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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

NC State Opens at #21 in First CFP Poll for 2018

It is very hard to believe that the Wolfpack could get half a hundy hung on them in the Carrier Dome yet they are still ranked in the initial College Football Playoff poll. In the last two weeks, Clemson and Syracuse have rolled through the Pack defense with little resistance. The Wolfpack does have wins over #22 Boston College and #25 Virginia which are their quality wins.

Moving forward, the Pack will have to win out to have a chance at a great bowl. There is little to no chance for a New Years Six bowl but the Pack can grab an invitation to a major bowl. The last time the Wolfpack played in one of the top bowls was in 2003 when Philip Rivers’ led the Pack to a dominate win over Notre Dame.

Other ACC teams in the top 25 include Clemson at #2, Syracuse at #19, Boston College at #22 and Virginia at #25. By the end of the season, it looks as if there will be three of four ACC teams in the top 25 but the majority will reside in the lower half of the top 25.

Interestingly, the only team getting any recognition from the Coastal Division in Virginia. The Wahoos are 4-1 in the ACC with their only loss coming against NC State. Unless something crazy happens in the second half of the season it looks as if Clemson will play Virginia in the ACC Championship Game. The early line on this game will be 21 or 24.

Virginia Tech and Miami have been huge disappointments in the Coastal Division. Most felt as if both teams had a chance to be in the top 10 throughout the season. It sure seems that every team in the Coastal Division is bipolar this year. They will play amazing one week and won’t even show up the next week. Both Duke and UNC have one win in ACC play and could be playing for last place in the game for the Victory Bell.

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Should the CFP Be an ACC and Three SEC Teams?

Prove me wrong. The four best teams in the country are Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and LSU. Anyone that thinks that Notre Dame or Michigan can play with these teams is fooling themselves. I recently made a comment that if you have seen frost on the ground before Halloween, you are already eliminated from the College Football Playoff. Other than Ohio State winning in 2014, when is the last time a Northern college football team even competed in the CFP.

Let’s look at the numbers:

2014

Ohio State 42, Alabama 35

Ohio State 42, Oregon 20

2015

Alabama 38, Michigan State 0

2016

Clemson 31, Ohio State 0

Alabama 24, Washington 7

2017

No Northern Teams

So, the total score for North vs South from 2015 through 2017 is 93-7. Yes, 93-7. Northern teams have been able to score a single touchdown in three games versus ACC and SEC teams in the College Football Playoff if we exclude the 2014 season in which Ohio State won the championship.

In my opinion, there is no argument to be made that a Northern team could stay on the same field with one of the three SEC teams or Clemson. Can you imagine the score if Alabama played Notre Dame on Saturday. Heck, even LSU would destroy Michigan and Notre Dame.

As we continue to work our way to championship weekend, there will be losses by the SEC teams. Obviously, Alabama or LSU will lose this weekend as they square off in Death Valley. It will likely be Georgia and Alabama in the SEC Championship Game so one would assume a two loss Georgia team would not get into the playoff. The two losses would be to LSU and Alabama.

I think it is safe to say that Clemson is going to go undefeated and will win the ACC Championship Game. Any team that gets 5 wins in the Atlantic Division will likely make the championship game and Clemson will be favored by about 24. Maybe more.

So, all you B1G and Pac-12 fans, tell me why you deserve a team in the College Football Playoff.

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NC State Opens as a Seven Point Favorite vs FSU

Las Vegas has very little faith in Florida State. How things have changed in the last year. In 2016 and 2017, Las Vegas continued to have faith that the talent and coaching staff of Florida State could “get it done” even after big losses or let downs. In 2018, Las Vegas has accepted that Florida State is simply not a good football team. They were blown out by Clemson to the tune of 49 points and will be coming to Raleigh to play an NC State team that is reeling.

In that past, this game would have been a pick ’em game or a slight favorite to the home team. Now, NC State is a touchdown favorite even after giving up 41 and 51 in their last two games. The NC State defense could stop no one in the last four quarters. Wet toilet paper would be giving them way too much credit.

Clemson racked up 471 yards and Syracuse followed with 561 yards. This comes just weeks after the NC State defense had only given up three touchdowns all year. Now they are struggling to only give up three touchdowns in a single quarter.

The Over/Under on the game has not been released but it is going to have to be in the 70s or 80s. Both defenses have been gouged over the past few weeks and will be coming in to trying to get their footing. If the weather is the forecasted mid 60s and sunny, one would imagine at least one of the teams will put up 40+, if not both.

