There’s a light slate of games this weekend in the ACC as several teams enjoy the week off, but that doesn’t make this weekend any less important for our favorite local teams. Here’s what you should be watching, and who you should be cheering against.
Pretty much everyone outside of Durham might want to avoid Twitter on Saturday night as Duke holds their annual “Countdown to Craziness” event featuring player introductions, the Blue/White scrimmage, and the Grayson Allen Invitational dunk contest. The biggest draw of the night will be the unveiling of Duke’s 5th National Championship banner, pulling the Blue Devils even with North Carolina in NCAA championships with an outside chance of passing the Tar Heels in that category over the next few months. All three Triangle area teams feature in our ACC Bracketology, a look ahead at who we think will be the top four seeds in the ACC Tournament. Who’s listed at number one? That might surprise you.
In-state competition kicks off this weekend in Chapel Hill, but there are big games everywhere that carry a lot of importance for local teams. Let’s take a “SportsChannel-Hate” look at who you should be cheering against this weekend.
Y’all are straight. The Panthers needed the Falcons to drop a game in the near future, and it happened last night in New Orleans as the Saints beat up on Atlanta, finally exposing a team that had been living on come-from-behind wins in each of its previous five games. Even better, Atlanta gets an “L” in the division to top it off. Go beat Seattle and start making plans for the playoffs.
The Blue Devils’ eyes, as of this weekend, are focused beyond the ACC and on November 3rd’s College Football Playoff poll as Duke entered the top 25 for the third straight season earlier this week (and also sit at #2 in the SportsChannel8 power rankings, which is far more important). UCLA got smacked around by Stanford last night and will likely drop out of the polls, giving Duke an opportunity to move up the ladder without playing this weekend. Other teams you might want to cheer against nationally … Iowa, who plays Northwestern in a chance to move ahead of the Hawkeyes and make that lone loss seem a little more “quality”, Oklahoma who plays a capable Kansas State squad, and the “living on Gonzaga-level media hype” Boise State team who heads to Utah State in what could be the last chance at another loss in an extremely weak conference.
In the ACC, it’s crossroads time to pick teams to cheer against. Do you want Notre Dame to win their way to a New Years Six bowl to keep them out of the ACC bowl schedule, or do you want them to flame out to drop 2+ games behind you in the standings so they contractually can’t jump you in the standings? Do you want to go all-in on Clemson and cheer against the Noles to leap-frog FSU in the pecking order, or do you want another loss by Louisville to keep them in the background? We say go Noles, and go Irish.
The cut-and-dried teams to cheer against this weekend: North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Pitt, and UVA.
All is left to play for in the Coastal, so the picture for the Tar Heels is MUCH clearer in terms of who you need to hate this weekend. With a win in hand against Georgia Tech, the obvious choice is to cheer hard against Pitt to make this a two-team race between you and Duke, with the unofficial Coastal Championship being played in Chapel Hill in early November. Miami and Virginia Tech is a toss-up, but the Canes seem like a much better match-up for you, so go Miami. Plus, maybe they’ll keep Al Golden which would be a win for everyone. Everyone wants Clemson to keep winning, so cheer against Boston College, and the decision to stand behind Florida State and Notre Dame is much easier in Chapel Hill because it keeps those teams out of the Heels’ way for a Pool 1 bowl (where we have North Carolina locked in right now in our bowl projections), and it keeps them ahead of Duke. Speaking of Duke, those top 25 teams they hope lose this week? You want them to win. You also want Brandon Ingram to shoot 3 for 16 in the Blue/White game.
North Carolina State
Like we even need to tell you. Most of you have been probably stocking up on Groupons to the UNC/Wake game to go cheer against the Heels on your bye week. But seriously, for ACC Atlantic standings purposes, you want the world to burn. Cheer for Louisville against Florida State, cheer for Boston College against Clemson. Atlantic Anarchy is your only way out at this point. But mainly you want North Carolina to lose, which isn’t all that crazy of a thought. Two Heisman candidates going head-to-head when Alex Kinal punts to Ryan Switzer, and whoever wins that battle might win the game. Against the spread, the Deacs are a heavy favorite to cover against UNC, and if it’s close, who knows?
Just go cheer for your team in a game that could get you closer to being bowl eligible. No, seriously. If there are not enough bowl eligible teams, bowls are allowed to make exceptions for 5-win teams provided the APR scores qualify for selection. SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE!