The Confidential

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Bowl Eligibility List 10/18/16 (Alphabetical)

Want to know which college football teams have gotten to six wins?  Well, here is a running alphabetical list of the FBS schools to get to that win total.  We will update periodically.  Anyway, here is the current list:

  • Alabama (SEC) 
  • Baylor (Big XII) 
  • Boise State (MWC)
  • Clemson (ACC)
  • Houston (AAC)
  • Michigan (Big 10)
  • Nebraska (Big 10)
  • Ohio State (Big 10)
  • South Florida (AAC)
  • Texas A&M (SEC)
  • Utah (Pac 12)
  • Washington (Pac 12)
  • Western Michigan (Mac)

Additional Notes: Undefeated teams are in bold.

West Virginia is the only undefeated team that has yet to get to 6 wins (obviously, this makes them 5-0). West Virginia plays Baylor on December 3rd, meaning that these two teams can be 11-0 entering conference championship week.  That actually sets up the Big XII pretty nicely to perhaps get a playoff spot.

Alabama plays Texas A&M on 10/22, meaning one of those teams will not be undefeated very soon.

Washington travels to Utah in two weeks.  A trip to Washington State and the conference championship game are the other potential spots for a loss.

Nebraska travels to Ohio State a week after traveling to Wisconsin.  They do not play Michigan.  The best case scenario for the Big 10 might be Nebraska and Michigan winning out and playing in the conference championship game.  If Ohio State beats Nebraska, but loses to Michigan, Michigan could lose to Nebraska in the CCG leaving the Big 10 with only 1-loss teams.  If, for example, Clemson, a Big XII team, Alabama, and Washington are undefeated–the Big 10 would be left out of the playoff, right?

Houston and USF are 6-1, but do not play each other this year in the regular season.  Who can stop Western Michigan?  If they go 13-0, can they sneak into a high pay bowl ahead of an AAC team?  They have wins over Northwestern and Illinois.  In contrast, Houston will have a win over Oklahoma, while USF’s best OOC win will be Syracuse.

While we are at it, let’s all root for Rice, who is 0-6.  The Owls players work too hard to not get a win all year.  This week, they play Prairie View A&M.  This should help the cause considerably.


Five Notable ACC Performances From Week Three

The ACC put up a whole lot of points last weekend, totaling 498 points for an average of 35.5 points per team. Seven teams scored over 40 points, as the conference had a strong weekend. All eyes were obviously on Florida State and Louisville, where Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals totally demolished the Seminoles 63-20. With all 14 teams playing, there were plenty of notable performances to acknowledge.

Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson

This is an obvious choice, but it would be a disservice to Lamar Jackson to take his performance for granted. The leading Heisman candidate made Florida State look like a high school team, competing on 65% of his passes for 216 yards and a touchdown through the air and torching them on the ground for 146 yards and four touchdowns in the Cardinals 63-20 win. Jackson was impressive in his first two games, piling 13 total touchdowns, but many were hesitant to give Jackson his due since they were against Charlotte and Syracuse. Jackson silenced the critics with a signature performance against Florida State. If Jackson continues this torrid pace, he will easily become Louisville’s first Heisman Trophy winner.

Georgia Tech Running Back Dedrick Mills

The Yellow Jackets’ freshman running back had a big game against Vanderbilt, leading the team with 14 carries and scoring three touchdowns in the team’s 38-7 victory. Dedrick Mills ran for 58 yards on the day, including a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The 5’10” 210-pound running back was the Jackets’ weapon on the goal line, scoring two more touchdowns in the third quarter from four yards and five yards out. Mills was a key component in the Yellow Jackets’ rushing attack in their win against a SEC opponent.

North Carolina Quarterback Mitch Trubisky

The Tar Heels got a huge boost of momentum in their 56-28 victory over James Madison, with the junior quarterback leading the way. Mitch Trubisky was surgical, hitting on 24 of his 27 pass attempts for a whopping career-high 432 yards and three touchdowns for UNC. Trubisky led an offense that completed seven out of eight third down conversions and a total of 635 yards. The Tar Heels hope this game gets Trubisky into a groove as they open their ACC schedule against Pittsburgh this week.

