- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

A look at things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference during Week 8 of the season:

GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 5 Notre Dame. This sort-of ACC game - the Fighting Irish are league members for all other sports except football - figures to be the Seminoles’ biggest on-the-field obstacle to another undefeated season. This matchup with serious playoff implications marks Notre Dame’s first true road game this year and matches two playmaking quarterbacks in the Irish’s Everett Golson and Heisman winner Jameis Winston of Florida State. “These are the kind of teams that we want to challenge ourselves against,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.

BEST MATCHUP: Duke offense vs. Virginia defense. The team that wins the turnover battle is likely to claim the early edge in this matchup of Coastal Division contenders. The Blue Devils have committed the fewest turnovers in the ACC, giving it away just five times in six games. No league team is better at taking the ball away than the Cavaliers, who have forced 19 turnovers.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: They’re playing some defense in the ACC. Half the 14-team league is ranked among the nation’s top 27 total defenses - and league newcomer Louisville boasts the best ‘D’ in the Bowl Subdivision, allowing about 230 total yards per game.

LONG SHOT: Perhaps this is Wake Forest’s week to give new coach Dave Clawson his first ACC victory. The Demon Deacons are 5-point underdogs to Syracuse but their defense - the strength of the team - has been solid and will face an Orange freshman (A.J. Long) making his first start. Wake Forest, which is coming off a week off and has the worst rushing offense in the Bowl Subdivision, has to find a way to run against a Syracuse defense that ranks 12th in the ACC. ” If there’s any chance that this team becomes a bowl team … this one we’ve both got to get,” Clawson said.

PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Cole Stoudt is back under center for No. 24 Clemson. He lost his job to freshman DeShaun Watson but came off the bench last week when Watson broke his finger, then led the Tigers past Louisville and into the national rankings. With Watson out for about a month, Clemson is Stoudt’s team again. “We have all the confidence in the world in Cole Stoudt,” coach Dabo Swinney said.


Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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