Brandon Stockdale and Dawson Green have teamed up this week for the football pick Ems for today's matchups in college football as many teams will face FCS teams before their annual rivalry games next weekend, but there are still some good matchups on tap. Let's dive into them:
No. 2 Clemson vs. Duke
Clemson didn’t play their best game offensively last week against Boston College, so expect the Tigers to come out and play inspired football on senior night in Death Valley. Duke has been the surprise of the ACC with quarterback Daniel Jones, who combined for 547 yards rushing and throwing last week in a high scoring 42-35 shootout against North Carolina. The bad news for the Devils is that Duke’s rushing defense has struggled this season, giving up 212 yards per game, and Duke safety Dylan Singleton is out for the season with a broken ankle. Clemson will feed Travis Etienne, and Trevor Lawrence will light up the Blue Devil secondary heading into the rivalry game against the Gamecocks next Saturday night.
Clemson 59 Duke 10
No. 24 Cincinnati vs. No. 11 UCF
Central Florida will finally get their chance to shine on the national stage as College GameDay heads to Orlando and ABC will air this matchup in prime time. Both teams are flying high offensively. Cincinnati is averaging 35 points per game, while UCF is averaging 44 points per game -- all things point towards a shootout, right? Not exactly. Luke Fickell, the former Ohio State defensive coordinator, is the head coach of the Bearcats, and his group is only allowing 14.9 points per game, while UCF is only allowing 21.2 points per game. UCF has waited for an opportunity to prove they belong, since beating Auburn in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day last year. UCF should take advantage and keep their undefeated streak alive in a close one.
UCF 45 Cincinnati 38
No. 12 Syracuse vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
Dino Babers’ Syracuse Orange are riding high; winners of five straight games,while not being held under 40 points in any of those games. Syracuse blasted Louisville last week, 54-23, and will not be an easy out for Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish at Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame was without Ian Book last week against Florida State. Both teams have been flying high offensively, but which team can make the critical stop? I’m really leaning towards the Orange because Eric Dungey has thrown for over 2000 yards and when Syracuse needs a stop on defense, they’ve made it. Syracuse will make a stop late to secure a mild upset and cause some chaos in the Playoff race.
Syracuse 49 Notre Dame 42
Miami vs. Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech needs to win its final two games against Miami and Virginia to make a bowl game. Tech has a 25-year bowl streak, second longest in the nation behind Florida State, that is currently in jeopardy. Virginia Tech has lost four out of its last five, with none of them being close. Miami has also lost four out of its last five, but their largest margin of defeat was only thirteen points. Miami’s defense is only allowing 268 yards per game, while Virginia Tech’s defense is allowing 447 yards per game. The Hurricanes have had some quarterback troubles this year and it seems like freshman N’Kosi Perry is going to start this game. After the blowout loss to Pittsburgh last week, morale will be low for Virginia Tech. Miami should take advantage of this, despite their quarterback issues, and hand Tech their sixth loss this season.
Miami 31 Virginia Tech 17
Georgia Southern vs. Coastal Carolina
After starting 7-1, Georgia Southern has lost two in a row. Quarterback Shai Werts is leading the team in both passing and rushing but has been limited the past two games. Coastal Carolina has been balanced on offense so far this season but the defense is allowing 443 yards and 32 points per game. Coastal Carolina will need to win either this game or their next one against South Alabama to become bowl eligible. Both teams have lost to Troy and UL Monroe but Georgia Southern beat Appalachian State while Coastal did not. I expect Georgia Southern to run over the Coastal defense and put their bowl hopes off for another week.
Georgia Southern 35 Coastal Carolina 23
No. 16 Iowa State vs. No. 15 Texas
This is a huge game for the Big 12 title race. The winner stays in the hunt for a championship game berth, while the loser is eliminated. The cries of “Texas is back” have been hushed in recent weeks, but Texas is getting closer to being the Longhorns of old. Head Coach Matt Campbell has transformed the Iowa State Cyclones into a formidable Big 12 challenger. After starting the season 1-3, Iowa State has reeled off five wins in a row. The Cyclone offense is led by running back David Montgomery but, he is suspended for the first half after throwing a punch last week against Baylor. Sam Ehlinger has been gutsy this season. Following a second-half collapse against Texas Tech, Ehlinger led a game-winning drive, throwing a touchdown pass with 21 seconds left. Iowa State is one of the hottest teams in the nation right now and I think that gives them the edge. They will keep the game close for a half and then allow David Montgomery to take over in the second half.
Iowa State 41 Texas 34