Garnet and Gold Colored Glasses… Or Not

I just wanted to introduce myself.  My name is Brian, and I will be contributing to The Confidential.  Bare with me, as I am no writer, but I will try to give a perspective from the point of view of a fan of the Garnet and Gold (FSU colors) on: the ACC, Seminoles, and College Football in general.  I have been a fan since the 90’s, and eventually graduated from the school as an undergrad some time later. I am sure my fandom will cloud my point of view on many things, but I do pride myself on seeing both sides of things; obviously with what is going on with FSU in the news today it is a constant struggle in this regard.  Anyway, let’s not get too serious right now, and I will highlight some of the things I hope to cover in the near future.

I am putting together a somewhat lengthy take on rivalries, and how they form.  I figure with Louisville joining the ACC, and the recent additions of other schools, it might be interesting to hear what a Seminole has to say on the matter.  I will discuss who are FSU rivals and why they are rivals, and outline some “rules” to a rivalry.  It is rather long at the moment, so I may spread it over a few posts over the course of a week or more focusing on one “rule for a good rivalry” every post.  Obviously the rules will be littered with colorful stories about Seminole and ACC past.

I also hope to discuss other matters like how Seminoles view its place in the ACC.  In addition, I will give my view on FSU’s and its fan-base in a very comical sense. Essentially, I will discuss some of the more bizarre stories and traditions at FSU, good and bad (I still do not get the glitter guys… just saying, they must find glitter in places that should not have foreign substance, for weeks).  I will also address future topics as they come forward, although I may hold off on some for a time so I do not let emotions skew my commentary (trust me Irish, you do not want to hear my take on last weekends game right now… Good Call!)

I will close with some brief comments to give you an idea of my fandom, so you know where I am coming from.  I once did not speak to a relative who was a fan of another rival school for months due to words exchanged during the game (yeah not proud of that one… long time ago though… now we argue about politics, so yeah we do not talk much).  I think Bobby Bowden should be on the Play-Off Committee, and I do not trust all those SEC/BIG/Pac 12/Big 12 connected folks… the ACC needs more than one major connection to a committee member.   I consider the fact that all of these networks striking deals with conferences has an appearance of impropriety which skews the reliability of their coverage and analysis against the perception of unbiased coverage; in other words, just because ESPN might one day try and tell me the SEC might arguably have the 4 best teams that should be in the playoff does not mean I will buy it.  FSU’s tradition of the flaming spear is the best in the ACC.  My idea of purgatory is being forced to watch an FSU kicker line up for a game winning field goal in the city of Miami over and over and over.  My idea of heaven is being allowed to watch highlights of Deion, Brooks, Ward, Weinke, Bolden, Warrick, Winston, Greene, and other greats play football over and over again without a Gator fan uttering the word Tebow in my presence.

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ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 8/9, Part I

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 7) and the Week that will be (Week 8) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), Mike (NC State), Brian (FSU), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions.  Instead of breaking the questions down, we are doing a Part I with some of the correspondents… and then a Part II with the rest of the correspondents.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 8?

Len (Louisville): BC & Clemson. I wasn’t expecting a 4 point game here. After a change at QB & OC. Syracuse seems to have found themselves offensively.

John (UNC): I was surprised by the Virginia Tech/Pitt score. It seems like every year for the past few years, I’ve found myself giving the Hokies the benefit of the doubt, only to be disappointed. Perhaps the rest of the conference has caught up, or Beamer ball has slipped a bit, but this team doesn’t look like a vintage Tech team, and it certainly isn’t playing like one. That said, I still think the Hokies have something up their sleeve, and they’ll keep the Coastal Division race interesting until the end.

Brian (FSU): Syracuse bouncing back and winning the way they did. Syracuse may give Clemson more fight this week than they expected… although it was only Wake that Syracuse beat, so maybe I am jumping the gun.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): North Carolina beating Georgia Tech.  I really thought that Georgia Tech was ready to turn the corner at 2-0 in conference play, but they turned a different corner.  Meanwhile, UNC righted the ship, building off a good game against Notre Dame in South Bend.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 8?

