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Steele: ACC will top SEC this weekend
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Steele: ACC will top SEC this weekend


Nov 22, 2012, 2:11 PM

1. The ACC will get the best of the SEC this week
The SEC is clearly the best conference in the nation, but I think it will take a hit this weekend at the hands of a conference that most of the country, including many of the polls, have disrespected so far: the ACC.

Phil Steele

CFB

Get access to Phil Steele's football analysis all year long at PhilSteele.com. You can check out his latest work for ESPN Insider below:

• Week 12 bold predictions
• Week 11 bold predictions
• Week 10 bold predictions
• Week 9 bold predictions
• Ranking all 11 conferences

There are four games this weekend involving these two conferences going head-to-head, with three of them having major BCS implications. First, BCS No. 4 Florida travels to No. 10 Florida State. Despite the fact the Gators are ranked higher and have the strength of schedule edge, the Seminoles have huge advantages here and they start on the offensive side of the ball.

Florida State is averaging 43 points per game while the Gators' vertically challenged offense is averaging a meager 18 points per game over the past four weeks, and that's not merely a case of facing top SEC competition -- it came against the likes of Missouri, Louisiana and Jacksonville State. Now they will face a Seminoles squad that features the nation's No. 1 total defense. Even if Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel returns at full strength, the Gators are just too one-dimensional to keep this one close as the Noles, who have won the past two games in the series by a combined 52-14, make it three straight here.

Another big game involving ACC/SEC heavyweights comes in the Palmetto State, where No. 12 South Carolina visits No. 11 Clemson. The Gamecocks have won three straight in this rivalry for the first time since 1968-1970, but I think the Tigers end the streak in a big way this year. First, there may be no hotter team in the country right now than the Tigers, winners of seven consecutive games, and their dynamic offense has scored at least 37 points in 10 straight games. Last week, quarterback Tajh Boyd accounted for an ACC-record eight touchdowns in a win over North Carolina State, while the Gamecocks struggled with Wofford without the services of All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who has not been 100 percent in the past few weeks.

Clemson has won 13 straight home games while South Carolina has struggled on the road, getting outgained 406-211 in the loss to LSU while also losing 44-11 to Florida, and that was prior to running back Marcus Lattimore's injury. Clemson gets triple revenge here and stakes its claim for an at-large BCS berth.

It was just seven weeks ago that the Georgia Bulldogs were completely and thoroughly dismantled at South Carolina 35-7, but they now find themselves ranked No. 3 and just two wins away from playing in the BCS national title game. All they have done since that game is rally to beat a downtrodden Kentucky team 29-24, take advantage of six Florida turnovers and win three more games against the likes of a 5-6 Ole Miss team, an Auburn team in disarray and an FCS Georgia Southern squad.

Meanwhile, their in-state rival Georgia Tech has quietly won three straight games, averaging 48 points per game in those contests, and is a dangerous two-touchdown underdog here. We have seen how teams have played with added pressure in recent weeks, and there is certainly pressure on the Bulldogs to make the SEC championship a national title play-in game. While I think the Bulldogs may pull it out in the end, it would not shock me one bit to see a huge upset here.

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Re: Steele: ACC will top SEC this weekend


Nov 22, 2012, 4:28 PM

####, I sure hope Phil is right on all three games.

Go Tigers, 66-40-4

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Re: Steele: ACC will top SEC this weekend


Nov 22, 2012, 4:33 PM

Shoot, I didn't know UGA has sucked that much this season. Why are they ranked where they are? If they were in another conference they would be like 15th overall. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see Georgia Tech win but I doubt they will. I think Georgia wins a close one.

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