in the Coastal Division race with the two Techs. UNC 37, UVA 24.
  5. Miami @ Duke: This game hasn't been exactly easy of late for the Hurricanes.  But, I still believe the 'Canes are significantly better this year and will shut down Duke.  Duke is so much better this year than the last under new coach David Cutcliffe but not so much that they'll win this weekend.  Miami gets running back Javarris James back this week to add to its attack.  Canes beat the Devils by 17.  If you're watching this game and not a fan of either team, you have a lot of time on your hands.