The powers that be won’t less us watch the Syracuse Orange take on the Bye Week Fightin’ Byes today, so instead, we’re stuck watching various games involving college football’s other teams. Below is a rundown of the ACC’s Saturday of action, plus other important games we’ll be tuning into from this space.
(all times ET)
This game’s going to tell us a lot about both teams. Did BC just suffer an unfortunate hiccup against Kansas a few weeks back, or are they actually clownfrauds? Is Louisville vastly improved, or did Notre Dame just sleepwalk through game one? The loser of this contest seems likely to be contending for last place in the Atlantic Division (though not by themselves).
Virginia Tech Hokies (2-2, 0-2) at Miami Hurricanes (2-2, 0-1), 3:30 p.m./ESPN
This may not be the best or most fair game by which to judge the Hokies’ season, but if Virginia Tech is stomped by Miami, Justin Fuente’s seat is officially on fire. Miami, on the other hand, has its own issues after puttering by CMU in an ugly 17-12 game most recently. Tech’s inability to move the ball much (they’re 99th in total offense) is likely their undoing against a very good Hurricanes defense.
The Heels tested Clemson better than any other opponent has this year, and came one play away from a potential upset last week. Sam Howell’s a pretty solid QB, freshman or otherwise, and UNC’s offense is more than capable of putting up points on this Jackets’ defense that’s allowing nearly 400 yards per game this year. The bigger question will be what Tech’s offense can do as they continue to struggle while coming out from under their old triple option attack. UNC’s likely to roll to get back to .500 and stay in Coastal contention.
Why is this game so late? Also, why has this series been so weird since Pitt joined the ACC? Kenny Pickett’s shoulder injury could dictate quite a bit, and the Panthers didn’t really inspire confidence against Delaware last week. Duke, on the other hand, looks to somehow be improved on offense despite losing a first round pick at QB. A Blue Devils win puts them in enviable position in the Coastal.
Utah State’s pesky and entertaining, but the new-look LSU offense has been electric with Joe Burrow under center this year. It’s going to be tough for the Aggies to keep this close given the talent gap between the programs, but perhaps it gets points-y for a bit before LSu pulls away.
Iowa’s offense has not been all that impressive, but Michigan’s has been less so and with higher expectations coming into the season. In a likely battle of defenses, both teams will be dependent on which QB makes fewer mistakes. That may wind up being the Hawkeyes’ Nate Stanley... which should make Jim Harbaugh’s job security a legitimate question by end-of-year.
Two teams on the cusp of being ranked, and of course, you’re rooting for this blog’s “other” team, the mighty Green Wave. What fantastic uniforms will Tulane be wearing this week for the game? We’ve yet to see, but can guarantee it’ll be among the best of the weekend. Tulane’s already beaten Houston, so a win over Army should absolutely be enough to get them into the polls. RANK THE GREEN WAVE, YOU COWARDS.
Florida avoided disaster against Kentucky and outlasted Miami in the opener, but beyond that, has had a fine season so far. Auburn, on the other hand, already owns a couple marquee wins over Oregon and Texas A&M (and Tulane!). As the Tigers have the better QB with Bo Nix, I’ll take their offense being able to be more effective against a quality defense. Feel free to disagree, however.
Michigan State has an excellent defense, but the offense hasn’t looked too hot against quality competition. Ohio State’s steamrolled everything in their path, and while MSU can put up somewhat of a fight, the Buckeyes are likely to keep charging ahead here. Yes, the Spartans are 4-1, but haven’t really beaten anyone of note. They’ll likely continue being the ceremonial “P5 team at 24th/25th because we didn’t know who else to put here” for most of the season.
Not going to try to sell you on this being a good game. SMU’s offense has just been incredible this year, averaging unstoppable this year, averaging 44.4 points per game and stopping out everything that gets in their way. Former Texas QB Shane Buechele has 1,385 yards and 10 TDs for the Mustangs, and Xavier Jones has been a great back for them too, with 10 scores of his own already. This is the best SMU squad since the 80s, and they’re very much worth a watch.
This could’ve been a marquee game a couple weeks ago had Cal quarterback Chase Garbers hadn’t been injured against Arizona State. Since he remains out, the Bears won’t have much offensive firepower, which will prove problematic against a Ducks team averaging 38.5 points per game with a defense that’s actually pretty good too. Hopefully it stays interesting for a bit given Cal’s own defensive abilities.
Personally, think Washington’s a lot better than Stanford this year, and as the Card continue to struggle on offense, that’s not a good sign against Jacob Eason & Co. Still, these are two of my favorite Pac-12 teams to watch while I continue my lifelong quest against sleep. Perhaps you’re in a similar boat? Who knows, Pac-12 After Dark shenanigans could ensue.