Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents! Week 5 gave us the very interesting Florida State game–which looked like a disaster for FSU before turning into a season-saving win for the Seminoles. As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 6) and the Week that will be (Week 6) for the ACC and their respective schools. Special thanks to all the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), Mike (NC State), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions. Tell us what you think below.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 5?
David (FSU): NC State. Wow they came out firing didn’t they. They gave FSU a punch to the face similar to what Boston College did last year.
Len (Louisville): How far FSU fell behind the Pack & Pitt losing to Akron.
John (UNC): My biggest surprise last week was honestly NC State. It’s going to sound weird, but I thought they actually WOULD win, even though they’re less talented. Florida State has a long history of losing to teams that they shouldn’t, and the Wolfpack have actually beaten the Seminoles in Raleigh the last two times, in 2012 (17-16) and 2010 (28-24). That said, fans of the home team were still treated to an exciting game that showcased significant improvement in Year 2 under Coach Dave Doeren. Add in the Wolfpack Coach’s comments about Florida State ‘faking injuries,’ and you’ve got one of the most unpredictable and interesting rivalries in the Conference for years to come.
Mike (NC State): I just don’t get Boston College. They can beat Southern Cal but lose to Colorado State?
Matt (Syracuse): Pitt losing to Akron. Just two weeks ago there was talk of Pittsburgh cracking into the top-25 and what a great coach Chryst is…only to wind up in the rare air of Greg Robinson. To paraphrase Dr. Gross, if you play Akron 100 times, you expect to win 100 times.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): The easy answer is BC and Pitt losing. But IMHO the legitimacy of North Carolina State was completely unexpected given the weakness of the schedule. In contrast, Duke’s 4-0 schedule proved to be more of a fraud, given the loss to a desperate but reeling Miami team. NC State showed that it may just be for real.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 5?
David (FSU): The Biggest Surprise for FSU for me was seeing 5th year senior Christian Green score his first collegiate touchdown. It was on a day that his grandfather passed none the less, and Jameis had promised him a TD that morning, a pretty good story for the FSU faithful after numerous bad ones. The biggest disappointment had to be the defense, Jimbo apparently told the team they missed over 30 tackles. A lot of these missed tackles are due to poor defensive positioning, thus leading to bad angles for tackles.
Len (Louisville): How poorly our offense played again. The OL isn’t protecting & the WRs are dropping passes. Our biggest surprise on the year has to be the defense, they have been consistently excellent.
John (UNC): I’m constantly amazed at the inability of the Tar Heels to play defense. A week after giving up an East Carolina school record 789 yards to the Pirates, North Carolina gave up an improved, but still awful, 528 yards to the Clemson Tigers. This year alone, they’ve set embarrassing school records of most yards, points and first downs allowed, and it’s not just that they’re giving up yards, but how they’re doing it. On Saturday, the Tar Heels were only one penalty short of the school record 16, giving up 130 yards, 20 yards off of their worst game statistically. This is from a team that was ranked as high as #21 earlier this year. If North Carolina can’t fix their blown coverages and pass interference problem quickly, bowl eligibility is out of the question.
Mike (NC State): The biggest surprise in the Wolfpack’s loss to Florida State was how easily they were able to move the ball in the first quarter. Every receiver was open, almost every run was a big gash. Looked forward to this game all season, now I can’t wait until the schedule eases up a bit so we can see if they maintain that level against lesser teams. Clemson is next, so that will have to wait a while longer.
Matt (Syracuse): The five turnovers were a very nice surprise for a defense that has been questionable the first three games of the seasons, but offense’s inability to convert those turnovers to points is a major disappointment.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): We will double-dip on Syracuse here. The biggest surprise/disappointment for Syracuse continues to be the playcalling by the offensive coordinator. Syracuse is using a bubble screen offense that is predictable and easily defended… is ill suited to its receivers… and may very well be contrary to the skills of its QB… who seems to be more accurate downfield.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 6 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?
David (FSU): I’m looking forward to a defensive rebound against arguably one of the worst offenses in ACC history, don’t be surprised to see the Noles pitch a shut out and the national media overreact (once again). More than anything, please no more injuries!!
