ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 12/13
Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents! As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 12) and the Week that will be (Week 13) for the ACC and their respective schools. Special thanks to the Confidential contributors for their comments and opinions. Tell us what you think below.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 12?
David (FSU): Duke, what are you doing? I really didn’t see them losing to Va Tech going into the week, and you’ve got to feel for both Clemson (Watson’s knee) and Miami (I seriously don’t know how FSU won).
Len (Louisville): Clemson, Duke and Notre Dame all losing. Duke’s hold on the Coastal loosened and Georgia Tech is ready to take it from them. North Carolina can knock their rivals from the division lead this weekend.
Mike (NC State): While Virginia Tech’s upset of Duke was an eye-opener, the Georgia Tech domination of Clemson is the surprise of the week in the conference. Jackets fans will now be watching the UNC-Duke Thursday night game with renewed interest, as this is the best chance for another Duke loss.
John (UNC): Wow, Notre Dame’s freefall continues. Losing to a 3-6 Northwestern team just shows how far the mighty have fallen. Injuries aside, there’s no excuse for the Fighting Irish to lose to the Wildcats, especially in South Bend. Not that Notre Dame would have a chance for a big bowl with three losses anyway, but they may need to re-think their football conference affiliation status at this point. Welcome to the ACC…for real this time.
Brian (FSU): ND losing to Northwestern… what the heck happened? There went my pool. NW has one of the worst offenses in college football and puts crazy points on ND on the road. Brian Kelly has gone from top tier college football coach to a mistake waiting to happen in just two weeks.
Anthony (Syracuse): Tough call. I really did not see Duke losing to Va Tech, Clemson losing to Georgia Tech, or Notre Dame losing to Northwestern. The latter was the biggest upset though. But I will go with Florida State yet again starting slow and having to come back. The Seminoles are playing with fire. If you cannot come out strong against a rival like Miami–that is not a good sign. Credit FSU for the win, but it is high time that FSU play a full 60-minute game.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 12?
David (FSU): I could go on for days about everything that surprised me in this game. How lost the D was for the first 25 minutes of the game, how the Defense turned it on and shut down Miami for the next 35. How moving Cam Erving to Center & starting a True Freshman in Rod Johnson at LT actually worked, and worked very well. Helped open up running lanes for another True Freshman who is emerging as a the team’s homerun threat in Dalvin Cook.
Len (Louisville): Notre Dame losing. It would have been nice to face a ranked opponent on their turf. The Cards are playing for a good bowl game and we can knock the Golden Domers down a few more notches for the ACC.
Mike (NC State): Hey! The Pack can run the ball! Ok, it was only Wake, but NC State’s 362-yard rushing performance, including 100+ yards by both Matt Dayes and Shadrach Thornton was a high point in a season of struggles. And they are now bowl-eligible. But hey, Wolfpack, don’t settle for sneaking in at 6-6. Beat Carolina!!
John (UNC): I was so impressed with how the Tar Heels came back against Pitt, despite being down almost the whole game. One thing the team has shown this year is resiliency. Even though the defense is among the worst in the country, they always show up when they’re needed most. With a young team all-around, hopefully, it’s the sign of good things to come.
Brian (FSU): I am surprised FSU did not lose to UM by a field goal, and in reality UM is the team that got burned by a shanked field goal in reality. I am also surprised ESPN is beginning to cover the fact it may have jumped the gun on the Winston got paid for autographs scandal. Reports from OTL are coming out that the signatures in question were questioned so much by the original authenticator brought in to verify the signatures that said authenticator refused to authenticate the items in question (a different entity had to be brought in). In fact, when you read the story at ESPN it seems very shady. The guy claiming he got Winston to sign the items would not let the authenticator observe Winston actually sign the items. Also, it seems now that OTL has had handwriting experts look over the signatures and let us just say the experts seem to think they do not seem to be Mr. Winston’s John Hancock. Of course with my Noles’ luck this will all change tomorrow, and new information will blow up to make FSU look bad a little more. I was disappointed that all of FSU’s key opponents decided to get worse. Clemson and ND both choked winnable games away, and likely ACC Ch. Game Opponent Duke fell on its face again.
Anthony (Syracuse): As far as we know, no more starters were lost during the bye week.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 13 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?
David (FSU): The Noles are almost 3 touchdown favorites heading into a home match up vs. BC, and all I’m looking for is seeing them escape with a comfortable win. Can we get one week where it isn’t down to the wire? Please? Honestly, look to see the same OL lineup and that they continue to gel. The run game for FSU has quietly been improving and I expect that to continue to flourish.
Len (Louisville): I should have mentioned this last week as probably the biggest surprise from the BC game was that the Cards won the game with their second string QB, true freshman Bonnafon. Gardner is at least done for the season with another knee injury and Bonnafon will start the rest of the season. He has had a tough season so far having been thrust into action a week after his father passed earlier in the season but performed well at Boston College. The bye week should help him prepare for the trip to South Bend. The Domers are playing poorly right now and Cards S Holliman only needs 1 more INT to tie the NCAA record. Only 15 FBS teams have more INT’s than his 13. He has 2 games to set the record (vs Kentucky).
