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ACC: Week 11 Preview and Predictions

The ACC has been through some ups and downs this season. Florida State was an early national title favorite, but dropped off as the season progressed. Miami, as always, has shown flashes of promise, but hasn’t quite been able to put it together. Ditto for Clemson, a program with some of the best athletes in the country that can’t ever seem to get over the hump. Duke has a better record – at football – than Virginia and Virginia Tech. What is going on here?

In all seriousness, Clemson, Florida State and Miami have established themselves as the class of the conference, and both Clemson and the Seminoles could be serious challengers for a big bowl game. Let’s take a look at some of the best Week 11 matchups in the ACC and make some predictions.

Game of the Week

Notre Dame at Boston College

This is probably the highest-profile game occurring in the ACC this weekend, though BC unfortunately has little to do with that. The country is buzzing about Notre Dame again for the first time in years, and love them or hate them (or really, really hate them) the Fighting Irish once again have a shot at a national championship. BC is 2-7 this year, but has lost the last three games by a combined six points. That’s an encouraging sign, but not encouraging enough against this gritty and resilient Notre Dame squad. The Irish have just plain found ways to win. Whether that is routing Oklahoma on the road or winning in triple overtime against a feisty Pitt team last weekend, the Irish seem to be a team of destiny this season. I think they win here by ten points.

Miami at Virginia

Virginia was one of the biggest surprises in college football last weekend, snapping a six game losing streak and defeating North Carolina State 33-6. They picked up 248 yards on the ground, and their offense finally showed signs of life after weeks and weeks of lying dormant. “We could’ve said, ‘Screw it,’ but we didn’t,” Virginia defensive end Jake Snyder said after the game. “We hung in there and felt that this was the most important game for us.” They punched the Wolf Pack in the mouth, and the same fate could lie in wait for the Hurricanes if they aren’t careful.

However, Miami is 4-2 in the Coastal Division, and after last weekend’s resounding thumping of Virginia Tech in a 30-12 victory, the Hurricanes have their sights set on playing in the ACC Championship. They can’t clinch it with a win here, but they’ll move a step closer to that goal if they can pull out a win. But this is going to be a closer game than Hurricanes’ fans would like. Miami ranks 113th in the nation in scoring defense, and could have a tough time containing a Virginia offense that seemingly found its groove last weekend against NC State. I think Miami wins this one, but that the final score is within a touchdown or less.

Maryland at Clemson

Let’s face facts: Maryland is not a very good team this year. However, their defense is stout; they rank 11th in the country in total defense and 33rd in points allowed. They’ll need everything they can get from their defensive unit this week as they take on one of the most explosive offenses in the country. Led by star quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, Clemson is averaging 42.7 points per game. However, Maryland’s offense has struggled mightily, and if they even fall behind by a touchdown this one could be over quickly. Clemson can score from anywhere at anytime, making them virtually impossible to defend and harder to keep up with. I think Clemson wins by two touchdowns.


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