Inside the ACC
3 to watch
1. No. 6 Clemson at Miami, noon (ABC): The Hurricanes (4-2) have the offense to spoil Clemson’s playoff run, but the Canes’ defense will have to play several levels above its pay grade to knock off the Tigers (6-0).
2. N.C. State at Wake Forest, noon (FSCR): The Wolfpack (4-2) looks to get into the win column in ACC play and end a six-game losing streak in Winston-Salem. The Deacs (3-4) have to be better than they showed last week in Chapel Hill.
3. No. 23 Duke at Virginia Tech, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU): The Blue Devils (5-1) try to keep pace with UNC and Pitt in the Coastal race. The Hokies (3-4) have been reduced to the role of spoilers.
▪ Praising the opponent is a grand coaching tradition but there’s a believable sincerity to Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer when he compliments Duke and coach David Cutcliffe.
“I think David Cutcliffe has done one of the greatest coaching jobs in the country,” Beamer said. “They’re a different Duke than when I first came here and when (we) got in the ACC. It’s very much a different Duke. I have great respect for what they’ve done down there. They’re good.”
Virginia Tech kept Duke out of the ACC title game last year with a surprise 17-16 win in Durham. That just shows how much this series has turned since Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004. The Hokies won the first four ACC games between the two schools and outscored Duke 165 to 31.
▪ With Georgia Tech’s season in the tank, expect to see more of a role for freshman running back Marcus Marshall. Graduate transfer Patrick Skov carried the load at “B” back in the first five games with 75 rushing attempts. Marshall, who starred at Millbrook, had just 20 attempts in the first five games, including none against North Carolina. Marshall has 21 carries for 204 yards in the past two games, compared to only six carries for 14 yards for Skov.
▪ Checking in on the Sagarin ratings for strength of schedule, for all of the complaining about N.C. State’s schedule, there’s not a great difference between the Triangle schools after six games. UNC (No. 100), Duke (No. 104) and N.C. State (No. 111) are clustered together with none of the three exactly taxing the limit (Sagarin rates all 253 Division I-A and I-AA teams together).
East Carolina (No. 44) has played the toughest schedule of the Division I in-state teams followed by Wake Forest (No. 61). Appalachian State (No. 157) has the weakest-rated schedule.
Given what’s left for all of the teams, Wake Forest will likely finish the season with the toughest ranked schedule.
Number to know
2 N.C. State wins in Winston-Salem over the past 20 years. The Wolfpack beat Wake Forest on the road in 1995 and 2001 and have lost the other eight games.
The Top 25
No. 20 California 24, UCLA 40
No. 22 Temple 24, East Carolina 14
No. 18 Memphis at Tulsa, late
No. 1 Ohio State at Rutgers, 8 p.m.
No. 2 Baylor vs. Iowa State, noon
No. 3 Utah at Southern Cal, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 LSU vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m.
No. 6 Clemson at Miami, noon
No. 7 Michigan State vs. Indiana, 3:30 p.m.
No. 8 Alabama vs. Tennessee, 3:30 p.m.
No. 9 Florida State at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Stanford vs. Washington, 10:30 p.m.
No. 14 Oklahoma State vs. Kansas, 3:30 p.m.
No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 24 Mississippi, 7 p.m.
No. 17 Oklahoma vs. Texas Tech, 3:30 p.m.
No. 19 Toledo at UMass, 3 p.m.
No. 21 Houston at UCF, noon
No. 23 Duke at Virginia Tech, 3:30 p.m.
No. 25 Pittsburgh at Syracuse, noon