Big ACC games on tap this week
Whup… there it is—the two ACC games that will decide who’s in and who ain’t in the ACC championship game. First game up will be Friday night when North Carolina plays at rival N.C. State. The other division-deciding matchup takes place when Wake Forest goes Arctic on their trip to Boston College. If State can beat Carolina and Boston College upsets Wake Forest, the Wolfpack be in the ACC championship game. Any version of a UNC win or Deacon win will have Wake Forest in the title tilt.
The latest in the CFP “Final Four” games got a jolt last weekend when Oregon got whipped at Utah and Michigan State was emasculated at Ohio State. So, goodbye Nos. 3 and 7-ranked CFP teams. The official ranking is released on Tuesday nights, but Fearless has the top four this way. At No. 1, undefeated Georgia, who has a date with No. 2 Alabama in the SEC championship game in two weeks. Moving up to third is Ohio State, and Cincinnati takes the fourth spot.
Time to toss the magic darts and pick the winners of this weekend’s big rivalry matchups.
CINCINNATI AT EAST CAROLINA: Fearless knows football and predicted ECU would turn a bad start into a successful season. A big win at Navy has the Purple People primed to face No. 4 Cincinnati. The Bearcats rebounded from three ho-hum efforts to look great last week. Can ECU pull off the miracle? They can! Will they? Cincinnati 38, ECU 31.
FLORIDA STATE AT FLORIDA: The Seminoles won their fifth straight at BC as QB Jordan Travis put on a clinic. Meanwhile, the Gators fell to 5-6 with an inexplicable loss in OT to Missouri. The result: Coach Dan Mullen got canned Sunday. A proud program has hit rock bottom. In what was a “gimme” in October, is now a possible loss for the Swamp Lizards. How many Gator fans will endure this and go to the game? Florida State 26, Florida 24.
MIAMI AT DUKE: The Blue Devils have won just three times this year, and none of those wins have come in October or November. Fearless predicts Coach David Cutcliffe will retire after this game. The Devils will fight hard, but Miami is too good, even in cold weather. Miami 42, Duke 24.
VIRGINIA TECH AT VIRGINIA: As Fearless had predicted two weeks ago, Tech fired Coach Justin Fuente. Is Wake coach Dave Clawson next up for the Hokies? Virginia has apparently saved Bronco Mendenhall’s job for another season. Virginia 24, Virginia Tech 21.
CLEMSON AT SOUTH CAROLINA: Clemson limped through 10 games before finally looking good against Wake Forest. If both Wake and State lose, the Tigers could slide in the back door to play in the ACC title game. A Clemson-Pitt championship game would be……..a yawner. Shane Beamer has done a great job, turning a moribund Gamecock team into a decent outfit. Could go either way, Fearless sez….. Clemson 24, South Carolina 21.
WAKE FOREST AT BOSTON COLLEGE: A must win for the Demon Deacons, or it’s a middle-diddle bowl game. Getting thumped for the 13th-straight time to an average Clemson team is not a confidence builder. Neither was BC’s loss to FSU. Close, a toss-up. Wake Forest 27, Boston College 26.
GEORGIA AT GEORGIA TECH: The nation’s No. 1 team with the No. 1 defense and a roster loaded with future NFL players — comes to Atlanta. After getting bombed 55-0 at Notre Dame, do you think the Jackets are looking forward to this game? Georgia’s final tune-up for a return to Atlanta in two weeks to play Alabama. Georgia 41 (they will play the subs in the fourth quarter), Georgia Tech 10.
NORTH CAROLINA AT N.C. STATE: If QB Sam Howell plays, this game is a toss-up. He is worth two to three scores for the Tar Heels. If not, and if State can play a more disciplined game, this one goes to the Wolfpack. Turnovers and penalties will decide it. N.C. State 34, North Carolina 32, but it’s even.
OTHER MAJOR GAMES THIS WEEKEND: Alabama over Auburn, Mississippi State over Mississippi (dead even), Arkansas over Missouri, Ohio State over Michigan, Charlotte over ODU, Appalachian over Georgia Southern, Tennessee over Vanderbilt, Texas A & M over LSU, Oklahoma State over Oklahoma (toss-up), Pitt over Syracuse, Kentucky over Louisville (toss-up), Notre Dame over Stanford, and Penn State over Michigan State (close).
TOFF COMPOSITE TOP TEN: 1. Georgia 2. Alabama 3. Ohio State 4. Cincinnati 5. Notre Dame 6. Michigan 7. Oklahoma State 8. Mississippi 9. Baylor 10. Oklahoma. Also, 20. Pitt 21. Wake Forest 24. N.C. State.
Southeast Sports Syndicate, 2021.