The ACC, Brought To You By Univision

The ACC is the conference for the Spanish-Language soap opera fan in all of us. Hector may seem like the perfect faithful husband, but guess who runs off with a nightclub dancer in episode three? And Esmerelda, the mother with a heart of gold who couldn't possibly hurt a soul? She poisons Senor Blanco in episode six. Everyone else does something scandalous and erratic before they're killed in a plane crash and replaced with all new actors for the next season. It's telenovela standard operating procedure, and it describes perfectly the ACC which, if you're into chaos and undependable teams delivering schizophrenic results from week to week, is your conference of choice. ↵

↵The magical, captivating, and completely random ACC continues, starting tonight: ↵

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↵Clemson at Wake Forest, Tonight at 7:30 on ESPN: Clemson has plummeted from a top 10 preseason ranking to unranked, 3-2, and entering a familiar muddle that in previous seasons means a Clemson run toward respectability and another year of saving Tommy Bowden's job. Both teams are coming off being scorched from ignominious loss, but rested from a bye week. Wake Forest saved all of their mistakes from the first four games of the season for one single debacle against Navy, turning the ball over six times in a loss to the Midshipmen, spoiling their perfect record. Clemson rejuvenated Maryland by coughing up the game to the Terps, only to watch Maryland cough up a loss to a (word worse than bad because bad doesn't properly describe them) Virginia team. ↵

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↵Clemson is obviously the more talented team up and down the roster, but do not underestimate the Tommy Bowden regime's ability to reverse-engineer talent into mediocrity, and turn this into a field goal's margin at the end ... especially if the two best players on the team, James Davis and C.J. Spiller, tally fewer than ten carries combined in the second half of the game (which somehow happened against Maryland.) If you're wobbly, consider that the economical Demon Deacons -- fond of winning through field position and kicking -- have a championship kicker, Sam Swank, who is questionable with a right quad injury for the game. Picking Clemson is like ordering tequila shots on an empty stomach, but line 'em up barkeep. We're drinking now and thinking later. ↵

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↵East Carolina at Virginia, Saturday at 12. Virginia awoke from a sound five week-long nap well rested and motivated enough to shutout Maryland 31-0. I could write more about Virginia, but Al Groh football has a narcoleptic effect on me. (Virginia fans will agree, having suffered the same symptoms for years now.) East Carolina, an early season boomkid in the rankings, has fallen to earth with a quick pair of losses against NC State and Houston. Pick East Carolina because anything that happened last week against Maryland cannot be considered indicative of the team's absolute quality, because Maryland is busy performing evasive maneuvers against success and winning. ↵

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↵Insane but factual proof of this? Maryland has beaten Clemson and Cal, but lost to Virginia and Middle Tennessee State. Further madness: the team that blew out MD last week only scored 13 points on the Richmond Spiders, and could score less on East Carolina, because predicting which way this team will land from week to week is nigh-impossible. The man who picks this game for anything more than the dangerous kicks of guessing is a man who enjoys setting fire to hundred dollar bills with a fistful of lit hundred dollar bills. ↵

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↵Notre Dame at North Carolina, Saturday at 3:30 on ABC. UNC may be the best team in this star-crossed league right now: the Tar Heels have the nastiest hitters, an occasionally burly run game, and a third-string quarterback playing otherworldly football right now, Cam Sexton. A win for Notre Dame means a re-entry into the national rankings. This alone means Notre Dame will likely squander the choice, though North Carolina's nation-leading 12 interceptions means even if Jimmy doesn't like getting picked, Jimmy's getting picked on the road. Jimmy won't like it, but that's life. ↵

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↵Gardner-Webb at Georgia Tech, Saturday at 3:30. Army backed out of a scheduled game here, so in steps Boiling Springs, North Carolina's finest football team to fill the gap. For this they will be cut a check and a loss by more points than should really be allowed under the rules of organized football, though a thorough blowout would be a fitting way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the worst defeat in football history, the 222-0 leveling of Cumberland College by the Yellow Jackets. ↵

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↵UCF at Miami, Saturday at 3:45. The only real advantage that home has for Miami fans anymore are continued beer sales in the stadium, the necessary medication for those forced to watch the 106th ranked offense in the nation do its "work" against any defense. Right now, this Miami team is the Auburn of Dade County: horrible offense, bailed out constantly by a snarling, malicious defense bent on willing Miami to near-losses all by themselves. UCF's easy pickings at this point, but anything becomes more difficult when your offensive coordinator continues to tie anchors around the neck of a team desperately trying to stay afloat. ↵

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↵Remember what happens at the end of this week's episode: everyone dies in a plane crash. So for safety's sake, reverse the results in each summary and hit the betting windows. This is the ACC, where consistency is never born but PASSION NEVER DIES!!! This post brought to you by Univision, where all the women are beautiful, and all the men could stand to lose about 10 pounds or so. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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