Len (Louisville): That NC State offense was so good against the Cards defense. That was one of the best performances against this defense all season. Gardner is still struggling with his accuracy and our WR’s are still struggling to catch the ball. The biggest surprises for me is Parker’s strong performance in his first game back & that it took Dyer this long to make a positive impact on a game.

John (UNC): Last week was exactly what the Tar Heels needed. Sure, the defense wasn’t amazing, giving up huge chunks of yardage to the Yellow Jackets,  but the team showed a lot of maturity when they lost the lead with three minutes to go. The offensive, led by Quarterback Marquise Williams, truly one of college football’s breakout players of 2014, was spectacular. They were confident, yet patient, and didn’t try to force anything. Most importantly, the Heels avoided penalties on both sides of the ball, a problem that had been plaguing them all season.

Brian (FSU): I was both surprised and disappointed how much attention the ND vs. FSU game received.  I knew it would get much attention, but I was surprised to learn it was the most watched Non-BCS Bowl game since November 2012 (which I believe was also a ND game, but against USC).  Of course ND had much to do with the ratings, along with the fact it was a top 5 match up, but that is not the only reason. I suspect another major factor was America rooting for FSU to falter. People tuned in to root for ND to beat FSU, and its not like everyone loves ND. FSU has become the heels of CFB,  and not of the Carolina Blue variety, but of the 4 Horseman variety. Of course like those guys, FSU defies everyone, and keeps finding ways to win… whether the refs were looking away when Double A slips in a chair shot or not! FSU keeps styling and profiling its way to wins… Okay, I will stop. I got it out of my system, but in all seriousness I am disappointed that my Noles are so hated. I suppose this is how Raiders fans felt when they mattered.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Wake Forest is a decent defense, but Syracuse’s play calling and QB play continued to be improved over past weeks.  It is clear that former Offensive Coordinator George McDonald was part of the problem, as his replacement is using a backup QB to move the ball with backup WRs.  The offense still has a long way to go, but it just looks better.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 9 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

Len (Louisville): The Cards are on a bye but they play a Thursday night game with FSU. They played 8 straight games and stayed healthy, better than I expected. I’m looking for the Cards to use this time to recover & work on their offensive struggles. The Cards actually got two players back the last two weeks, FS Reve & WR Parker.

John (UNC): The SEC may have the Iron Bowl and the Egg Bowl, but the ACC is home to the South’s Oldest Rivalry. North Carolina and Virginia have been playing each other since 1892, and every time they get together it’s exciting. UVA might have owned the Tar Heels in the mid-2000s, but this decade, it’s been all North Carolina. I’m looking for my team to seize the momentum from last week’s exciting Georgia Tech win and take it to Charlottesville to beat the Hoos.

Brian (FSU): They do not play, so I guess I am hoping for no news. No bombshells. No drama. No nothing. Just getting ready for UL, and trying to survive another week is all I want to hear! Oh the other thing I look forward to is all the Lane Kiffen to UF rumors floating around, and Gator fans freaking out… I know it is highly unlikely that it will happen, but how can we make this become reality is my question?

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Can Syracuse’s offense move the ball AT ALL against Clemson?  The Syracuse defense may or may not succumb to poor tackling and overpursuit of sacks/turnovers against Clemson’s vulnerable offense.  But the matchup between the Syracuse offense and the Clemson defense will likely decide the game.  I suppose one cannot discount the speedy Clemson skill players making a difference on special teams too.  Coverage will need to be better.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 9 FOR THE ACC?

Len (Louisville): It’s a good slate of games this weekend, I’m looking forward to all of them being competitive. VT v Miami & GT @ Pitt standout to me, maybe we can see some clarity in the Coastal Division.

John (UNC): I’m excited about this week’s Coastal Division matchups. With three divisional games, and everyone still in the hunt, we’ll have a much clearer picture about this year’s winner by the end of the day Saturday. Sure, current leader, Duke, is off, but others can still control their own destiny if they get hot.

