Conferences in the Crosshairs: ACC, Pac-12 Picks

Ken Cross

November 08, 2017 at 1:34 pm.

Nov 4, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) throws a pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 4, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier (12) throws a pass against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The scene in Miami was electric on Saturday night as the Hurricanes dispatched Virginia Tech, 28-10, at Hard Rock Stadium. Now as the ‘Canes have the inside shot to win the ACC Coastal, they can take a step solidly into the national championship picture with a win over Notre Dame on Saturday night.

Meanwhile in the Pac-12, the Washington Huskies are going about business in shredding the opposition. The key is stay the course, win the Pac-12 title game, and then wait and see. The waiting game shouldn’t be an issue with a Pac-12 team with a 12-1 record, but it will be. Again, there are stipulations added to West coast teams that do not seem to fit the rest of the nation.

Stay tuned.


Notre Dame at Miami – Mark Richt has “The U” ahead of schedule and now that Miami played its best game of the season against Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes must turn around and play at an even higher level against the Irish, who are trending upward. The quarterback battle between Miami’s Malik Rosier and Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush could be key. Defensively, Wimbush must be accounted for in the pass and run. Rosier threw two picks against Virginia Tech, but he has a cool that allows him to put those turnovers behind him and move forward immediately. It’s the speed of the Hurricanes vs. the Irish physicality. Hard Rock Stadium will have the aura and atmosphere that it had this past Saturday.
Hurricanes (+3) 24, Irish 21.

Florida State at Clemson – When 3-5 Florida State calls on the Tigers, the pride of the Seminoles’ football program will be at stake. At the beginning of the season, this was a perceived matchup of two Top 5 teams and it was supposedly going to decide a potential spot in the national semifinals. Now, all the Seminoles can hope for is a monumental upset which could help place them in a minor bowl – should they choose to go. The Tigers and Kelly Bryant seem to be back in form after the 38-31 over NC State. Once Clemson took the lead, it answered every Wolfpack challenge and took a huge road win.
Tigers (-17 1/2) 31, Seminoles 7.

Virginia at Louisville – Lamar Jackson is still No. 1 in the nation in total offense at 426 yards per game. It seems all the more ridiculous that he probably will not even receive an invitation to New York at the Heisman Trophy ceremonies. He is on target to surpass all of last season’s totals as Louisville is No. 3 in the nation in total yards as a unit at 549 per game. Virginia offensively should probably be able to score on the Cardinals as Kurt Benkert has been a steady and efficient quarterback and the Cards’ pass defense is 115th in the nation. Louisville wideouts Seth Dawkins and Dez Fitzpatrick have a little more on the outside at Papa John’s Stadium.
Cardinals 37, Cavaliers (+9) 30.

NC State at Boston College – So goes the story of the Wolfpack. They were in position two weeks ago to make a run at the BCS National Championship, but lost at Notre Dame and at home to Clemson. The Tigers showed how to attack the Wolfpack defense. Run straight at them and use your dual-threat quarterback in Kellen Bryant. Anthony Brown brings many of the same options to the table as the State defense has had trouble with dual-threat signal-callers. In addition, BC only gives up 98 yards passing per game, second in the nation to Alabama.
Eagles (+3) 21, Wolfpack 17.

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech – Both teams are in rebound mode as the Jackets lost to Virginia in addition to the Hokies’ loss at Miami. Georgia Tech has proven to be a hard luck team with losses of one point to Tennessee and Miami, while that four-point loss to Virginia comes after being generally dominated at Clemson. The Hokies have more trouble at home against the Yellow Jackets than in Atlanta as they are 5-1 at Bobby Dodd Field, losing 30-20 in Blacksburg last season and not having lost back-to-back games vs. Georgia Tech since 2004. Defensively, that lack of a passing game shows again as Virginia Tech will load up on the line and stop the Yellow Jackets’ running game, just enough.
Fightin’ Gobblers (-1 1/2) 20, Yellow Jackets 16.

Wake Forest at Syracuse – The Orange will look to tighten up a run defense that gave up 199 yards on 22 carries to Seminoles’ freshman running back Cam Akers. This is where Wake Forest can take home a road win. Quarterback John Wofford has been more efficient and productive as the season has gone forward. He rallied the Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Saturday as they trailed by 21 early before dropping a 48-37 decision. He averages 298 total yards per game with 17 touchdown passes against only three interceptions.
Demon Deacons (+2 1/2) 31, Orange 20.

North Carolina at Pitt – The Tar Heels are playing out the string at 1-8 and face an improving Pittsburgh team that is young and talented. Panthers’ running back Darrin Hall has been hot in Pittsburgh’s last two wins. He had 49 carries for 365 yards and four touchdowns in wins over Duke and Virginia.
Panthers (-8 1/2) 38, Tar Heels 17.


Washington at Stanford – The Cardinal lost a tough decision at Washington State and now host a Huskies team that is playing with urgency as they are being overlooked for the BCS national playoffs. Stanford needs a healthy Bryce Love against this stout Washington defense. Love missed the win over Oregon State and then had only 69 yards on 16 carries in the loss to the Cougars. Washington’s Dante Pettis took home his ninth punt return for touchdown, an NCAA record, as the Huskies nailed Oregon 38-3 last week.
Huskies (-7) 33, Cardinal 16.

USC at Colorado – The Trojans’ offense has exploded in the last two weeks with 97 combined points in wins over Arizona State and Arizona. Sam Darnold has completed 39 of 61 passes for 577 yards and five touchdowns. Ronald Jones has 13 touchdowns this season and averages 7.2 yards per carry. He will dissect a struggling Buffs’ run defense and make things even easier for Darnold.
Trojans (-10 1/2) 35, Buffaloes 17.

Washington State at Utah – This could be a monumental physical battle as the Cougars wander out of the Palouse and into the Wasatch Range where Utah steamrolled UCLA, 48-17. Tyler Huntley threw four touchdown passes, but this is a UCLA defense that has struggled all season and shows no designs of rebounding down the stretch. Alex Grinch has overseen a total defensive overhaul at Washington State and the Cougars’ ability to match physicality will be the difference.
Cougars (-1 1/2) 28, Utes 24.

Arizona State at UCLA – Josh Rosen’s status will make a huge difference, of course, for the Bruins. The same for Darren Andrews, the top Bruins wideout who went out of Friday night’s game with an injury. Arizona State has shown signs of both offense and defense, but has gotten no consistency. This is must-see TV because of the potential for both teams to score. Assuming Rosen is out, the Sun Devils should roll against the porous Bruins defensive unit.
Sun Devils (even) 34, Bruins 24.

Oregon State at Arizona – The Wildcats should be able to navigate the struggling Beavers defense with ease. Even with the loss to USC and the potential for the team to be down emotionally, Khalil Tate is the type of personality and electric quarterback who can motivate this team through those rigors. Arizona gives up 470 yards per game, but that shouldn’t even be a factor as the Beavers play out the string.
Wildcats (-20) 47, Beavers 26.

Straight Up
Last week – 7-4
Overall – 87-35

Vs. the Spread
Last week – 7-4
Overall – 61-56

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