Virginia Tech Quarterback Jerod Evans

Junior quarterback Jerod Evans and Virginia Tech bullied Boston College in a 49-0 victory. Evans tied a school record with five touchdown passes, the second time this season he has thrown at least four touchdowns. Evans went 16 for 23 on the day with 263 yards in the air and an additional 48 yards on the ground. Evans was in complete control of the game as the Hokies gained 476 yards on the day and owned a 35:15 time of possession.

Miami Quarterback Brad Kaaya

The Miami signal caller finally had his breakout game against Appalachian State in a 45-10 victory. Brad Kaaya threw for 368 yards on a 77.8% completion percentage with three touchdowns. Kaaya surpassed the 300-yard mark for the eighth time in his Miami career and is now tied for third-all time in school history with 49 career passing touchdowns. Kaaya injured his knee during the game, but played through it and should be a full go against Georgia Tech in two weeks.


ACC Week Two: Five Breakout Player Performances



The second week of the ACC football pretty much went as scripted. The powerhouse teams won and the teams under them played as expected. The ACC went 9-5 this weekend (there were two matchups featuring all-ACC teams) with big-name players such as Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and Miami’s Mark Walton having spectacular games. There are player performances that need to be recognized, some less obvious than others.


Louisville Quarterback Lamar Jackson

I know this is the most obvious performance to talk about, but any list without Lamar Jackson would serve as an injustice to him. Jackson put up an astonishing 610 yards and five touchdowns in the Cardinals’ trip up to Syracuse. Jackson is putting up Heisman numbers, as the Cardinals have dismantled their two opponents this season. Jackson ran for 199 yards on a 9.5 per rush average on the way to running in for four touchdowns. Jackson will have the opportunity to prove himself this week as #2 Florida State comes to town.


Miami Running Back Joseph Yearby

Teammate Mark Walton is one of the leading rushers in the nation, but Joseph Yearby is just as important to the Hurricanes offensive attack. Yearby carried the ball three more times than Walton and also added 21 yards in the passing game to his 121 yards on the ground. Yearby only trails Walton by 45 yards this season, as both players have been vital to Miami’s dominant 2-0 start.


Florida State Wide Receiver Jesus Wilson

Quarterback Deondre Francois, running back Delvin Cook, and wide receiver Travis Rudolph will receive all the praise and headlines, but Jesus Wilson is just as important to the Seminoles’ success. Wilson is a very dynamic and explosive player, as he is featured in the Seminoles’ running, passing, and return game. Wilson ended the first quarter with an impressive 89-yard punt return for the Seminoles. The senior also took a jet sweep for six yards and was the Noles’ second-leading receiver bringing in four balls for 53 yards.


North Carolina Mitch Trubisky

After a loss that could put a team in the tank for the following week, North Carolina needed a leader to step up. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky stepped it up as he completed 80% of his throws and accounted for four touchdowns, two with his arm and two with his legs. The junior showed confidence and the ability to get better each play. Senior teammate T.J. Logan wasn’t surprised saying, “He was ready to come out here and ball. Just Mitch making plays.” Trubisky went 19-24 with 265 yards and two touchdowns and also added 42 yards on the ground with two more scores.


Wake Forest Running Back Cade Carney

The Demon Deacons are enjoying their 2-0 start this season and have freshman running back Cade Carney to thank. The freshman running back caused problems all day for the Duke Blue Devils, rushing for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Carney’s highlight play of the day was a 55-yard run on 3rd-and-short. The true freshman was named one of the ACC’s offensive players of the week, joining the names of Lamar Jackson and Florida State’s Travis Rudolph.

Tough Road Ahead for NC State after 1-1 Start

Of course it’s still early, but it already feels like NC State is behind the eight ball. Everyone knew that it would be a tough road for the Wolfpack. When they drew games against Notre Dame and Miami outside of the division play, those six wins were definitely going to be tough to obtain. Now, without one of those non-conference wins, State will probably need an upset or two to go bowling this winter.

What’s done is done, so we have to put aside the questionable coaching in a largely disappointing game with ECU. Not to take anything away from the Pirates, they certainly showed up on Saturday. However, it’s hard not to see that game as a missed opportunity. Moving on, NC State now must find five more wins in one of their toughest schedules. If we were to break this up into tiers, it would look like this: games they have to win, games they could win, and games they probably won’t win.

