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ACC & Big 12 Week 10 Preview: Weekend’s Major Matchups to Play Huge Role in Deciding Division, Conference Races

In the 10th week of the college football season, members of the Florida Citrus Sports Team Selection Committee are making visits throughout ACC and Big 12 country, meeting with fans across both conferences in advance of the Camping World Bowl on December 28.

No. 5 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) – 4:00 p.m. on FS1

The Sooners and the Cowboys go head-to-head for the 112th installment of the Bedlam Series in Boone Pickens Stadium. The schools enter the game tied with TCU and Iowa State atop the Big 12 standings with a 4-1 conference record.

The Sooners’ only loss this season was to No. 15 Iowa State at home. Since, OU has won three straight, and this week’s game will be its second of the season against a ranked opponent. (Iowa State was unranked at the time of the 38-31 upset in Norman.) Oklahoma’s offense, ranked first nationally in total offense at 586.1 yards per game, features quarterback Baker Mayfield and a balanced attack that doesn’t include a single receiver or running back averaging more than 80 yards per game through the air or on the ground, respectively. Still, the Sooners are in the top 10 in the FBS for passing offense (3rd), team passing efficiency (1st), scoring offense (6th) and first downs offense (7th).

Oklahoma State, meanwhile is coming off of a 50-39 win at West Virginia in which the Cowboys defense held the Mountaineers to their lowest offensive output of the season. Like Oklahoma, OSU has only suffered one loss this season, to TCU in Week 4. The Cowboys are also an offensive juggernaut and rank among the national leaders in multiple categories including total offense (3rd), passing offense (2nd), team passing efficiency (4th), scoring offense (4th) and first downs offense (5th). Quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Mason Rudolph leads the Oklahoma State offense along with wide-out James Washington (1,005 receiving yards) and running back Justice Hill (869 rushing yards).

As usual, the stakes are high, and in six of the past nine years, the game has directly impacted who won the Big 12. In each of the past two seasons, the game was a winner-take-all-battle between top-10 teams with the Big 12 championship on the line. Oklahoma won both games and owns an 86-18-7 all-time record in the series.

No. 4 Clemson (7-1, 5-1 ACC) at No. 20 NC State (6-2, 4-0 ACC) – 3:30 p.m. on ABC

The ACC Atlantic Division could may be at stake this weekend when North Carolina State hosts defending national champion Clemson at Carter-Finley Stadium.

The Tigers suffered their first and only loss of the season to Syracuse in Week 7, but after a week off, bounced back to defeat Georgia Tech 24-10 last weekend in Death Valley. Clemson’s strength is its seventh-ranked defense (282 yards per game), which also ranks seventh in passing yards allowed, 18th in rushing defense and sixth in scoring defense. After a concussion took him out of the Syracuse game, quarterback Kelly Bryant also returned last week and led the Tigers in passing (22-of-33 for 207 yards and two touchdowns) and rushing (12 carries for 67 yards) in the victory against the Yellow Jackets.

The Wolfpack are back at home this week for the first time in nearly a month, as their last home game came on Oct. 5, a win over Louisville. Last week, NC State got handed its second loss of the season by Notre Dame. Despite the 35-14 defeat, NC State’s 6-2 start is still tied as it’s sixth-best since joining the ACC in 1953. The Wolfpack defense is ranked 19th in the nation in rushing and includes Bradley Chubb, who is second in the nation in tackles for loss. With just four turnovers this season, NC State also has the lowest turnover mark in the FBS. Quarterback Ryan Finley holds the eighth best completion mark in the FBS with .694 for the season and a career mark of .638, surpassing Philip Rivers’ school record of .636 (2000-03).

Clemson is currently riding a five-game win streak over the Wolfpack. The teams are fairly comparable offensively, as NC State averages at 32.8 points per game while Clemson is at 32.3 and average nearly identical total yardage numbers (446.4 yards per game for Clemson; 441.9 for NC State). This will be the 86th contest in a series that dates back to the 19th century. The Tigers won the very first matchup 10-0 in 1899 and lead the all-time tally 56-28-1. The last time NC State defeated Clemson was a 37-13 victory at home in 2011.

No 13. Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1 ACC) at No. 10 Miami (7-0, 5-0 ACC) – 8:00 p.m. on ABC

Just as Clemson-NC State will play a major role in deciding the ACC Atlantic, this weekend’s meeting between Miami and Virginia Tech in South Florida could ultimately settle the Coastal.

Miami comes into the game with an FBS-best 12-game winning streak, and at 7-0, the ‘Canes are one of just five remaining unbeaten teams in the country — and the only one in the ACC. Wide receiver Braxton Berrios is Miami’s top offensive threat and leads the team with 32 catches, 415 receiving yards and six touchdowns on the season. Defensive back Michael Jackson just recorded his fourth interception of the season in last week’s 24-19 win at North Carolina and is tied for second in the nation in interceptions per game (0.6).

The Hokies’ only loss of the season came in Week 5 to Clemson, a 31-17 defeat in Blacksburg. In the weeks, Virginia Tech has beaten Boston College and North Carolina, and mostly recently posted a 24-3 win over Duke. Linebackers Tremaine Edmunds (68 tackles) and Andrew Motuapuaka (59 tackles) lead a defense that ranks in the top 15 in the nation in several major categories including run D (13th), passing yards allowed (14th), team passing efficiency (7th) and scoring (2nd). Quarterback Josh Jackson has 2,032 passing yards and 17 touchdowns on the season so far and leads the offense alongside running back Travon McMillan (353 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and wide receiver Cam Phillips (52 receptions, 692 yards, six touchdowns).

Saturday will mark the first meeting between a pair of ranked Virginia Tech and Miami teams since 2010, when the Hokies topped the ‘Canes 31-17 in Miami. The Hurricanes’ No. 19 passing offense (298.1 yards per game) will face a stiff test from a Hokies pass D that allows just 173.8 yards per game through the air. Miami leads the all-time series 20-14, including a 12-6 edge in Miami. The last time Virginia Tech won a game in Miami was a 42-24 upset over the No. 14 Hurricanes in 2013. Last season, Virginia Tech won 37-16 in Blacksburg.

Here are the rest of the ACC and Big 12 games our selection committee members will attend:

Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 ACC) at Florida State (2-5, 2-4 ACC) – 12:20 p.m. on ACC Network
Wake Forest (5-3, 2-3 ACC) at No. 3 Notre Dame (7-1) – 3:30 p.m. on NBC
Texas (4-4, 3-2 Big 12) at No. 8 TCU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) – 7:15 p.m. on ESPN

Other ACC and Big 12 games being played this week:

Baylor (0-8, 0-5 Big 12) at Kansas (1-7, 0-5 Big 12) – 12:00 p.m. on FSN
Kansas State (4-4, 2-3 Big 12) at Texas Tech (4-4, 1-4 Big 12) – 12:00 p.m. on FS1
Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2 ACC) at Virginia (5-3, 2-2 ACC) – 3:00 p.m. on ACC Network


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