Rivalry Week is here in college football and some of the best in the country are in the ACC.
Florida State and Florida face off on Black Friday, as does North Carolina and North Carolina State. North Carolina has already secured a spot in the ACC Championship, but their college football playoff hopes have been dashed after the loss to Georgia Tech. NC State has faltered after losing back-to-back but hopes to pull off the upset.
Elsewhere in the conference, Clemson is hoping to keep their playoff hopes alive against red-hot South Carolina, Miami is hoping to qualify for the Bowl against Pitt, and Duke and Wake Forest are looking to finish 8-4.
Note: My official Georgia Tech vs. Georgia prediction comes tomorrow.
So who’s winning in the ACC this week?
NC State in North Carolina (-6.5)
What a punch in the gut last week was for North Carolina. The Tar Heels extended a 17-point lead over Georgia Tech and third-string quarterback Zach Gibson, and any long playoff hope the Tar Heels had has gone up in smoke.
Now North Carolina needs to recover and face off against an NC State team that has lost to Boston College and Louisville in back-to-back games. The Wolfpack offense is struggling right now and I think UNC quarterback Drake Maye has a bounce back game and takes the win at home.
Final Score: North Carolina 35, NC State 27
Florida in the state of Florida (-9.5)
Clemson may be the highest-ranked team in the ACC, but Florida State could be the team currently playing the best football in the conference. The Seminole offense is on all cylinders and they should be able to score at will on the Gators’ defense.
Florida State’s defense is also playing well, but they haven’t seen the best attacks lately. Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson can cause problems for Florida State, but I have faith in FSU getting more stops than Florida.
Expect a close game early as this is a rivalry game, but Tallahassee will rock and Florida State will win comfortably.
Final standings: State of Florida 38th, Florida 21st
South Carolina at Clemson (-14.5)
South Carolina struggled to score before last week’s shocking 63-38 win over Tennessee. Spencer Rattler threw for six touchdowns and the Gamecocks knocked the Volunteers out of the playoff picture. Now they face off against a fierce Clemson defense that just kept Miami under 100 yards.
Clemson should be on full alert after what South Carolina pulled through this past weekend. The Gamecock offense hadn’t played well all season before its blast last week, but it’s another beast to face this Tiger’s front seven.
I think Clemson will play a full game and go 11-1 to the ACC championship game.
Final Score: Clemson 30, South Carolina 17
Louisville near Kentucky (-3)
Louisville hopes to end the season 8-4, but it won’t be easy against their rivals. The Wildcats played so hard against Georgia this season, and defense is why.
This will likely be a low-scoring game and it’s hard to trust either offense. Kentucky quarterback Will Levis is a favorite in NFL mock drafts, but he didn’t have the season some thought he would. I like it when Louisville hits the streets and wins this game.
Final score: Louisville 21, Kentucky 17
Wake Forest (-3.5) vs. Duke
Wake Forest ended their losing streak against Syracuse last week and ended the season with an 8-4 win over Duke. After a 6-1 start, it was a disappointing end to the season for the Demon Deacons, but they have a chance to finish strong.
A win over Wake Forest would be a great exclamation point for Duke’s season. The Blue Devils were picked to reach bottom of the division this season but have been a great story under first-year head coach Mike Elko.
I like Wake Forest and their offense to hit the streets this week and get a win, but this is going to be a competitive game.
Final result: Wake Forest 31, Duke 28
Syracuse (-10.5) at Boston College
Not long ago, Syracuse went into a game against Clemson 6-0 and was ranked in the top 15 in the country. The Orange are now 6-5 and need a win this weekend against Boston College, just blown away by Notre Dame.
The Eagles got upset about NC State a few weeks ago, but I think Syracuse will take the opportunity to get their seventh win of the season and beat Boston College on the road.
Bottom line: Syracuse 27, Boston College 13
Pittsburgh (-6.5) in Miami
Miami needs this win to qualify for the Bowl, but I’m wondering if that’s as motivating as it should be for Miami. The Hurricanes are going through a major roster change this offseason and players are already hitting the portal. Quarterback position is a question mark and offense was terrible against Clemson last week.
Pitt’s defensive line can cause problems for Miami, as can the game in progress. Miami’s defense is up and down and struggling with tackling. There’s just no real reason to trust Miami to pull this off this weekend. Pitt wins a tight and ugly game to finish Miami 5-7 and the Panthers 8-4.
Bottom line: Pitt 24, Miami 10
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