3 to watch
1. No. 4 Clemson at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. (ESPN): The Tigers (9-1) try to rebound from their first ACC loss since 2014 and close out the Atlantic Division on the road against the Demon Deacons (6-4).
2. Duke at Pittsburgh, 3 p.m. (Fox Sports Carolinas): A pair of teams coming off huge wins: the Blue Devils (4-6) over rival UNC and the Panthers (6-4) over Clemson.
3. Miami at N.C. State, 12:30 p.m. (WRAL): The Wolfpack (5-5) tries to qualify for a bowl for the seventh time in nine years in its first game with the Hurricanes (6-4) since 2012.
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▪ What’s wrong with Clemson? The Tigers can’t run the ball. They averaged 223 yards per game on the ground last year, compared with 156.4 this season. Quarterback Deshaun Watson, projected before the season to be one of the top players taken in the NFL draft, has a case of draft fever. Watson ran 207 times last year for 1,105 yards. This year, perhaps in an effort to prevent injury and his draft stock, Watson has rushed 100 times for 378 yards.
The Tigers still control their own playoff fate but they won’t get very far unless Watson starts running the football consistently and effectively.
▪ This wasn’t supposed to be a tough year against the ACC for Notre Dame (4-6), without a matchup against Clemson, Florida State or Louisville, but the Fighting Irish have split four ACC games going into Saturday’s game with Coastal Division leader Virginia Tech (7-3). Notre Dame needs to win (the Irish go to red-hot Southern California next week) in order to qualify for a bowl game.
In general, any chance Notre Dame has to gum up the bowl process, it will take it. The Hokies could do some of their ACC brethren a favor by knocking the Irish out of the mix.
▪ How bad can Connecticut be? The Huskies are a nine-point underdog at Boston College (4-6). The Eagles’ last home win was Oct. 1 over Buffalo and beat Wagner in Chestnut Hill before that. The Huskies (3-7) seemed to have turned a corner last year with a trip to the St. Petersburg Bowl but they have regressed in coach Bob Diaco’s third year.
Number to know
17.5 N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb leads the ACC with 17.5 tackles for loss and ranks fourth in the FBS in that category.
Houston 36, No. 3 Louisville 10
Arkansas State 35, No. 25 Troy 3
No. 22 Boise State vs. UNLV, late
No. 1 Alabama vs. Chattanooga, 7 p.m.
No. 2 Ohio State at Michigan State, noon
No. 4 Michigan vs. Indiana, 3:30 p.m.
No. 5 Clemson at Wake Forest, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Wisconsin at Purdue, noon
No. 7 Washington vs. Arizona State, 7:30 p.m.
No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 10 West Virginia, 8 p.m.
No. 9 Penn State at Rutgers, 8 p.m.
No. 11 Utah vs. Oregon, 2 p.m.
No. 12 Colorado vs. No. 20 Washington State, 3:30 p.m.
No. 13 Oklahoma State at TCU, noon
No. 14 Western Michigan vs. Buffalo, 3:30 p.m.
No. 15 Southern Cal at UCLA, 10:30 p.m.
No. 16 LSU vs. No. 21 Florida, 1 p.m.
No. 17 Florida State at Syracuse, 3:30 p.m.
No. 18 Auburn vs. Alabama A&M, 7:30 p.m.
No. 19 Nebraska vs. Maryland, noon
No. 23 Texas A&M vs. UTSA, noon
No. 24 San Diego State at Wyoming, 3:30 p.m.