ITA Staff Picks: ACC Week Three

Despite threats of bodily harm from the older staff, Grant continues to cling to an early lead after a 9-1 week two. Only the Syracuse loss to Middle Tennessee ruined a perfect week for him, but that one fooled all of us. Mike moved up a spot on Jeff who is still searching for the perfect upset pick.

Grant Atkinson: 22-2

Justin Cates: 20-4

Mike McDaniel: 19-5

Jeff Greenberg: 18-6

The effects of Hurricane Irma continue to be felt all over the southeast. While people attempt to rebuild their lives and deal with a very serious reality, a minor consequence is that the football schedule continues to shift.

Miami and Florida State have rescheduled their big match up and Georgia Tech’s game against Central Florida has been cancelled outright.

Here are our picks for week three.

#9 Oklahoma State (2-0) (-12.5) @ Pittsburgh (1-1), Saturday 12 p.m. on ESPN

Justin Cates: Oklahoma State wins.

Pitt hasn’t really shown much to this point. The defense has holes and the offense has failed to fire on all cylinders, though the ground game finally picked up last week. It seems highly unlikely they can keep up with the 10th ranked total offense in the nation however.

Jeff Greenberg: Oklahoma State wins.

Too much fire power with the Cowboys for Pitt to handle. Oklahoma State in a walk.

Grant Atkinson: Oklahoma State wins.

Pitt looked admittedly more competitive than I thought they would against Penn State last week — on defense at least. Still, they didn’t look great, and Oklahoma State has a lot of talent. Pitt sure has scheduled themselves a hard non-conference schedule.

Mike McDaniel:  Oklahoma State wins.

The only way that Pittsburgh can keep this thing close is to sit on the ball like they did against Penn State last weekend. Mason Rudolph should have a field day throwing the football against a bad Pittsburgh secondary. Give me Oklahoma State to win and cover on the road.

Connecticut (1-0) @ Virginia (0-2) (-10.5), Saturday 12 p.m. on ESPN2

Justin Cates: Virginia wins.

I don’t trust this game at all. UConn trailed 20-7 at the half against Holy Cross in the opener before rallying to win by seven. Virginia at least handled its lower division opener better than that. That’s something, right?

Jeff Greenberg: Virginia wins.

UVA is better than their 1-1 record and will get over .500 this weekend.

Grant Atkinson: Connecticut wins.

In week one, a team that I don’t particularly like was favored by 11. I almost picked against them, but I wimped out. This week, a team I don’t like and frankly don’t think will win this game is favored by 11. This time, I’m picking the upset.

Mike McDaniel:  Virginia wins.

Connecticut is a terrible football team right now, which is saying something since Virginia has not been much to write home about either. Give me the Cavaliers to win and *gulp* cover.

Furman (0-2) @ NC State (1-1), Saturday 12:20 p.m. on ACCN Extra

Justin Cates: NC State wins.

The Wolfpack looked shaky against Marshall and Grant’s opening week declaration that State was overrated appears fairly prescient. If they can’t blow out Furman then it’s really time to hit the panic button.

Jeff Greenberg: NC State wins.

NC State won’t start flat this weekend and will rest the starters by the 4th quarter in a win.

Grant Atkinson: NC State wins.

NC State was a much anticipated team coming into the season. Then they lost to South Carolina, and they were down last week midway through the first half against Marshall. Luckily, they turned up the heat later in the game. Even though they aren’t as good as many had hoped, the Wolfpack is headed in the right direction.

Mike McDaniel:  NC State wins.

How many points will Furman score? That’s all I’m watching for in this game. The ‘Pack should roll.

Baylor (0-2) @ Duke (2-0) (-13), Saturday 12:30 p.m. on ACCN Extra

Justin Cates: Duke wins.

Baylor is a complete dumpster fire right now, and I’m not going to shed any tears over justified schadenfreude. Anyway, Duke has looked good out of the gate and they should be able to keep it rolling.

Jeff Greenberg: Duke wins.

Duke is on a roll and Baylor is not. Should be an easy home win for the Blue Devils.

Grant Atkinson: Duke wins.

If you had told me before week one that Baylor would lose to Liberty and UTSA and Duke would be 2-0 including a blowout over Northwestern, I probably would’ve called you crazy. Yet that’s what happened, and Duke has all the momentum.

Mike McDaniel:  Duke wins.

Would not be surprised to see Baylor jump up and cover the spread in this game, but Duke should win this game at home.

Utah State (1-1) @ Wake Forest (2-0) (-13.5), Saturday 3:00 p.m. on ACCN Extra

Justin Cates: Wake Forest wins.

The Demon Deacons were impressive last week against a solid BC defense. John Wolford should have another big day this week.

Jeff Greenberg: Wake Forest wins.

Wake Forest is ready for another bowl game and they know they have to win this for that chance. Demon Deacons pull it out.

Grant Atkinson: Wake Forest wins.

