As we enter Week 5, things are supposed to get easier, not more jumbled. Georgia Tech was not supposed to beat Virginia Tech. Pitt was not supposed to lose to Iowa. And so on. Anyway, with all precincts now reporting (that is why we are updating this) here we go:
Welcome to Week #4. Check out our latest poll, and remember to get your week’s entry in for our fantasy football contest. It is free… with prizes. And you can join anytime. Here are this week’s games:
Maryland (2-1) @ Syracuse (2-0), 12:00 pm. The Orange rebounded nicely from the opening week near-disaster against Villanova to play a complete game against Central Michigan. Meanwhile, Maryland rallied to make it quite a game with offensive juggernaut West Virginia. Syracuse’s offense will look slow and plodding compared to the Mountaineers. Meanwhile, it is not clear that Syracuse can stop a mobile QB like CJ Brown. Syracuse really needs this win.
Iowa (2-1) @ Pittsburgh (3-0), 12:00 pm. A great matchup between two hardnosed teams. Iowa has been underwhelming all year, calling into question whether Kirk Ferentz has gone stale to the point of moldy. Meanwhile, Pitt has had only one bad half and is looking as strong as they have been in many years. Given the aforementioned trouble that Syracuse may have with Maryland, it would be nice for Pitt to represent the ACC well in this game.
Georgia Tech (3-0) @ Virginia Tech (2-1), 12:00 pm. Had the Hokies lost to Ohio State and beaten East Carolina, we would find the 2-1 record “as expected.” However, having beaten the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe, the loss at home to East Carolina was an upset. Georgia Tech has the better record, but has merely eked by against inferior competition. This game will either make the Hokies healthy moving forward or give Georgia Tech a nice leg up on its Coastal competition.
Tulane (1-2) @ Duke (3-0), 12:30 pm. It is a shame that Duke’s schedule is so devoid of OOC challenges. Kansas is the premiere opponent. Sigh. Tulane is now an AAC member, but it is not ready for the high-octane Duke offense. The ACC has avoided the Big 10’s embarrassing opening by beating the teams that they are supposed to beat.
Maine (1-1) @ Boston College (2-1), 1:00 pm. How nice for the Eagles that they get to follow-up the USC beatdown by playing FCS Maine? Boston College needs to take care of business early and keep Maine from believing in itself. They have given other major programs headaches in the past.
Louisville (2-1) @ Florida International (1-2), 3:30 pm. FIU has a nice home slate this year, with Pitt and Louisville visiting on consecutive weekends. Louisville stumbled in its ACC road opener, but will look to right the ship against Pitt that scared the heck out of Pitt for part of last Saturday. The Cardinals may not return to the top 25 with a win, but it is a stepping stone.
Virginia (2-1) @ #21 BYU (3-0), 3:30 pm. Other than Clemson and Florida State, and perhaps Syracuse, it is difficult to find an ACC team with a more difficult schedule than Virginia. And yet they are 2-1. BYU is a tough team to beat on the road and the Cougars will be looking for revenge. Also, this is a good chance for BYU to show that it deserves P5 status for scheduling purposes. The Cavs will need some luck.
Army (1-1) @ Wake Forest (1-2), 3:30 pm. The Demon Deacons have two road losses against G5 conference members. Army is not a pushover, but this may be Wake Forest’s best chance for a win for the remainder of the season. For the kids and the new coaching staff, let’s hope that they get it.
North Carolina (2-0) @ East Carolina (2-1), 3:30 pm. Fresh off a good game against South Carolina and an upset win over Virginia Tech, East Carolina will not be at all intimidated by North Carolina. We keep waiting for UNC to take the next step. An OOC win here would be a good start. If not? One begins to wonder whether ECU-Duke would be a great bowl matchup for North Carolina football supremacy.
Presbyterian (2-1) @ North Carolina State (3-0), 6:00 pm. Yes, North Carolina State is 3-0. True, they have not really beaten anyone of note. True, they have looked questionable in a few of those victories. But the beatdown against USF was a very good sign that last year was an anomaly. All of the sudden, it is difficult to envision how the Atlantic will shake out.
Miami (2-1) @ #24 Nebraska (3-0), 8:00 pm. 10 and 30 years ago, this would be a game that would captivate the nation. This week? We can only wonder whether these programs will every revisit their glory days. Nebraska’s path is tough in the Big 10, and recruiting has not gotten any easier. Similarly, Miami has to share the spoils of the Florida recruiting scene with other Florida schools and the rest of the country. In what might be the rubber match between the ACC and Big 10, this one will be a huge litmus test for both teams. Someone heads into Sunday feeling very good about “being back.”
