It’s Week Six and we are all back this week. It’s a schedule that’s relatively light in number of games, but heavy in quality match-ups. This should be a fun weekend across the conference, so stay tuned. But first, an updated look at the standings after a strong week by our staff in Week Five.
Joey: 46-9 (.836)
Justin: 44-11 (.800)
Mike: 43-12 (.781)
Jeff*: 34-10 (.772)
Grant*: 35-11 (.725)
Let’s get to Week Six picks…HERE. WE. GO.
Friday, October 5th
Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-1 ACC) (-4.5) at Louisville (2-3, 0-2 ACC), 7:30 PM ET on ESPN
Grant: Last week, Louisville had a battle with Florida State for “most disappointing team in the Atlantic.” The Cardinals blew a 14 point halftime lead, so while they lost the game, I guess the won the “most disappointing” title. Georgia Tech has struggled at times this year as well, but they have some momentum coming off a 63-17 thrashing of Bowling Green. Jackets win.
Joey: Everything I know about what these teams have done on the field this year tells me Georgia Tech should probably win this game and cover the 4. The problem is the one disturbing trend that’s following the Yellow Jackets: they haven’t won a game away from Bobby Dodd Stadium since the end of the 2016 season (which was, notably, Justin Thomas’s last game as QB). If this game were being played at Bobby Dodd Stadium, I would feel confident that they were better than a struggling post-Lamar Jackson Cardinals team. This being played in Louisville, though, means I’m taking the Cardinals to cover and win outright. I’ll believe Georgia Tech can win a road game when I see it, and not a moment before.
Jeff: Georgia Tech can win this game with their offense as Louisville has been focused on fixing their offense. Yellow Jackets win.
Justin: How is the line this close? Louisville is bad and they should feel bad. Things have the feeling of spiraling out of control down there and they couldn’t even knock off a middling Florida State club last week at home. The Yellow Jackets should win with relative ease.
Mike: Louisville is bad. Georgia Tech might also be bad but they’re less bad than Louisville. #Analysis. Cards win.
Saturday, October 6th
Syracuse (4-1, 1-1 ACC) (-3.5) at Pittsburgh (2-3, 1-1 ACC), 12:20 PM ET on ACC Network
Grant: Syracuse if for real. Even though they couldn’t quite beat Clemson, they showed that they came to play. Eric Dungey has always led a prolific offense, but it’s the defense that has been surprisingly good so far for the Orange. Syracuse will not have any trouble beating a struggling Pitt team, even on the road.
Joey: This is in the running for the Strangest Line of the Year award as far as I’m concerned. The Panthers have been awfully disappointing since the start of last season, particularly on offense where they’ve never quite clicked since Matt Canada departed for LSU. That wouldn’t even be as big of a deal if long-time Michigan State DC Pat Narduzzi could whip their defense into shape, which has only gotten worse in his tenure. (That trend continues this year, by the way — the Panthers currently rank 97th (!!!!) in Defensive S&P+.) Meanwhile, Syracuse has shown major progress this year at 4-1, with all four wins coming by at least 13 points and the one loss being a near-miss on the road against the defending conference champions.
Jeff: Does Syracuse have a letdown game this week? Maybe, but Dino Babers won’t let it happen in the end. The Orange win on the road.
Justin: The Orange looked very good in a near upset of Clemson last week. Pittsburgh has yet to look even competent this season. Dino Babers will make 11 movie references in pregame and Syracuse will win.
Mike: Syracuse by a million. Pittsburgh is atrocious. LOCK. IT. UP.
Boston College (4-1, 1-0 ACC) at #23 NC State (4-0, 1-0 ACC) (-6), 12:30 PM ET on ACC Network Extra
Grant: I really cannot figure out this Boston College team. I thought they were back to being nationally relevant, and then they lost to Purdue. Last week, they took a commanding seventeen point lead in the third quarter, only to let Temple pull within three and give them a real scare. AJ Dillon is a game-time decision, which is obviously huge for the Eagles. I don’t think he’ll play (since he has not practiced all week), and State will win the game.
Joey: AJ Dillon is supposed to be a “game-time decision” for Boston College after an ankle injury last week. Translation: even if he plays, he’s probably not at 100%. Translation: the Eagles need Anthony Brown to make some plays with his arm to keep up with Ryan Finley and the Wolfpack’s offense. The problem with that? The last two weeks, against decent Purdue and Temple teams, Brown is a combined 28-for-60 (46.7%) with 3 TD’s and, more importantly, 4 INT’s (all against Purdue). This is a good measuring stick game for both of these programs, but I’m not so sure Boston College is going to be able to quite live up to the predictions some of us were making about them to start the year.
Justin: State likes to keep games closer than they should be and this is the best BC team of the Steve Addazio era. Still, how do you lose to Purdue? I don’t trust the Eagles despite AJ Dillon (who’s banged up this week anyway) and a solid offense. Wolfpack by a touchdown.
Mike: A.J. Dillon is a game-time decision, but even if he plays, I’m not sure he will be 100%. NC State has looked good and has the better quarterback, so I’ll take them to win in a close game at home.
