In the interest of staying in the loop with what's going on around the ACC, every week we'll be previewing the conference games that don't involve our Syracuse Orange. Believe it or not, other teams in the league do play football, and some of them are actually pretty good at it. Others compete at an equal level of mediocrity to us as well. All will be detailed below.
ACC Featured Game of the Week: Week 12
Thursday Night: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-3) (5-2) at Clemson Tigers (8-1) (6-1), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Yellow Jackets are trying to keep themselves in contention for a Coastal Division title. Clemson, on the other hand, needs to win out to keep its BCS hopes alive. Usually, I'd say this looks like an upset special, but the Tigers have had an extended break to prepare for this one (yes, I know this myth's been dispelled). They're also a more talented team on both sides of the ball. It won't be a blowout, but Clemson appears locked in on getting back to a big-money postseason game. Prediction: Clemson 38, Georgia Tech 27
The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time)
NC State Wolfpack (3-6) (0-6) at Boston College Eagles (5-4) (2-3), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3/College Gameplan: Oh, Wolfpack. You're just so horrendous. State hasn't won a game since September, and last week's loss to Duke was the first time they'd hit the 20-point mark since then as well. They've also had experience against a team similar to Boston College (us) and we all know that didn't go well for them. Expect Andre Williams to torture this team all day as the Eagles pick up their sixth win against this reeling NC State squad. Prediction: Boston College 31, NC State 17
North Carolina Tar Heels (4-5) (3-3) at Pittsburgh Panthers (5-4) (2-3), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3/College Gameplan: Pittsburgh might have saved their season with an upset over Notre Dame last week, but I guess that perspective depends on how much you actually believed in the Irish. The Panthers' offense did look competent for the first time in weeks, however, so at least they have that going for them. UNC has been resurgent in winning three straight games, and the way things have been going on offense, this should make it four in a row. On top of simply finishing drives, the Heels' defense has gotten in on the scoring act of late, which should be a huge factor against mistake-prone Tom Savage. Prediction: North Carolina 30, Pittsburgh 21
Maryland Terrapins (5-4) (1-4) at Virginia Tech Hokies (7-3) (4-2), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3/College Gameplan: When the Hokies' offense plays the way it did against Miami, they're pretty tough to beat. When Maryland plays like it did against Syracuse, well, they're not the toughest out. Since Tech's defense is better than SU's, this will not be an ideal situation for the Terps. Expect C.J. Brown to come under a ton of pressure, leading to a mistake-filled afternoon. Maryland's about to implode. Get your cameras out. Prediction: Virginia Tech 33, Maryland 6
Miami Hurricanes (7-2) (3-2) at Duke Blue Devils (7-2) (3-2), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU: Somehow, this is a battle for Coastal Division supremacy. Miami's banged up and reeling after two straight losses. Duke's won five straight and has only been held under 35 points once since mid-September (a 13-10 win over Virginia Tech). Due to the feel-good narrative, you want to pick the Blue Devils here, but I just don't see it happening. Even without Duke Johnson, Miami's just too skilled on both sides of the ball and the Devils have been getting by despite mistakes lately. That ends Saturday, though just barely. Prediction: Miami 41, Duke 34