Games NC State has to Win

9/17 vs Old Dominion

10/1 vs Wake Forest

10/29 vs Boston College

11/12 @ Syracuse

There were six relatively easy wins on this schedule, these four plus William & Mary and ECU. My thought at the beginning of the year was that, being NC State, this team would inexplicably lose one of these, but replace it with an improbable win (which we’ll get to later). If ECU is going to be the loss in this scenario, that’s fine, but there’s no margin for error anymore. These four games have to be wins, there’s no way around it. I know the three ACC schools are better this year, and Wake could even be looking at nine wins. The fact is, Wake hasn’t won in Raleigh since 2006. BC is a little scarier, especially since they lead the all time series 8-5, but that’s still one to feel confident about. Finally, Syracuse has only beat State once in nine total meetings. With these four wins, the Wolfpack’s win total will be at five, with just one more win needed to get to the postseason.

Games NC State Could Win

11/5 vs Florida State

11/19 vs Miami

The aforementioned “improbable” win in my mind has to be Florida State. Every other year, the Seminoles make the trek to Raleigh, and as is tradition, NC State gets a win that makes everyone scratch their heads. Ok, maybe it’s not as common as I’m making it out to be, but the Wolfpack have won five of the last nine meetings in Raleigh. This is the most likely win, even if FSU is currently second in the AP poll. The other option is Miami, another home game. It’s hard to know what kind of team the Hurricanes will be this year, but it’s very possible that under their new coach, they might not live up to the preseason hype. They could function as win number six, which would be preferable to playing for bowl eligibility against UNC a week later. Speaking of the Tar Heels…

Games NC State Probably Won’t Win

10/8 vs Notre Dame

10/15 @ Clemson (LOL)

10/22 @ Louisville

11/25 @ UNC

Don’t get me wrong, I’d be overjoyed if the Wolfpack could pull the upset in any of these games (especially that last one). Unfortunately, these four look like they’re on another level right now. Sure, Notre Dame is at home and it was a fun game last time, but they looked like a solid team in their overtime loss at Texas. The only hope State has in these games is the change of a trap game. Notre Dame follows their trip to Raleigh with Stanford and Clemson with Florida State (after a bye week). Finally, all bets are off in a rivalry game. UNC looked like a far superior team in 2014, when NC State left Chapel Hill with a 35-7 win. Overall, wins in these games are possible, but shouldn’t be counted on in the quest for six wins.

Final Thoughts

After two vastly different non-conference games, it’s hard to say anything definite about this team. If they follow the regular pattern, I’d still predict a 6-6 record and a lower bowl game (probably Shreveport or DC). Perhaps that improbable win will be enough to make fans forget about last week’s loss. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

ACC to Relocate Championship Games from North Carolina

Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated has reported that the “ACC will relocate all neutral-site championships for 2016-17 from North Carolina, due to HB2 law,” including this statement:

Not really much to say here.  After several decades of television, movies, music videos, and atheists running educational institutions, what else can be expected?  On the one hand, you have fools that believe that a man should be able to dress like a woman and go into the womens bathroom.  On the other hand, you have fools who want to force that same man out of the womens bathroom where their daughters are and into the mens room where their sons are.  And here comes the ACC to pick a side of fools.


ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 1/2

Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents!  As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, some of the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 1) and the Week that will be (Week 2) for the ACC and their respective schools.

