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?

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Cards struggle to 5-1 start

Midway through the season schedule the Louisville Cardinals are still looking for answers. With just four returning starters on defense they were the unit that was expected to struggle while installing the new 3-4 scheme but it has been the offense that has been disappointing. The Cards have started 2 rookie QB’s due to injury, So Will Gardner & true freshman Reggie Bonnafon. Both have struggled settling into the position. To add to their struggles the OL has played poorly while the WR’s have struggled in running the correct routs or plays. Bonnafon was informed of his starting against Wake Forest just two days after returning to practice after attending his fathers funeral.
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ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 6/7

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  Week 6 was noted for the number of upsets around college football, but the ACC was fairly stable.  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 6) and the Week that will be (Week 7) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions.  Tell us what you think below.

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

David (FSU): Georgia Tech remaining undefeated, really thought they were going to get knocked off last week.

Len (Louisville): That there weren’t any big surprises. The way Clemson handled NC State.

John (UNC): For the second week in a row, my surprise is the play of NC State. A week after starting strong against a very good Florida State team, the Wolfpack came out flat against Clemson and got shut out. I was there the week before when North Carolina played the Tigers, and despite their poor play, even the Tar Heels managed to put up 35 points in a game that was never as close as it seemed. Perhaps his numbers were inflated by playing against mainly lower level teams, but I expected more from Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett (1399 yds, 13 tds, 1 int). If anything, the game was a testament to the play of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (1181 yds, 12 tds, 1 int) and the impact he’s made since he took over as the starter for the Tigers.

Matt (Syracuse): The ACC’s biggest surprise was the lack of upsets, or wtf games. Considering all of the major upsets that happened last week, the ACC’s outcomes were pretty routine by comparison. Florida State had a slow start against Wake Forest and Notre Dame had a nailbiter against Stanford, but in the end there were no surprises – and that was a pleasant surprise.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): The Georgia Tech win over Miami surprised me the most.  Al Golden seems like a good coach, but maybe he is just a good coach at a lower tier program.  Or maybe Georgia Tech is just better than we all thought.

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

David (FSU): FSU’s biggest surprise has to be Lorenzo Featherston. He was a kid I thought for sure was destined to redshirt and instead he’s been arguably the most productive freshman of his class.

Len (Louisville): Its week 6 & the offence is still committing stupid penalties. Brandon Radcliff has emerged as the top RB the last few weeks. As inefficient as the offense has been all season the Cards are still 5-1.

John (UNC): My biggest disappointment is how Coach Larry Fedora continues to stick with the two quarterback system, despite the fact that Marquise Williams has outperformed Mitch Trubisky on every level. The choice is obvious when looking at the numbers (Williams- 1083 yds, 9 tds, 4 int vs. Trubisky- 237 yds, 2 tds, 3 int), even though they’re not directly comparable because of the disparity in playing time. Williams, with an average quarterback rating of 134.2, far outpaces Trubisky’s 94.9 rating in efficiency, and that’s just one area to look at, there are others. For whatever reason, Fedora keeps inserting Trubisky into the lineup on the third series of every game no matter what’s happening, and it’s severely inhibiting the potential of this team and interrupting Williams’ flow and development. I understand that Fedora may have promised Trubisky playing time, but as a coach you have to do what’s best for the team. If that’s letting Trubisky walk then that’s fine. If he’s not interested in what’s best for the team then I don’t want him with us anyway.

Matt (Syracuse): The biggest surprise with Syracuse this past week is obviously the demotion of Offensive Coordinator George McDonald and the promotion of Tim Lester to the OC position. This seems like a knee-jerk reaction by Scott Shafer to appease the fan base (and likely the AD and alumni) and is throwing McDonald under the bus to try and save his own hide. That is NOT #hardnosed, that’s gutless. The more I think about this move, the more disappointed I am in Shafer. The man needs to provide answers, not gimmicky moves and grasping at straws.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): The biggest surprise was Syracuse’s former offensive coordinator deciding to run a play from Syracuse’s own 1 yard line… involving a QB in a pistol/shotgun and a pitch to Syracuse’s powerful, but slow, running back for one of the easiest safeties ever seen.  It was said on Twitter… “What would have been a better call?  Anything.”   Cannot disagree at all.  That is not competent coordinating.  And it has not been all year.

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

David (FSU):  Same as last week, take care of business. Syracuse is a rowdy environment but they are without their starting QB due to injury and are dealing with some turmoil.