#4 Clemson (5-0, 2-0 ACC) (-20.5) at Wake Forest (3-2, 0-1 ACC), 3:30 PM ET on ESPN
Grant: The past week for Clemson has shown just how volatile the College Football world can be. They went from having two starting caliber QBs at their disposal to having arguably none by the second half against Syracuse. That said, Chase Brice did lead a nice game winning drive, with a lot of help from RB Travis Etienne. Trevor Lawrence is apparently back to healthy this week, so the Tigers will have no problem winning in Winston Salem.
Joey: Clemson’s coming off of a major scare last Saturday — a near-miss against Syracuse requiring a last minute comeback, featuring a scary-looking injury to Trevor Lawrence that caused him to miss the entire second half. (And with no Kelly Bryant to step in, at that.) The Tigers haven’t really dominated teams this year quite in the way that we expected them to, and I get the feeling they’re going to let off the gas and coast a bit late in this game. Wake Forest should be able to keep up enough to cover the number, but Clemson wins this easily.
Jeff: Clemson wins by dominating the second half.
Justin: Clemson’s quarterback situation is, well, shall we say murky? With a banged up Trevor Lawrence and a shaky freshman in Chase Brice, I think we all know it’s time for Mr. Clutch, Hunter Renfrow to assume QB duties. No matter who plays I think the Tigers win here.
Mike: Clemson wins here, but would not be shocked if Wake kept it within striking distance. Trevor Lawrence is back so the Tigers *SHOULD* be fine.
Florida State (3-2, 1-2 ACC) at #17 Miami (4-1, 1-0 ACC), 3:30 PM ET on ABC
Grant: A game that was expected to be a huge rivalry showdown when the schedule was first released has now lost most of its luster. Florida State was lucky to win last week, and that was against the worst team in their division. Now they face what many believe to be the top team in the opposite division. I know anything can happen in rivalry games, but only one thing will happen in this one. Miami will win by three scores.
Joey: Like the Georgia Tech @ Louisville game, this is a contest where I’m very tempted to have my opinions about both teams take a back seat to the context surrounding them in this game. This tends to be a rivalry that transcends objective football reasoning, with a lot of games ending up closer than they really should be based on blind resumes. That being said, I have a really hard time seeing Florida State keep up with Miami given what we’ve seen from them this year. I don’t know how they’ll protect Deondre Francois from Miami’s front 7. I don’t know how their defense is going to put together a complete 60 minutes against Miami’s rejuvenated offense under N’Kosi Perry. This should ultimately be one of the bigger snoozers in recent memory of this rivalry game. Against my better instincts, I’m going to lay a LOT of points here.
Jeff: It’s hard to feel like FSU has enough fixed with their offense at this point. If they have Francois getting the ball out of hands quickly, then they can stay in this game. But, Miami leads the nation in TFLs and does this at a high rate. With the Seminoles’ OL being the team’s weak link, that tells me the Hurricanes will control the “chains” and win this game.
Justin: Not as exciting as the rivalry used to be is it? As usual at this point in the season, I have no idea how good Miami is but I can’t see them losing to the Canes. The Seminoles will be fired up at least, but that can’t close the significant coaching or confidence gaps. Miami wins.
Mike: Florida State cannot run the football and they can’t block Miami’s front seven. Hurricanes in a rout.
#6 Notre Dame (5-0) at #24 Virginia Tech (3-1, 2-0 ACC), 8:00 PM ET on ABC
Grant: Blacksburg is going to be rocking for this Saturday night primetime game. I live here and let me tell you, people are already fueling up, to say the least. In addition, Notre Dame lost their best offensive lineman Alex Bars for the season, which should help a somewhat inexperienced Hokies pass rush. I can’t in good conscious pick Virginia Tech to win, but I think they will keep it close. Notre Dame by a field goal.
Joey: The Irish have looked suspect the last few years, with a good-to-great defense and, at times, a shockingly ineffective offense given the level of talent on that side of the ball. That’s all changed the last couple of games with Ian Book at the helms. They travel to Blacksburg this week to take on a Hokies team that’s young and occasionally struggling in the secondary, and with a backup QB that hasn’t seen a defense quite like this yet. It’ll be an electric atmosphere at Lane Stadium, but at this point I’m thinking Notre Dame is “College Football Playoff” good. I’ll take the Irish.
Jeff: Should be an electric atmosphere as always at Lane Stadium, but I don’t know for how long as the Irish pull away for the win.
Justin: The Hokies rebounded with a nice win at Duke last week, but this squad still has considerable concerns on defense. Notre Dame’s offense will be challenged by Bud Foster schematically, but they just have too much firepower and that should lead to some big plays. Irish win in their first trip to Blacksburg.
Mike: The atmosphere in Blacksburg will be electric but the concern for Virginia Tech in this game is the youth and inconsistency in tackling in the secondary. Notre Dame wins here because of the seniority they boast, and the fact that they’re a damn good football team with Ian Book at the controls.