Q1: What stands out about your school’s performance last week?
Harrison Huntley (NC State): The emergence of Ryan Finley was the big story of Week 1. The biggest question mark State had was at QB. The coaching staff wouldn’t name a starter, and made it clear that the battle would be decided on the field. I don’t know if it’s been announced yet, but Finley has to get the nod after his performance last week. He went 17-21 with 174 yards and 2 TD’s. Contrast that with Jalen McClendon’s 6-9, 88 yd and an interception, Finley seems to have ended the debate.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): The fact that Syracuse was able to play so fast in their first game under Dino Babers.  Although he claimed it was slow, it was fast enough for Bobby Petrino to make comments that drew the ire of numerous Syracuse blogs.  See e.g. here.  Look, Syracuse offense has been an “issue” for most of the post-Pasqualoni era.  Under Greg Robinson, getting first downs was exciting.  The latter part of the Doug Marrone era was a pro-style offense that moved the ball decently, but there were other times when wins came by defense.  Scott Shafer’s offenses had some moments, but also had some not so great moments, but remained a defense-first program.  The idea of having an offensive-first philosophy has not been the case in a long, long time.  That it also happens to be fast paced and tailored to the Carrier Dome is exciting.  That it worked pretty well against Colgate stood out.
Q2: What are you looking to see out of your school this week?
Harrison Huntley (NC State): Wolfpack fans have made it clear that the team needs to leave Greenville with a win. There doesn’t seem to be any expectations in terms of stats, all that will matter is what is on the scoreboard. It’s the risk you take playing these kinds of games. A win over ECU won’t make many headlines, but a loss certainly would.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Well, the offense looked good (not great) against Colgate.  How will it look against bigger, stronger, faster, smarter athletes?  A few Dungey passes were just missed by Colgate defenders.  Against Louisville, that will be a Pick Six.  A few other passes were caught because of superior athleticism.  That will not happen in any other game.  So… how good will Syracuse’s offense be against a very good opponent?  We’ll be looking at that very closely.
Q3: Did any other ACC team impress you this week?  If so, who and why?
Harrison Huntley (NC State): I was pleasantly surprised with how well Florida State played, especially after trailing by so much. They seem to have solved their QB problem as well with Francois, and the defense played on another level in the second half. I still think NC State will win that one in Raleigh, but they looked very impressive in that second half.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Miami.  I do not  care who the opponent is, when you put up points like that, you are doing something right.  And, for Miami, it is all the more important that they get some swagger back.  If the conference is going to be FSU, Clemson, and a diminutive dozen, so be it.  But Miami being an elite program would be good for the ACC by both restoring balance to the divisions and making the conference look better to outsiders.  Miami has had good moments in the past, to be sure.  The issue is whether Richt will carry it through week after week.  We will see.
Q4: As of the season to date, who are you projecting in the college football playoff? 
Harrison Huntley (NC State): Alabama, Clemson/FSU, Michigan/Ohio State, Houston.
Anthony Caffrey (Syracuse): Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, and Oregon.  Florida State, Michigan, and Houston are all in the hunt obviously.  But Houston was upset by UConn last year–there is little room for error this year.  If it comes down to 1-loss teams from major conferences–unless Houston’s only loss is to a Louisville team that is also in the playoffs, it is hard to see Houston making it in.  Florida State and Michigan would be excluded based on head-to-head results.

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

Virginia Hits Rock Bottom Against Richmond

If you are a Virginia sports fan, you thought that the football team had hit rock bottom.  You fired a decent football coach in Mike London, who recruited well but failed to win games on the field.  You hired a well-known coach in Bronco Mendenhall away from Brigham Young.  You were ready to begin a new era.  And then you learned that there was a new level to “rock bottom,” with an embarrassing loss to FCS neighbor Richmond, 37-20.

Yes, the FCS-level Spiders beat Virginia by 17 points.  This was not a FG for the win situation.  And Virginia is not just an FBS team, it is an FBS team in a P5 conference.  How often does any of this happen?  Rarely.  But, take some comfort Virginia fans, you are not even the first ACC school to be embarrassed by an FCS opponent in the modern era. lists a few recent examples:

  • In 1999, Furman beat North Carolina 28-3.  That is a larger margin, and a far more futile offensive showing by the Tar Heels.  This same UNC team was pretty bad, but also manager to finish the season by beating both NC State and Duke.
  • In 2006, Richmond shutout Duke, 13-0.  Sure, that Duke defense did a better job than Virginia yesterday.  But to be SHUTOUT by an FCS foe is beyond shameful.
  • In 2012, current ACC school Pittsburgh–then a Big East team–lost to Youngstown State 31-17.  Similar score, similar margin.

So, while it is rare, it does happen that an ACC school will get thumped by an FCS foe.

Outside of the ACC, it has also happened.  In 2011, North Dakota State beat Minnesota 37-24.  In 2006, New Hampshire beat Northwestern 34-17.  In 1996, Montana beat Oregon State 35-14.  And so on.  The past twenty years have seen a number of comfortable wins by FCS opponents over FBS P5 foes.  Outside of the P5, last year Portland State beat North Texas 66-7, resulting in the firing of North Texas’s head coach immediately after the game.  And, for whatever its worth, South Florida lost to McNeese State 53-21 in 2013 in Willie Taggert’s debut, only to stay within 15 points against a 13-1 Michigan State team the following week.  They say the most improvement is done between weeks 1 and 2, and apparently that was the case.  And it may be for the 2016 Virginia Cavaliers.

