ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 12/13

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 12) and the Week that will be (Week 13) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors for their comments and opinions.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 12?

David (FSU): Duke, what are you doing? I really didn’t see them losing to Va Tech going into the week, and you’ve got to feel for both Clemson (Watson’s knee) and Miami (I seriously don’t know how FSU won).

Len (Louisville): Clemson, Duke and Notre Dame all losing. Duke’s hold on the Coastal loosened and Georgia Tech is ready to take it from them. North Carolina can knock their rivals from the division lead this weekend.

Mike (NC State): While Virginia Tech’s upset of Duke was an eye-opener, the Georgia Tech domination of Clemson is the surprise of the week in the conference.  Jackets fans will now be watching the UNC-Duke Thursday night game with renewed interest, as this is the best chance for another Duke loss.    

John (UNC): Wow, Notre Dame’s freefall continues. Losing to a 3-6 Northwestern team just shows how far the mighty have fallen. Injuries aside, there’s no excuse for the Fighting Irish to lose to the Wildcats, especially in South Bend. Not that Notre Dame would have a chance for a big bowl with three losses anyway, but they may need to re-think their football conference affiliation status at this point. Welcome to the ACC…for real this time.

Brian (FSU): ND losing to Northwestern… what the heck happened? There went my pool.  NW has one of the worst offenses in college football and puts crazy points on ND on the road.  Brian Kelly has gone from top tier college football coach to a mistake waiting to happen in just two weeks.

Anthony (Syracuse): Tough call.  I really did not see Duke losing to Va Tech, Clemson losing to Georgia Tech, or Notre Dame losing to Northwestern.  The latter was the biggest upset though.  But I will go with Florida State yet again starting slow and having to come back.  The Seminoles are playing with fire.  If you cannot come out strong against a rival like Miami–that is not a good sign.  Credit FSU for the win, but it is high time that FSU play a full 60-minute game.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 12?

David (FSU): I could go on for days about everything that surprised me in this game. How lost the D was for the first 25 minutes of the game, how the Defense turned it on and shut down Miami for the next 35. How moving Cam Erving to Center & starting a True Freshman in Rod Johnson at LT actually worked, and worked very well. Helped open up running lanes for another True Freshman who is emerging as a the team’s homerun threat in Dalvin Cook.

Len (Louisville): Notre Dame losing. It would have been nice to face a ranked opponent on their turf. The Cards are playing for a good bowl game and we can knock the Golden Domers down a few more notches for the ACC.

Mike (NC State): Hey! The Pack can run the ball!  Ok, it was only Wake, but NC State’s 362-yard rushing performance, including 100+ yards by both Matt Dayes and Shadrach Thornton was a high point in a season of struggles.  And they are now bowl-eligible. But hey, Wolfpack, don’t settle for sneaking in at 6-6.  Beat Carolina!!

John (UNC): I was so impressed with how the Tar Heels came back against Pitt, despite being down almost the whole game. One thing the team has shown this year is resiliency. Even though the defense is among the worst in the country, they always show up when they’re needed most. With a young team all-around, hopefully, it’s the sign of good things to come.

Brian (FSU):   I am surprised FSU did not lose to UM by a field goal, and in reality UM is the team that got burned by a shanked field goal in reality.  I am also surprised ESPN is beginning to cover the fact it may have jumped the gun on the Winston got paid for autographs scandal.  Reports from OTL are coming out that the signatures in question were questioned so much by the original authenticator brought in to verify the signatures that said authenticator refused to authenticate the items in question (a different entity had to be brought in).  In fact, when you read the story at ESPN it seems very shady.  The guy claiming he got Winston to sign the items would not let the authenticator observe Winston actually sign the items.  Also, it seems now that OTL has had handwriting experts look over the signatures and let us just say the experts seem to think they do not seem to be Mr. Winston’s John Hancock.  Of course with my Noles’ luck this will all change tomorrow, and new information will blow up to make FSU look bad a little more.  I was disappointed that all of FSU’s key opponents decided to get worse.  Clemson and ND both choked winnable games away, and likely ACC Ch. Game Opponent Duke fell on its face again.