For NC State fans, it is the same old story. Every time there is any chance of having a “special season” an immediate losing streak begins. In 2003, the Pack started 9-0 only to lose three in a row. In the Tom O’Brien and Dave Doeren eras any extended winning streak is followed by an unexpected loss (ie Wake Forest) or a losing streak.

While the Pack is playing for a respectable bowl game, it is going to be hard to get back up after taking to haymakers to the jaw in the last two weekends. Do you think the Pack will be able to recover and win against Florida State this Saturday? The game is a 3:30 kickoff at Carter Finley Stadium and will be televised on ABC.

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Clemson at Texas A&M Game Thread

I am going to update based on time of day (est). This should be fun.

10:36 – Of course Hunter Renfro ends up recovering the onside kick. That will do it. Clemson wins 28-26. The Aggies cover the -12.5 and it went over.

10:34 – Well, Clemson steps up and stops the 2 point conversion. Onside kick time. That play never had a chance from the outset. The Tigers are 22-4 in one possession games since 2011. That’s decent.

10:32 – Touchdown Aggies! Ok, let’s settle down and get a 2 point play in. This is the most important play of the season for the Aggies. Well, until they play Alabama.

10:31 – Aggies get it at the 50 and there is just over a minute left. I get the feeling the Aggies will score a touchdown but will be stopped on the 2 point conversion.

10:28 – The Aggies get the stop. The punt will be kicked at 1:17. Texas A&M has no timeouts left but will have a shot.

10:27 – If the Aggies can get a stop here they will get it back with around 1:00 to go.

10:26 – The Samford QB has over 300 yards against FSU in the first half. In the first half!

10:21 – Noooooo. He might have fumbled this out the back of the end zone. That means Clemson would get it. Ugh. This is going to be a huge review. It is amazing how many times players dive for the end zone and lose the ball out the back and get a touch back. It is officially a touch back and that is likely the ball game.

10:18 – What we have learned is the middle of the field is very weak for Clemson. A&M has gouged the Tigers down the middle of the field. If your team has a QB that can throw is 20 yards down the middle, you can move the ball on the Tigers.

10:18 – The Aggies receivers have some great hands. Mond is throwing it up and they are coming down with it. Let’s see if this drive can end with a TD and a potential tie with a 2 point conversion.

10:16 – One last think you to our sponsor pediatric dentist in Ashburn, VA Little Smiles of Ashburn.

10:15 – A&M gets the stop and will get the ball back down 28-20. Remember, the spread was 12.5 for Clemson.

10:10 – Big stop for Clemson there after Texas A&M marched into their territory. With only 6:33 left, they can close this game out with points on the upcoming drive.

10:04 – The Aggies are moving the ball against Clemson here in the 4th quarter. This Mond kid is pretty good.

9:48 – Mond scrambles, throws it up for grabs in the end zone and an Aggie comes down with it. An offensive explosion has broken out at Kyle Field. It is now 28-20. That under looks done. Let’s see what it was. The O/U was 50.5. One would think it will go over now, but we also assumed the under was a guarantee 45 minutes ago.

9:42 – Dirty move there by Wilkins. Picking up the QB and trying to put your 300 lbs into him while plowing him in the ground is not acceptable. He will get his.

9:33 – Clemson answers with an Etienne TD. Remember the under I was talking about? That is why you do not bet on sports ladies and gentlemen. It is now 28-13 Tigers.

9:31 – Renfro gets another 1st down inside the 20 for Clemson. It seems like he has been there for a decade.

9:25 – Huge play with Mond back in. That said, you have to find a way to get in the end zone there if you are Buckley. Watch, Clemson will now “buckle” down and hold Texas A&M out of the end zone. I was wrong, they get a TD pass from Mond. Huge series. Do not go for two here. Do not! Ok, good. Kicked the PAT and it is now 21-13.

9:21 – A word for the best orthodontist in Pensacola, Florida, Dr. Clay Sims.

9:20 – And just that fast, the Tigers score. It is now 21-6 Clemson.

9:17 – Unreal. The Aggies backup QB comes in, stumbles, and throws a pick to a defense lineman. Just a horrendous play. As predict, Kelly Bryant is back in the game. He immediately connects with Higgins on a long pass.

9:14 – Mond, the A&M QB, uses his athleticism to get a big first down. He is now down and cramping up. The Aggies need him on the field in this second half.

