The ACC gets the first of four straight Thursday night spotlights tonight as Clemson visits Wake Forest.
That means there can’t be a rerun of last week and delay the appearance of the weekly picks until Friday.
Getting to those predictions (all games Saturday unless otherwise noted) …
* Clemson at Wake Forest (Thursday, 7:30, ESPN): Tigers 31-17. Clemson is a stunningly bad 1-9 in ESPN-televised Thursday night games. Who’d have guessed? In any case, the Tigers might not be at their best on a short week, but Clemsonliness should not entirely set in against a Wake Forest offense that has not exactly moved the needle in recent weeks. Wideout Michael Campanaro‘s return from a broken hand will help the Demon Deacons.
* N.C. State at North Carolina (12:30, ACC Network): Wolfpack 31-28. It would be such an N.C. State thing to follow up its first division road victory since 2005 with its first loss to North Carolina since 2006. A victory would give the Wolfpack its first six-game winning streak over the Tar Heels.
* Maryland at Boston College (1, ESPN3): Terrapins 27-17. Boston College is utterly unable to stop the run and has yet to defeat a major-college opponent this season. Even with its quarterback injuries, this is a game Maryland can win —- and it probably needs it for its bowl hopes with a brutal November slate still to come.
* Brigham Young at Georgia Tech (3, CSN): Yellow Jackets 20-17. The Cougars bring a strong defense and a less-than-stellar offense to Atlanta. That makes this a strength-vs.-strength and weakness-vs.-weakness game all around. A win gets Georgia Tech back to .500, and it might need to with a November of Maryland, North Carolina, Duke and Georgia still to come.
* Duke at Florida State (3:30, ESPNU): Seminoles 45-21. Duke’s a nice story. Florida State’s the best team in the ACC and has outscored opponents 276-47 in five home games.
* Navy at East Carolina (3:30, Fox College Sports): Midshipmen 35-31. It’s easy to look at East Carolina and see a winning record (5-3) and a raucous home-field advantage. There’s no denying the rowdiness of the fans in Greenville, but the Pirates’ four victories over Conference USA foes are teams with a combined record of 4-25. Navy is unlikely to uncork a 76-point showing like its last trip to East Carolina, but it is in line to move within a victory of bowl eligibility.
Week 8 record: 6-1 (5-1 conference)
Overall record: 56-16 (17-8 conference)
ACC record: 51-14 (17-8 conference)
Preseason ACC record: 47-18 (14-11 conference)
Navy record: 5-2
Preseason Week 9 picks changed: Maryland-Boston College
—- Patrick Stevens