Is Wake Forest the ACC favorite?

Before the first kickoff of the CFB season if you predicted Wake Forest would be in first place in the ACC entering week seven, your lovable prognosticator of all thangs pigskin would have fallen on the ground laughing.  Coach Dave Clawson has done a masterful job with his Demon Deacons, who are ranked No. 16 in the nation.

Not so fast.  Wake Forest has a back-loaded schedule, meaning the final four regular season games are four of their toughest.  They start with a trip to the Twilight Zone at North Carolina.  Then comes a home game with N.C. State, followed by games at Clemson and Boston College.  The Deacons can win three of these—and if they do—they might be in the ACC title game.  There, the opponent would likely be Pitt or Virginia Tech, two more teams WFU can beat.

Nationally, the thunderbolt of football fell on unbeatable Alabama, who lost at Texas A & M in a game the Crimson Tide would have thought “unlosable.”  The loss ended some amazing winning streaks for the Tide. Alabama had won 100 straight games against unranked opponents.  The last unranked team to beat Alabama was Louisiana-Monroe in 2007, Nick Saban’s first year as coach. Bama had also won 19 straight games. Alabama can still win the SEC, but can’t afford a second league defeat.

Most network experts had Alabama and Georgia head and shoulders above all other college teams.  Georgia is still there, and Fearless says Alabama may be back by the end of the season. Fearless predicts these two will play in the SEC title game if Georgia can beat Kentucky and Florida.

Let’s toss the magical darts and forecast this week’s big games.

CLEMSON AT SYRACUSE:  With the loss at N.C. State, Clemson cannot afford another slip.  Are the Tigers good enough to run the table the final seven games?  Fearless sez, you know the answer to that question.  Clemson 27, Syracuse 17.

PITTSBURGH AT VIRGINIA TECH.  The fly in the ointment may be Pitt.  They have a real shot in the weaker of the ACC’s two divisions, and this game may be for the Coastal Division crown.  Pitt can win, but this one’s in Blacksburg.  If the Hokie fans scream their brains out, they might spur the Hokies to the win.  Gobble, gobble!  Virginia Tech 31, Pitt 30.

DUKE AT VIRGINIA:  Duke has come so close in a couple of winnable games, but Virginia must win this one to have a glimmer of a bowl hope. No gimme for the Cavaliers, it’s….. Virginia 37, Duke 24.

MIAMI AT NORTH CAROLINA:   Mack Brown’s current three-year record at UNC is 18-13.  This includes an inexplicable loss to a moribund FSU team last Saturday.  In their last two games in Kenan Stadium, there have been 15,000 empty seats at each game.  This from a team ranked No. 10 in the nation to start the season.  Do I hear mumbling?  Only because Miami is again a disappointment, it’s UNC 38, Miami 28.

N.C. STATE AT BOSTON COLLEGE:  No ACC team played a weaker non-conference slate than BC, but now the real work begins.  Their schedule is too daunting to list them as a division favorite.  As for the Wolfpack, their road is full of potholes, and most of those are in roads a long way from home.  N.C. State 23, Boston College 21.  

OTHER MAJOR GAMES THIS WEEKEND:  Georgia over Kentucky, Auburn over Arkansas (dead even), Florida over LSU, Texas A & M over Missouri, Iowa over Purdue, South Carolina over Vanderbilt, Alabama over Mississippi State, Oklahoma over TCU, Tennessee over Ole Miss  (toss-up), Texas over Oklahoma State (even),  and Cincinnati over Central Florida.

TOFF COMPOSITE TOP TEN:   1.  Georgia  2.  Iowa  3. Oklahoma  4. Cincinnati  5.  Alabama  6. Ohio State  7.  Penn State  8. Michigan  9.  Oregon  10.  Michigan State and Kentucky  (tied).  Also, 16.  Wake Forest  21.  N.C. State.

Southeast Sports Syndicate, 2021.