With a busy day on tap, here’s this weekend’s ACC and Navy picks. All games Saturday and times p.m. unless otherwise noted …
* Florida State at Boston College (Thursday, 8, ESPN): Seminoles 31-17. Rolandan Finch had the game of his life last week against Maryland and Boston College won in the snow against Maryland. It’s likely to be clear (if a bit chilly) in Chestnut Hill tonight, and Florida State is a bit more formidable than Maryland. Look for the Seminoles to win their fourth straight and secure bowl eligibility.
* North Carolina at N.C. State (12:30, ACC Network): Wolfpack 28-24. N.C. State laid a massive egg a week ago at Florida State, and its margin of error continues to shrink by the week. Nonetheless, the Wolfpack is 4-0 against North Carolina under coach Tom O’Brien and is invariably ready to play. Considering he won five of his last six over Notre Dame while at Boston College, maybe the Notorious TOB has some rivalry game mojo going.
* Virginia at Maryland (12:30, ACC Network): Terrapins 21-20. This pick strangely has more to do with Virginia than reeling Maryland. In October alone, the Cavaliers barely edged a dreadful Idaho team at home, shocked then-unbeaten Georgia Tech, were doubled up by N.C. State and then impressively handled Miami. Who does Virginia think it is, Clemson (in a normal year)? After such an impressive high, will Virginia kick down the door to bowl eligibility this week? The Hoos have a heck of a chance against a team that couldn’t have looked much worse for three quarters last week.
* Duke at Miami (3, CSN): Hurricanes 35-30. It’s a mathematical knockout game in the Coastal Division (the loser will have four losses and next week’s Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech winner is assured of no worse than a 5-3 conference record), but the reality of the situation is this game is crucial to both teams’ flagging bowl hopes. Look for Miami to survive in a game when both teams could send a receiver (Miami’s Tommy Streeter, Duke’s Conner Vernon) over 100 yards.
* Troy at Navy (3:30, CBS Sports Network): Midshipmen 42-31. Kriss Proctor appears set to play after missing a game with a dislocated elbow; coach Ken Niumatalolo says the Mids will take it right up to game time to see if the senior can go. After all that’s happened in a dreadful October, Navy’s first five-loss month since October 1976. Troy has issues of its own —- notably an inability to run the ball or stop much of anyone. Navy will have at least one breakout game the rest of the way; the home finale would be an appropriate time for Niumatalolo to begin what he hopes is a November to remember.
* Notre Dame at Wake Forest (8, ABC/ESPN2): Fighting Irish 45-28. The turnover-plagued Irish had no problems a week ago against Navy. Look for them to win a second straight as they handle a Wake Forest defense that remains plenty vulnerable to the pass.
Week 9 record: 3-4 (2-5 conference)
ACC record: 52-18 (20-10 conference)
Navy record: 5-3
Preseason Week 10 picks changed: None
Preseason ACC record: 48-22 (17-13 conference)
—- Patrick Stevens