Three Impact Games in the ACC Coastal: Week 2


Well with the first week of the season in the record books, new rankings published and Week 2 already upon us, it’s time once again for three games that could affect the Coastal rankings. This week there are not as many marque games, so pickings were a tad bit slimmer. With that said here are the 3 games you should keep an eye on this week…

Pittsburgh at Akron (Saturday Sept 12th @ 6pm)

Pittsburgh is coming off a close home win against an FCS opponent whose mascot is the Penguins. Is a road trip to Akron the game Pitt needs to turn it around, or is it the start of a very long season for new coach Pat Narduzzi?

Things going for the Panthers: The Zips just came off a waxing at Oklahoma and may not be up to their second Power 5 team in as many weeks. Plus Junior WR Tyler Boyd returns this week after serving a one game suspension.

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Things going against the Panthers: Boyd may be coming back, but reigning ACC POY, James Connor, is done for the season with a knee injury. Also the game is on the road and Pitt struggled to beat a team at home with Connor sidelined.

Will Pitt be able to overcome the loss of a preseason All American or will the lack of a running game put too much pressure on the QB to get the ball to Boyd? Though I think an upset is unlikely, unless the figure out how to move the chains, this could be a long season for the once dark horse Panthers.

Miami at FAU (Friday Sept 11th @ 8pm)

Miami already jumped three spots in the first power rankings, could a road win get them closer to the top? Probably not unless some major upsets happen, but a loss here could send them tumbling back down to earth.

Things going for the Hurricanes: They won last week in a dominating fashion shutting out the opposition while laying down 45 points of their own. The Owls are coming off a tough overtime loss to Tulsa and may not be able to keep up with the speed of Miami.

Things going against the Hurricanes: Though they don’t have to leave the state of Florida, this is still a road game against a FBS team, albeit against one that went 3-9 last season. Plus, even though they lost, FAU did rush for 300 yards last week, which could allow them to control the game.

Unless Miami totally sleepwalks into this game, and even then that might not be enough, they are going to win, probably by several scores. The real question is how many quarters can they extend their opposition’s goose egg?

Notre Dame at Virginia (Saturday Sept 12th @ 3:30pm)

Last week Virginia played a highly ranked team with a young QB on the road and got smoked. This week they play a highly ranked team with a young QB at home. Will they do any better?

Things going for the Cavaliers: The game is at home. Last year they played UCLA at home and nearly pulled the upset. Also they Irish are coming off a big win against Texas and could be looking ahead to the matchup against Georgia Tech the following week.

Things going against the Cavaliers: Virginia just got smoked by a freshman QB making his first collegiate start, and it wasn’t even as close as the score indicated. Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire, who will be making his third career start, pushed current FSU QB Everett Golson out of a job. Plus the Irish totally dominated the Longhorns the week before, and nobody has ever confused Virginia with Texas.

Trap games are real and this easily could be a trap game for Notre Dame. However, Virginia is just not that good and has a coach who may not make it through the season. Having one of the hardest schedules in the country is great, but it does nothing if you get beat all the time. Virginia schedules tough but loses a lot. Baring a major upset, the Cavs will continue to live at the bottom of the rankings.

One to keep an eye on: North Carolina A&T at UNC (Saturday Sept 12th @ 6pm)

Sep 3, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora during the first quarter against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The site is called Keeping it Heel, what did you expect? Even though the Aggies are a FCS team, several questions still need to be answered. Can Marquise throw end zone passes to his own teammates? Can anyone tackle Elijah Hood? Can the coaching staff make the right decisions on offense? Can the defense continue to look like a unit that can get stops against a FCS team that just put up 61 points the week before? A win here is expected. A blowout is needed. A loss and Fedora’s seat may be on fire.

Outside of that, Georgia Tech plays the same Tulane team that just got manhandled by Duke at home, while the Blue Devils and Hokies play FCS opponents they should easily beat. So hunker down, because the season is long, and the Saturdays are wild.