Mike (NC State): The Pack is on a bye, so get prepared for the season-ending showdown. I say again, beat Carolina!!
John (UNC): This week is huge for North Carolina. With a win Thursday, they could deny Duke a chance at the ACC championship, and become bowl eligible at the same time. A Tar Heel dream. With a loss, well…that would put a whole lot more pressure on the season finale against NC State. The Wolfpack are a much better team than their record suggests, so North Carolina really needs to take care of business against the Blue Devils. Game. Set. Match?
Brian (FSU): Hopefully, and finally a strong win. Of course, BC is no pushover… in fact I tend to think they can win. I love my Noles, but they cause my blood pressure to rise a little too much.
Anthony (Syracuse): Syracuse really needs to win one of its final two games to get to 4 wins. 4 wins is a bad season, without question, but it would be great to avoid the valleys experienced only during the G-Rob era (his BEST season was 4 wins). Winning at Pitt has been elusive, but you have to wonder whether Syracuse fan force turnovers. Pitt has had problems in that regard and Syracuse’s defense is healthy.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 13 FOR THE ACC?
David (FSU): I’m going to take the Louisville v ND game here, and think ND gets back on track after two weeks I’m sure any Fighting Irish fans have already tried to erase from their memory.
Len (Louisville): Can the Heels knock the Dookies from the Coastal lead. FSU may get more help by playing Georgia Tech in the CCG. Tech is looking stronger than Duke and should be higher ranked if they can beat Georgia. Bonnafon didnt fare well in the Cards trip to Death Valley, how will he handle the trip to South Bend? I have been waiting for this game for a long time and with it being played on my father’s birthday makes it all the sweeter. I just wish he was here to see it.
Mike (NC State): Louisville/Notre Dame should be interesting, though it has lost some of its luster. Then there’s Boston College/FSU, which will likely be closer than expected. But the game of the week is that Thursday nighter between Carolina and Duke. Both teams need it badly; UNC to get bowl-eligible and Duke to hold off charging Georgia Tech. Should be a good one.
John (UNC): I would love to see two more teams become bowl eligible. Sure, I’m biased, because one of the teams in position is North Carolina, but it would be great for the conference, there’s no denying that. I also think a Louisville win against Notre Dame is extremely possible, and that would be fun to see as well. Until the Fighting Irish join the conference full-time, I’ll root for the REAL ACC over them any day.
Brian (FSU): How about Louisville, FSU, ND, GT, and Clemson all trending up for their out of conference play. I want GT to get rested and ready to upset UGA. I want Louisville and ND to not kill each other before they face Kentucky and USC the following week. FSU and Clemson need to somehow get ready for their big rivals the following week, without choking and looking ahead (yeah it is doubtful CU will stumble… FSU however, different story). Long story short, I want the ACC to look as good as possible going into rivalry week to take some OOC schools down!
Anthony (Syracuse): Duke/UNC is a huge showdown as it will determine who plays in the ACCCG. Louisville traveling to ND will be very interesting… the new kid on the college football block vs. the old establishment. ND is reeling, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to adversity.
WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?
David (FSU): 1)FSU 2)Bama 3) Oregon 4) TCU with Miss St. and Baylor lurking.
Len (Louisville): 1) FSU, 2) Alabama, 3) Oregon, 4) Miss St. Miss St played better than I expected but they and Alabama still have a tough road ahead and I don’t expect them both to make it. I look for Baylor to sneak in at #4. The worst case scenario for the SEC would be to have Missouri as champion since they lost to Indiana.. In that scenario it would be possible for the SEC to be left out.
Mike (NC State):1) Florida State 2) Alabama 3) Oregon 4) Ohio State.
John (UNC): None of the teams from my top four lost last week, so no changes here. It’s Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and TCU until further notice.
Brian (FSU): 1) FSU, 2) Bama, 3) Oregon, 4) Miss St. In 3 weeks: 1) Bama (wins out), 2) Oregon (wins out), 3) Baylor (wins out), 4) OSU (wins out)…. Miss St likely loses to Ole Miss, and until I am proven wrong I am assuming FSU playing with fire will burn it soon… also that pre-ACC title game student conduct hearing could have a major impact on FSU’s standing. Even if FSU runs the table, winning the ACC title without Winston, if the hearing causes Winston to be removed from the team how will the committee react? The safe money is to exclude FSU on the same grounds 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament have been lost by teams who have a star played injured just before the tourney.
Anthony (Syracuse): (1) Florida State; (2) Alabama; (3) Oregon; and (4) Ohio State. I am not a big fan of the Big 10, but you have to think that there is going to be a strong push by the Committee to get the Big 10 into the finale somehow. If Ohio State wins out, they will be in.
What do you think? How would you answer these questions?