Brian (FSU): This is a slow weekend, as 3 of the 4 most interesting teams (ND/FSU.UL) are on byes, so I guess I will look to see if Clemson can not be upset by Syracuse.  I also think it might be interesting to see if BC continues to turn the corner. Their defense is good, and should handle Wake. Otherwise, I guess UM vs. VT can be a solid game on Thursday Night, and it is the only game the ACC will have in any kind of national spot like. Okay, I will go with that, Canes and Hokies need to have a good game to help the ACC cause!

Anthony (Syr/ACC): A slow week.  Did you know that Georgia Tech/Pitt is the game with the two teams with the best combined records (9-5)?  Miami and Va Tech are a combined 8-6.  Plus, Ga Tech/Pitt are 4-2 in conference, while the latter are 2-4.  The Coastal pillow fights remain interesting, as the teams seem to cannibalize each other down to mediocrity.

WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?

Len (Louisville): The undefeated are dropping like flies, this is getting tougher. My teams today are 1) FSU, 2) Miss St, 3) Ole Miss & 4) ND. With Baylor losing I kept ND in. The Ole Miss & Miss St game is shaping up to have huge playoff implications, who would’ve guessed that at the beginning of the season. Unless Marshall makes it in, I dont see a way for there to be more than two undefeated in the playoffs making 3 & 4 a toss up. Maybe we should start the playoff next season?

John (UNC): It was another exciting week with another couple of Top 5 losses. I’m still not sold on the validity of the penalty at the end of the Florida State-Notre Dame game, but since that’s how things worked out, I’m keeping the Seminoles in the playoff (until Jimbo sits Winston, which he probably should). and removing the Irish. I still also feel pretty good about Mississippi State, but instead of Baylor, I’m adding Alabama. Because the Big 12 and Pac-12 will work themselves out of the playoff in the end, I’m keeping Michigan State for now, but expect the Big 10 to lose all representation if they lose to the Buckeyes on November 8th.

Brian (FSU): 1) Miss State, they look good, 2) ND, I think other teams will start losing rapidly with the Irish only have one close loss, 3) Mich State, they will not lose again, 4) Bama, yeah the SEC will have two teams in, and Bama has turned it on. Contrary to what the talking heads at the 4 letter network might say, FSU has some tough teams left. UVA and UL both have great defenses, and one is a Thursday Night road game; UM is statistically a solid team, along with it being a rivalry game on the road; BC plays everyone tough; UF will play FSU hard as they always do; and the ACC title game against Duke could be hard. So, I see FSU with the way they are playing dropping a game somewhere in there, and probably in its next game. I see all Pac 12 teams with 2 losses (Oregon on upset watch this week!), and the Big 12 is playing themselves out of contention.

Anthony (Syr/ACC):Florida State, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oregon.  FSU should run the table.  Who is going to prevent it?  Louisville is the best opponent and Florida State has 10 days to prepare.  Florida?  Please.  The Coastal champ?  Virginia is the team that should really worry FSU fans, as that has the look of a team that has caused FSU trouble in pre-Winston years.  Alabama need only run the table.  With #1 Mississippi State and #5 Auburn looming, don’t discount Nick Saban.  Michigan State is benefiting from Ohio State’s recent surge, and may get a second chance to beat a decent Nebraska team.  The Oregon loss can look better if Oregon keeps winning–as its one loss was assisted by OL injuries.  As for Oregon, their path is harder than FSU’s but not that much harder. 

In other words, it remains plausible for my original four picks to still make it to the playoffs, so how can I not stick with it?  See:

I am still watching Notre Dame though.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.  In the meantime, what do you think?  How would you answer these questions?

The Confidential’s ACC Standings Poll: Week 9

The standings are starting to become even clearer, as all six correspondents voting correspondents had the same top 3, and 5/6 had the same top 5.  Spots 6 through 10 are a mess though.  Here are the poll standings as of today and a brief synopsis:

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Fantasy Football Entry Page: Week 9/Free October Contest!

Remember, the Confidential’s Fantasy Football game is structured to allow late entries.  THERE IS STILL TIME TO ENTER AND WIN THE OVERALL CONTEST!  But we are also running a separate free contest for October alone.  See below.