Len (Louisville): Who will be the QB & can the offense get it going.
John (UNC): If there’s another team in the ACC that’s just as confusing as the Tar Heels, it’s Virginia Tech. Three weeks after beating #8 Ohio State in Columbus, the Hokies are 3-2, losers to East Carolina (3-1) and Georgia Tech (4-0) in games that they were supposed to win. It’s hard to tell if new QB Michael Brewer is an upgrade over last year’s starter, Logan Thomas, but the Texas Tech transfer will have to solve his interception problem (10 interceptions to 9 touchdowns) if he wants to be successful in Chapel Hill. Then again, while the Tar Heels have a much needed homecoming in their difficult four game stretch, the Hokies defense is still good, and it will be a huge test for North Carolina’s dynamic offense. I’m hoping that the Tar Heels can maintain their offensive success, while improving on defense and rattling Brewer, who can’t be feeling too confident right now.
Mike (NC State): Really just to try and stay competitive in Death Valley. I don’t expect a victory, but anything is possible and if that same team shows up that scared #1, look out.
Matt (Syracuse): Syracuse has played especially well on Friday nights, and against Louisville. The Cardinals struggled against Wake Forest in the first half, but I expect that Petrino will not let that happen again. If only this were Senior Day…
Anthony (Syr/ACC): The Syracuse defense forced 5 turnovers. Sometimes 5 turnovers confuses the defense into thinking that it performed well, and lures them into trying to force more turnovers each week. Syracuse remains an average, at best, team at tackling. They gave up 500+ yards to Notre Dame, allowed 20+ straight completions, and were abysmal on 3rd down. The defense needs to continue to improve, not get cocky about the turnovers.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 6 FOR THE ACC?
David (FSU): I’m really interested in seeing the NC State v Clemson game, and see just how legit NC State is or if last week was a flash in the pan. Overall I’d like to see at least a couple teams emerge from the pack and make themselves the headliners of the ACC, instead of everyone being a .500 team.
Len (Louisville): 2 main things, will FSU turn in a dominating performance against WF & how the GT v Miami game plays out. Also with conference play beginning will parity fade?
John (UNC): Thank goodness there are no out-of-conference games this week. The ACC started off strong this year, with wins over #8 Ohio State and #9 USC, but has been on a recent downward spiral with non-Power 5 losses against teams like Colorado State and Akron. I’m looking for a competitive set of conference games that shows that the big wins are a better representation of what we have to offer, and that it’s not just Florida State and everyone else again this year.
Mike (NC State): This is about the time last season that I posted about Georgia Tech being undefeated and, of course, they lost immediately thereafter. If they get by Miami, they again get to boast of being “the other undefeated” for a while. I’ll do them a favor and refrain from bringing it up again.
Matt (Syracuse): Looking forward to some separation in the Coastal division between the contenders and the pretenders… with GaTech/UM and Pitt/UVA, we should get one step closer to figuring out who will be tops in the division. The good news for the conference is that no one can lose to the B1G this week. Sheesh.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): Can Florida State and Notre Dame stay on course for their October 18 showdown? Florida State will need to beat Wake Forest this week, while Notre Dame needs to beat Stanford. Next week, the two schools get Syracuse and North Carolina, respectively. If both schools are undefeated there will be plenty of buzz to see which team is left standing… and perhaps in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot.
WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?
David (FSU): Florida State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama
Len (Louisville): 1 Oregon, 2 Alabama, 3 Oklahoma & 4 FSU
John (UNC): I could easily see the current top 4 in the AP standings being our playoff teams. With Florida State, Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma, you have an extremely talented, yet balanced, group that represents the frontrunners in the top four conferences right now (ACC, Pac-12, SEC and Big 12). Anything could change, but each of these teams has momentum behind them, and a history and pedigree to bet on.
Mike (NC State): 1-Florida State 2-Alabama (but don’t write off Auburn, Mississipi State or Texas A&M just yet) 3-Oregon 4-Oklahoma
Matt (Syracuse): Oregon, Texas A&M, Florida State, Oklahoma.
Anthony (Syr/ACC):Florida State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama.
What do you think? How would you answer these questions?