Hokies at Boston College
It's Week 8 in the ACC and its the first of two weeks this season that has six conference games. We won't see another full slate of conference action until Week 13 (Nov. 22). The Hokies travel to Boston College in a game that is vitally important to both teams.
A win by the Hokies keeps them unbeaten in conference play and makes it tougher for Georgia Tech or North Carolina to win the Coastal. The Hokies have to go at least 2-2 over their next four games to win the conference in my opinion, which would mean winning at least one game on the road.
GT and UNC have yet to play each other, meaning one at least one of the them will have two losses in conference. Odds are neither team will win out, meaning the Hokies will win the division if they go 6-2 in conference and hold the tiebreaker over both the Jackets and Heels.
Therefore, the Hokies need to hold serve and home and take on of their next three road games to win the division and play for the ACC title in Tampa in December. At this point, I would be tempted to rank all three road games and being tougher to win than the three home games. This is because we have no idea what Maryland team will show up to Blacksburg on Nov. 6. All three road games (BC, FSU and Miami) will be tough tasks for the Hokies.
Tech will face a much improved and motivated BC team in Chestnut Hill this weekend. The Eagles already have a loss in conference to Coastal member Georgia Tech and can't afford to fall to 1-2. They still have to face Clemson, FSU and Wake. While losing to the Hokies won't eliminate them from Atlantic contention, it would put them behind the 8-ball.
Elsewhere in the ACC
Florida State at NC State
The Pack are improving each week and Russell Wilson looks like a solid QB. I would take the Noles without question if this wasn't a night game in Raleigh. The crowd will be fired up and give the Pack an advantage. They could pull the upset because FSU doesn't play well on Thursday.
The Pack can't have any delusions of winning the division, but this is a very winnable game for them. FSU needs a win to stay in the race for the Atlantic. It can't afford to slip under the lights in Raleigh.
Georgia Tech at Clemson
Usually just when you think Tommy Bowden's done, he pulls out a game like this. However, Clemson has too many injuries and is in too much of a tailspin to compete in this game.
This game looks completely different than it did at the beginning of the year. Few people outside of Atlanta would have given GT a chance in this one in August. Fast forward to October and now few people outside of South Carolina would give Clemson a chance against the GT defense and a more efficient Jacket offense, assuming either Nesbitt or Shaw is healthy.
Wake Forest at Maryland
Maryland typically plays well at home against teams that are perceived to have the inside edge on winning the Atlantic. The Terps took down BC last season. Wake didn't look good against Clemson, even in victory.
We're going to have to say this with every Maryland game from here on, but this one just depends on which Maryland team shows up. A win for the Terps puts them back in the conversation in the Atlantic. A loss makes it very difficult for them to have a shot at Tampa.
Miami at Duke
If Miami wants to have any outside shot of winning the Coastal, it needs to win on the road against the Devils. If Duke wants to have any outside shot of making a bowl, it needs to beat Miami in an odd year where it seems possible.
North Carolina at Virginia
Both teams get back into ACC action in a rivalry game not many care about and even fewer know is a rivalry. UNC should roll, but Virginia looks better without Peter Lalich as a distraction. The Hoos' running game is finally coming along, which makes them dangerous. They have two of the better running backs in the league in Peerman and Simpson and both are finally showing what they are capable of.