The Washington Times - October 12, 2011, 06:28PM

After a solid week —- no thanks to Wake Forest’s upset of Florida State —- the D1scourse picks look a bit better. Just six games on tap Saturday (five ACC, one Navy), so let’s get to the predictions.

All times p.m., as usual. …


* Miami at North Carolina (12:30, ACC Network): Hurricanes 27-24. At some point, the Hurricanes just have to catch a break … right? Miami lost on a field goal in the final two minutes at Maryland, barely missed out on a winning score against Kansas State and then were shredded by Logan Thomas‘ option keeper in the final minutes at Virginia Tech. North Carolina hasn’t exactly dominated to date, either. It’s time for Miami to bounce back with a solid performance that also nets it a win.

* Navy at Rutgers (2, Midshipmen 21-17. Time to play another hunch. Rutgers is exceptional at forcing turnovers, but its offense (106th nationally in yardage, 115th in rushing yardage) is hardly a juggernaut. Granted, the short fields that result from takeaways play a role in that, but the Scarlet Knights aren’t likely to gash Navy quite the same as Southern Mississippi did.

* Florida State at Duke (3, CSN): Seminoles 41-21. Yes, Florida State has disappointed fans who believed the Seminoles’ decade-long exile from the end-of-year top 10 would finally come to an end this fall. It won’t. But despite three straight losses and an absence of remotely decent victories, there’s still plenty of talent and a schedule that softens in the second half of the season. Don’t be surprised if this is the start of a seven-game winning streak.

* Georgia Tech at Virginia (3:30, ESPNU): Yellow Jackets 35-17. Mike London is 7-0 in his career when his team has more than a week to prepare. Of course, he also has to contend with a Georgia Tech team that probably didn’t hear sweet-nothings from Paul Johnson after escaping with a victory over Maryland last week. Expect a bounceback for the Georgia Tech offense as the Yellow Jackets improve to 7-0.

* Virginia Tech at Wake Forest (6:30, Hokies 31-16. The last time Virginia Tech visited the Dash, the Demon Deacons were coming off a stunning victory over Florida State and were promptly swatted 27-6 by the Hokies. Virginia Tech’s defense isn’t quite so good these days, but neither is Wake Forest’s. Either way, look for order to be restored a bit and the Deacons to absorb their first conference loss (assuming you don’t count Syracuse as a pre-emptive conference game).

* Clemson at Maryland (7, ESPNU): Tigers 34-20. Maryland’s defense impressed against Georgia Tech. Of course, defending the triple option is a bit different from trying to stop Sammy Watkins and friends. The greater problem for the Terrapins is their offense. Between quarterback questions, receivers with a tendency to drop passes, an offensive line replacing one of its most experienced cogs and a history of slow starts (three first-half offensive touchdowns in five games), the Terps don’t appear well-equipped to keep up with a potent Clemson offense that has played well for the last month.

Week 6 record: 6-1 (3-1 conference)

ACC record: 41-12 (9-4 conference)
Navy record: 4-1
Total: 45-13

Preseason Week 7 picks changed: Miami-North Carolina
Preseason ACC record: 37-16 (6-7 conference)

—- Patrick Stevens