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ACC Rundown: Unbeatens Collide in Death Valley

Things don’t get much easier for Syracuse. A week after defeating North Carolina State, the Orange hit the road to face perennial ACC powerhouse Clemson in the game of the week in the conference.

This is just the second road game for the Orange while Clemson is 3-0 at home.

Sean Tucker #34 of the Syracuse Orange runs the ball during the third quarter against the North Carolina State Wolfpack
Bennett - Getty Images - AFP

The schedule begins with a Virginia-Georgia Tech matchup on Thursday. Miami and Pittsburgh look to remain within a game of first-place North Carolina in the ACC Coastal Division.

Syracuse made the biggest jump in the national polls, moving up four spots to No. 14 in both the Associated Press and American Football Coaches Association polls.

According to the college football betting lines, Clemson (-500) remains the heavy favorite in the college football odds to win the ACC title followed by North Carolina (+650), Syracuse (+1600) and Miami (+2800).

Clemson (+1200) is fourth in the odds to win the national title according to the sportsbook.

Let’s check the latest NCAAF picks, stats, injury reports, and NCAAF predictions. We’ve plenty of NCAAF expert picks for you to consider.

Game of the Week

Syracuse Orange vs Clemson Tigers

  • Game, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 22, Noon ET (ABC)
  • Line: Clemson -13½

Syracuse is the surprise team in the ACC. It started with a 24-point win over Louisville in the season opener. After narrow wins over Purdue and Virginia, the Orange took down North Carolina State to set up this huge showdown with a Clemson team favored to win the ACC title.

Some skeptics might point to the fact that NC State didn’t have starting quarterback Devin Leary, but that was out of the hands of the Orange. Syracuse limited North Carolina State to 255 yards of total offense in the 24-9 victory.

Quarterbacks Garrett Shrader of Syracuse and DJ Uiagalelei of Clemson have made remarkable strides this season.

Shrader is third in the ACC in total offense with Uiagalelei ranking fourth. They weren’t in the top 10 a season ago.

It will be interesting to see the two top rushing defenses in the conference dealing with Syracuse’s Sean Tucker and Will Shipley of Clemson, who rank second and fifth, respectively, in the ACC in rushing yards per game. Shipley had 238 all-purpose yards in last week’s win over Florida State.

The Tigers have won eight of the last nine games against the Orange, but Syracuse has covered in six of those matchups.

Other Games to Watch

Virginia Cavaliers vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

  • Date, time (TV): Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Line: Georgia Tech -3

The first team to 20 wins?

Virginia and Georgia Tech are at the bottom of the ACC in scoring offense. The Cavaliers average 17.8 points with the Yellow Jackets coming in at 17.3.

They rank 13th and 14th in offensive plays of 20 yards or longer. The teams scored touchdowns on just 17 of 41 trips to the red zone.

It has been a struggle for both quarterbacks. Brennan Armstrong has five TD passes and seven interceptions while Jeff Sims averages the fewest passing yards per game than any other starting QB in the ACC.

Virginia has won three of the last four games in the series and has covered against the college football odds in each of those victories.

Duke Blue Devils vs Miami Hurricanes

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 22, 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3)
  • Line: Miami -9

After a slow start, Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke is starting to resemble the player who took the ACC by storm a season ago. He has thrown for 841 yards with five touchdowns and one interception over the last two games.

Duke is second in the ACC in rushing offense with Riley Leonard leading four Blue Devils with more than 250 rushing yards.

Duke has given up more yards than any other ACC team except for North Carolina.

Duke is tied for second for the most takeaways in the ACC and a conference-best 10 fumble recoveries.

Miami’s Corey Flagg leads the ACC with 9.5 tackles for loss.

Miami has won the last two games against Duke by a combined score of 95-10.

Boston College Eagles vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 22, 3:30 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
  • Line: Wake Forest -20

The quarterback matchup is worth watching even if this game has the potential to be the least competitive of this week’s ACC games.

Despite helping Wake Forest reach the ACC title game a season ago, quarterback Sam Hartman is somehow flying under the radar this season. All he has done is post the second-highest passer rating in the conference. Hartman has 16 TD passes and only two interceptions.

Boston College’s Phil Jurkovec is being touted as a top quarterback prospect for the upcoming NFL Draft. However, he is 10th in the ACC in passing efficiency. He looks for Zay Flowers, the ACC leader with 42 receptions and 556 receiving yards, early and often.

Wake Forest and Boston College are ninth and 10th in the ACC in yards per play allowed. Perhaps that will help a BC offense that is last in the conference with 305.8 yards per game.

Something to consider for those who bet online: The road team has won each of the last seven games in the series. Ten of the last 11 games between the teams finished under the total.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs Louisville Cardinals

    • Date, time (TV): Saturday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m. ET (ACC Network)
  • Line: Louisville -2½

Pittsburgh’s offense looks much different with quarterback Kenny Pickett in the NFL and receiver Jordan Addison now at USC. Running back Israel Abanikanda leads the ACC with 830 rushing yards and 889 yards from scrimmage.

Quarterbacks Kedon Slovis of Pittsburgh and Malik Cunningham of Louisville have combined for just eight TD passes. Cunningham has run for nine touchdowns for Louisville (3-3, 1-3).

Pittsburgh has won six of the last seven games against Louisville. Six of the last eight games in the series finished under the college football betting lines total.

The line has moved from -1 to – 2½ in favor of the host Cardinals.

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