Anthony (Syracuse): As far as we know, no more starters were lost during the bye week.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 13 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

David (FSU): The Noles are almost 3 touchdown favorites heading into a home match up vs. BC, and all I’m looking for is seeing them escape with a comfortable win. Can we get one week where it isn’t down to the wire? Please? Honestly, look to see the same OL lineup and that they continue to gel. The run game for FSU has quietly been improving and I expect that to continue to flourish.

Len (Louisville): I should have mentioned this last week as probably the biggest surprise from the BC game was that the Cards won the game with their second string QB, true freshman Bonnafon. Gardner is at least done for the season with another knee injury and Bonnafon will start the rest of the season. He has had a tough season so far having been thrust into action a week after his father passed earlier in the season but performed well at Boston College. The bye week should help him prepare for the trip to South Bend. The Domers are playing poorly right now and Cards S Holliman only needs 1 more INT to tie the NCAA record. Only 15 FBS teams have more INT’s than his 13. He has 2 games to set the record (vs Kentucky).

Mike (NC State): The Pack is on a bye, so get prepared for the season-ending showdown.  I say again, beat Carolina!!

John (UNC):  This week is huge for North Carolina. With a win Thursday, they could deny Duke a chance at the ACC championship, and become bowl eligible at the same time. A Tar Heel dream. With a loss, well…that would put a whole lot more pressure on the season finale against NC State. The Wolfpack are a much better team than their record suggests, so North Carolina really needs to take care of business against the Blue Devils. Game. Set. Match?

Brian (FSU): Hopefully, and finally a strong win.  Of course, BC is no pushover… in fact I tend to think they can win.   I love my Noles, but they cause my blood pressure to rise a little too much.

Anthony (Syracuse): Syracuse really needs to win one of its final two games to get to 4 wins.  4 wins is a bad season, without question, but it would be great to avoid the valleys experienced only during the G-Rob era (his BEST season was 4 wins).  Winning at Pitt has been elusive, but you have to wonder whether Syracuse fan force turnovers.  Pitt has had problems in that regard and Syracuse’s defense is healthy.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 13 FOR THE ACC?

David (FSU): I’m going to take the Louisville v ND game here, and think ND gets back on track after two weeks I’m sure any Fighting Irish fans have already tried to erase from their memory.

Len (Louisville): Can the Heels knock the Dookies from the Coastal lead. FSU may get more help by playing Georgia Tech in the CCG. Tech is looking stronger than Duke and should be higher ranked if they can beat Georgia. Bonnafon didnt fare well in the Cards trip to Death Valley, how will he handle the trip to South Bend? I have been waiting for this game for a long time and with it being played on my father’s birthday makes it all the sweeter. I just wish he was here to see it.

Mike (NC State): Louisville/Notre Dame should be interesting, though it has lost some of its luster.  Then there’s Boston College/FSU, which will likely be closer than expected.  But the game of the week is that Thursday nighter between Carolina and Duke.  Both teams need it badly; UNC to get bowl-eligible and Duke to hold off charging Georgia Tech.  Should be a good one.

John (UNC):  I would love to see two more teams become bowl eligible. Sure, I’m biased, because one of the teams in position is North Carolina, but it would be great for the conference, there’s no denying that. I also think a Louisville win against Notre Dame is extremely possible, and that would be fun to see as well. Until the Fighting Irish join the conference full-time, I’ll root for the REAL ACC over them any day.

Brian (FSU): How about Louisville, FSU, ND, GT, and Clemson all trending up for their out of conference play.  I want GT to get rested and ready to upset UGA.  I want Louisville and ND to not kill each other before they face Kentucky and USC the following week.  FSU and Clemson need to somehow get ready for their big rivals the following week, without choking and looking ahead (yeah it is doubtful CU will stumble… FSU however, different story).  Long story short, I want the ACC to look as good as possible going into rivalry week to take some OOC schools down!

 Anthony (Syracuse): Duke/UNC is a huge showdown as it will determine who plays in the ACCCG.  Louisville traveling to ND will be very interesting… the new kid on the college football block vs. the old establishment.  ND is reeling, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to adversity.

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

David (FSU): 1)FSU 2)Bama 3) Oregon 4) TCU with Miss St. and Baylor lurking.