Len (Louisville): If the Cards defense can stop Clemson & if Parker returns. If he does will he help jump start the offense. Will Gardner return at QB or will Petrino stay with the true freshman Bonnafon. The Cards got a commitment from a 2016 top 70 overall prospect out of Oklahoma, will he get a few friends to commit as well.

John (UNC): Not sure how to answer this one. I’ve gone from cautious optimism to realistic pessimism the past few games, and the match-up with #6 Notre Dame this weekend isn’t making it any easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still interested, and I’ll never stop watching my team, but my expectations for this season have been lowered significantly due to the inconsistency of the Tar Heels on both sides of the ball. If I had to pick something, I’m interested to see how former UNC commit, longtime Tar Heel fan, and current Fighting Irish quarterback, Everett Golson, handles this game. Will he feel like he has more to prove to validate his decommitment? Or has the Irish’s record already done that for him?

Matt (Syracuse): Not much. This is basically going to be a scrimmage situation for Syracuse and Florida State. Hunt’s injury takes a lot of pressure off of the SU offense from having to do much of anything, and maybe the kids can just go out there and play and have fun. If SU is going to have a chance at this game, they will need their defense to put up another good game – force some turnovers and convert some turnovers to points. What won’t work against FSU is the lazy arm tackling, the attempts to strip the ball before engaging the ballcarrier, etc…

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Everything.  How will a new QB or two perform?  How badly will Florida State dominate?  What kind of calls will be made by a new offensive coordinator?  Will Scott Shafer go one step further and use a timeout during a timeout?  Will he punt from the Florida State 30 yard line?  Will Syracuse get to the Florida State 30-yard line?

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

David (FSU): I’m biased, but looking for both FSU and ND to advance to set up a marquee top 5 match up for ACC schools for the second year in a row.

Len (Louisville): I will stick with the Cards & Clemson game here, how will they fare against a top ACC team? I’m also looking forward to seeing the GT vs Duke game & seeing how Miami does as they step out of conference against Cincy.

John (UNC): This is a tough weekend because I think under the right circumstances, Clemson, Louisville, Duke and Georgia Tech wins could see them all ranked next Sunday. Unfortunately though, these teams are all playing each other, with Clemson taking on the Cardinals in Death Valley, and the Blue Devils traveling to Atlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets, making it impossible. Personally, I would like to see Clemson and Georgia Tech assert their dominance because I think of the four, those two are the stronger teams with more postseason potential.

Matt (Syracuse): The game I’m most interested in is Duke vs. Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are 5-0 and have looked very impressive. Duke started off 4-0 but wasn’t challenged by their opponents until Miami knocked them off 2 weeks ago. I expect Coach Cut will have his team fired-up and ready to avenge that loss, will GaTech be ready for the challenge and be able to stay in the top-25?

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Can Florida State, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech stay undefeated?  All of the sudden, Georgia Tech is a clear front runner in the Coastal.  If they are 11-1 or 12-0, that makes for a VERY interesting ACC Championship Game.

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

David (FSU): Wow what a difference a week makes. I’m going to give two different ones. The teams I would pick if the playoffs started today, and the final 4 as I expect it to play out.

1) FSU                  1) FSU
2) Auburn              2) Auburn
3) Baylor                3) Oklahoma
4) Miss State         4) Georgia

Len (Louisville): 1 FSU, 2 Auburn, 3 ND & 4) Baylor.  Glad to see the rest of the country experience upsets this week, the ACC has had them both ways. My #4 is difficult, to keep from taking a team from Mississippi I put Baylor in there but I expect them to fall from that spot.

John (UNC): This past weekend really shook things up. I’m still sticking with Florida State, but it’s hard to count out Auburn and Notre Dame for the second and third slots. For my fourth choice, I’m going with Michigan State. It’s a crazy pick, and the Big Ten is awful this year, but you have to think that the committee is going to be extra careful about overrepresentation of one conference over another in the Playoff’s first season. Then again, we all know they want four SEC teams anyway…

Matt (Syracuse): Florida State, Notre Dame, Baylor, Mississippi St.

Anthony (Syr/ACC):Florida State, Auburn, TCU, and Michigan State.  The Oregon loss hurts the Spartans, but the idea that the W-W-NCAA would allow a 12-1 MSU to be left out is absurd.  If TCU loses this week, then Baylor is the front-runner for the spot.

