1 division crown, 4 SEC rivalries headline ACC’s final week
Here are some things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Week 13:
GAMES OF THE WEEK: Virginia at Virginia Tech and North Carolina State at North Carolina. A pair of instate rivalries will decide who plays No. 4 Clemson in the ACC championship game next week in Orlando, Florida. The Hokies (8-3, 5-2) win the Coastal Division title with a victory over the Cavaliers or a loss by the Tar Heels (8-3, 5-2), while North Carolina needs to win Friday and hope Tech loses to earn a repeat berth in the title game.
BEST MATCHUP: Florida State offense vs. Florida defense. QB Deondre Francois and the Seminoles have been humming right along all year, averaging 482 total yards to rank behind only Louisville and Clemson in the league’s stat rankings. Now comes a significant test from their cross-state rivals — the Gators have the Southeastern Conference’s second-best total defense and are tops against the pass, allowing just 160 yards through the air per game.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: With four instate rivalries against Southeastern Conference teams on the schedule, this marks the ACC’s last chance in the regular season to beef up its nonconference record. The ACC is 39-13 against non-league opponents, but is just 6-5 against teams from the other four power conferences — the SEC (3-2), Big Ten (3-1), Pac-12 (0-1) and Big 12 (0-1).
UPSET WATCH: Duke figures to carry a grudge into its matchup at Miami. The Blue Devils (4-7, 1-6) are two-touchdown underdogs to the Hurricanes and are coming off a humiliating loss at Pittsburgh. They need a win to have any hope of reaching a fifth straight bowl, because their high APR scores move them to the front of the line of five-win teams eligible for the postseason. And they certainly haven’t forgotten the wacky ending to last year’s game, decided on Miami’s eight-lateral kickoff return for a TD that the ACC later said shouldn’t have counted.
IMPACT PLAYER: Clemson RB Wayne Gallman is coming off his best game of the season, a 161-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 35-13 victory over Wake Forest. He’ll look to keep rolling against a South Carolina defense that ranks just ninth in the SEC against the run and allowed Western Carolina of the FCS to rush for 236 yards last week.
Compiled by AP Sports Writer Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, North Carolina.
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