The Washington Times - October 30, 2008, 09:00AM

So playing mind games with the Slightly Less Bizarro Terps didn’t work last week.

They were set up to lose to N.C. State. Instead, they scratched out a win – and denied me a winning record for the week.

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Fortunately, Maryland is idle this weekend (though I won’t be, heading to Annapolis to get my first look at Navy for the season). That means I can’t trip up and miss one of its games.

But there’s four other possibilities to look at across the ACC, so let’s get to it…

* Miami at Virginia (Noon, Raycom): Cavaliers 20-16. A belief in Virginia’s home/road duality did not pay off last week when the Cavaliers squeezed one out at Georgia Tech. But I can give that theory a go one more time.

However, there is a lot to like about the Hurricanes right now. No, they haven’t exactly beaten a true power this season. But they’re clearly playing better, and can lock up bowl eligibility with a victory in Charlottesville. With Thursday night showdowns with Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech coming after a bye, Miami can ensure it will be a factor in the Coastal Division to the end with a victory.

* Clemson at Boston College (3:30, ESPNU): Eagles 24-20. Can you believe I picked BC in this one in the preseason? It’s hard to fathom, but true. Clemson’s had a bye week to prepare, and the Tommy Bowden resignation/firing/whatever circus has faded away just a little. At 3-4, there’s no question the Tigers need a win this week as much as anyone in the league.

* Florida State at Georgia Tech (3:30, ABC regional): Seminoles 28-21. Psst, Florida State has won four in a row, establishing itself (for now) as probably the ACC’s team to beat.

Another interesting tidbit: The Seminoles (2-0) and Miami (1-0) are the only ACC teams without a conference road loss this season.

* Duke at Wake Forest (3:30, ESPN360): Demon Deacons 21-20. A real tough one, especially considering Wake’s sputtering offense.

A quick update for those not paying attention: In 16 quarters in conference play, the Demon Deacons have seven field goals and two touchdowns. Because their defense is typically pretty good, Wake is 2-2 and still owns a glimmer of hope of winning the Atlantic Division.

The next two weeks represent Duke’s best chance to achieve bowl eligibility. A victory over Wake makes it five victories in David Cutcliffe’s debut season; then comes a visit from N.C. State. Don’t laugh at that prospect, because it looks very, very real at the moment.

Last week’s record: 3-3 (3-2 conference games)
Season record: 48-19 (15-9 conference)
Preseason picks record: 44-23 (14-10 conference)
Preseason picks changed for this week: Miami-Virginia

Patrick Stevens