Cards & Noles Frightnight Showdown

Ok, the game is tonight instead of Friday night but it’s close enough to Halloween. The #2 Florida State Seminoles bring their incredible 23 game winning streak into Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium to face the Cards for the 15th time. FSU will be playing for their 13th win in the sereies. With the new playoff selection committee releasing their rankings Tueasday night, the ACC has 4 teams ranked without counting Notre Dame. The Louisville Cardinals #25 ranking only adds to the excitement of this game.
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ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 9/10

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 9) and the Week that will be (Week 10) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Mike (NC State), Brian (FSU), and Anthony (Syracuse)–for their comments and opinions.  Tell us what you think below.


Len (Louisville): Miami beating VT the way they did, 30-6. VT has gone in the wrong direction since winning at Ohio St. VT can still become bowl eligible but have to win games at Wake & at Virginia to end the season. They have BC at home next but travel to Duke for the first of 3 straight road games. This off season could be interesting for Hookie fans. My biggest surprise of the weekend however came on the ACC Blitz show before the game of the week when they discussed swapping Clemson for Miami in a divisional shake up. I favor going divisionless if a change occurs.

David (FSU):  Biggest surprise for me was that the rest of the country just now is realizing VT & Frank Beamer are FSU & Bobby Bowden circa 2007-2009. Beamer has needed to go for a while now and that offense? Eeesh. I want to say pull the trigger VT, but who is chomping at the bit to head to blacksburg as a replacement?

Mike (NC State): Not so much Georgia Tech’s win at Pitt but how they did it.  After  two straight losses, the Jackets could have tucked their tail between their legs and conceded the Coastal race.  Instead they dominated, jumping out to a 28-0 first quarter lead and never looking back.  On the road against a team on the verge of  bowl eligibility.  Impressive to say the least.

John (UNC): At some point, something has got to give in Blacksburg. Frank Beamer is one of the most respected coaches in the game, and deservedly so, but the Hokies have really slipped in recent years. I was amazed at how flat they played against Miami, and I’m really beginning to wonder if Beamer will coach through the end of his contract (which just got extended until 2019). More likely, I see him having a ‘farewell season’ next year, and stepping down before bowl eligibility is no longer a given.

Brian (FSU):  I am shocked that UM was able to bring a whooping so easily at VT’s house (wait can I say that in today’s world?).   It is so surprising because the last time UM won in Blacksburg was in 2005… although that was also a shocker, when #3 VT was blown out at home by Coker’s Canes.

Anthony (Syracuse): The North Carolina and Miami wins.  Both Virginia schools really needed a big win and neither got it.  At least Virginia was competitive.  The onside kick by Fedora was legendary.


Len (Louisville): They were finally on a bye week so hopefully they got themselves healthy. Patrino is difficult to beat when he has extended time to prepare. Add to the fact that it’s a home game on a Thursday night & history says the Cards have an edge here, but will it be enough to pull the upset?

David (FSU):  FSU had a bye week, if there was any disappointment it was the news that Mario Pender was considered questionable for Thursday’s game.

Mike (NC State): The biggest disappointment for NC State is that a bye week is really their most impressive recent performance.  I still think they will recover and likely get a bowl game, but time is running short.  If this ends up another 0-8 conference season, it will be running out on the Dave Doeren era.

John (UNC): I was blown away with how things unfolded at the end of the Virginia game. In no way did I ever think the Tar Heels would attempt an on-side kick. In retrospect, it makes sense, but the sheer improbability of being successful with such a move is enormous. It paid off though. It also didn’t hurt that Virginia got flagged for a crucial penalty coming out of a time out, giving North Carolina a first down and ending the game. What a finish.

Brian (FSU): I was hoping I could say that I was surprised no bad news or drama took place during FSU’s bye week, and as of Monday it seemed likely to come true…. then FSU’s starting RB got himself into some trouble.  So, I think I am disappointed that Williams allegedly behaved the way he did.  For the record assuming all of the facts about what Williams allegedly did are true, and I think they are, I am more than fine with him being removed from the team permanently.

Anthony (Syracuse): The biggest surprise was that Syracuse’s defense could force Clemson mistakes.  The biggest disappointment is that Syracuse’s offense did not realize that it was not going to beat Clemson by anything other than tough running of the ball.  When you have less than 200 yards of offense, it is going poorly.  Run the freakin’ ball and at least hope to tire the opponent out.  Beyond that, AJ Long looked like a true freshman, which is fine because he is.


Len (Louisville): Parker presence should help the offense since the opposing defenses will no longer be able to stack the box & will have to double team him or risk a huge play. Can Dyer have a repeat performance? These new weapons on offense should help the struggling Gardner & the OL. The Cards saw improvement from the QB & OL with Parker & Dyer performance against NC State. My ideal scenario would be the Cards getting the win & FSU still making the playoffs.

David (FSU): I’m looking forward to Matthew Thomas getting more comfortable at LB, I’d also like to see a little less of Lorenzo Featherston at DE. Not because he’s played poorly, but I don’t think his body can handle the grind of the season much longer if he keeps getting the same amount of snaps. Look for Demarcus Walker to step up. Offensively, I hope to continue to see the rise of Travis Rudolph as a dependable option for Jameis, and Dalvin Cook to split time with Karlos Williams.

Mike (NC State): The pressure is on against Syracuse, both teams will be desperate for a win.  While State did look better last time vs Louisville than they did against BC, the result was the same.  Really all phases need to step it up several notches to pull off this absolutely vital road win. The road ahead is narrow, with only  Wake Forest looking winnable.  And that is no guarantee.

