Three Impact Games in the ACC Coastal: Week 3


Is it Week 3 already? Wow, this season took forever to get here and now it is flying by. So with a new rankings in the books and so much at stake, it’s time once again for three impact games in the ACC Coastal:

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame (Saturday Sept 19th @ 3:30pm)

Two powerhouse schools collide in this matchup between undefeated ranked teams. Can the Yellow Jackets continue to run over opponents or will the luck of the Irish help Notre Dame find another victory in the clutches of defeat?

Things going for the Yellow Jackets: They have so far outscored opponents 134-16. They are also getting ready to play a team that just loss their starting QB for the season and who is coming off an escape from behind win against 0-2 Virginia.

Things going against the Yellow Jackets: Don’t underestimate the Irish luck. In the last three seasons Notre Dame has gone 12-5 in games decided by seven or less, and they already have one such victory this year. Also despite their dominance, Georgia Tech’s two wins have come at home against greatly inferior opponents.

Not only is this one of the top games in the ACC, it is also one of the top games in the nation. A win here by the Yellow Jackets would make them legitimate threats to not only win the ACC crown but potentially represent the ACC in the college playoffs this year. As long as Georgia Tech can avoid costly penalties they should be able to outrun the ailing Irish and leave South Bend with a win and a top 10 ranking.

Northwestern at Duke (Saturday Sept 19th @ 12:30pm)

Duke faces their first real test of the season as #23 Northwestern comes to town in what should be a hard-fought battle between two undefeated private football schools. Can Duke keep doing what needs to be done or will they suffer their first loss of the season to a ranked Big Ten squad?

Things going for the Blue Devils: Duke might have the best coach in the ACC and possibly one of the tops in the country, they are prepared and are no longer an easy win for FBS teams anymore. Also taking over for departed senior Anthony Boone, Thomas Sirk has shown his worth with 6 TDS and 758 all-purpose yds. The Blue Devils have allowed only one touchdown all year so far.

Things going against the Blue Devils: Northwestern is no joke. They opened the season by owning a ranked Stanford team, who was thought by some to be a potential dark horse CFB Playoff candidate. Also Duke’s toughest game so far was at Tulane, a FBS team that so far has been outscored 102-17.

The game is at Duke so the Blue Devils have a legitimate chance against a ranked Wildcat’s team that may be a little too confident after coming off a shutout the following week. A win here, coupled with a loss in the first game, would move Duke to number one in these rankings and put the country on notice that these aren’t your father’s Blue Devils. However, as long as the Wildcats stay focused, they should find a way to win the game and leave the Blue Devils feeling the sting of the first defeat of the season.

Illinois at North Carolina (Saturday Sept 19th @ 12pm)

Sep 12, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels wide receiver Mack Hollins (13) lines up during the second half against the North Carolina A&T Aggies at Kenan Memorial Stadium. The Tar Heels defeated North Carolina A&T Aggies 53-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Heels are coming off a 53-14 whooping of FCS opponent North Carolina A&T, while the Illini are coming off a 44-0 shutout of FCS opponent Western Illinois. As the two offensive powerhouses collide can they both keep up the fireworks against Power 5 competition?

Things going for the Heels: The game is at home, which is always a plus. The Illini haven’t played a Power 5 school this season, whereas this will be the Heels second game against such an opponent. Also, Illinois started the season by firing their coach two weeks before the games began.

Things going against the Heels: Despite firing their coach, the Illini have started the season 2-0 and have outscored their overmatched opponents 96-3. Also while they have been running all over the field they have held the opposition to just 157 yds on 69 carries (that’s only 2.3 yds per carry). Even though the Heels have played one Power 5 school this season compared to Illinois’ none, UNC didn’t exactly fire on all cylinders in that game (it also doesn’t help the Gamecocks followed up that win with a 26-22 home defeat to Kentucky).

Before the season started, most Carolina fans probably marked this game as an easy win. In fact, you can count me among that group. However, after some of the miscues against South Carolina and the inspired play of Illinois in the wake of the Tim Beckham firing, this game no longer looks like a gimme. Could the Heels actually lose this game and start the season 1-2? Absolutely, in fact, that seems to be Fedora’s calling card these past few seasons. Despite all that, with the way the defense is playing, as long as Fedora gets the ball to Hood and Switzer, the Heels should still walk out with what now may be a quality win against a Power 5 school.

One to keep an eye on: Pittsburgh at Iowa (Saturday Sept 19th @ 8pm)

Yes Pitt is 2-0. Yes they have overcome the odds and won despite losing ACC Player of the year James Conner to an injury in the first game of the season. However, they still haven’t played anyone. Iowa marks their first contest against a Power 5 school, and even though they won on the road last week, no one is confusing the Zips with the Hawkeyes. A win here and Pitt officially answers all questions about their squad’s ability to survive. A loss and those first two wins don’t seem as shiny as they did a week earlier.

Outside of that, Miami hosts a Cornhuskers team that started the season losing at home to BYU. Virginia Tech travels to Purdue for their first road game of the season to play a team that went 3-9 last year and opened the season losing to Marshall. A loss in either of those games would not only drop those squads in the rankings, but continue to tarnish what has been thus far an unspectacular ACC season. Virginia looks to finally get a win at home against FCS William & Mary. So grab a remote, some friends, and a comfy couch because this season is up and running and if you blink, you just might miss it.