We have been able to sit back and watch Fearless toss the darts for the first couple of weeks. We have always had a friendly competition about who is better at picking games (well not so much a competition, just more like a little brother trying to live up to the big brother’s standards), but after following his picks and watching the games so far, I just hope to get a few right, much less 91 pur-cent.
For example, Percy would have thought UNC would have blown out Boston College last Saturday, by at least 17 points or more. Fearless had it at seven. And I quote “Boston College is a sneaky team and could surprise UNC.” And he was dead on it. It took a failed two-point conversion for the Heels to seal a late victory 26-22. Against a Golden Eagle team that struggled to get the win against Texas State the previous week.
Maybe it’s too many weeks between games due to Covid. Teams can’t establish any rhythm because of the down time. On ESPN.com, Carolina coach Mack Brown was quoted as saying “We were concerned about the three weeks off and having a sloppy game. And that’s just what happened.”
But the week before, Virginia Tech took N.C. State to the woodshed after a couple of Covid delays for the Hokies. On the same ESPN website Tech coach Justin Fuente said “I think we were excited to play. Obviously, it’s been a long time since we’ve been on the field.”
So which one is it? Rust or excitement. Every team will react differently to the forced bye weeks. Especially when they don’t know when/if they are coming. All we know is we aren’t certain how to factor this in to our prognosticatin’ after one month of games. And that makes it even harder to live up to big brother’s standards.
With that being said, let’s get out the dartboard and look at whooza gonna win this week’s games:
EAST CAROLINA AT SOUTH FLORIDA: The Pirates go on the road in Tampa looking for their first win of the season. Last weekend’s performance would suggest that is unlikely. ECU only scored one offensive TD while getting drubbed by Georgia State. The Golden Bulls are below average, but they will be good enough at home to get the W… South Florida 31, East Carolina 23.
LOUISVILLE AT GEORGIA TECH: Louisville has as talented a group of skilled position players (QB/RB/WR) as almost anybody in the ACC. Tech’s victory in Tallahassee a few weeks ago is not as impressive with a few more weeks to look at…Louisville 35, Georgia Tech 24
PITTSBURGH AT BOSTON COLLEGE: If the Panthers converted better in the red zone they would have come away with the “W” against N.C. State. Look for them to fix that here. A low scoring game between two good defenses….Pittsburgh 20, Boston College 17.
FLORIDA STATE AT NOTRE DAME: The Seminoles struggled against FCS school Jacksonville State last weekend at home. Things are a mess in Tallahassee and a trip to South Bend is not what the doctor ordered. The Irish haven’t played in three weeks, so they’ll either be sloppy or tired of practice. It really won’t matter here…Notre Dame 42, Florida State 16.
MIAMI AT CLEMSON: Clemson looked “rusty” last week against UVA. Our guess is they might have been looking ahead to this one. The Canes and QB D’Eriq King come in with a week off to prepare. All signs point to this being the ACC Game of the Year (so far). But RB Travis Etienne will show that he, not either of the QB’s, is the best player on the field and make a claim for Heisman consideration after this one…Clemson 45, Miami 21.
DUKE AT SYRACUSE: The Orange might be better than we expected and the Blue Devils come to visit with them in the Carrier Dome on a four game losing streak. A trip to upstate New York is not what Duke needed. The Cuse also have the (supposed) advantage of a week to prepare. We think new Duke QB Chase Brice figures it out here and the losing streak stops. A close one…Duke 28, Syracuse 24.
N.C. STATE AT VIRGINIA: The Wahoos played better than we expected in Death Valley last Saturday. The Wolfpack played a lot better than we expected in the Steel City. The question is which one carries over here. State has the offense to keep it close, now that Devin Leary is the starting QB. But we still have concerns about the defense. A third road game in successive weeks is too much for the Pack…Virginia 34, N.C. State 20.
VIRGINIA TECH AT NORTH CAROLINA: We have the Tarheels ranked number 8 in our top 10 poll. The Heels have played only two games thus far and have only looked worthy of that ranking in the second half against Syracuse. VaTech blew out N.C. State a few weeks ago, but did not look as impressive last weekend in Durham. If the Heels are going to be an ACC contender this year, this is where they need to step up their game. And we think they will. Not as close as the pundits expect…Carolina 38, Virginia Tech 21.
OTHER MAJOR GAMES THIS WEEKEND: Florida over Texas A &M, Georgia over Tennessee, Oklahoma over Texas, South Carolina over Vanderbilt, Auburn over Arkansas, Alabama over Ole Miss, Kentucky over Mississippi State, LSU over Missouri.
TOFF TOP TEN: 1. Clemson 2. Alabama 3. Georgia 4. Florida 5. Notre Dame 6. Miami 7. Tennessee 8. UNC 9. LSU 10. Auburn
Southeast Sports Syndicate, 2020.