Len (Louisville): 1) FSU, 2) Alabama, 3) Oregon, 4) Miss St. Miss St played better than I expected but they and Alabama still have a tough road ahead and I don’t expect them both to make it. I look for Baylor to sneak in at #4. The worst case scenario for the SEC would be to have Missouri as champion since they lost to Indiana.. In that scenario it would be possible for the SEC to be left out.

Mike (NC State):1) Florida State 2) Alabama 3) Oregon 4) Ohio State.

John (UNC): None of the teams from my top four lost last week, so no changes here. It’s Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and TCU until further notice.

Brian (FSU): 1) FSU, 2) Bama, 3) Oregon, 4) Miss St.  In 3 weeks: 1) Bama (wins out), 2) Oregon (wins out), 3) Baylor (wins out), 4) OSU (wins out)…. Miss St likely loses to Ole Miss, and until I am proven wrong I am assuming FSU playing with fire will burn it soon… also that pre-ACC title game student conduct hearing could have a major impact on FSU’s standing.  Even if FSU runs the table, winning the ACC title without Winston, if the hearing causes Winston to be removed from the team how will the committee react?  The safe money is to exclude FSU on the same grounds 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament have been lost by teams who have a star played injured just before the tourney.

Anthony (Syracuse): (1) Florida State; (2) Alabama; (3) Oregon; and (4) Ohio State.  I am not a big fan of the Big 10, but you have to think that there is going to be a strong push by the Committee to get the Big 10 into the finale somehow.  If Ohio State wins out, they will be in.

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

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The Confidential’s ACC Standings Poll: Week 13

It is now mid-November.  The season is down to its final weeks.  The Atlantic is clear, the Coastal is essentially down to two teams.  Here is how the correspondents view the top 10 in the ACC:

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Fantasy Football Entry Page: Week 13

Remember, the Confidential’s Fantasy Football game is structured to allow late entries.  THERE IS STILL TIME TO ENTER !

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.

Here are the standings:

OVERALL PRIZE STANDINGS:

1. Brian & Lenville Cards 3

3. MCaffrey & ACaffrey  2 wins

5. Josh Vickery  & Mr. Tar Heel 1 win

7.  The other billions of people on the planet  0 wins

For Week 12 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…

Randy Moss & FSU… What Could Have Been?

This week I set some time aside to watch ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 documentary: “Rand University.” I generally enjoy these films, as they often provide both an entertaining and enlightening perspective on athletes and teams.  I even enjoyed the famous “The U” film in the series.  My only gripe with the series is that the name no longer fits… we are well past the 30th anniversary for ESPN, and certainly past 30 films in the series.  Regardless, the films have generally been good, and its most recent installment was solid.

The part of the film I had the most interest in was of course his brief stint at FSU. If you know your college football or watched the film you know that Randy Moss’ was not permitted to attend Notre Dame for being involved in a fight where is friend beat up a kid who allegedly left some racially charged comments for Moss’ friend.  As a result of this fight he was charged with a felony (reduced to a misdemeanor), and sentenced to 30 days in jail which was served under a work release program in 1996.  Despite signing his letter of intent to the Irish he was allowed to go to FSU in 1995, and had to sit out that season as a redshirt freshman.  As the film recounts he regularly burned great FSU defensive backs in practice, and even recorded the second highest 40 time in school history… only behind Prime Time himself.  Unfortunately, as a result of smoking some “herbal remedies” during his work release in 1996, he was kicked out of FSU.

It was at this point of the film I began to participate in a common practice among many Seminole fans, which is to wonder: “What could have been, if Randy stayed out of trouble and remained a Nole?” Trust me when I tell you, that any FSU fans over 25 will discuss this scenario amongst themselves at least once a season. Even Lebron James lamented on the fact that Moss could not continue his FSU career beyond being a redshirt freshman.

So how different would history have been if Moss was able to play as a Nole through the late 90’s? I mean, he is just a wide receiver, right?  Well… yes and no.  Yes, he is just a wide receiver, but he is not just any wide receiver.  Remember what he did on the field in college and NFL throughout the late 90’s.  As a wide receiver at Marshall, his next stop after FSU, he was a top 4 finalist for the 1997 Heisman.  You know, the Heisman race with the most stacked finalists in modern history with likely three future NFL Hall of Famers in it (Woodson, Manning, Moss… and well yeah Leaf was the black sheep in that bunch).  Side Note/Trivia Question: Is there another group of Heisman Finalists that can match that season?

