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ACC: Week 13 Preview and Predictions

Last week’s ACC action answered a lot of lingering questions about the conference. Can Georgia Tech move the ball? Absolutely; they beat Duke 42-24 and now sit on top of the ACC Coastal. Is Virginia for real? Sadly, no; they were crushed 37-13 by the Tar Heels. Would the Wolf Pack repeat their upset of Clemson from last season? That answer was a resounding no; No. 11-ranked Clemson took NC State to the woodshed, beating them 62-48.

There are some truly spectacular games in the ACC this week, including a tilt between the No. 4-ranked Florida Gators and the No. 10-ranked Florida State Seminoles and a match between No.12 South Carolina and No. 11 Clemson that could go a long way toward determining which bowl Clemson is playing in come January. Let’s take a look at the best Week 13 matchups in the ACC.

Game of the Week

No. 4-ranked Florida at No. 10-ranked Florida State

This is a huge match between two 10-1 in-state rivals, and both are still harboring faint national championship ambitions. “Hey, there are still a lot of things out there to play for,” Floriday State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen these last two or three weeks. A guy loses here, a couple people lose there…”

Both of these teams have great defenses, ranking in the top five in the country in yards allowed. However, the Seminoles’ offense has been sensational this season, averaging 493.6 yards per game while scoring over 40 points in two out of their last three. Even though Florida is ranked six spots higher than Florida State, most pundits are picking the Seminoles to win, and it’s easy to see why: they have a great balance of explosive offense and stifling defense. I think Florida State edges out Florida in a close one at home.

Georgia Tech at No. 3-ranked Georgia

Georgia has benefitted from an extremely soft schedule this season, so no one is really sure what to make of the Bulldogs’ success. Their biggest win was against then-No. 2-ranked Florida on October 27, but the only other ranked team they have played was then-No. 6-ranked South Carolina, who blew them out of the water 35-7 on October 6. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, is riding a three game winning streak and averaging 47.7 points per game during that span. It may not be an upset, but it might be uncomfortably close for Bulldogs fans. Yellow Jackets head coach Paul Johnson will have his team prepared to face their in-state rivals.

“Our guys understand the importance of this game to our fans and our alumni and everyone involved,” he said. “Besides that, Georgia’s got a very talented football team. If you’re not ready to play, you’ll get embarrassed really fast.”

Georgia may win, but they are officially on upset alert. The Yellow Jackets’ triple option offense will keep the Bulldogs on their toes all day, and this one should come down to the wire. Take the Yellow Jackets and the points here.

No. 12-ranked South Carolina at No. 11-ranked Clemson

This is going to be a tough test for Clemson’s offensive line. South Carolina’s defense can get pressure seemingly at will against quarterbacks, and keeping Tajh Boyd erect will be crucial to Clemson’s success in this one. This game promises to be a heated one, especially since Clemson likely needs a win to gain an at-large bid to a BCS bowl.  It will be a close one, but I think Clemson ultimately takes it by  a touchdown or less. They have done a good job of protecting Boyd so far this year, allowing only 1.8 sacks per game, and I think their success continues. Take Clemson.

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