9:13 – Is Florida State really losing to Samford 13-0? My how things have changed in Tallahassee.

9:12 – You may not know, Bryce Love and Dexter Lawrence played on the same high school football team – Wake Forest.

9:08 – A huge stop for the Aggies and they get the ball back after the second straight 3 and out for Trevor Lawrence and the Tigers. One would expect Dabo to put Bryant back in on the next drive.

9:02 – Another FG for the Aggies here. It goes through and the game is now 14-6. One would think the under is a guarantee but anything can happen when it comes to college football.

8:57 – Trevor Lawrence starts the 2nd half for the Tigers at QB. The Aggies really need to stop Clemson here. Trimming the lead early in the 3rd quarter is imperative if they want to compete late in this game. As I type that, 3 and out. huge stop. Aggies getting the ball.

8:35 – Texas A&M punter bombs a 74 yarder to make certain Clemson doesn’t try to get points at the end of the half. We go into the locker rooms at 14-3 Clemson. A&M needs to win the first half of the 3rd quarter. I am certain Jimbo knows this.

8:29 – Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence come in for the heavy package. Bryant fumbles and the Aggies will get the ball back down 14-3.

8:27 – Etienne is running much more physical this year. The Aggies are having trouble tackling him. If the Tigers can score here, they will go up 21-3 right before halftime. A&M needs a stop here.

8:26 – Sorry about that. Had to go grab some Thai Milk Tea and some Thai Popcorn Chicken. Back to the game.

7:51 – And there it is. 64 yard touchdown pass on his first play at Kyle Field. 14-3 Tigers.

7:50 – Trevor Lawrence comes out in the third series. Best freshman QB in the nation. Let’s see how good this kid is.

7:49 – A terrible series by the Aggies. They lose 10 yards and have to punt. They need to get some positive momentum here. A Clemson touchdown could take the air out of Kyle Field.

7:45 – End of the 1st quarter with the Tigers up 7-3. A word from our sponsors – Orthodontics Practice in Raleigh, NC Gladwell Orthodontics.

7:39 – Another 3rd and long picked up. A few missed tackles by A&M let Clemson get inside the 5. Likely a Clemson touchdown here. And there it is. Bryant runs it in on a read option. 7-3 Clemson.

7:37 – Huge pass play on third and long. 64 yard pass. Clemson is in the red zone.

7:35 – The 12th man is actually affecting the Clemson offense. Delay of game to start their second drive.

7:30 – Aggies march down the field again but have to settle for another field goal. Clemson is bending but not breaking on defense. Aggies are up 3-0.

7:18 – 3 and out for the Tigers with the Aggies getting a sack on 3rd down. Didn’t see that coming.

7:14 – The announcer jinx. Rece mentions the A&M kicker was 14-14 inside of 40 last year. He pushes this one right and the game remains tied 0-0.

7:11 – The A&M quarterback, Mond, is looking good early. Aggies inside the red zone on their first drive. Rain will be an issue as footing has been dodgy already.

7:08 – A&M running the ball early on this “amazing” Clemson front 4. Not sure if this can continue.

7:03 – Time for a word from our sponsors – River Run Dental of Richmond, Virginia.

7:02 – If you have never been to Kyle Field for a football game, go yesterday. It is an amazing experience; even if the Aggies are not playing well. The three decks of students are surreal.

7:01 – Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit will be calling this one. The good ole days of Thursday Night Football past.

7:00 – The final line was Clemson -12.5.

6:58 – Waiting for Sling to update so I can start watching the pregame show on ESPN. By the way, UNC got destroyed by ECU. They are down 41-19 late in the 4th quarter. The same ECU that lost to NC A&T last week. Ummm, yeah.

Duke Baseball Ends One Game Short of the College World Series

Most would have never guessed that Duke baseball would played deeper into the season than NC State. The Wolfpack were as high as #2 in the rankings and many expected them to sail through their regional series. That was not the case. The Wolfpack lost to Auburn while the Duke Blue Devils went into the Athens Regional and beat the Bulldogs twice to advance to the Lubbock Super Regional.

The Blue Devils lost their first game to Texas Tech 6-4 and came back with an 11-2 victory in game two. On Monday, June 11th, 2018 the Blue Devils could not outlast the Red Raiders as their season ended with a 6-2 loss.