Once Moss was done with college, he left early for the NFL. In 1998 he proceeded to turn a regular wild card caliber team of the Vikings under Green, into a Super Bowl caliber team.  If you doubt me, look at what he did in that year.  His numbers were staggering, the team was 15-1 in the regular season, and he was essentially the only major addition to an established team.  If it was not for a major upset by the Falcons, I think Elway may have one less ring on his finger.  Does anyone doubt that the 1998 Vikings would match up a heck of a lot better against the Broncos than the Dirty Bird Falcons?

During this same time FSU was in its Golden Era. From 1996 to 1999, what could have been Moss’ four years of playing time at FSU, the Noles had just 4 losses.  Also, the school effectively played in 3 national titles games (96, 98, 99), and in 1997 FSU only lost on the road at the Swamp or it would have been 4 straight shots at the title in Bowl games (actually 5 because the 2000 team also went to the title game… of course there is no way Moss could have played that year).  FSU also had its wire to wire national title run in 1999.

Now, perhaps Moss would not have stayed all five years (including the redshirt 95 season), after all he did leave Marshall after the 1997 season in reality. I tend to think he would have a hard time leaving such elite teams that winning titles, and a major reason he likely left Marshall was the fact that at the time he was trying to get out of the state of West Virginia.  Remember he never considered WVU as an option (if you want to ever piss off a Mountaineer… just say Randy Moss), and looked to schools in other states.  So, I tend to believe he would have played the full 4 non-redshirt seasons at FSU, but I am also a biased Seminole fan… so yeah.

In considering how much better FSU would have been in the 4 years of 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999, one has to look at the players on those teams. The defenses, which were elite during that era, would be the same, so we will only focus on the offenses.  In 1996 a solid QB in Thad Busby would be throwing him the ball, and the best there never was Dan Kendra (look up this guy’s story, talk about could have beens) would also throw some balls that season.  Warrick Dunn was the running back that year.  Peter Warrick and EG Green would have been fellow receivers.  In 1997 you would have a much improved Busby, Minor at running back, and Laveranues Coles/Warrick/Ron Dugans/Snoop Minis as fellow receivers.  In 1998 you would have the same teammates, but Weinke would be QB.  In 1999 it would again be the same team, minus Coles most of the year, and add a young Anquan Boldin.  In a nutshell, you would have some stacked offenses, with the current UGA coach calling the plays.

So let us look at the individual seasons, specifically the losses, to see how much difference Randy Moss would have made. FSU went unbeaten during the 1996 team then was blown out in the 1997 Sugar Bowl in a rematch against UF.  Odds are Moss is not worth 32 points in that Sugar Bowl, but one has to wonder if Moss played in that last regular season game at FSU against the UF team if it would have led to a much bigger win.  FSU only won by 3 against unbeaten number 1 UF in that game.  If Moss plays, I think FSU likely wins by at least 10, probably 17, if not 24 points.  You have to remember FSU jumped out to a 17-0 lead in that game, and Moss is the exactly the big play guy who could continue to put the pressure on and not letting UF back in the game.  If FSU wins by 17 or 24 points it likely drops UF much further than 4th before its Alabama game, and it is unlikely UF could jump up to 3 before the Sugar Bowl.  In that case, perhaps UF doesn’t get a rematch against FSU in the Sugar Bowl.  Generally Bowls hate rematches, but the 1996 regular season UF vs. FSU game was such a classic I am sure organizers didn’t mind the rematch that year.  Well if FSU destroys UF in that last regular season game, odds are FSU is facing a different opponent that bowl season. ASU was unbeaten, but was going to the Rose Bowl due to the Pac 12 tie-in.  The likely team FSU would face then would have been Nebraska or maybe BYU (yeah they were good then).  FSU would likely match up well against both teams, and with ASU losing the Rose Bowl, FSU wins another title.  I will admit of all the seasons in play, this is the one least likely to have been greatly aided by Randy Moss playing.

