In the Crosshairs: ACC, Pac-12 Week 12 Picks

Ken Cross

November 14, 2018 at 10:41 am.

Oct 20, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange tight end Ravian Pierce (center) celebrates his game winning touchdown catch with teammates in overtime against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Carrier Dome. Photo Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 20, 2018; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange tight end Ravian Pierce (center) celebrates his game winning touchdown catch with teammates in overtime against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Carrier Dome. Photo Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Atlantic Coast Conference

Syracuse vs. No. 3 Notre Dame (Yankee Stadium) – Syracuse could be a thorn in the side of Notre Dame with its up-tempo, quick strike offense, which is led dual-threat quarterback Eric Dungey, one of America’s top playmakers. However, the Orange have had tremendous trouble stopping the run and the Irish will be happy to oblige with Dexter Williams, who averages 6.8 yards per carry and has 10 touchdowns on the season.

Fighting Irish 38, Orange 20

Virginia @ Georgia Tech –  It will be interesting to see how the Cavaliers reassert themselves after last week’s loss to Pitt which took them out of the Coastal Division driver’s seat. The Yellow Jackets have won three in a row and five of their last six game as the offense has started to click behind TaQuon Marshall.

Yellow Jackets 27, Cavaliers 20

Miami @ Virginia Tech – No one expected the Hurricanes to be at 5-5 and the Hokies to check in at 4-5 when the season began. The two teams are opposites in their problems as Miami cannot score and find any efficiency on offense, while Virginia Tech has problems defensively, especially with physical offenses as Pitt and Boston College have shown in the last two weeks.  This one feels like a toss-up so stay with the home team.

Hokies 19, Hurricanes 17

Pitt @Wake Forest – The Panthers have everything in front of them as wins over the Demon Deacons and Miami next week would put the squad in its first ever ACC Championship Game.  Pittsburgh has managed to do this despite the lack of a passing game, but Qadree Ollison and Darrin Hall have spearheaded a rushing attack that is 10th in the nation and churns out 256 yards per game. The Deacons’ defense is 120th out of the 130 FBS teams which is a precursor for the Panthers success.

Panthers 34, Demon Deacons 17

NC State @ Louisville – The Wolfpack have to be smarting after last week’s 27-23 loss to the Demon Deacons gave their potential bowl future a major hit. Now comes Louisville as Cardinals Athletic Director Vince Tyre dismissed Bobby Petrino amidst a treacherous 2-8 season that has seen them show no signs of life. Look for the ‘Pack to hit in the passing game early and often behind Ryan Finlay and his go-to receiver Kelvin Harmon, who gets 107 receiving yards per game.

Wolfpack 56, Cardinals 17

Boston College @ Florida State – So many problems for coach Willie Taggert in Year One as handling the BC ground game will add to the misery. The Eagles were stopped against Clemson last week and are looking to reassert themselves, get to nine wins and receive a really good bowl bid.  The Eagles have turned opponents over 23 times on the season.

Eagles 33, Seminoles 16

Pac-12 Conference

Arizona @ Washington State – Mike Leach and the Cougars are up to No. 8 this week and need to win out while getting some help to overcome Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff rankings.  At 9-1, this has been an improbable season once again as ‘The Pirate’ just plugs quarterbacks like Gardner Minshew into his system and their careers take off.  Arizona’s offense has taken off the last two weeks with 42 and 44 points against Oregon and Colorado. The Cougs are quietly No. 20 in the nation in total defense, as they allow only 324 yards per game.

Cougars 42, Wildcats 20

Stanford @ Cal – Stanford has never found any offense this season and that is a problem against Justin Wilcox and his Cal Bears defense which has been a key in resurrecting the program. Cal looks like a winner. The Bears have lost 23 turnovers this season and if they can win the turnover battle, they knock off Stanford.

Bears 20, Cardinal 13

Arizona State @ Oregon – A win this week over the Ducks, then victory in the rivalry game next week over Arizona and the Sun Devils will go to their first Pac-12 Championship Game in coach Herman Edwards’ first season. ASU has seen the offense evolve with the steady play of Eno Benjamin who has 1,295 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Look for ball control out of the Sun Devils and a close win.

Sun Devils 30, Ducks 28

Utah @ Colorado – The usually tough Utes defense has had trouble with athletic offenses that have lots of facets this season. Colorado has that with Steven Montez at quarterback, Travon McMillan as the primary rusher and Laviska Shenault at wide out. The Buffaloes have lost five in a row after winning their first five as their defense has been in a flux. This week will be different despite rumors that Coach Mike McIntyre is out at season’s end.

Buffaloes 24, Utes 20

USC @ UCLA – Never has a Crosstown Shootout mattered so little with the 5-5 Trojans and the 2-8 Bruins in various stages of rebuild. Clay Helton has been rumored to be on the way out despite having to meld so many freshmen and first-year players into the USC scheme. Chip Kelly has gotten the Bruins to come around and compete after an 0-5 start. The Trojans have better players and more depth which will be seen on Saturday.

Trojans 28, Bruins 17

Oregon State @ Washington – Jake Browning has struggled all year at quarterback for the Huskies with only 13 touchdown passes against eight interceptions. He will be okay against an Oregon State squad who has been in a season long rebuild which is much more pronounced than the Trojans or Bruins.

Huskies 34, Beavers 7