3 to watch
1. Georgia Tech at No. 18 UNC, 12:30 p.m. (WRAL): These two have been known to put up a few points when they get together. Last year’s 38-31 UNC win in Atlanta propelled the Tar Heels to the division title.
2. No. 23 Virginia Tech at Duke, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU): The depleted Blue Devils could help UNC out with a home win over the division-leading Hokies. Duke, winless in league play, only has this game and Thursday’s with UNC left on its home schedule.
3. No. 19 Florida State at N.C. State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU) : The Seminoles (5-3) are coming off a tough, emotional loss to Clemson. N.C. State (4-4) is still trying to recover from its tough, emotional loss to Clemson on Oct. 15.
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▪ UNC, 4-1 in the ACC, needs some help to catch Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division race. The Tar Heels should be able to handle a Georgia Tech team, which is scoring less than 24 points per ACC game, at home on Saturday.
The problem is Virginia Tech, also 4-1 in league play, needs to lose another conference game for Carolina to pass them. The Hokies are in Durham on Saturday and then have home games with Georgia Tech (2-3) and Virginia (1-3).
One thing to keep an eye on with the Heels, who opened at No. 21 in the CFP rankings this week. At-large spots are limited this year in the New Year’s bowl games but there’s still a good chance UNC could go 10-2 and finish the year in the Gator Bowl.
▪ Louisville (7-1) struggled with Duke three weeks ago and then blew out N.C. State in the next game. The Cardinals struggled at Virginia last week – will they take out their frustrations on Boston College on the road? The Eagles (4-4) have the defense to dance with potent quarterback Lamar Jackson but they don’t have anywhere near the offense to get in a track meet with Bobby Petrino’s top-ranked unit.
One problem for Louisville: It has to impress the CFP committee every week. Destroying every opponent, every week is easier said than done, especially since the Cardinals are locked out of the division race by Clemson.
▪ Syracuse (4-4) is a 26.5-point underdog at No. 3 Clemson (8-0) but don’t be surprised if the Orange put up a fight. First, Clemson is coming off an emotional, physical win at Florida State. Second, these two teams have strangely played close games, despite the fact that Clemson has been on top of the ACC and Syracuse has struggled to tread water.
Number to know
328.9 Passing yards per game by Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey, which leads the ACC. Raise your hand if you thought before the season that Dungey would throw for more yards than Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson or UNC’s Mitch Trubisky.
No. 17 Western Michigan 52, Ball State 20
No. 12 Oklahoma 34, Iowa State 24
No. 21 Colorado 20, UCLA 10
No. 24 Boise State vs. San Jose State, late
No. 1 Alabama at No. 15 LSU, 8 p.m.
No. 2 Michigan vs. Maryland, noon
No. 3 Clemson vs. Syracuse, 3:30 p.m.
No. 4 Washington at California, 10:30 p.m.
No. 5 Louisville at Boston College, noon
No. 6 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Nebraska, 8 p.m.
No. 7 Texas A&M at Mississippi State, noon
No. 8 Wisconsin at Northwestern, noon
No. 10 Florida vs. Arkansas, 3:30 p.m.
No. 11 Auburn vs. Vanderbilt, noon
No. 13 Baylor vs. TCU, 3:30 p.m.
No. 14 West Virginia vs. Kansas, 7 p.m.
No. 18 North Carolina vs. Georgia Tech, 12:30 p.m.
No. 19 Florida State at N.C. State, 7 p.m.
No. 20 Penn State vs. Iowa, 7:30 p.m.
No. 22 Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 3:30 p.m.
No. 23 Virginia Tech at Duke, 3:30 p.m.
No. 25 Washington State vs. Arizona, 4 p.m.