Utah State has impressed me for a few years now, as it always seems they are on ESPN for a random Thursday or Friday game at least once a year. They are not a bad team, but Wake Forest also has a a lot of momentum. I think this is the year the Deacs actually go 4-0 in non-conference play.

Mike McDaniel:  Wake Forest wins.

Utah State should keep this one close (see the first half of the Wisconsin game in Week One), but I like Wake Forest to win this game for a 3-0 start.

#16 Virginia Tech (2-0) (-10) @ East Carolina (0-2), Saturday 3:30 p.m. on CBSSN

Justin Cates: Virginia Tech wins.

The Pirates are sinking fast and it becomes more apparent by the day that firing Ruffin McNeil was one of the worst decisions in college football history. The Hokie offense will get on track in a big way.

Jeff Greenberg: Virginia Tech wins.

The Hokies will blow the Pirates out of the water in Greenville.

Grant Atkinson: Virginia Tech wins.

Last week, the Hokies had a bit of a letdown after an emotionally draining week 1 win. Still, the defense forced a shutout, and the Hokies look to be in good shape heading into week 3.

Mike McDaniel:  Virginia Tech wins.

I’d like to see the Hokies establish the run in this game, as they will need to have offensive balance heading into the Clemson game in two weeks.

North Carolina (0-2) (-10) @ Old Dominion (2-0), Saturday 3:30 p.m.

Justin Cates: North Carolina wins.

ODU is undefeated, but those wins came against Albany and UMass. Carolina should get itself together this week.

Jeff Greenberg: North Carolina wins.

UNC needs a win big time. ODU will take the loss here.

Grant Atkinson: North Carolina wins.

North Carolina is the first of two ACC opponents in a row for Old Dominion. I expect the Monarchs to come out firing, as Cal did against UNC two weeks ago. This time, the Tar Heels shouldn’t be overlooking anyone. I see Larry Fedora pulling out a close but much needed win.

Mike McDaniel:  North Carolina wins.

If the Tar Heels don’t win this game, the sky will officially be falling in Chapel Hill. I like North Carolina to pick up their first win of the season, but they need to be careful in this one.

Central Michigan (2-0) @ Syracuse (1-1), Saturday 3:30 p.m. on ACCN Extra

Justin Cates: Syracuse wins.

Syracuse can’t be trusted, but CMU has some fools gold statistically after a number-inflating win over Kansas. I reluctantly side with the Orange.

Jeff Greenberg: Syracuse wins.

Syracuse will right the ship in a tight one at home for the win.

Grant Atkinson: Syracuse wins.

I really thought Syracuse could surprise some people this year and even spoil some postseason hopes. After losing to Middle Tennessee State last week, that seems much less likely. Still, I don’t expect Syracuse to lose two double-digit favorite games in a row.

Mike McDaniel:  Syracuse wins.

That was a tough loss for Syracuse last weekend against Middle Tennessee State in which quarterback Eric Dungey failed to throw a touchdown pass. I like both him and his teammates to bounce-back this weekend and beat Central Michigan.

Notre Dame (1-1) (-13) @ Boston College (1-1), Saturday 3:30 p.m. on ESPN

Justin Cates: Notre Dame wins.

Notre Dame still can’t win close games, but I have a feeling this one won’t be terribly close. BC’s defense can hang but the offense is still a work in progress.

Jeff Greenberg: Notre Dame wins.

The Irish will have tons of fans in Boston. Good thing too because they should win this one and will.

Grant Atkinson: Notre Dame wins.

When last weeks polls came out, I said that Notre Dame was immensely overrated at #24. Even though they lost to Georgia I have to give it to them; they put up a good fight. Expect a bounce back game this weekend.

Mike McDaniel:  Notre Dame wins.

Despite a tough home loss to Georgia in South Bend last weekend, it is clear that Notre Dame has a much better football team than they did a year ago when they finished the season 4-8. Notre Dame’s defense is very good and Boston College’s offense is very, very bad. Give me the Irish to win and cover in Chesnut Hill.

#3 Clemson (2-0) @ #14 Louisville (2-0, 1-0 ACC), Saturday 8:00 p.m. on ABC

Justin Cates: Clemson wins.

This games have been wildly entertaining and as close as can be, but I have a feeling Clemson’s defensive line is going to wreak havoc on the Cardinals’ front. Lamar Jackson will still do enough to make it interesting though.

Jeff Greenberg: Louisville wins.

I watched Lamar Jackson up close and personal last week. Freak of nature athlete. The Cardinals in an upset at home.

Grant Atkinson: Clemson wins.

Lamar Jackson is probably the best QB in the country. Sadly, he has no supporting cast. Clemson, on the other hand, is a very solid, consistent team, which showed in their win over Auburn last week. I see Clemson picking up another resume-building win in Week 3.

Mike McDaniel:  Clemson wins.

I’m rolling with Clemson by a touchdown or two here. I’m not sure the hype of this game will actually live up to the product on the field, as there is almost no chance Louisville’s bad offensive line can block the front seven of Clemson. Give me the Tigers.

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