Contenders in the Atlantic and Coastal divisions of the Atlantic Coast Conference are beginning to emerge. Florida State and North Carolina State are early favorites in the Atlantic division. As Virginia Tech continues to turn things around, look for the Hokies to compete with Miami for the Coastal division title.
BOSTON COLLEGE AT NC STATE (NOON, ESPN3)
Both teams could really use a win here. Boston College (2-2, 0-1) has lost its past two contests. After benching quarterback Dave Shinskie, replacement starter Chase Rettig went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter against Notre Dame and his status is still uncertain. Rettig’s backup threw two picks, and the Eagles netted just five yards of rushing throughout the entire game.
Meanwhile, the Wolfpack (4-1, 1-1) blew a 17-point lead against Tech last weekend. Despite throwing for 362 yards, NC State quarterback Russell Wilson tossed up three picks in the game — all to corner Jayron Hosley. His final interception came when the Wolfpack were down, 34-30, and had the ball with just more than a minute left.
Yet, I really can’t see Boston College winning this game with its ongoing offensive struggles.
Predicted winner: NC State
CENTRAL MICHIGAN AT VIRGINIA TECH (NOON, ESPNU)
In theory, this should be a relatively easy game for the Hokies (3-2, 2-0), who look to continue building momentum after their 0-2 start.
Tech is beginning a four-game home stand after garnering consecutive ACC road wins. Although running back Ryan Williams has been out with a hamstring injury, Darren Evans is coming off a 160-yard, two touchdown performance against NC State.
Central Michigan (2-3) is a substantially different team than their 2009 edition that went 12-2, and is feeling the loss of NFL-drafted quarterback Dan LeFevour.
But look for a competitive game here as the Chippewas have only lost by eight combined points to Northwestern (5-0) and Temple (4-1).
Predicted winner: Virginia Tech
VIRGINIA AT GEORGIA TECH (3:30 P.M., ESPNU)
As predicted last week, the Virginia Cavaliers (2-2, 0-1) suffered a bad home defeat to Florida State and have yet to beat an FBS opponent. Evidently there is a lot of work left to be done in Charlottesville if the Cavaliers are going to be bowl eligible this year.
Although the Yellow Jackets (3-2, 2-1) have been far from impressive in any of their three wins, their game-winning touchdown drive against Wake Forest may provide a much-needed spark. Give credit to quarterback Joshua Nesbitt for his most consistent performance of the season — 11-21, 130 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Georgia Tech can get itself into the mix in the Coastal Division by improving its conference record to 3-1.
Predicted winner: Georgia Tech
CLEMSON AT NORTH CAROLINA (3:30 P.M., ABC/ESPN3)
This should be a great matchup as each team searches for its first conference win. Clemson (2-2, 0-1) has fallen on hard times of late, dropping consecutive games to then-No. 16 Auburn in overtime and then-No. 16 Miami.