PREGAME CHATTER: The Panthers looked excellent in a rout of New Mexico last week. Pittsburgh is a good run-blocking team, and the Panthers’ ground game set up well-executed play-action passes and lots of short-yardage third downs. Everything opens up for Pittsburgh through its offensive line. Duke has to win up front, particularly on first downs.
WHAT IT MEANS: Staying alive in the ACC Coastal Division for both teams. Falling to 0-2 in the conference makes winning the division awfully difficult, especially for Duke, which still has to play all of its road ACC games. A closely-matched opponent at home is a game Duke has to win.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street. The senior will be the best player on the field today, and Duke will have to account for him at all times. Street’s 6-foot-4 frame makes him difficult to single cover, but Duke will have to make a trade-off: Stop the run or keep a permanent eye on Street.
ODDS: Pittsburgh by 6.
TIME: 12:30 p.m.
TV/RADIO: WRAL/WTIB 103.7-FM
PREGAME CHATTER: North Carolina has spent the past two weeks dissecting Georgia Tech’s option offense. Today, the Tar Heels will see if all that preparation will be of any assistance when the team takes on the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta. Many have tried and few have succeeded in slowing down Georgia Tech, which did whatever it wanted last week in gaining 344 yards rushing in a 38-14 victory in Durham last week.
WHAT IT MEANS: Georgia Tech is one of the league’s tougher tests, and if North Carolina can pull off an improbable upset in its ACC opener, there will be a well-deserved confidence around Chapel Hill for the coming weeks.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: North Carolina’s defense. The Tar Heels surely have not forgotten that they gave up 68 points to Georgia Tech in a loss last season.
ODDS: Georgia Tech by 3.5.
TV/RADIO: ESPN/WRDU 106.1 F.M.
PREGAME CHATTER: Don’t be fooled by the Seagulls’ 0-2 record – this is one of N.C. Wesleyan’s tougher tests. Salisbury started the season ranked No. 16 in Division III but gave up a touchdown in the final minute of both of its games – one to reigning USA South champion Christopher Newport –to drop out of the top 25. Still, Salisbury comes in heavily favored.
WHAT IT MEANS: N.C. Wesleyan coach Jeff Filkovski’s first win could be a program statement. Salisbury is a consistently competitive Division III program, and earning a win would be impressive.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: The first quarter. The longer N.C. Wesleyan hangs in the game, the more dangerous it becomes. To score an upset, N.C. Wesleyan can’t fall behind early. The first few drives are important.
TIME: 1 p.m.
- Jessie H. Nunery & Nick Piotrowicz