ACC GAME OF THE WEEK: #22 Clemson (1-1) @ #1 Florida State (2-0), 8:00 pm. Last year’s game was electrifying. Until a much better Clemson team ultimately got beaten down by eventual champion Florida State. Both teams have lost a ton, and Florida State gets to play a half without Jameis Winston. So this one is likely to be a nailbiter. If Clemson loses, there will be no playoff. If Florida State loses, they are still alive… but no longer controlling their own destiny. Think the stakes are high enough??? Enjoy!
What do you think?
As we enter Week 4, things are really starting to…get more confusing? What happened to the clarity? In any event, the Confidential correspondents are as clueless as anyone else as to how to rank these ACC teams. I kid, of course. Nevertheless, Georgia Tech (3-0), UNC (2-0), NC State (3-0), and Syracuse (2-0) are not ranked in the top 10. Meanwhile, four one-loss teams are ranked. How often does that happen? Anyway, here we go:
With the football playoff looming, it is tempting to analyze which four teams belong in it. But it is simply too early to begin prognosticating. Most teams have not even played a conference game yet. But we are starting to see about conference strength. Let’s rank the conferences after three weeks.
Welcome to Week #3. Check out our latest poll, and remember to get your week’s entry in for our fantasy football contest. It is free… with prizes. And you can join anytime. Here are this week’s games:
Syracuse (1-0) @ Central Michigan (2-0), 12:00 pm. Syracuse was a sleeper team for some. They seemed asleep against Villanova, a game replete with coaching errors, missed assignments, and a QB ejection that nearly cost the Orange the game. Meanwhile, Central Michigan cannot be taken lightly, especially at home. This is a danger zone for Syracuse. It is hard to see a loss here and a bowl game.
East Carolina (1-1) @ #17 Virginia Tech (2-0), 12:00 pm. The enter ACC stood up and applauded Virginia Tech for taking down Ohio State. And now the reality sets in that Virginia Tech may be a contender. If Virginia Tech thumps East Carolina–that is one more proverbial feather in the cap for the Hokies. The important thing is avoiding the let down that has plagued some of Frank Beamer’s teams in the past.
Georgia Southern (1-1) @ Georgia Tech (2-0), 12:00 pm. It is hard to tell what to make of Georgie Tech. And a win against Georgia Southern will not answer many questions either. What we do know is that Georgia Tech has done what they have needed to do to be 2-0. And 3-0 is better than all the alternatives.
Pittsburgh (2-0) @ Florida International (1-1), 12:00 pm. The Panthers are suddenly an interesting team. They have looked great on defense, but the emergence of James Conner as a Heisman Trophy candidate to compliment Tyler Boyd is really putting Pitt on the map. Could we see the Panthers enter the top 25 for the first time in quite a while? Perhaps. But a win against Florida International must come first.
Arkansas State (1-1) @ Miami (1-1), 3:30 pm. Miami returned to form with a nice win in Week #2. A lot of folks are looking at this game as a potential upset. Arkansas State is battle tested, while Miami remains light years away from its glory days. Keep an eye out on this one. The ACC needs its marquee names to avoid upsets, even if they are going to end up mediocre.
NC State (2-0) @ South Florida (1-1), 3:30 pm. Like Georgia Tech, NC State is undefeated. Like Syracuse, NC State cannot be too proud of its undefeated status. But it is what it is. And a win over the Bulls would get the Wolfpack halfway to a bowl game with 9 games to go. Not too shabby. The Bulls will be hungry, having given away a win against Maryland.
Kansas (1-0) @ Duke (2-0), 3:30 pm. Sure, this one looks better as a hard court matchup than a gridiron one. But we saw Duke get 10 wins last year, and Kansas is just a few years removed from an Orange Bowl. Nevertheless, the conference needs every win it can get over a Power 5 school. Duke cannot let this one get away.
Wake Forest (1-1) @ Utah State (1-1), 7:00 pm. The Demon Deacons have another tough OOC matchup against a non-Power 5 school. A win means little fanfare, while a loss can be demoralizing. Let’s hope the Wake Forest can build off last week’s win and get another one for its new coach.
