Wake Forest

ACC Week 1 Game Previews & Fearless Predictions


It’s a huge opening weekend for some of the marquee ACC teams, but plenty are taking it easy with tune-ups. Check out the fearless predictions and game previews for all the Week 1 ACC games.


ACC Week 1 Game Previews & Predictions

ACC Conference Game of the Week

Monday, September 5
Florida State vs. Ole Miss Game Preview & Fearless Prediction
8:00 PM, ESPN, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL

Saturday, September 3
Georgia Tech at Boston College Game Preview & Fearless Prediction
7:30 AM, ESPN2, Aviva Stadium, Dublin

North Carolina vs. Georgia Game Preview & Fearless Prediction
5:30 PM, ESPN Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

Clemson at Auburn Game Preview & Fearless Prediction
9:00 PM, ESPN, Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, AL

Thursday, September 1

Charlotte at Louisville

7:00 PM, ESPN3, Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, KY

Just how good is Louisville going to be?

The opening game of the season is never a sure-thing tell-all for how a season will go – there’s no warm-up time or preseason to work everything out – but with the ACC season starting next week at Syracuse, and with Florida State to follow, coming out roaring against a veteran Charlotte team would be a major plus.

The 49ers will run the ball fine and should be okay at times offensively with just about everyone back, but the line will be a problem against a fearsome Louisville defensive front that’ll camp out behind the line. Charlotte won’t generate much of a pass rush, the secondary will give up too many big plays, and the Cardinals will come out roaring to start the big Thursday night of games.

Yeah, they’ll look the part.

Line: Louisville -39.5, o/u: 61
Fearless Prediction: Louisville 51, Charlotte 17
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 2
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Tulane at Wake Forest

7:00 PM, ESPN3, BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC

It all depends on how quickly Wake Forest’s defense can figure out the Tulane running game and spread option attack. It’s going to take a while before the Green Wave can get rolling and do everything that new head coach Willie Fritz will want to, but it’s not too tough to spread everything out and get the backs into space – the Demon Deacon linebackers have to be disciplined.

Fortunately for Wake Forest, the D line is a major strength and should be able to hold up enough to bend, but not break too often. The Demon Deacon offense will take the early lead and hold it – Tulane won’t be able to take advantage of all its chances.

Line: Wake Forest -17, o/u: 43
Fearless Prediction: Wake Forest 31, Tulane 16
ATS Confidence: 5: Lock of the Century – 1: Move Along … 1.5
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

William & Mary at NC State

7:30 PM, ESPN3, Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC

Before going off to East Carolina, NC State gets a nice test against the nation’s No. 10 FCS team coming into the season. The Tribe will bring an efficient and effective passing game that’ll test an okay, but not great Wolfpack secondary right away.

Can the NC State passing game work right away? The receiving corps is a bit of a question mark, and the quarterback situation took way too long to get settled with former Boise State starter Ryan Finley and Jalan McClendon listed as co-starters. Both passers should see a little bit of work, but William & Mary should keep this close enough to make the Pack have to battle into the fourth quarter. NC State will win, but the Tribe won’t make the big mistakes to open this up.

Line: No Line
Fearless Prediction: NC State 41, William & Mary 27
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Saturday, September 3

Liberty at Virginia Tech

12:30 PM, ESPN3, Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA

Justin Fuente starts out his run as the Virginia Tech head man with a decent early scrimmage to tune up for the battle with Tennessee coming up next. His team might get a wee bit of a push by a Liberty squad that’ll be able to wing it around a bit.

The Flames will bring an efficient and effective offense to keep the pressure on, but the Hokie secondary will be one of the team’s biggest strengths and should be able to clamp down enough to get off the field on third downs. The Hokie passing game will be unstoppable in the second quarter once everyone gets comfortable – the Flame offense won’t have any answers.

Line: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Virginia Tech 44, Liberty 13
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1.5

Villanova at Pitt

1:30 PM, ESPN3, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA

Villanova started out last season pushing UConn hard in a 20-15 loss. Ranked 22nd in the preseason FCS poll, the Wildcats once again have a big-time defense that should be among the best in the country – at least at the lower level.

Pitt hasn’t exactly been forgotten about in the ACC preseason predictions, but it’s not quite given the same respect in the Coastal race that North Carolina, Miami and Virginia Tech are. With Penn State coming up next followed up by road games at Oklahoma State and North Carolina, the Panthers have to get the offense going right away.

The Pitt lines will dominate on both sides of the ball, with the ground game taking control as the game goes on. Pitt will win, but it can’t take it easy against this D. It won’t.

Line: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Pitt 31, Villanova 13
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Richmond at Virginia

3:30 PM, ESPN3, Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA

It’s a dangerous first game for new Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Richmond won ten games last season before finishing up with a loss in the FCS playoffs against North Dakota State. This season’s team might be even better.

No. 4 in the preseason FCS Coaches Poll, the Spiders will crank up a devastating passing attack that should move the chains and keep the pressure on the Virginia defense all game long. However, the Cavalier secondary might be the team’s biggest strength – it’ll win its share of battles despite giving up a slew of big yards.

Virginia will have to grind out the ground game just enough to start pulling away in the second half – and keeping QB David Broadus and the Spider offense off the field.

Line: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Virginia 37, Richmond 20
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2

Florida A&M at Miami

6:00 PM, ESPN3, New Miami Stadium, Miami, FL

The Mark Richt era isn’t opening up with a bang, but for a program that needs some time, tweaking and tuning, starting out with a layup against Florida A&M is a nice way to ease into the season in a light and breezy September.

The Rattlers beat the Hurricanes 16-13 in 1979, but the last nine games between the two haven’t been pretty – Miami has gone 9-0 by a total score of 441 to 56. That’s an average score of 49 to 6. This year’s game won’t be even that close with the Miami defense keeping the Rattlers to under 150 yards of total offense. It’ll be a feisty game, but it won’t be remotely close.

Line: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Miami 52, Florida A&M 0
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1

NC Central at Duke

6:00 PM, ESPN3, Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC

THIS is why you schedule NC Central to start the season. Duke QB Thomas Sirk suffered a torn Achilles tendon and is out for the year, and now it’s time to get redshirt freshman Daniel Jones ready for primetime.

The Eagles of NC Central came up with a huge season defensively last season, allowing 17 points or fewer in each of their last five games, and allowed 28 points or fewer in nine of their 11 games. They also overcame a 1-3 start with seven straight victories, and this year, they’re expected to be solid again.

One problem with how last year went – they lost to Duke 55-0. It’s not going to be that bad, but the Blue Devils will coast in a nice scrimmage before opening up the ACC season against Wake Forest.

Line: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Duke 45, NC Central 6
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 1

Colgate at Syracuse

7:00 PM, ESPN3, Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY

Colgate had one of the Patriot League’s best defenses last year, especially against the run, but will it be able to hold up against the new look Syracuse offense? It’s the first game of the Dino Babers era, and while it might take a little bit to get things revved up to the Bowling Green level over the last few seasons, this is the game to test everything out before hosting Louisville.

This is the Eric Dungey game. The Syracuse starting quarterback has all the tools to be terrific, but he has to shake off the rust after having missing the last few games with concussion issues last season. He needs to take target practice and show glimpses of what’s about to come with the Orange attack.

Line: No Line
Fearless Prediction: Syracuse 44, Colgate 17
Must See Rating: 5: Any Ryan Lochte interview – 1: Bridget Jones’s Baby … 2