North Carolina State Wolfpack (4-1, 0-1 ACC) at Virginia Tech Hokies (2-3, 0-1 ACC)
Friday, October 9, 8 PM ET
Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
Line: VA Tech -1.5
Welcome to the ACC Season
The ACC stretch did not start off as the NC State Wolfpack had hoped it would. They were useless on first down, ineffective at the run (which has been their bread and butter), and Jacoby Brissett got out-dueled at quarterback by Louisville’s Lamar Jackson.
The lack of early season competition caught up with NC State as a tested Louisville team came into Raleigh and didn’t seem to have a care in the world. As soon as Jackson broke his 68-yard rushing touchdown, it looked like the Pack were in for a long afternoon.
That long afternoon culminated in a 20-13 loss in front of 56,417 fans who were expecting more from a team that has steamrolled their opponents so far.
I’ve written enough on the state of State’s non-conference schedule, so I’m done with that. I’ve said enough about Shadrach Thornton, who like the recently dismissed D’haquille Williams (Auburn), has too much talent to waste it on these ridiculous issues. The schools had no choice but to discipline them, and these two young men paid the harshest penalty: they don’t play college football anymore.
Off the field issues aside, it’s time for the Wolfpack or Hokies to step it up.
VA Tech and NC State Looking For a Win
Luckily for State, there are some teams that are struggling worse than them in the ACC. Case in point: this Friday night’s matchup in Blacksburg.
I initially thought Virginia Tech might be fired up, sitting at 4-1 or 5-0 if they could pull a huge upset in the opener vs. Ohio State.
Yet, here come the Wolfpack and Hokies into Lane Stadium – both winless in conference play.
East Carolina and Pittsburgh took out VA Tech in the last two weeks to drop them to 2-3 overall. Pitt did this without their best player, as James Conner was lost to a knee injury in the opening game. Pitt’s defense came to play, and limited the Hokies to 100 total yards on the day.
If State can bounce back, and take the Louisville loss to heart, like personally on a Kill Bill revenge level, then they have a chance to go in and steal one from a reeling team.
VA Tech is 1-2 at home, with the one win against Furman. Though Furman did go down to UCF and take one from an FBS foe, I’ll bet the folks in Blacksburg are licking their chops to get a win against a team from the Power Five.
NC State has lost three straight to the Hokies dating back a decade. They played in back-to-back seasons in 2009 and 2010, with VA Tech winning 38-10 and 41-30. State got VA Tech in a stretch of double-digit win seasons back then though. The Hokies have been grounded in the past few seasons, with NC State being on the uptick in the last year.
If NC State can emerge the victor in this battle of attrition, then they can keep those high hopes in tact, and be right back in the thick of things in ACC play. VA Tech needs to avoid its fourth loss of the young season as Miami (FL), Duke, and Boston College are next before they even get a bye. If they drop this one to State, the Hokies might be lucky to be bowl eligible by season’s end.
Top Heavy ACC
We’re going to have to stick the ACC on the side of a milk carton very soon if someone doesn’t help Clemson and Florida State out a little.
The Mountain West, MAC, and American each have half the amount of teams ranked that the ACC does. I realize that is only one apiece, but Houston is sneaking up on a ranking as well, and have already beaten Louisville. Cincinnati took out Miami (FL), so the AAC isn’t backing down to anyone right now. They’ve got four unbeaten teams and have wins against ACC and B1G opponents.
Duke and North Carolina are now the only two teams in the “others receiving votes” section of the national polls. Clemson moved up in some folks’ opinions by outlasting Notre Dame in Death Valley on Saturday night. ESPN College GameDay braved the southeast, as torrential rain ripped through the state, causing massive damage and loss of life. We can try and distract ourselves with some pigskin, but even that is getting thrown into upheaval as South Carolina vs. LSU has been moved to Baton Rouge this weekend.
This week is all ACC on ACC action except for two games. Duke travels to West Point to take on Army, while Syracuse heads down to play South Florida. With top dogs Clemson and Florida State hosting key Coastal Division rivals in Georgia Tech and Miami (FL), respectively, the top of the ACC has a chance to remain in the national spotlight. Duke and Syracuse can help the conference out as well if they can go on the road and keep themselves at one loss.