Posted: 2:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
By Adam Bittner
It's a big week for a few teams in the conference, while Wake Forest and Boston College leadoff the weekend with a primetime matchup. Here are your game schedule/previews complete with times and the TV channels.
In the Coastal
-Miami will get a shot at No. 12 Florida (Saturday, noon, ESPN) and seek better quarterback play from Stephen Morris, who was spotty in Week 1. The good news is running back Duke Johnson and the ground game appear to be rolling early. Johnson picked up 186 yards against Florida Atlantic, and the whole team averaged eight yards per carry. The Gators' front stuffed Toledo to the tune of just 50 yards on the ground last week, though, so the way those units match up will probably determine a lot about the outcome. If the Hurricanes ground game can find space and take some pressure off Morris -- a 3,000 yard passer a year ago -- they have a legitimate shot at an upset.
-Virginia's defense was tough again last week -- as it was all of last season -- but No. 2 Oregon will be about as tough an assignment as it can get when the teams line up (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC). The Ducks didn't appear to miss Chip Kelly too much last week in outgaining Nicholls State, 772(!)-343 in a 66-3 win. Three Ducks had 100 yards rushing in that one. No, the competition wasn't, shall we say, spectacular, but I think most of us would struggle to gain that many yards in an Xbox game. So there's reason to expect the Virginia defense can be competitive if it's not spending too much time on the field. That puts the onus on quarterback David Watford -- inconsistent last week -- to keep his unit out there and pick up points where it can.
-Virginia Tech will face Western Carolina and try to clean up its special teams disaster against Alabama last weekend (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., ESPN3).
-Middle Tennessee hung 45 on Western Carolina last week, so the North Carolina defense better not come out hungover from the loss to South Carolina (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ESPN3).
-Duke faces Memphis (Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ESPN3) as a tuneup for idle Georgia Tech next week.
In the Atlantic
-Syracuse needs to get Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley going on the ground in order to have any chance against No. 19 Northwestern (Saturday, 6 p.m., Big Ten Network). Both failed to get much traction last week against Penn State, and that hurt new signal caller Drew Allen as the Nittany Lions were able to sit back. If the running game can get the 'cats to creep up, even just a little bit, Allen made a few throws last week that proves he can make this offense work with some room; it's just a question of whether he can get it.
-The only conference game of the weekend pits Boston College against Wake Forest (Friday, 8 p.m., ESPN2). The Eagles trailed FCS Villanova at the half last week, though they did turn things on in the second half. Wake, meanwhile, had a convincing 31-7 win against Presbyterian. With two weaker opponents in Week 1, this will be an important game for both.
Other games: South Carolina State at Clemson (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., ESPN3), Old Dominion at Maryland (Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPNews), Richmond at NC State (Saturday, 6 p.m., ESPN3).