OCTOBER CONTEST:

The entrant with the highest score during one of the four October weekends will receive $25.00 via PayPal.  Hard to see anyone toppling Brian!  But remember to enter anyway.

OVERALL CONTEST:

We don’t go by total points for the whole season; rather, we just allow teams to win the week or not.  Whoever wins the most weeks, wins the overall prize.  Right now, Brian has three wins.  Lenville and MCaffrey have  2 wins, while ACaffrey has 1 win.  Plenty of time for someone else to enter and win the $75.00 prize.  For Week 8 results, see here.

 

For rules, see here.  As a reminder, to enter, simply comment below with an ACC QB, RB, WR, Flex, Defense, and Coach.  We’ll do the rest.

 

Entries due before kickoff of the first ACC/Notre Dame game, which is THURSDAY at 7pm this week!!!! 

 

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 7/8, Part II

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 7) and the Week that will be (Week 8) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), Mike (NC State), Brian (FSU), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions.  Here is Part II, Part I was yesterday.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 6 FOR THE ACC?

David (FSU): Besides the FSU v ND game, very excited to see how Virginia v Duke goes. Both teams are having excellent years, and are battling for the top spot in the Coastal.

Len (Louisville): FSU beating ND & seeing if Duke can take control of their division when they play Virginia.

John (UNC): I think Florida State will lose this week. Why? Because even though the NCAA doesn’t seem to really care that Jameis Winston sold his autograph, his past actions say that he probably did, and the circus will finally catch up to the team on the field. Backup Sean Macguire struggled mightily against Clemson, and will be facing an even more imposing defense in the Fighting Irish. The Seminoles are already bowl eligible, and this loss won’t derail their season, but I think their playoff hopes will end at home Saturday night.

Matt (Syracuse): The obvious answer is Florida State/Notre Dame, in a battle for what I predict will be a prelude to January…provided that the loser of this game suffers its only loss this week, and barring some shenanigans with FSU’s disciplinary hearing/Winston’s status moving forward, I fully expect to see both teams in the playoffs. FSU should win the ACC and even at 12-1 will have wins over Oklahoma, Clemson, and L’Ville. Notre Dame is ratings gold and at 11-1 would have wins over Stanford, FSU, ASU, and USC…that would make a great Rose Bowl substitute for a Pac12 or B1G team.

Mike (NC State): Everything pales before the Saturday night showdown, Notre Dame at Florida State.  This is the game the nation will be watching, and it should be a dandy.  Somebody’s playoff hopes will take a big blow after this one.  But whose?

Brian (FSU): I am looking forward, in the ACC as a whole, to see if UVA can take a huge step in controlling its destiny in the Atlantic.  UVA at Duke may be the most important game out of the Coastal this year… yeah I know if I made that statement 5 or more years ago I might get some crazy looks.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Obviously it is Florida State and Notre Dame.  Both teams are on a course for a playoff appearance and national championship.  Although it might not fully end the playoff push, neither team can afford a loss.  But someone is going to lose.  An elimination game?

WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?

David (FSU): 1. FSU 2. MSU, 3. Baylor 4. Oregon

Len (Louisville): This is starting to get difficult as national parity is starting to show itself. The SEC may have more depth but no one is dominating & everyone is beatable. My picks for today are 1) Miss State, 2) FSU, Baylor 4) ND. Either FSU or ND will be out next week so this will be interesting going down the stretch of the season. Cant wait to see the committee’s first list of rankings.

John (UNC): Even though I hope it’s not the case, I’m keeping Notre Dame in the playoff. With a win this week, they’ll be able to cruise through the rest of their schedule, despite upcoming matchups against #17 Arizona State and #22 USC. That will probably table any talks of the Fighting Irish joining the ACC for football (for now), and keep the status quo going, despite all of the sweeping structural changes this year. As for the other teams, I’m taking Mississippi State (future winners over Ole Miss), Baylor (future Big 12 winners) and Michigan State (future Big 10 winners). Much like the majority of the history of the BCS, the ACC will be left out.