And the good news is that it usually means that “rock bottom” has been hit.  The 1999 UNC loss was dreadful, but UNC was 6-5 the next year and in the Peach Bowl in 2001.  Duke would lose to Richmond two more times (2009 and 2011), (and would be generally horrible from 2006 to 2008 at 5-31), but go bowling from 2012 to 2015.  Pitt actually went to bowl game in 2012, and has gone bowling every year since.  The great thing about “rock bottom” is that it usually cannot get worse.

So, while rock bottom is not a fun place to be, it is at the very least the “cannot get any worse” place.  For Virginia fans, that means the future is necessarily brighter than the present.



Not Much Time to Enter ACC Survivor Pool

The Confidential’s Survivor Pool is back for 2016!  2015 went down to the wire… see results here.  For 2016, we are back, continuing the double-elimination format!  Sign up today!

We are limiting this to the first 100 entrants.  Last year’s entrants were given a heads up to join.  Now opening this up to all ACC fans. 

Winner gets $50.00 via PayPal.  See the official rules here:

Pool ID Number: 115035
Pool Entry Code: n*rbaa

With thousands of ACC fans, sign up today!  Contest entry closes September 1, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m.!

Notre Dame Season Preview: Wide Receivers

This year the Notre Dame wide receiving corps will have to step it up due to the loss of their best player last season. Wide receiver Will Fuller left Notre Dame for the NFL after an outstanding junior season in which he recorded 62 receptions, 1,258 yards, and 14 touchdowns in 13 games. Over his three-year career with the Fighting Irish, Fuller was good for 144 receptions, 2,512 yards, and 30 touchdowns over 32 career games. Fuller left Notre Dame with the receiver with the second most career touchdowns (Michael Floyd 37), 5th all-time in receptions, and 4th all-time in receiving yards. The Houston Texans drafted Fuller with the 21st overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

So who will fill in Fuller’s huge shoes? The first man up will be redshirt-junior Torii Hunter Jr. Hunter is a two-sport athlete (baseball, obviously), who caught 28 balls last year for 363 yards and two touchdowns. Hunter was recently named one of the four captains for the Fighting Irish for the 2016 season.

Hunter witnessed leadership as a college athlete from players like Nick Martin, Sheldon Day, and Jaylon Smith, but also from his father. Hunter has said

“I take a lot of the stuff that he done with a lot of ball clubs, and him being an older guy in a lot of younger clubhouses. That’s one of the biggest things I try to stress is keep it fun, joke around but also go out there and get work done. I think that’s one of the biggest things my dad does well is keep it chill, keep it lose and make guys go out there and play.”

Head coach Brian Kelly is counting on Hunter saying,

“He is a veteran on our team, hasn’t played maybe as much but he’s played big roles for us. He’s a guy that I think this year will be counted on to do quite a bit. But again, again, a guy that walks the walk and talks the talk and back it up both on and off the field will be a great mentor to a lot of young receivers.”

Hunter will be leading a young, inexperienced receiving corps that will be highlighted by Miles Boykin. Boykin is a former four-star recruit who redshirted last season. He comes in at 6’3”, 225 pounds with good hands, but according to wide receiver coach Mike Denbrock, Boykin needs be more aggressive.

Another young wide receiver who will make his debut this season is Equanimeous St. Brown, also known ESB. ESB will be the deep threat in the Irish offense given his height (6’5”) and ability to track the ball in the air. Cj Sanders, who has kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns last season, but rarely saw the field in any offensive sets will also likely make an impact this season. Sanders has the speed and playmaking ability to play slot, especially with Hunter and ESB on the outside.

The Notre Dame offense has high expectations. With Hunter returning in a leadership position, Mike McGlinchey holding down the offensive line, and Tearean Folston returning in the backfield, this offense is ready to go, regardless of whom the quarterback is. Hunter is obviously the player to watch in his senior year, but players like Boykin, St. Brown, and Sanders will have the opportunity to be playmakers this season as well.

Survivor Pool: Entry Spots Remain

The Confidential’s Survivor Pool is back for 2016!  2015 went down to the wire… see results here.  For 2016, we are back, continuing the double-elimination format!  Sign up today!

We are limiting this to the first 100 entrants.  Last year’s entrants were given a heads up to join.  Now opening this up to all ACC fans. 

Winner gets $50.00 via PayPal.  See the official rules here:

Pool ID Number: 115035
Pool Entry Code: n*rbaa

With thousands of ACC fans, sign up today!

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