1997 is where the fun would really begin. FSU only lost by 3 on the road to UF that season.  I have to believe if Moss plays, that is a Seminole win.  FSU was number 1 going into that game, and likely remains number 1 with a win.  That would mean they would have the inside track to a championship game against other unbeaten teams.  That regular season would have had three unbeaten teams, Michigan (3), Nebraska (2), and FSU (1).  In that scenario odds are FSU plays Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, instead of going to the Sugar Bowl.  That Nebraska squad was good, but struggled with an okay Missouri team that season.  I think FSU wins that game, and probably gets a share if not takes the title outright from fellow unbeaten Michigan.  Remember, Michigan only played Washington State, not even a top 5 team.

1998 would add Weinke as QB, and FSU’s second ACC loss. NCSU would upset FSU by 17 early in the season, so odds are Moss does not make enough of a difference for a different score.  Despite the upset, FSU would go on to play in the first BCS National Title game against Tennessee thanks in large part to one of the craziest finishes to a regular season in history.  FSU only lost to Tennessee by one score in that game, and the Volunteers were arguably one of the worst teams to have ever won the title.  I think Randy Moss gets FSU another title that season.

Obviously FSU won it all without a loss in 1999, but could you imagine how much better an already elite offense would be with Moss? The Virginia Tech game would not have even bewn close.  Weinke would have had an even more impressive season.

Perhaps history works out the same with Moss playing, but I think he is good for at least one more title at FSU. If Moss plays and maxes out his college career at FSU, the Seminoles likely have at least 1, and maybe as much as 3 more titles.  FSU could very well be a three-peat or even a four-peat champion, and 5 straight title appearances.  How different would have the 2000’s been with that legacy?  Would recruiting have been better? Maybe not different, but I would have loved to have witnessed the games in the late 90’s with Moss as a player.  I especially would have liked to have witnessed how much fun that offense would have been to watch.  Of course, this pondering is nothing more than fantasy, but hey isn’t that part of being a fan?

The Confidential’s ACC Basketball Poll: Preseason

As football winds down, basketball starts up.  At schools like Syracuse and Wake Forest, it cannot come soon enough.  But with every looming season comes the predictions… and here we go.  This is how a quorum of Confidential correspondents see the ACC playing out in hoops:

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ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 11/12

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 11) and the Week that will be (Week 12) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors for their comments and opinions.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 11?

David (FSU): The week went pretty much as planned, though Clemson did struggle a bit more than I expected early, the week was pretty much the status quo.

Len (Louisville): All the blowout victories. Not surprised by the wins but by the margins. The way Arizona State dominated Notre Dame.

Mike (NC State): The way Wake Forest hung with Clemson, trailing only 20-17 going into the fourth quarter.  This does not bode well for NC State; of their remaining two opponents, Wake looks to be the most winnable game.  Or is it?

John (UNC): Nothing too surprising this week, honestly. All the teams that won were expected to win, even though the margins may not have been exactly the same. At times, Clemson struggled against Wake Forest, and Florida State looked sloppy against Virginia, but no one will remember that years from now when they look back at each team’s win-loss record. Pretty standard. Oh wait, Notre Dame got destroyed by Arizona State, completely ending the Fighting Irish’s chance at the College Football Playoff. Not entirely surprising given the way they’ve played against their questionable schedule, but fantastic for the ACC’s chances at having them join all-in at some point in the future.

Brian (FSU):  Wake Forest putting up 20 points on Clemson’s defense.  I could not believe Wake’s anemic offense was able to score on Clemson.  On a side note I am surprised that OSU blew out Michigan State… you know the same OSU team that lost to the team currently in last place in the Coastal.  Of course if you watch ESPN the OSU hype machine is spinning that OSU is improving while asking us to ignore the VT loss.  Here is the thing, if you praise OSU you cannot do so without praising the ACC.  If one of the worst ACC teams can handily beat the best Big 10 team at their house, what does that say about the ACC?  You cannot brush off that loss for OSU when all they have played since the loss are other Big 10 teams and High School level competition, and the best Big 10 team should be able to handle the worst of any conference, even with a new QB.  Everyone has called JT Barrett one of the bright spots for OSU this year… well you cannot ignore what one of the worst ACC teams did to that QB in September. Sorry all BIG 10 homers, fact is the Hokies beat your best team.

Anthony (Syracuse): By far… it was Clemson allowing 20 points to Wake Forest. A close second was Notre Dame laying an egg against Arizona State.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 11?

