The Syracuse Orange (4-2, 1-2) are up against the Bye Week Fightin’ Byes (0-6, 0-2) this weekend, and since the game is only available for the few subscribers to ESPN 8, chances are you’re watching other contests entirely this Saturday.
Below is a rundown of the big games you’ll probably want to pay attention to, led off by those involving our conference-mates in the ACC.
all times ET
Last we saw Duke, they were a ranked team being upset by Virginia Tech. But even so, they’re still very much in the Coastal race this year. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets have won two straight since a 1-3 start, including a 66-31 demolition of Louisville last week. This could be an interesting game to see if they’ve truly righted the ship.
Louisville’s poor start to the season has raised questions about Bobby Petrino’s job status, and rightfully so. The team’s offense is in disarray, meanwhile the defense can’t stop anyone. That porous D will be put to the test again this Saturday too, with or without A.J. Dillon in the backfield for BC. Despite the absence of their star back last week, the Eagles still came roaring back against NC State before falling just short.
As you know, Pitt beat Syracuse in overtime this past weekend. That probably won’t mean much against Notre Dame, however. Since installing Ian Book at quarterback, the Irish have looked like one of the country’s best teams and the offense should continue to fire against a bad Panthers secondary. ND is very much in the playoff picture, and should continue to be all season.
Miami Hurricanes (5-1, 2-0) at Virginia Cavaliers (3-2, 1-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Miami scraped by FSU last weekend, but with the rivalry game aspect in play, it’s tough to tell what that really meant for the ‘Canes — plus, they still won. Virginia has far more mystery to them this year, though, with the highlight being a 27-3 romp over what’s proven to be a very bad Louisville team. The Hoos will need to avoid turnovers if they have any shot to pull the upset against this play-making Miami defense.
Unsure how this game got a national primetime slot, but whatever... UNC started the year terribly but has looked better since it started to get players back from suspension. Tech, on the other hand, seemed to start the year well but has looked worse since. The defense, long a calling card of the program, has been carved up in two of the last three games. This should be a win for them just the same. Also good scouting for SU’s next foe (UNC).
Georgia’s skated pretty easily through the early parts of the schedule, while LSU’s been tested quite a bit and just suffered their first loss of the season last week (to Florida). The Tigers are likely going to struggle to move the ball against the Dawgs, but if the defense can force some mistakes, there’s a shot at an upset here.
UW didn’t look great against a bad UCLA team this past weekend, but has otherwise largely looked the part of the Pac-12’s top playoff contender with a stifling defense leading the way. Oregon is a fluke play away from being an unbeaten, potentially top-10 team after losing to Stanford a couple weeks back. I’ll be rooting against the Ducks, but given the Huskies’ offensive struggles for much of he year, could totally see how they drop this one.
West Virginia Mountaineers (5-0, 3-0) at Iowa State Cyclones (2-3, 1-2), 7 p.m. (FS1)
It may not look that fun from the records, but the ‘Clones just got done with dispatching Oklahoma State on the road and look to be rounding back into the form that made them one of the favorite underdogs of 2017. WVU’s a very good squad on offense, but the defense has looked shaky these past two games against Texas Tech and (gulp) Kansas. I’m intrigued, at least.
Wisconsin’s pretty much the team we assumed they were this year, running the ball reasonably well while the defense keeps opponents uncomfortable. Michigan also operates similarly, though has looked like they’ve improved as the season’s progressed from a lackluster opening loss against Notre Dame. The Wolverines have scored 40 or more in four of their last five. If they can even get close to that mark against Wisconsin, they’re collecting win No. 6.
Does anyone want to win the Pac-12 South? This game should tell us a little more about arguably the worst division race in the P5. Colorado is ranked and unbeaten, but has also done very little of note this year (See? It does work!). USC, despite a raft of talent on the roster, has looked very pedestrian on offense as freshman QB JT Daniels adjusts to the college game. A victory for either team here would put them in the driver’s seat for the division title.
Enjoy the weekend! I’m back in full starting Monday.