#9 USC (2-0) @ Boston College (1-1), 8:00 pm. The Trojans looked OK against Stanford, but it really seemed like Stanford lost opportunities. Still, USC never lacks for talent. Boston College disappointed against Pitt. If Pitt is for real, then BC has a puncher’s chance. If Pitt is an average team, then this one could get ugly. But keep in mind that Boston College looked as good against Clemson/Florida State as anyone else last year. Never say never for Steve Addazio.
Purdue (1-1) @ #11 Notre Dame (2-0), 7:30 pm. Purdue lost to Central Michigan, while Notre Dame shutout Michigan. We suspect that Purdue is better than they looked, and Notre Dame is worse than they looked, in Week 2. With Notre Dame’s difficult schedule, beating the teams that they are supposed to beat is mandatory. The Fighting Irish need to take care of business here.
ACC GAME OF THE WEEK: #21 Louisville (2-0) @ Virginia (1-1), 12:30 pm. We think Louisville is good and it sure appears that Virginia is improved. But this is the Cardinals first road game and obviously the first road game in the ACC. The ACC could use a Louisville in the top 10, so many fans might root against the upset here. At the same time, Virginia has had a rough year or two, and it would be nice to see Mike London’s coaching seat cool off. This one should be interesting.
What do you think?
Each week, the Confidential’s correspondents vote on the top 10 in the ACC (including Notre Dame). With two weeks of games, the standings are starting to take shape. We discuss the rankings from 10 to 1… so here we go:
Welcome to Week #2. Check out our latest standings, and remember to get your week’s entry in for our fantasy football contest. It is free… with prizes. And you can join anytime. Here are this week’s games:
Pittsburgh (1-0) @ Boston College (1-0), 7:00 pm. Both teams looked very good in Week #1, relative to recent history and expectations. One will leave Friday night with a sour taste in its mouth. Will it be Pitt and its talent or Boston College and its Addazio’ moxie that gets the win?
South Carolina State (1-0) @ #23 Clemson, 12:30 pm. Obviously, Clemson’s loss was more impressive than South Carolina State’s win. If Clemson wants to have a chance at a great season, it must start gaining momentum this week.
Richmond (1-0) @ Virginia (0-1), 3:30 pm. Another game featuring a 1-0 underdog and an 0-1 favorite. Virginia cannot afford a loss, which is not quite the same as needing a win. The London era will be doomed if they drop this one.
Georgia Tech (1-0) @ Tulane (0-1), 4:00 pm. Georgia Tech is a team that seems a lock for 7 wins, but not at all likely to get 9 wins. It just is what it is. Tulane is a tougher opponent than Wofford, but still a game that Georgia Tech must win.
Michigan (1-0) @ #16 Notre Dame (1-0), 7:30 pm. Both teams are 1-0, but neither was tested too much in Week 1. Welcome to real football, O’ Kings of the sport.
Old Dominion (1-0) @ NC State (1-0), 6:00 pm. NC State was unimpressive in winning Week #1. They need to get some better momentum started against ODU and get some confidence heading into the tougher part of the schedule.
Gardner-Webb (0-1) @ Wake Forest (0-1), 6:30 pm. Wake Forest cannot lose this game or 0-12 is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Murray State (1-0) @ #25 Louisville (1-0), 7:00 pm. The Cards look great against Miami in the opener. This is a game that should be a romp if Louisville is ready to take the next step.
Florida A&M (0-1) @ Miami (0-1), 7:00 pm. The Hurricanes disappointed on Monday and get a regional opponent on short rest. The Al Golden era is treading water right now.
Duke (1-0) @ Troy (0-1), 7:00 pm. Duke is cupcake city schedule-wise. Duke won the winnable games next year and should continue the pattern easily this week.
Citadel (0-1) @ #1 Florida State (1-0), 7:30 pm. This one should be over after 20 minutes.
San Diego State (1-0) @ #21 North Carolina (1-0), 8:00 pm. Perhaps the most interesting game of the week after Pitt-BC, North Carolina was OK against Liberty. This week’s opponent is a squad that expects to go bowling. UNC would like to make a statement.
ACC GAME OF THE WEEK: Virginia Tech (1-0) @ #8 Ohio State, 8:00 pm. The big game of the week is huge for both teams. This is Ohio State’s only test for months. Meanwhile, if Virginia Tech is going to get back to national relevance, it needs to pull the upset over a Braxton Miller-less Ohio State team. Will it happen? Who knows. But there is no bigger opportunity for the ACC to show its relevance this week. For more on the Big 10 & ACC, see here.
What do you think?