Presto’s Picks: Conference play for Virginia Tech and Navy, plus one poor fair

2020, if nothing else, has been a year of Plan Bs and Cs. I’m even going to suggest that many of us out there are on Plan Q right now, but that’s okay. We adapt and move on.

We’ve seen Virginia and Virginia Tech’s openers get moved multiple times. Navy has experienced quite a rollercoaster of its own this year. But at least there’s a rollercoaster for the Midshipmen to ride.

This year’s State Fair of Texas has been canceled for the first time since World War II. There is a drive-through option for those looking to get food, but that will take a break Saturday as traditional Big 12 contenders Texas and Oklahoma give the series its first matchup since 1999 where neither school is in the Top 20.

So instead of doing a deep dive in previewing the most underwhelming matchup of these two college football bluebloods in the 21st century, let’s focus on the food.

Checking out “New Food” on the fair’s website, there’s quite a triple option: Deep Fried Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Waffles, for those for whom fresh breaded chicken cutlets stuffed with Prosciutto di Parma and melted Swiss cheese needs a little something else; Loaded Baked Potato Funnel Cake, for those looking for a meal to go with dessert on the same plate, and the PB & J Bacon Pickle Dog, for those desiring something light.

Whatever indigestion these items provide is nothing compared to the plight of the Longhorns and Sooners.

No. 18 Virginia Tech (2-0) at No. 8 North Carolina (2-0), noon, ABC

Even with the small sample sizes of two games apiece, this one shapes up as a classic matchup on the ground, as the Hokies lead the ACC in rushing (319 yards per game) and the Tar Heels are tops in stopping the run (54 yards allowed a game, 2.0 yards per carry).

While COVID-19 has turned the Hokies’ quarterback situation upside down, head coach Justin Fuente said that Hendon Hooker would be available this Saturday.

Hooker and Sam Howell went toe to toe last year in a game that wound up going six overtimes; Hooker left the game after a first half injury.

Howell was sacked four times in the Tar Heels’ four-point win over Boston College; the Hokies average a league-best 6.5 sacks per game.

Presto’s Pick: Tar Heels triumph, 27-21.

Virginia (1-1) vs. N.C. State (2-1), noon, ACC Network

The Cavaliers are coming off a tough loss at Clemsonm while the Wolfpack have been in three shootouts this year, allowing a league-high 38.7 points per game.

The Pack have also made a switch at quarterback, with sophomore Devin Leary ascending. The Sicklerville, New Jersey, product completed fewer than 50% of his passes as a freshman, but threw for a career-high 336 yards in last week’s upset of then-No. 24 Pitt.

The Cavaliers allowed a league-worst 388 yards passing per game, but keep in mind that’s a two-game sample size consisting of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the guy Lawrence beat out — Duke QB Chase Brice.

Kippy and Buffy go back to the basics with this week’s socially distant tailgating choice: Cristom Pinot Noir, specifically the 2017 Mt. Jefferson Cuvee. This Oregon wine grown near a mountain named after the university’s founder boasts “expressive strawberry blossom and raspberry aromas open to elegantly structured cherry and spicy cinnamon flavors that build richness toward refined tannins” (Tim Fish, Wine Spectator). Break out the Gruyere and multigrain crisps.

Presto’s Pick: Cavaliers come up big, 44-34.

Navy (1-2) vs. Temple, 6 p.m. CBS Sports Network

So much for in-season scouting: The Midshipmen draw a team in their season opener for the second straight week.

The Owls went 8-5 under first-year coach Rod Carey in 2019 — who would have thought that the school once kicked out of the Big East would be a stepping stone to jobs such as Miami (Al Golden), Boston College (Steve Addazio), Georgia Tech (Geoff Collins) and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers (Matt Rhule)?

The Mids get Dalen Morris back at quarterback after the senior didn’t travel west for last week’s game at Air Force.

Recent history favors the Owls, who have won three straight in the series, including the AAC Championship Game in Annapolis four years ago.

Temple also returns senior quarterback Anthony Russo and his top two targets, Jadan Blue and Branden Mack.

Presto’s Pick: Mids can’t contain the Owls, 31-20.

No. 1 Clemson (3-0) vs. No. 7 Miami (3-0), 7:30 p.m., ABC

An early-season bid for conference supremacy features the five-time defending ACC champs against the school with one division title to show for their underwhelming tenure.

But the Hurricanes are off to their best start since they won the Coastal Division in 2017, Mark Richt’s second year at the helm (they lost to Clemson 38-3 in the title game).

This is Manny Diaz’s second year running the program, and the addition of transfer quarterback D’Eriq King has paid dividends: The former Houston Cougar is completing 67% of his passes for 736 yards, 6 touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Tigers are 3-0 for the sixth straight year and pace the ACC in passing yardage and efficiency thanks to Trevor Lawrence; they’ve also won 25 straight at home.

Presto’s Pick: Tigers Triumph, 38-21.

Last Week: 2-2
Overall: 13-7

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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