Another Friday night ACC game will get us started in Week 7, which, on the surface, looks like it might be a little less enticing than the previous two weeks. Of course, in this unpredictable sport, that probably means an upset or two awaits.
Here's what to watch for this weekend:
How will QB Lamar Jackson respond to going two straight weeks without a win? OK, this may be the one time we actually exaggerate when talking about the Heisman front-runner. But Louisville did have a bye week after its loss at Clemson -- in which Jackson played brilliantly -- and now the Cardinals host Duke on Friday night. A refresher, for the uninitiated: Jackson leads the nation with 14 rushing touchdowns, is first in points responsible for (168) and is second nationally in total offense (462.6 YPG), among many other mind-boggling statistics. He'll have the Friday night stage to himself.
Can Miami recover from the Florida State loss and keep pace in the Coastal Division? It's no secret that the Hurricanes have struggled in recent years after playing rival Florida State, having gone 11-11 under Al Golden in games after facing the Seminoles. Of course, this is now the Mark Richt era, and there's no time for the Canes to feel sorry for themselves in light of a one-point loss, as they host North Carolina. The loser -- especially if it's UNC -- likely faces a steep mountain to climb in the Coastal, given Virginia Tech's play so far.
Will Wake Forest stun FSU and go bowling? Probably not. And probably yes. The Demon Deacons gave the Seminoles a nice test last season in an eight-point loss, but at 5-1, Wake is no longer sneaking up on anyone, but will likely win multiple more games this season. Perhaps the Seminoles found something they can build on after escaping Miami victorious. But Wake's defense won't be a pushover. Surprisingly enough, the Deacs have a better ACC record (2-1) and overall record (5-1) than the Noles (1-2, 4-2).
Has NC State turned a corner? We ask this every year, and we're asking it again, as the Wolfpack are 4-1 ... for the third straight season. Credit them for playing to the elements better than Notre Dame did this past weekend and earning the win, but there's just not a whole lot to extrapolate from a victory in hurricane-related conditions, aside from momentum. And that will take you only so far when going into an environment like Death Valley to face No. 3 Clemson.
What does Bud Foster's defense have in store next? Going to the Carrier Dome -- to face a Dino Babers offense, at that -- can be tricky. But what more could Virginia Tech possibly do after its dominant road win at UNC last week? The Hokies' defense leads the ACC in yards per play (3.77), points per drive (0.92), total defense (237.6 yards per game), third-down conversion percentage (19.2 percent) and percentage of opponent drives without a first down (49.4 percent). Oh, and their offense hasn't been too shabby so far, either.