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

The Confidential’s ACC Standings Poll: Week 7

As we enter Week 7, the standings are starting to become clear.  This was, by far, the most consistent the Confidential correspondents have been this season.  With 5/6 of the correspondents voting, here are the poll standings as of today and a very very brief synopsis:

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Syracuse Recap–Everything You Have Seen Before, Only Worse

Scott Shafer is a lucky man.  He is not being held hostage in the Middle East, much less under any threat of imminent beheading.  So that is good.  And Syracuse fans should certainly be pleased that we share Shafer’s good fortune in that regard.  We are, after all, just discussing a game of football played by young men.  Perspective noted.  But the last time I checked, Scott Shafer did not use that same perspective when negotiating his salary or imploring his team at practice.  All the reference to perspective shows is that Shafer does not get it.  He can say the words of a fan in press conferences, but it is apparent that the folksy-speak is just a ruse.  He goes not get it.  And on the field he does not get it either.  Everything that occurred last night during Syracuse’s drubbing by Louisville took place earlier this year.  Maybe you missed it or ignored it.  But it was there.  Last night was just that same stuff being more obvious and not getting the benefit of the doubt anymore.  Consider…

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NEW: ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 5/6

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  Week 5 gave us the very interesting Florida State game–which looked like a disaster for FSU before turning into a season-saving win for the Seminoles.  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 6) and the Week that will be (Week 6) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Special thanks to all the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), Mike (NC State), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions.  Tell us what you think below.

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

David (FSU): NC State. Wow they came out firing didn’t they. They gave FSU a punch to the face similar to what Boston College did last year.

Len (Louisville): How far FSU fell behind the Pack & Pitt losing to Akron.

John (UNC): My biggest surprise last week was honestly NC State. It’s going to sound weird, but I thought they actually WOULD win, even though they’re less talented. Florida State has a long history of losing to teams that they shouldn’t, and the Wolfpack have actually beaten the Seminoles in Raleigh the last two times, in 2012 (17-16) and 2010 (28-24). That said, fans of the home team were still treated to an exciting game that showcased significant improvement in Year 2 under Coach Dave Doeren. Add in the Wolfpack Coach’s comments about Florida State ‘faking injuries,’ and you’ve got one of the most unpredictable and interesting rivalries in the Conference for years to come.

Mike (NC State): I just don’t get Boston College.  They can beat Southern Cal but lose to Colorado State?

Matt (Syracuse): Pitt losing to Akron. Just two weeks ago there was talk of Pittsburgh cracking into the top-25 and what a great coach Chryst is…only to wind up in the rare air of Greg Robinson. To paraphrase Dr. Gross, if you play Akron 100 times, you expect to win 100 times. 

Anthony (Syr/ACC): The easy answer is BC and Pitt losing.  But IMHO the legitimacy of North Carolina State was completely unexpected given the weakness of the schedule.  In contrast, Duke’s 4-0 schedule proved to be more of a fraud, given the loss to a desperate but reeling Miami team.  NC State showed that it may just be for real.

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

David (FSU): The Biggest Surprise for FSU for me was seeing 5th year senior Christian Green score his first collegiate touchdown. It was on a day that his grandfather passed none the less, and Jameis had promised him a TD that morning, a pretty good story for the FSU faithful after numerous bad ones. The biggest disappointment had to be the defense, Jimbo apparently told the team they missed over 30 tackles. A lot of these missed tackles are due to poor defensive positioning, thus leading to bad angles for tackles. 

Len (Louisville): How poorly our offense played again. The OL isn’t protecting & the WRs are dropping passes. Our biggest surprise on the year has to be the defense, they have been consistently excellent.

John (UNC): I’m constantly amazed at the inability of the Tar Heels to play defense. A week after giving up an East Carolina school record 789 yards to the Pirates, North Carolina gave up an improved, but still awful, 528 yards to the Clemson Tigers. This year alone, they’ve set embarrassing school records of most yards, points and first downs allowed, and it’s not just that they’re giving up yards, but how they’re doing it. On Saturday, the Tar Heels were only one penalty short of the school record 16, giving up 130 yards, 20 yards off of their worst game statistically. This is from a team that was ranked as high as #21 earlier this year. If North Carolina can’t fix their blown coverages and pass interference problem quickly, bowl eligibility is out of the question.

Mike (NC State): The biggest surprise in the Wolfpack’s loss to Florida State was how easily they were able to move the ball in the first quarter.  Every receiver was open, almost every run was a big gash.  Looked forward to this game all season, now I can’t wait until the schedule eases up a bit so we can see if they maintain that level against lesser teams.  Clemson is next, so that will have to wait a while longer.

Matt (Syracuse): The five turnovers were a very nice surprise for a defense that has been questionable the first three games of the seasons, but offense’s inability to convert those turnovers to points is a major disappointment.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): We will double-dip on Syracuse here.  The biggest surprise/disappointment for Syracuse continues to be the playcalling by the offensive coordinator.  Syracuse is using a bubble screen offense that is predictable and easily defended… is ill suited to its receivers… and may very well be contrary to the skills of its QB… who seems to be more accurate downfield.

