Well, last week’s picks were ugly.
U-G-L-Y. An even split is no good at all, especially when I keep missing on the team I, you know, cover every day.
Well, it’s a new week. Maybe things can get sorted out a bit better with the six games on tap. Clemson and Wake Forest are off this week, but there are plenty of possibilities among the teams actually playing.
* Boston College at N.C. State (Noon, Raycom): Eagles 21-10. I don’t want to steal another reporter’s thunder (which is my way of saying be sure to read the Raleigh News & Observer when this story runs later in the week), but N.C. State beat writer Ken Tysiac mentioned on the ACC conference call yesterday that the Wolfpack have only 44 scholarship players who aren’t injured or redshirting.
So while I think State is going to poach an O’Brien Bowl sooner or later, it doesn’t seem all that likely this week even at Carter-Finley —- especially if quarterback Russell Wilson can’t go.
* Duke at Georgia Tech (Noon, ESPNU): Yellow Jackets 28-17. No winning streak for the Blue Devils, but that’s more a credit to Paul Johnson than anything else. It doesn’t matter if Josh Nesbitt or Jaybo Shaw starts at quarterback for Georgia Tech; the offense is in good hands —- Johnson’s.
This might also be the point where it”s reasonable to say both ACC schools that switched coaches in the offseason made serious upgrades. A “rebuilding” season under Johnson has a good chance to start 5-1, and David Cutcliffe-led Duke is over .500 after four games (or more) for the first time since 1994.
* Western Kentucky at Virginia Tech (1:30): Hokies 31-7. Honestly, the most interesting subplot of this game is whether Sean Glennon gets a chance to play at quarterback in garbage time. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the senior just yet, but whether it is in meaningful time or not it’s hard to say. Tyrod Taylor was superb in the victory at Nebraska last week.
* Florida State at Miami (3:30, ABC regional): Seminoles 24-17. There’s youth aplenty on both teams, but the one thing you can probably be sure of is that Florida State‘s defense will play well. The Seminoles yielded seven points in their first two games against I-AA flotsam, four field goals to Wake Forest, and 21 points to a solid Colorado team. That seems like it could be the difference in a lot of games this season.
* Maryland at Virginia (7, ESPNU): Terrapins 20-10. Despite Maryland director of football operations Jemal Griffin‘s pleas for me to continue to pick against the Terps, I’ll call a win this week. It just won’t be the dominant performance some people think could happen. Virginia is going to make a stand at some point during its homestand with Maryland, East Carolina and North Carolina. To channel Al Groh, I just don’t think that circumstance will occur in its totality this week.
* Connecticut at North Carolina (7, ESPN2): Tar Heels 23-21. It would seem Cam Sexton, v. 2.0, isn’t so bad after all. (You do have to wonder how much he has teammate Trimane Goddard and his end zone intercepting acrobatics to thank for securing a win and keeping that perception up).
Anyway, the Huskies picked up right where they left off about two-thirds through last season, winning close games en route to a strong start. Connecticut has won three games by five points or less, and their blowout victories were against Hofstra (former I-AA team) and Virginia (masquerading as a Division I- 1 1/2 A team).
It should be close, and even though that’s the Huskies normal routine, Carolina should escape at home.
Last week’s record: 4-4 (1-2 conference games)
Season record: 31-13 (4-4 conference)
Preseason picks record: 30-14 (5-3 conference)
Preseason picks changed for this week: Boston College-N.C. State
—- Patrick Stevens