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Syracuse Orange vs. NC State Wolfpack: Pre-game jitters thread

We’re going to be waiting around awhile before this one starts. So focus your energy on other games.

North Carolina v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange (5-2, 2-2) host a primetime Saturday game for the first time since 2010, and to celebrate, they’re wearing... blue.

More importantly, though, Syracuse faces the N.C. State Wolfpack (5-1, 2-1) with a chance to pull a top-25 upset and earn win No. 6 to clinch bowl eligibility. That brings a lot of excitement for this fan base. It likely brings a lot of nervous energy as well.

With that in mind, we wanted to provide some items to distract you prior to tonight’s 7 p.m. ET kickoff from the Carrier Dome (and on ESPN2/WatchESPN). So below you’ll find some pre-game reading material, as well as some game-watching recommendations/previews:

Read these

And the games you should be taking a look at before SU and State get going in primetime...

Florida State v Clemson Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

(all times ET)

ACC

Clemson Tigers (7-0, 4-0) at Florida State Seminoles (4-3, 2-3), noon (ABC)

Two teams that have rebounded considerably since lesser efforts against Syracuse. If you look at Clemson’s schedule, this is obviously one of the last remaining hurdles. But if Trevor Lawrence plays even moderately well and FSU’s offensive line resembles what we saw against Syracuse, the Tigers’ defensive line is likely to eat them alive.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-4, 0-3) at Louisville Cardinals (2-5, 0-4), noon (ACCNE)

Which tailspin ceases this weekend? Louisville’s appeared lackluster on both sides of the ball all year and has lost four straight. Wake has lost four of five, but also knocked Rice around in the middle of those losses. The Deacs clearly have the ability to score, but the defense can’t stop most offenses. Good thing the Cards won’t really be a challenge there.

North Carolina Tar Heels (1-5, 1-3) at Virginia Cavaliers (5-2, 3-1), 12:20 p.m. (ACCNE)

With a full roster back in action, there’s a chance that UNC is able to channel the last two weeks of strong efforts into an impressive win. But Virginia is simply playing well to consider this sort of upset at home (even in a rivalry game). The Hoos’ defense likely capitalizes on mistakes and certainly doesn’t given Nathan Elliott the passing lanes he saw against SU. Impressively, UVA is bowl-bound before November and in a great spot to make the ACC title game.

Duke Blue Devils (5-2, 1-2) at Pittsburgh Panthers (3-4, 2-1), 12:30 p.m. (ACCNE)

Daniel Jones was the majority of Duke’s offense last week in a loss to Virginia, and he’ll be called upon to do the same against Pitt — which at least has a lesser defensive unit, unless the group that held Notre Dame to 19 is the one that shows up for the rest of the season. For Pitt, any chance at a bowl likely relies on a win here. At home, perhaps they play up to the moment.

Florida v Georgia Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Elsewhere

Wisconsin Badgers (5-2, 3-1) at Northwestern Wildcats (4-3, 4-1), noon (FOX)

Wisconsin’s the ranked team here, but NU has the better record in league play and the game’s at home. This matchup is virtually an eliminator in the Big Ten West with two other teams (Iowa and Purdue) also sitting in the conference with one loss and have yet to play one another.

Florida Gators (6-1. 4-1) vs. Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1), 3:30 p.m. (CBS)

The “biggest” game of the day and one that decides one prong of the two-weekend SEC East eliminator. Florida has already lost to Kentucky and a loss here would pretty much end all hopes of getting to the SEC Championship. For Georgia, it would set up an enormous game next weekend at one-loss Kentucky to largely settle the East... unless the Wildcats lose at Missouri this Saturday.

Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1) at Penn State Nittany Lions (5-2. 2-2), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

An overrated Penn State team could really right their season with a win over Iowa; a Hawkeyes team that is not only sturdy on defense (14.1 points per game allowed) but is scoring at a pretty nice clip as well this year. An Iowa win here paves the way for what could end up an 11-1 regular season with zero ranked foes remaining on the schedule.

USF Bulls (7-0, 3-0) at Houston Cougars (6-1. 3-0), 3:30 pm. (ABC/ESPN2)

USF has spent the last couple weekend squeaking by lesser foes (UConn, Tulsa) and now encounter a much better team than either of those in Houston. Ed Oliver is probably going to have a field day assuming he plays (he’s currently questionable). A loss for either team also likely knocks them out of contention for the G5’s access bowl spot, even if they’re still in the hunt for the AAC title.

Enjoy the matchups above! Gamethread for Syracuse vs. NC State goes up 45 minutes before kickoff.