Rivalry week is here in college football and some of the best in the country are in the ACC.
Florida State and Florida face each other on Black Friday, as do North Carolina and North Carolina State. North Carolina has already clinched a spot in the ACC Championship, but their long-awaited college football playoff hopes are dashed after losing to Georgia Tech. NC State is reeling after losing twice in a row, but hopes to pull off the upset.
Elsewhere in the conference, Clemson hopes to keep their playoff hopes alive against sweltering South Carolina, Miami hopes for bowl eligibility against Pitt, and Duke and Wake Forest try to finish 8-4.
Note: My official Georgia Tech vs Georgia prediction comes tomorrow.
So who will win in the ACC this week?
NC state in North Carolina (-6.5)
What a gut last week was for North Carolina. The Tar Heels blew a 17-point lead to Georgia Tech and third-string quarterback Zach Gibson and any long-awaited playoff hopes the Tar Heels had have gone up in smoke.
Now North Carolina must recover and face an NC State team that has lost to Boston College and Louisville in back-to-back games. The Wolfpack offense is struggling right now and I think UNC quarterback Drake Maye has a bounce-back game and wins at home.
Final Score: North Carolina 35, NC State 27
Florida in the state of Florida (-9.5)
Clemson may be the highest ranked team in the ACC, but Florida State is arguably the team playing the best football in the conference right now. The Seminole’s offense is clicking on all cylinders and they should be able to score at will on the Gator’s defense.
Florida State’s defense is also playing well, but they haven’t exactly had the best offenses lately. Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson could spell trouble for Florida State, but I trust FSU gets more stops than Florida.
Expect a close game early as it’s a rivalry game, but Tallahassee is going to rock and Florida State will win comfortably.
Final Score: Florida State 38, Florida 21
South Carolina near Clemson (-14.5)
South Carolina struggled to score points leading up to last week’s shock 63-38 victory over Tennessee. Spencer Rattler threw for six touchdowns and the Gamecocks knocked the Volunteers out of the playoff picture. Now they must face a relentless Clemson defense that held Miami just under 100 yards.
Clemson should be wary of what South Carolina accomplished over the weekend. The Gamecock offense didn’t play well all season before exploding last week, but facing the front seven this Tiger is a different beast.
I think Clemson will play a complete game and go into the ACC Championship game 11-1.
Final score: Clemson 30, South Carolina 17
Louisville in Kentucky (-3)
Louisville hopes to finish the season 8-4, but it won’t be easy against their rivals. The Wildcats played Georgia as hard as anyone this season and the defense is the reason.
This is likely to be a low-scoring game and it’s hard to trust either offense. Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is a favorite in NFL drafts, but he hasn’t had the season some thought he would. I like Louisville to go out and win this game.
Final score: Louisville 21, Kentucky 17
Wake Forest (-3.5) vs. Duke
Wake Forest broke their losing streak against Syracuse last week and can finish the season 8-4 with a victory over Duke. It was a disappointing end to the season for the Demon Deacons after a 6-1 start, but they have a chance to finish strong.
A win over Wake Forest would be a great exclamation point for Duke’s season. The Blue Devils were picked to finish bottom of the division this season, but were a great story under freshman head coach Mike Elko.
I like Wake Forest and their attack to go out and win this week, but this is going to be a competitive game.
Final Score: Wake Forest 31, Duke 28
Syracuse (-10.5) at Boston College
Not long ago, Syracuse went 6-0 heading into a game against Clemson and was ranked in the top 15 in the country. The Orange is now 6-5 and needs a win this weekend against Boston College, which was just eliminated by Notre Dame.
The Eagles were upset with NC State a few weeks ago, but I think Syracuse will jump at the chance to get its seventh win of the season and beat Boston College on the road.
Final score: Syracuse 27, Boston College 13
Pittsburgh (-6.5) in Miami
Miami needs this win to qualify for bowling, but I wonder if that’s as motivating as it should be for Miami. The Hurricanes will be undergoing a major roster change this off-season and players are already coming to the portal. The quarterback’s position is a question mark and the offense was terrible against Clemson last week.
Pitt’s defensive line could spell trouble for Miami, as could the running game. Miami’s defense goes up and down and struggles to tackle. There’s just no real reason to trust Miami to pull it off this weekend. Pitt wins a close and ugly game to put Miami up 5-7 and the Panthers finish 8-4.
Final score: Pitt 24, Miami 10
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