August 31, 2006

ACC: Week 1 breakdown

Joyner's ACC picks national writer Andrew Joyner's predictions for Week 1 in the ACC.
Thursday's game:
Boston College 42, C. Michigan 17
Saturday's games:
Virginia Tech 52, Northeastern 7
North Carolina 24, Rutgers 21
Clemson 45, Florida Atlantic 0
Duke 27, Richmond 10
Maryland 41, William & Mary 20
N.C. State 31, Appalachian St. 13
Wake Forest 21, Syracuse 20
Pittsburgh 24, Virginia 21
Notre Dame 31, Georgia Tech 21
Monday's game:
Florida State 21, Miami 10
Best matchup: In any other week it might be Notre Dame at Georgia Tech, but c'mon. The whole nation will be watching Florida State-Miami. Last year, an unappealing 10-7 victory for the 'Noles produced appealing TV ratings. Both teams have some issues, but they are still the marquee teams in the ACC and this is the ACC's marquee game.

Worst matchup: Northeastern at Virginia Tech. This is what you get when you give perennially weak schedulers a 12th game.

The pressure is on: Larry Coker. The Miami coach is coming off a 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl that was followed by wholesale coaching changes. Then came highly publicized off-field incidents over the last month and several key suspensions. Nothing is a cure-all more than winning, and Coker may need a victory more than just about any coach in America at this point.

Upset alert: Both the Rutgers-North Carolina and Virginia-Pittsburgh games pit evenly matched teams, so an upset may not really be an "upset" in either contest. The one to keep an eye on is Notre Dame-Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets stunned Auburn in the opener last year, and it's not to hard to imagine that Calvin Johnson - with a steady performance from Reggie Ball - could keep Georgia Tech in this contest.

BCS implications: The ACC clearly slated Florida State-Miami for the opening weekend to avoid having the loser fall out of the BCS hunt. Still, whoever loses will have a long haul back into the BCS picture and can't afford any more missteps.

Must-see TV: No NFL, no CBS comedy lineup; you could watch the various telethons or TV Land marathons, but what is better than Florida State-Miami? More eyes should be on Miami-Dade County on Monday night than there were in the 2000 election.

Newcomers who could have an impact: Clemson is tied to this category for several reasons. First, Saturday will be the debut of quarterback Will Proctor, who tutored under Charlie Whitehurst the last several seasons. With proven talent nearly everywhere on the depth chart but at QB, there will be quite a bit of focus on Proctor. Florida Atlantic might be the perfect opponent for him. Additionally, this will be the first action for two key members of the Tigers' No. 15 recruiting class. The early reports are that C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford should pay immediate returns in Death Valley.

Key stat: For the 11th time since 1990, Florida State will start the season away from Doak Campbell Stadium. The Seminoles are 9-1 in those games.

Take the line: Mercifully, there are no lines on games between Division I-A and Division I-AA teams. If there were, the Northeastern-Virginia Tech game would be the spot-on choice. Taking that into account, Florida Atlantic-Clemson slides into the best position. The Tigers are favored by 33 points. There is nothing that is more of a sure thing this week in the ACC. Take Clemson and give the points.

They said it: "It's a battle. Monday night football. Everybody is watching. Big-time game. You can make a name for yourself. It's always been a dream for me to get out there and play in this game." Florida State redshirt freshman Everette Brown

Injury update: Miami right tackle Tyrone Byrd and linebacker Glenn Cook are both questionable for Monday night's game against Florida State. Virginia's Deyon Williams and North Carolina's Trimane Goddard are out indefinitely after suffering injuries in preseason.

Worth noting: The Boston College-Central Michigan game is the opening game for the entire season. The Syracuse-Wake Forest contest is the first meeting between the schools. Virginia boasts an all-time winning percentage of .694 in season-opening games, posting a record of 76-31-9 in 116 opportunities. In a series dating to 1932, N.C. State has won all five meetings against Appalachian State. Every game has been played in Raleigh.

More Week 1 Conference Previews: Big East | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-10 | SEC

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