The Washington Times - September 3, 2011, 10:45AM

First of all, just go ahead and bookmark this page now. It’ll make it easier to write taunting e-mails later. Trust me.

Anyway, here are the game-by-game picks for each ACC team this season. Included is a swing game for the better and a swing game for the worse. And with both of Thursday’s picks locked in, it’s already an imperfect bunch of predictions, since Wake Forest lost to Syracuse.


Moving along …



W: UL Monroe, Charleston Southern, at Clemson, at Wake Forest, at Duke, Maryland, N.C. State, at Boston College, Miami, Virginia
L: Oklahoma, at Florida

Positive swing: at Florida. It’s just a really odd hunch that Jimbo Fisher‘s first trek to the Swamp doesn’t go particularly well. A really odd hunch. And it could well be wrong.

Negative swing: at Clemson. Playing in Death Valley a week after dealing with Oklahoma isn’t going to be easy. If Good Clemson decides to show up, the Seminoles could wind up losing their conference opener.

CLEMSON (8-4, 5-3 ACC)

W: Troy, Wofford, Auburn, Boston College, at Maryland, North Carolina, at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest
L: Florida State, at Virginia Tech, at N.C. State, at South Carolina

Positive swing: at N.C. State. The Tigers have won seven straight in the series, and that included handling Russell Wilson-era teams.

Negative swing: at Maryland. It looked like a tossup when the schedule was released and it looks like a tossup today. Here’s guessing it looks like a tossup in mid-October, too. Plus, you just know picking Clemson to win five straight at any point won’t work out well.

MARYLAND (7-5, 5-3 ACC)

W: Miami, Temple, Towson, Boston College, Virginia, at Wake Forest, at N.C. State
L: West Virginia, at Georgia Tech, Clemson, at Florida State, vs. Notre Dame

Positive swing: Clemson. For all the same reasons just listed in the Clemson section. Trying to pick between Team Unpredictability (Clemson) and Team Mystery (Maryland) before a game is played isn’t easy.

Negative swing: Miami. Let’s not kid ourselves: The perception of Maryland will be based heavily on how the Terps fare against the suspension-riddled Hurricanes on Monday. Also not to be discounted —- even down some players, Miami is still talented.

N.C. STATE (8-4, 4-4 ACC)

W: Liberty, at Wake Forest, South Alabama, at Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Central Michigan, North Carolina, Clemson
L: at Virginia, at Florida State, at Boston College, Maryland

Positive swing: Maryland. The Wolfpack will have a decent shot at running the table at home this season. Still, they’ve had their share of problems with Maryland in recent years (1-4 since 2006). The good news for the Wuffies? Torrey Smith won’t catch four touchdowns against them this time around.

Negative swing: at Wake Forest. An odd choice, maybe, since Wake Forest still hasn’t proven it can stop anyone. But the Deacons did score against Syracuse when Tanner Price was in the game on Thursday. If Price can’t go next week, consider the Georgia Tech game the negative swing game.


W: Northwestern, at Central Florida, Duke, Massachusetts, Wake Forest, N.C. State
L: at Clemson, at Virginia Tech, at Maryland, Florida State, at Notre Dame, at Miami

Positive swing: at Miami. It’s anyone’s guess how beleaguered the Hurricanes will be at that point. But Boston College faces an absolutely brutal stretch in the six games preceding its regular season finale itself.

Negative swing: Northwestern. It’s one of the country’s most interesting opening week games, and it could go either way. Injuries to star players on both sides provide compelling storylines —- and reasons it is really too close to call.

WAKE FOREST (4-8, 1-7 ACC)

W: at Syracuse (oops), Gardner-Webb, at Duke, Vanderbilt
L: N.C. State, at Boston College, Florida State, Virginia Tech, at North Carolina, Notre Dame, at Clemson, Maryland

Positive swing: Maryland. The Demon Deacons will be better by season’s end than they are now, particularly on defense. Maryland has lost its last two trips to the Dash and could be a .500ish bunch. The possibility of an upset exists.

Negative swing: at Duke. One of these years, the Blue Devils will finally beat Wake again. Maybe it’ll be this year.



W: Appalachian State, at East Carolina, Arkansas State, at Marshall, Clemson, Miami, at Wake Forest, Boston College, at Duke, North Carolina, at Virginia
L: at Georgia Tech

Positive swing: at Georgia Tech. By default.

Negative swing: Clemson. Clemsonliness could strike at any time and any place. Even in Blacksburg. The Miami game could also be tricky.


W: Western Carolina, at Middle Tennessee, Kansas, North Carolina, Maryland, at Virginia, Virginia Tech, at Duke
L: at N.C. State, at Miami, Clemson, Georgia

Positive swing: Georgia. If things go sour for the Bulldogs, there will be endless speculation about the future of coach Mark Richt. That could be a great opportunity for the Yellow Jackets to topple their in-state rival.

Negative swing: Virginia Tech. The Hokies could be unbeaten heading into that Nov. 10 game in Atlanta. It certainly isn’t one on paper the Jackets should win.


W: James Madison, Rutgers, Virginia, at East Carolina, Louisville, Miami, Wake Forest, Duke
L: at Georgia Tech, at Clemson, at N.C. State, at Virginia Tech

Positive swing: at Clemson. Again, because you never know which Clemson team will materialize. If Carolina is going to win a game outside the state lines, this is the most likely.

Negative swing: Miami. The Tar Heels could be bowl-eligible by mid-October, but by the time the Hurricanes visit Chapel Hill, they will have most of their suspended players back.

MIAMI (7-5, 4-4 ACC)

W: Kansas State, Bethune-Cookman, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Duke, at South Florida, Boston College
L: at Maryland, Ohio State, at Virginia Tech, at North Carolina, at Florida State

Positive swing: at Maryland. Nothing would make the Canes feel better about themselves than winning their opener despite dealing with an NCAA investigation for the last three weeks of the preseason. It should be a close game.

Negative swing: at South Florida. Beware the Bulls, who have a real shot to make a run at the Big East title this fall.

VIRGINIA (5-7, 1-7 ACC)

W: William & Mary, at Indiana, Southern Mississippi, Idaho, N.C. State
L: at North Carolina, Georgia Tech, at Miami, at Maryland, Duke, at Florida State, Virginia Tech

Positive swing: Duke. If Virginia finally snaps an 0-for-November streak dating back to 2007, it will probably come at home against the Blue Devils.

Negative swing: Southern Mississippi. The N.C. State game could work here, too, but the visit from the Golden Eagles could be the most pivotal game on the Cavaliers’ schedule. Bowl eligibility will be a lot easier to attain if Virginia can knock off one of the Conference USA favorites.

DUKE (4-8, 1-7 ACC)

W: Richmond, Tulane, at Florida International, at Virginia
L: Stanford, at Boston College, Florida State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, at Miami, Georgia Tech, at North Carolina

Positive swing: Wake Forest. Win that game, and there’s a very real chance Duke will both avoid a three-game losing streak at any point all season and harbor bowl hopes until the season finale.

Negative swing: at Virginia. The last current ACC team to lose four straight to Duke was Georgia Tech (1980-83). The Cavaliers won’t want that to change as they chase bowl eligibility.

—- Patrick Stevens