Matt (Syracuse): Florida State, Notre Dame, Baylor, Mississippi St.  [Editor's note: This is the same as last week... so Matt chose well last week.]

Mike (NC State): 1) Mississippi State 2) Florida State 3) Notre Dame (could get in even with a loss vs the Noles) 4) Baylor.  Leaves out the Big 10 and Pac 12, but at this point I am sticking with  undefeateds.

Brian (FSU): My 4 teams in the playoff right now are: 1-The team that is both the SEC West and overall SEC winner (Damned if I know which team, but the SEC has this spot locked down I think), 2- Oregon, 3- ND, and 4- Michigan State.  I think FSU will have some issues with Winston’s playing status going forward… right now it is just a feeling.

Anthony (Syr/ACC):Florida State, Mississippi State, Baylor, and…. ummm… Michigan State?  It may be the Pac-12 that is on the outside looking in this year.

What do you think?  How would you answer these questions?

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 7/8, Part I

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 7) and the Week that will be (Week 8) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), Mike (NC State), Brian (FSU), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions.  Here is Part I, Part II will be tomorrow.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 5?

David (FSU): North Carolina taking ND down to the wire, seems ND was guilty of the look ahead game but luckily survived.

Len (Louisville): North Carolina giving ND a scare. Louisville defense extended its streak to 17 qtrs without giving up a TD against Clemson. NC St only putting up 14 against BC. I think that national parity is starting to show itself with Ole Miss & Miss St LEADING the SEC. A few ‘experts’ can joke about Virginia leading their division but FSU is leading the ACC. The gap had definitely closed between them & everyone else.

John (UNC): I was surprised by the Duke-Georgia Tech score. The Yellow Jackets were finally ranked, looking good and playing at home. I didn’t even think an hour and 17 minute rain delay would stop the inevitable- a Georgia Tech win for the 11th year in a row. But I was wrong. Even though Duke hadn’t really been impressive yet this season (beating teams they should have and losing to a very average Miami team), this win went a long way toward showing that they’re for real. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain their momentum through the rest of the Coastal Division schedule.

Matt (Syracuse):  Although I didn’t watch the game, judging by the final score final score between the Irish and Tar Heels of 50-43, I would say that I was surprised by how well Mike Brey’s ball & tempo control stifled what should be a dynamic Roy Williams’ crew…wait, that was football?

Mike (NC State): The way North Carolina hung with Notre Dame.  Maybe Larry Fedora has been teasing us again and the Heels are about to turn on the afterburners.

Brian (FSU): My biggest surprise in the ACC last week is either Louisville being unable to beat Clemson when Watson missed most of the game due to injury, or Georgia Tech losing to Duke after it started the season so strong.  If I have to pick one it would be Georgia Tech, as it has been over a decade since Georgia Tech lost to Duke.  Also, when Georgia Tech beat a UM team that just beat Duke, it seemed the streak would continue. Now with Duke beating the Jackets, they have the inside track again on the Coastal.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): I have to say it was Boston College beating North Carolina State.  Boston College is a very hard team to predict–having beaten USC, but losing to Colorado State.  Really figured that Dave Doeren’s crew would take care of business at home.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 5?

David (FSU): It was great to finally see the run game/offensive line come together, even without starting tailback Karlos Williams.

Len (Louisville): That Quick didn’t score on that 80 yard pass with a minute to go. The play calling from the 5 yard line in the closing minute. That the Cards had a chance to win. That Patrino didn’t go with Gardner sooner. The OL protected better & overall played better but they still need to clean up those penalties. Bonnafon probably has more potential at QB but Gardner has a larger play book and makes decisions quicker. It was obvious to me early in the game that Bonnafons scrambling ability wasn’t going to be that big of a factor & thought that Patrino would’ve made the change sooner. Louisville’s defense is for real folks & if they can improve their offensive efficiency they should be able to compete with anyone in the country.

