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ACC: Week 12 Preview and Predictions

Things pretty much went as expected last weekend in the ACC, save for two very big things: Virginia pulled another huge victory out of thin air, this time against Miami, and Georgia Tech stunned the Tar Heels by a mind-blowing score of 68-50. No. 10-ranked Florida State appears to have a spot in the ACC Championship locked up as they cruise into a game against Maryland this weekend, and Clemson looks as good as ever, but the rest of the conference is anyone’s guess. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest matchups in the ACC this weekend.

Duke at Georgia Tech

Even the best pundits oculdn’t have seen GT’s offensive explosion coming last weekend. The underdog Yellow Jackets set an ACC record for points scored in a game, and outgained the shocked Tar Heels 588-497 in offensive yardage. “We were just out there scoring,” running back Orwin Smith said after the game. “It was touchdown for touchdown. It was a shootout, basically. After that first half, we basically knew that it was going to be a shootout. We knew that if we got those one or two stops we needed that we could just keep going because the offense was rolling.” No kidding.

Now the 5-5 Yellow Jackets have 6-4 Duke coming to town as they try to keep their bowl game hopes alive. It should be Georgia Tech in this one: Duke has not beaten the Yellow Jackets since 2003. Additonally, Georgia Tech averages 324.4 yards per game on the ground and the suddenly prolific offense has scored at least 30 points in four out of their last five games. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils have lost three out of their last four and been outscored 104-27 in its last two games. Duke is a good team, so this game should be close for a while, but I think the Yellow Jackets pull away and win this one by double digits.

North Carolina State at Clemson

Clemson is 9-1 while the NC State Wolf Pack are 6-4. These teams would seem to be heading in opposite directions, but Clemson knows not to take the Wolf Pack for granted; they handed Clemson a stunning 37-13 loss this time last year. “As an offense, we felt like we were somewhat embarrassed by them last season,” Boyd said. “It’s one of those deals where we just want to get out there and have some fun.”

The Wolf Pack have a great passing offense behind Mike Glennon this season, good for third best in the ACC, though Clemson’s defense is also improving, and also ranked third in the conference by allowing 22.4 points per game. Clemson is ranked 11th in the country right now, and was 13th before they smashed Maryland 45-10 last weekend. However, this has been an up and down year in the ACC; this same Wolf Pack team beat the mighty Florida State this season. Anything can happen.

Virginia Tech at Boston College

What happened to the Hokies? It’s the question that Virginia Tech, and college football, fans have been asking all season. This team was supposed to be a powerhouse in the ACC, but is now struggling to finish 6-6. However, a trip to Boston College could cure their ailments. BC is just 2-8 this year and giving up 228.4 rushing yards per game on the ground, a statistic that Logan Thomas and this Virginia Tech offense should be able to ruthlessly exploit. Still, it’s hard to overstate just how far the Hokies have fallen this season. Hopefully they scrape a 6-6 season out here and make a bowl game, or else they will truly enter the infamous annals of disappointing college football teams.

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