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

David (FSU):  I’m looking forward to a defensive rebound against arguably one of the worst offenses in ACC history, don’t be surprised to see the Noles pitch a shut out and the national media overreact (once again). More than anything, please no more injuries!!

Len (Louisville): Who will be the QB & can the offense get it going.

John (UNC): If there’s another team in the ACC that’s just as confusing as the Tar Heels, it’s Virginia Tech. Three weeks after beating #8 Ohio State in Columbus, the Hokies are 3-2, losers to East Carolina (3-1) and Georgia Tech (4-0) in games that they were supposed to win. It’s hard to tell if new QB Michael Brewer is an upgrade over last year’s starter, Logan Thomas, but the Texas Tech transfer will have to solve his interception problem (10 interceptions to 9 touchdowns) if he wants to be successful in Chapel Hill. Then again, while the Tar Heels have a much needed homecoming in their difficult four game stretch, the Hokies defense is still good, and it will be a huge test for North Carolina’s dynamic offense. I’m hoping that the Tar Heels can maintain their offensive success, while improving on defense and rattling Brewer, who can’t be feeling too confident right now.

Mike (NC State): Really just to try and stay competitive in Death Valley.  I don’t expect a victory, but anything is possible and if that same team shows up that scared #1, look out.

Matt (Syracuse): Syracuse has played especially well on Friday nights, and against Louisville. The Cardinals struggled against Wake Forest in the first half, but I expect that Petrino will not let that happen again. If only this were Senior Day…

Anthony (Syr/ACC): The Syracuse defense forced 5 turnovers.  Sometimes 5 turnovers confuses the defense into thinking that it performed well, and lures them into trying to force more turnovers each week.  Syracuse remains an average, at best, team at tackling.  They gave up 500+ yards to Notre Dame, allowed 20+ straight completions, and were abysmal on 3rd down.  The defense needs to continue to improve, not get cocky about the turnovers.

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

David (FSU): I’m really interested in seeing the NC State v Clemson game, and see just how legit NC State is or if last week was a flash in the pan. Overall I’d like to see at least a couple teams emerge from the pack and make themselves the headliners of the ACC, instead of everyone being a .500 team.

Len (Louisville): 2 main things, will FSU turn in a dominating performance against WF & how the GT v Miami game plays out. Also with conference play beginning will parity fade?

John (UNC): Thank goodness there are no out-of-conference games this week. The ACC started off strong this year, with wins over #8 Ohio State and #9 USC, but has been on a recent downward spiral with non-Power 5 losses against teams like Colorado State and Akron. I’m looking for a competitive set of conference games that shows that the big wins are a better representation of what we have to offer, and that it’s not just Florida State and everyone else again this year.

Mike (NC State): This is about the time last season that I posted about Georgia Tech being undefeated and, of course, they lost immediately thereafter.  If they get by Miami, they again get to boast of being “the other undefeated” for a while.  I’ll do them a favor and refrain from bringing it up again.

Matt (Syracuse): Looking forward to some separation in the Coastal division between the contenders and the pretenders… with GaTech/UM and Pitt/UVA, we should get one step closer to figuring out who will be tops in the division. The good news for the conference is that no one  can lose to the B1G this week. Sheesh.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Can Florida State and Notre Dame stay on course for their October 18 showdown?  Florida State will need to beat Wake Forest this week, while Notre Dame needs to beat Stanford.  Next week, the two schools get Syracuse and North Carolina, respectively.  If both schools are undefeated there will be plenty of buzz to see which team is left standing… and perhaps in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot.

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

David (FSU): Florida State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama

Len (Louisville): 1 Oregon, 2 Alabama, 3 Oklahoma & 4 FSU

John (UNC): I could easily see the current top 4 in the AP standings being our playoff teams. With Florida State, Oregon, Alabama and Oklahoma, you have an extremely talented, yet balanced, group that represents the frontrunners in the top four conferences right now (ACC, Pac-12, SEC and Big 12). Anything could change, but each of these teams has momentum behind them, and a history and pedigree to bet on.

Mike (NC State): 1-Florida State 2-Alabama (but don’t write off Auburn, Mississipi State or Texas A&M just yet) 3-Oregon 4-Oklahoma

Matt (Syracuse): Oregon, Texas A&M, Florida State, Oklahoma.

Anthony (Syr/ACC):Florida State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Alabama.

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