John (UNC):  Last year, the Tar Heels rattled off 5 straight wins, going 6-1 at the end of the season, including a Belk Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats after a poor start. With the right play calling and focus, they look ready to do the same thing this year. Miami seems improved from the squad that beat the Tar Heels in the last seconds of the game in Chapel Hill last year, but this is a North Carolina team that still has a lot to prove and has shown significant improvement the past few weeks. I don’t see the game being at Miami as a disadvantage. The Hurricanes have no home crowd, and the Tar Heels proved they can march right into a division rival’s backyard and pull victory from the jaws of defeat last week. I’m not expecting a win necessarily, but I wouldn’t be surprised with one either. The defense still needs improvement.

Brian (FSU): I am dreading FSU’s game against Louisville this Thursday.  All year I assumed this was the best place for FSU to lose.  Vegas agrees, hence the -3.5 FSU line on the game (opened at -8.5, a lot of Cardinal money coming in the last few days).  Considering FSU is unbeaten but only 1-6 against the spread, if FSU wins, odds are it will be able to finally cover this week.  So I guess that is what I am looking forward to… yeah I know it is not much, but like I said, I think FSU loses this Thursday night.

Anthony (Syracuse): The NC State game is not mathematically a must win for bowl eligibility, but it is nevertheless a must win.  Syracuse can run the table against Duke (H), Pitt (A), and BC (A), but it is not likely.  If Syracuse cannot win this one, it does not deserve a bowl.


Len (Louisville): Separation in the Coastal Division. Duke & GT are looking to be the best there & they have a chance this week to to start separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Duke has the head to head edge and are my pick to face FSU in the CCG.

David (FSU): Hard to beat the Thursday night matchup with FSU @ Louisville, Can FSU keep the unbeaten streak alive?

Mike (NC State): Of course the big matchup is FSU-Louisville Thursday night, but watching the Coastal sort itself out is fascinating.  Every game in that division is almost like a playoff, and this time around we have such matchups as UNC/Miami, Georgia Tech/Virginia  and Pitt/Duke to go with the  Virginia Tech/BC interdivisional matchup.  Somebody has to win the Coastal.

John (UNC): I think there’s a really interesting slate this week. Louisville has looked strong at many different points this season, and has the opportunity to eliminate new conference rival Florida State from the playoff with a win at home. Once again, there is a lot at stake in the Coastal Division, and a win by Pittsburgh versus the Blue Devils at home could really change the direction of the whole season.

Brian (FSU): I guess since I think FSU will lose, I am looking forward to see if Duke can continue its reign over the Coastal.

Anthony (Syracuse): 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.


Len (Louisville): 1) FSU 2) Miss State 3) Oregon 4) Notre Dame.  3 & 4 are a toss up right now with a lot of good 1 loss teams. Alabama, Mich St, Kansas St & TCU all deserve consideration. I wrote this before the playoff committee released their rankings so I’m curious how my 4 compares to theirs.

David (FSU): 1) Miss State 2) FSU 3) Alabama 4) Oregon

Mike (NC State):This playoff thing is about 100 times more exciting than the BCS it replaces.  Here are my four as of right now:

Mississippi State, Florida State, Oregon, Michigan State.  Marshall likely finishes unbeaten but is relegated to a non-playoff former BCS bowl, which is why we need to look at expanding the field to sixteen sooner rather than later.  Give the Cinderellas a chance to get to the ball.

John (UNC): I’m just not buying 3 SEC West teams in the Playoff like the inaugural rankings suggested. Much like the PAC-12, I see the SEC West cannibalizing itself in the next few weeks. Either Auburn or Ole Miss is going to win this weekend, and someone still has to lose Ole Miss-Mississippi State. A more likely scenario includes Oregon jumping back in, and being joined by Florida State, one SEC West team and Michigan State who can easily run the table in the Big Ten. Sure, the playoff committee likes the SEC right now, but I see a little more diversity in January.

Brian (FSU): My Top 4 at year end is: 1) Bama (Miss St struggled with KY so I think they choke to Bama and Ole Miss, I think Bama wins out, and since I think Ole Miss loses to Auburn this weekend, all other SEC teams will have at least 2 losses), 2) ND (they will not lose again, and the Pac 12 winner will have 2 losses), 3) Mich St (who can beat them in the BIG?), 4) TCU… I predict FSU loses this Thursday (and probably a second time), and no way FSU gets in with even 1 loss… too much negative press for the school and negative perception of the strength of the ACC.  For crying out loud, I saw a replay of an ESPN CFB show the other night where some analysts seem to suggest FSU should not even be top 4 if they are unbeaten.

Anthony (Syracuse): I will stick with what I wrote last night before the top 25 was issued:

If it were me: 1. fsu, 2. Miss st., 3 auburn, 4 nd

3 out of 4 aint bad.  ND ended up #10, but I understand that logic.  ND has some winning to do yet. 

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

The Confidential’s ACC Standings Poll: Week 10

The standings are starting to become even clearer, as spots 6 through 10 are starting to catch-up with the top 5 in terms of clarity.  With all seven correspondents reporting, here are the poll standings as of today and a brief synopsis:

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“Rules to Build a Rivalry”

With the recent addition of Louisville to the ACC many have wondered, “What rivalries will the Cardinals develop in the conference?” It is difficult to say, as many general factors can go into developing a rivalry. Clearly you would think that things like being near each other regionally help, along with cultural similarities, and level of competition must play major roles in the development of rivalries.  Yes, they do, but those terms are vague, and by no means certain.  Consider FSU and UGA, they are closer together than most schools, yet other than the Dawgs poaching FSU assistants like it is their favorite past time, they are not real rivals.  Of course I am sure that frequency of play has a lot to do with the lack of a rivalry between the two today, but even if they played regularly there is no guarantee a healthy rivalry would develop.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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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.


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.


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.


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?