ACC preview: Oregon comes to visit

ACC preview: Oregon comes to visit
September 5, 2013, 9:45 am
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Schedule:

Wake Forest @ Boston College, Fri. 8:00 p.m.
No. 12 Florida @ Miami, Sat. 12:00 p.m.
Middle Tennessee @ North Carolina, Sat. 12:30 p.m.
South Carolina State @ No. 4 Clemson, Sat. 12:30 p.m. on CSN
Western Carolina @ Virginia Tech, Sat. 1:30 p.m.
No. 2 Oregon @ Virginia, Sat. 3:30 p.m.
Old Dominion @ Maryland, Sat. 4:00 p.m.
Duke @ Memphis, Sat. 4:30 p.m.
Richmond @ North Carolina State, Sat. 6:00 p.m.
Syracuse @ No. 19 Northwestern, Sat. 6:00 p.m.

Matchup of the week: Florida @ Miami, Sat. 12:00 p.m.

Florida and Miami will renew their rivalry again this weekend as both teams look to expand upon opening weekend wins. The Hurricanes were led by sophomore running back Duke Johnson who rushed for 186 yards and a touchdown against Florida Atlantic. He will be running up against the very stingy Florida defense that allowed only 50 rushing yards in their win over Toledo.

This game also carries massive recruiting implications as the two powerhouse programs vie for state bragging rights. Florida is a hotbed for college football recruiting with 53 of ESPN’s 300 top recruits coming from the state. Winning this game can go a long way towards wooing in-state recruits.

This is one of college football’s great rivalries, but it is the last meeting currently scheduled between the two teams. With the possibility of the SEC schedule expanding to nine games, this is another rivalry that could suffer due to conference expansion and re-alignment. This game will carry extra weight with the players and the fans as it could be the last matchup between the two for some time. This one is a can’t miss.

Player to watch: David Watford, QB, sophomore, Virginia

With No. 2 Oregon coming to town, all of the Cavaliers will have to play flawless football, but none more so than quarterback David Watford.
Chip Kelly may have left Oregon for the NFL, but the Ducks appear to have picked up where they left off after cruising to a 66-3 win over Nicholls State to open the season. If the Cavaliers hope to have any chance against the Ducks, they will need Watford to play a very smart game.

What makes Oregon’s attack so dangerous is the incredible pace in which they play which tires out opposing defenses. Watford will not only have to match the Ducks’ high-scoring offense, but he will have to manage the game in order to keep his defense off the field. Too many turnovers and three-and-outs will seal the Cavaliers’ fate; Watford MUST give the defense a chance to catch its breath on the sidelines. He will have to make a strong effort to slow the tempo down while stringing together long drives.

Expecting Virginia’s defense to shut down the Ducks is just not realistic; Virginia’s ability to keep things close will depend on how well he manages this game.

Upset alert: Syracuse @ No. 19 Northwestern, Sat. 6:00 p.m.

These two teams met to open the season last year in Syracuse and Northwestern managed to pull ahead with just 44 seconds remaining for the 42-41 win. Despite the feeling that these two teams are headed in opposite directions, the Orange are going to challenge the Wildcats in this one.

Northwestern managed 44 points in their win over Cal, but they also allowed 30 to a team that is still rebuilding. Syracuse struggled against a very underrated Penn State team and found themselves on the wrong end of a very defensive battle. They will no doubt find more success against a Wildcat team that yielded 548 yards last week. Winning on the road is important, but I think Northwestern’s offensive performance is masking a very weak defensive debut.

Syracuse will not have forgotten what happened to them last season on their own turf. They will come into Northwestern looking for revenge and the Wildcats’ defense will have to play much better than they did against Cal to escape with a win.

On CSN: South Carolina State @ No. 4 Clemson, Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Clemson inserted themselves into the national championship conversation with their huge Week 1 win over Georgia, but that win won’t matter if they cannot keep things rolling against South Carolina State. The Bulldogs meanwhile will attempt to become the eighth FCS team to beat an FBS opponent this season. With Clemson poised for a legitimate shot at the BCS title game, every game has already become critical for the Tigers.