Overall, the large majority of Duke Blue Devil baseball fans would agree that this season was a success. There were times during the season when the team looked and played like a top 10 team but even the most diehard fans did not expect this team to win a national championship. Going into Athens, Georgia and beating a top 10 Bulldog team that many expected to not only advance but contend for a national championship.

With cross town rival UNC making it to the College World Series, the most loyal Duke fans will not be happy. That said, it is an ACC school with a chance to win a national championship so even if the Tar Heels come away with it, Duke will benefit in some way. Now, Duke baseball players have the opportunity to take the summer off and enjoy a less stressful environment.

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UNC Women’s Lacrosse Heads to Final Four

It has been an interesting season for the UNC Women’s Lacrosse team in 2018. The season started with a loss to James Madison which was a shock to most. No one had a clue that James Madison was going to be a top 20 team, no less a Final Four caliber team. In an overtime loss (15-14) the Tar Heels started the season on a sour note.

They then played a poor game against High Point on the road and crushed Liberty. In the biggest game of the year, UNC beat Maryland 16-15 at Kenan Stadium in what looked to be the turn around game of the season. The Tar Heels were headed back to the top spot and were going to finish the season strong, right? Not quite.

Th Florida Gators came into Kenan Stadium and absolutely crushed the Tar Heels. Most would agree that UNC has never been dominated in such a way that the Gators did on March 3rd. Florida won 17-10 and the game was never close. The UNC defense looked more lost in this matchup than they have in recent memory. What was to come of this team? Could the Tar Heels really drop out of the top 10?

After victories vs UVA, Elon and Northwestern, the Tar Heels were dominated again by Boston College. This time, 17-11. Never before has a UNC team lost by a large margin twice in the regular season. In the last five years, when UNC did lose, it was by one or two goals, not by six or seven.

Since losing to Boston College on March 24th, the Tar Heels have reeled off 11 straight wins and none have been close. The Heels got their revenge against Boston College in the ACC Championship game in which they won 14-11.

During the NCAA Tournament, goalie Taylor Moreno has been the star. It is interesting to note that Moreno did not start nor played the majority of the game in the big losses versus Florida and Boston College early in the season. She also did not start against James Madison to start the season.

It has all come full circle as the UNC Women’s Lacrosse team will play James Madison in the national semifinal game on Friday, May 26th, 2018. These teams are completely different from that February 10th matchup.

Maggie Bill wasn’t on the field, it was Jamie Ortega’s first game and Marie McCool was disqualified with two yellow cards. It is safe to say the Tar Heels will play this one a little bit differently. It will be fun to watch as the Heels hope to advance to the National Championship game on Sunday, May 27th.

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No ACC Basketball Teams in the Final Four

For the first time in quite some time, ACC fans will not have much to cheer for in the 2018 Final Four in San Antonio, Texas. The ACC has had a team in the championship game the last three years and has come away victorious in two of those three – Duke and UNC. One would imagine that most ACC fans will be cheering for Loyola Chicago this year. As a#11 seed, Loyola Chicago would be the biggest cinderella story in this history of the NCAA tournament. The 1982 NC State team would have to take a back seat.

Most ACC basketball fans will admit that this has been a down year for the conference; especially in terms of an NCAA Tournament performance. The University of Virginia was the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed and they did so in a big way. Most would call it the biggest upset in the history of college basketball. UNC was clobbered by Texas A&M in the second round and NC State couldn’t even get a single tournament win. While Clemson, Florida State and Syracuse all had good showings, that does not offset the losses by UVA, UNC and the rest of the conference.

As the 2018-19 college basketball season approaches, it will be interesting to see how the national media ranks the top ACC teams. Duke and UNC will always get the respect they deserve, but will anyone take UVA seriously? Can NC State, Syracuse, Louisville and Clemson break into the top 25 next season? Which teams will be consistent enough to get a few road wins to go with those important home wins in 2018-19?

Well, now that the college basketball season is over, it is time to look forward to football season. FSU has a new head coach and Clemson will be a national title contender. NC State could be a top 20 team and Louisville will have to replace a Heisman Trophy winner.

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Wake Forest High School Wins Back to Back State Championships

Wake Forest went into the 4AA State Championship as the defending state champs but were not picked to win the game. Mallard Creek was 14-0 and a favorite to dethrone the Wake Forest Cougars. Most of those living in the Triangle area were confident Wake Forest was the best team in the state. Those in Charlotte have always felt superior with powerhouses such as Butler, Independence, Charlotte Catholic and Shelby.