David (FSU): I was surprised at not seeing Mario Pender & some others play either at all or very sparingly in the second half. FSU seemed to pack it in once they had a 2 score lead, appearing to just desire escaping with a W and as much rest as possible for key players still hampered by injury. 

Len (Louisville): I was surprised by how bad Boston College special teams were. I was disappointed in Dyers performance, I was expecting him to continue his high level of play. I was pleased that they weren’t caught looking ahead to Notre Dame. The 38-19 final score was surprising as well, it’s a solid road victory.

Mike (NC State): Zero momentum carried over from the Syracuse game and the Pack was pummeled.  Not that the Tech game looked too promising, but 56-23?  Really?

John (UNC):  North Carolina was off last week, so thankfully, we didn’t lose. The Tar Heels continued to be in the news though, as former player Michael McAdoo (no relation to former basketball player James Michael McAdoo) sued the school, claiming that the University ‘failed to provide him with a quality education.’ While that may be true on some level due to his involvement in the African American Studies Department’s paper classes, this is a guy who got kicked out of school for plagiarism and academic fraud that he committed, not someone else. While I agree that it’s the University’s responsibility to provide a quality education, I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. The blame falls solely on McAdoo for going along with the paper class system instead of waiting to speak out when it was more convenient for him. Much like fellow whistle blower Rashad McCants, McAdoo’s professional career has been a complete bust, in part because of his bad attitude.

Brian (FSU):   I was surprised and disappointed that the UM game is currently sitting at -1.5 FSU.  Yes, UM is a rival…. Yes, statistically they have better numbers… Yes, they have played better offenses, and their D is top 11… Yes, FSU has not looked like last year… I do not care!  Fact is FSU should be more of favorite than they are, and certainly not an underdog (trending that way).   FSU has actually faced far better run defenses and defenses that are far more aggressive than UM.  UM has actually played some of the worst run defenses, have Duke Johnson, and they are still not a top 30 team in rushing.  In two of the games they lost this year they played good run defenses (the only 2 all year ), and could not break a 100 yards rushing.  Fact is, if you stop UM’s ground attack they are in trouble.  Would you believe me if I told you with all the injuries and all the criticism that FSU has the third best run defense UM will have faced all year, sitting at 35? Well they are, and are coming in healthier in the front line than they have been all year.  Remember, FSU had 2 total linebackers going up against Louisville… that will not be the case against UM.  That being said… UM will likely shock FSU… I always assume the worst.

Anthony (Syracuse): Syracuse keeps losing players and keeps performing at the same level.  For all the criticism lofted at Scott Shafer (e.g. here), he has kept this team together despite the losses.  Syracuse may not have talent, but it certainly has heart.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 12 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

David (FSU): I’m most looking forward to seeing how the run game works itself out on both sides of the ball. Getting Pender back should help FSU, and supposedly Cook will be able to play as well. Can the team finally have a dominate rushing game that we expected to see at the start of the year? As for MIA, they’ve already proven they can run the ball as well as anyone in the ACC not named GT. Will the FSU DL have gap composure and integrity? Exactly how healthy are Mario Edwards & Eddie Goldman, their play will be vital to FSU’s chances for success.

Len (Louisville): The Cards are on a bye week so I’m looking forward to them getting healthy again. Lorenzo Mauldin missed the game against BC due to a shoulder injury, that injury has been nagging him all season. Golson is struggling with turnovers and Holliman added 3 ints to his season total, giving him 13 to lead the nation, so I am looking forward to our trip to South Bend in two weeks. The Cards defense should be able to pressure Golson much like Arizona St did which should give the Cards the advantage.

Mike (NC State): The Wolfpack must focus and beat Wake to ensure bowl eligibility.  I have no confidence that they can go into Chapel Hill and beat the Heels in Week 14, especially if the bowl issue isn’t yet nailed down.

John (UNC):  It’s Homecoming, so I’m looking for a win against Pittsburgh. If we can’t pull it off against the Panthers, our shot at bowl eligibility decreases significantly since a win at Duke can’t be guaranteed, or even remotely expected, at this point. The Tar Heels need to take care of business against the Panthers in order to set up a crucial home game against rival NC State the final week of the season. Something to watch- If NC State loses at home against Wake Forest this Saturday (highly unlikely, but possible), the stakes of the Tar Heels’ end of the month meeting with the Wolfpack become even higher. NC State is only 5-5 with two games remaining.