John (UNC): My biggest surprise is related to my biggest disappointment from last week’s roundtable. All season long, Coach Fedora had been inserting redshirt freshman QB Mitch Trubisky into the game on the third series, no matter the momentum or score. This week against Notre Dame, he didn’t play him at all. Perhaps the anger of the fans became too much, or Fedora finally realized that Williams really did give the team the best chance to win, but it’s because of this move that the Tar Heels were able to stick with Notre Dame for so long.

Matt (Syracuse): Even though the Orange lost, I’m going with surprise and not disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised by Syracuse’s offense under new OC Tim Lester and, presumed starter for the remainder season, AJ Long. I remain unconvinced that the problem on SU’s offense was solely on McDonald’s playcalling, but it is obvious that whatever changes were made were for the better.

Mike (NC State): I was disappointed in the play of Jacoby Brissett.  Granted, he was rushed early and often, but as the game started to get out of hand he seemed to panic.  Can’t get the image of him throwing the ball backward as he is being tackled and giving up more yardage than if he had just taken the sack.  Coach Doeren and staff need to address this, not to mention the poor offensive line play.

Brian (FSU): My biggest surprise from FSU last weekend was how good Cook looked.  I like Pender more than Karlos Williams at RB, but if you squinted your eyes just right Cook looked a few times like a young number 22 for Dallas Cowboys in the 90s… yeah I said it! (Also, I know this is a college site, but I refuse to acknowledge 22’s Orange and Blue roots).  My biggest disappointment is how poor the defense looked against an offense just off replacing its QB and OC.  I think some of the lack of being able to scout the new OC/QB for Syracuse explains the early struggles, but some of it is a lack of discipline from the defensive players.  The defensive talent is still raw, and this game showed that reality.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): The biggest surprise was Syracuse’s offense.  It looked inept with veterans at QB, WR1, WR2, and offensive coordinator.  Syracuse had none of them for the Florida State defense and looked… better?  Granted, Florida State may not have been playing with top notch passion, but Syracuse moved the ball with more rhythm than all year.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 6 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

David (FSU):  Just win. Win and advance, don’t care how, don’t care who makes the plays. Look for Jameis to test a banged up secondary that struggled against UNC.

Len (Louisville): Improvement on offense. WR getting involved more, fewer penalties & Parker seeing action this week. I want to see the Cards win by 3+ TD’s to feel good about our offense going down the stretch of the season.

John (UNC): Honestly, I’m looking forward to something that resembles defense. There have been small signs of improvement the past few weeks, and despite the fact that the Tar Heels almost always lose to Georgia Tech (GT is 12-2 against North Carolina since 2000), the stage is set for a rebound win. This time last year, the Tar Heels were 1-5 before rattling off 5 straight wins and turning around their season. If it’s going to happen this year too, then you have to think that despite the fact the Heels just finished the most difficult stretch of their schedule, that this game is now actually the most important.

Matt (Syracuse): Not so much what I am looking forward to, but what I WANT to see from Syracuse: Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Glad to see the offense take some steps forward, but the defense seems to get worse at the basics week-after-week. Too many missed tackles, too many (unsuccessful) strips at the ball. Scott Shafer has proven that he’s not above making changes to his coordinators mid-season, and if the Orange cannot tackle against WtF, then Chuck Bullough should be put on notice.

Mike (NC State): I have the same answer I did before the Clemson game: the Pack must stay competitive in a hostile environment.  Again, I think a win is only a remote possibility, but show me something more than you did in Death Valley.  Or even this past Saturday at home vs. BC.

Brian (FSU): The thing I am looking forward to out of FSU this week is what is likely the last big game feel of the season for FSU. I have a bad feeling the never ending Winston saga will eventually lead to either a loss due to distractions or outright implosion if something happens to Winston’s status as QB.  This weekend may be the last time an FSU game garner’s major national attention, even if a lot of the attention is not so positive.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): How will the Syracuse offense fair with game film for Wake Forest–a decent defense–to review.  If Syracuse’s offense plays anywhere near the way it did last week, the Orange can win.  Even without that, the Orange could still win.  But this might be Wake Forest’s best chance for a conference win all year–they will not go down lightly.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.

In the meantime, what do you think?  How would you answer these questions?