As soon as the game began, it was quite obvious the game was going to be a defensive battle. The game was scoreless for three quarters before Wake Forest scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. With either team getting up by two scores, it was going to be an insurmountable lead. After the second touchdown in the 4th quarter, it was all said and done.

Now, heading into the 2018 season, one would imagine Wake Forest High School and Raleigh area teams will get more respect throughout the state. Even though they will be losing some important seniors, the program has become a viable top 5 team in the state for the years to come. What will be interesting in the next few years is if Heritage High can find a way to compete with Wake Forest High School. Heritage High as several ex NFL players as coaches which is very appealing to high school football players that have an option in attending Raleigh area high schools.

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We will keep a close eye on how the Triangle rankings adjust in 2018. If Wake Forest High School is not #1 after winning back to back state championships something is very wrong.

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Should the Big 12 Champion Get in the CFP?

As I write this Oklahoma is beating TCU 31-14 just before halftime in what is essentially the Big 12 Championship game. Well, not really. Unlike the rest of the country, the Big 12 does not have a true championship game. It is the only power conference in which the champion is crowned in the regular season. It is also the case that the Big 12 is, by far and away, the weakest conference when it comes to defense. Even the PAC-12 cannot claim that honor. So, should the Big 12 champion get in the College Football Playoff?

In years past, we have argued the Big 10 champion was going to lay an egg in the CFP and that came to fruition. We won’t rag on the Big 10 in this post; it is the Big 12 that should now be called out. If Oklahoma goes on to win the game against TCU and ends up with one loss this season, they are almost guaranteed a spot in the College Football Playoff. Unfortunately, there is a good chance they will play another non competitive game in the semifinal.

Two years ago Clemson handled Oklahoma in the semifinal game before losing to Alabama in the championship. Last year the committee selected Ohio State and Washington over the Big 12 champion and both of those schools were manhandled in the College Football Playoff.

The concern with the Big 12 is not athletes, it is defense. In the first half of the TCU vs Oklahoma game there have been dozens of missed tackles and blown coverages. It is like the old NCAA Football game on Playstation. Let the team score so you can get the ball back with more than a minute on the clock. The winner of the Big 12 will not be playing another weak Big 12 defense when they get in the CFP.

If the committee really wants the four best teams in the country in the playoff they will have to consider leaving the Big 12 champion out. There is still a very strong case for two ACC teams vs two SEC teams in the CFP. If we want to see the best matchups and the best football in the CFP we will not put Oklahoma against the ACC or SEC champion. One would argue Oklahoma is never out of the game but they may never be in it if the defense we are currently watching is on the field.

What do you think? Does the Big 12 Champion deserve to be in the CFP even though they don’t have to win a championship game and there is very little defense played in the Big 12?

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Can Miami Make the CFP After a Loss in the ACC Championship Game?

Here is the potential scenario – Miami goes into the ACC Championship Game undefeated with wins over a top 15 Virginia Tech and a top 5 Notre Dame. They are ranked in the top 5 and will play the defending national champions in the ACC Championship game. Clemson and Miami play a tight game in which Clemson wins in the 4th quarter. This means Miami will have one loss to the defending national champions that will, for sure, be in the College Football Playoff. Will the committee let Miami in?

We can also assume Georgia will be undefeated when they take on an undefeated Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Both the winner and loser of the SEC Championship game is likely getting into the College Football Playoff; unless it is a complete blowout. That means we have Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and who else?

One could argue that the winner of the TCU vs Oklahoma game will grab that final spot. That said, the TCU vs Oklahoma winner will not have as good of a loss as Miami.

We could see the ACC Championship game vs the SEC Championship game in the College Football Playoff if everything falls into place. This hypothesis is solely based on Miami, UGA and Alabama going undefeated into their respective championship games.

As most diehard college football fans know, there will be plenty of shakeups in the final few weeks. It won’t be unheard of for Alabama, Georgia and Miami to all lose on the same day. It is also possible that Clemson could lose to South Carolina in their last regular season game of the year. While this is unlikely, it is definitely possible.

We will have to wait and see what happens on November 11th, 2017 as that will help us better understand what the College Football Playoff committee is going to have to decide in December.

Do you think  Miami deserves to have a spot in the College Football Playoff if their only loss is to a top 4 Clemson team that was in the national championship the last two years? We would argue Miami will have the best resume, especially if you are willing to argue TCU or Oklahoma.

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