Brian (FSU):  Not much, since I somehow expect to lose. I would say, with our great kicker it would not be due to a wide right field goal… but then he shanked one against Louisville.

Anthony (Syracuse): Rest and healing.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 12 FOR THE ACC?

David (FSU):I’m actually going to take the Clemson v GT game here, the GT offense vs Clemson D should be a great matchup to watch, and both teams still have plenty on the line this year.

Len (Louisville): If FSU can remain unbeaten after traveling to Miami. Also the Clemson and GT game. You have two Coastal teams, Miami and GT, playing at their best right now hosting the two top dogs from the Atlantic. Pop open a cold one, grab your favorite snack and enjoy the games.

Mike (NC State): Florida State vs Miami.  One of the two rivalry games the Noles face as the season draws to a close.  The Hurricanes are peaking at the right time, and the Seminoles have looked vulnerable over most of this season.  Will this be the game that ruins the chance of getting an ACC team into the first College Football Playoffs?

John (UNC):  The spotlight is on the Florida State-Miami game, but the other four games have bigger implications. Will North Carolina get one step closer to bowl eligibility against the Panthers? Will NC State get to six wins with a victory over the lowly Demon Deacons? What will another (expected) loss for the Hokies do to Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech? And how will fierce rivals Clemson and Georgia Tech fare coming into a game with only four losses between them? There’s a lot at stake on Saturday, and it’s more than just pride.

Brian (FSU): I could say the only time ranked teams from the ACC are playing each other this weekend, and it is a rivalry game in GT vs. CU… but the Duke game is also important.  Right now it is a 3 way race for the Atlantic, in reality.  GT needs a lot of help. Duke controls its destiny.  UM is in a good tie-breaker position against Duke head to head.

 Anthony (Syracuse):Well, there are two top notch games between FSU/Miami and Georgia Tech/Clemson.  What else could anyone want?

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

David (FSU): 1) Miss State 2) FSU 3) Oregon 4) Alabama (obviously this changes after this weekend).

Len (Louisville): 1 Miss State, 2) FSU, 3) Oregon. I was expecting a bigger margin of victory from FSU so I put them at #2. The top 3 are.solid but #4 isn’t getting any easier. My top candidates for the 4 spot are Alabama, TCU & Baylor. I would give this spot to the Big 12 champ but for now I will put Baylor there.

Mike (NC State):1 Florida State, 2 Oregon, 3 Mississippi State, 4 Alabama

John (UNC):  Oregon, Mississippi State and Florida State were victors on Saturday, but Michigan State fell out of the race entirely when they lost to rival Ohio State. I’m not ready to put the Buckeyes in the rankings though, because Alabama has made a great case to be team #4 this week. Actually, make that team #3. With a loss against the Crimson Tide this weekend, Mississippi State falls out of the rankings too, and TCU moves in. Get ready for the Horned Frogs!

Brian (FSU): Right now: 1) Miss St, 2) FSU, 3) Oregon, 4) TCU… of course I think Baylor having the tie-breaker over TCU should count for something.  At year end: 1) Bama, 2) Oregon, 3) Baylor (I think TCU will choke at UT… calling it now), 4) Miss St (With 1 loss, they beat a battered Ole Miss squad but by losing to Bama they avoid the SEC Title game, but resume trumps a 1 loss OSU BIG winner…  the BIG then literally flips a… cannot finish that sentence.) 

Anthony (Syracuse): I am going with Florida State, Mississippi State, Oregon, and TCU. I have zero issues with the way the playoff committee has things right now.  Except… why is Florida State #3?  They beat Notre Dame… who was good enough to propel Arizona State UP three spots.  Meanwhile, Oregon has a MUCH worse loss and just had their Michigan State win downgraded.  I think that they were just trolling #FSUTwitter

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

The Confidential’s ACC Standings Poll: Week 12

It is now November.  The season is down to its final month of regular season games.  The ACC has identified a few teams that are weak (Wake Forest and Syracuse), and several that are mediocre (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pitt, North Carolina, BC, and perhaps North Carolina State).  Still, that leaves eight teams that are something more than mediocre and let’s see how they stand in the correspondents poll.

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