PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM–

Happy Halloween!  Or at least the weekend that precedes it.  With October 31st falling on a Tuesday we’re not in that sweet spot where one can get two weekends of wear out of their classic costume (we recommend Frankenstein’s Monster or a Witch), flavor of the week (President Trump or Wonder Woman) or what were you thinking (David S. Pumpkins or Margaret Thatcher)—but you should definitely choose wisely as you can sport this year’s outfit at least twice (thinking Friday or Saturday plus the actual 31st).  Which outfits are the local FBS schools trying out?

Maryland has been wrapped up in the mummy’s garb since day one.  Multiple injuries at quarterback a few crucial ones defensively have this team bandaged up for the long haul.  The one that still gets me is the loss of DL Jesse Aniebonam- the senior had nine sacks last year-and the team hasn’t been able to pressure the passer this fall in his absence.  Virginia is playing Dracula this October…unfortunately they’re the Dracula at 7 a.m. when the sun is about to come up.  The Cavaliers have feasted upon multiple unwitting victims…but can they deal with the sunrise of the ACC and a schedule that exposes them to the light?   Navy has been dressed up as a baker since day one…because the Midshipmen have been serving up turnovers since their season opener.  That can’t continue to happen in November, or the Mids will be attending a bowl that will leave them hungry rather than fulfilled.  Virginia Tech takes its cue from last year’s “Saturday Night Live” sketch and goes as the Tom Hanks rendition of “David S. Pumpkins”.  They’re starting a redshirt freshman at quarterback yet lead the ACC in passing efficiency.  They coughed up 17 first quarter points to an East Carolina that’s currently 2-6 yet now lead the conference in scoring defense.  They’re also scaring the heck out of opponents with killer special teams.  Any questions?

Alma Mater Update- the Orange have the week off.  Halloween costumes when I was a student usually revolved around the low budget of “dude in a bathrobe” or “coach in Cuse Gear”.  Now I dress up as Liam Gallagher by not shaving or coming my hair while wearing aviator sunglasses.  Maybe–that’s gonna be the one that saves me….

Virginia (5-2, 2-1 ACC) at Pitt (3-5, 1-3), 12:30 p.m. (ACC Network).  I’m not saying this game is must-win…but the Cavaliers’ November foes are a combined 21-6.  Just like they faced AJ Dillon fresh off a 200+ rushing performance last week, UVa faces Panthers runningback Darrin Hill after the junior rambled for 254 yards in a win over Duke.  Pitt’s defense leaves a lot to be desired as they are last in the ACC in getting off the field on third down and post the second most sacks.  For Kurt Benkert after being harassed by BC, this will be a welcome change.  For Kippy & Buffy, Stags’ Leap Winery Petite Sirah will be a welcome change:  “with its rich core of blueberries, blackberry, lavender and pepper spice…there is beautiful freshness and mouthwatering acidity which runs throughout the wine, making it unbelievably soft with restrained tannins and a generous lengthy finish.”  As long as that finish includes a bowl berth.  Cavaliers come through, 27-23.

 

Maryland (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) vs Indiana (3-4, 0-4), 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network).  The underbelly of the Big Ten East has one team that’s been blown out (all four of the Terps’ losses have come by at least two touchdowns) while the other has come agonizingly close (IU’s had consecutive one-possession losses to the Michigan schools and led Ohio State at the half).  The Terps have allowed the most points and yards in the conference while also ranking last in stopping the pass.  They’ll have their hands full with dual threat quarterback Peyton Ramsey…but the Hoosiers have had issues hanging onto the football (-8 turnover margin is the worst in the Big Ten) and also have trouble containing teams in the red zone (90.5% touchdown rate).  I’ve convinced myself here, right?  Terrapins tumble, 38-34. 

 

#13 Virginia Tech (6-1, 2-1 ACC) vs Duke (4-4, 1-4), 7:20 p.m. (ACC Network).  Exactly how good ARE these Hokies?  They’ve posted just one victory over an FBS team that currently has a winning record–and that was opening weekend against West Virginia.  Duke brings a bad offense into Blacksburg, averaging just 16 points per game during its four game losing streak.  Tech leads the ACC in getting off of the field on third down. Nailbiters have been the rule rather than the exception lately in this series…as the last four games have been decided by a total of nine points.  A new rule begins as the Hokies roll, 34-14.

 

Howard gets by South Carolina State, Georgetown loses to Holy Cross, James Madison beats New Hampshire, Richmond slips at Stony Brook, William & Mary falls at Maine.

Last Week: 6-2.

Overall: 48-14.

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