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Charlotte, NC Attendance for ACC Championship Set at 5240

On Saturday, December 19th, 2020 the ACC Championship Game will be played in Charlotte, North Carolina at Bank of America Stadium. This is one of the most anticipated ACC Championship Games as there is a strong possibility that even the loser of the game could get into the College Football Playoff (CFP). If Notre Dame loses a close game to Clemson we know the Tigers will be in the Playoff and there is a good argument that Notre Dame deserves to be in the Playoff as their only loss will be to a top 3 team. A top 3 team they have already beat one time this year.

The attendance for ACC Championship Games has been a joke in years past as Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte is rarely full for this game or any college football game in Charlotte. This year, with the COVID-19 Pandemic the ACC is limiting the attendance to 5240 which is 7% capacity of the Carolina Panthers home stadium in downtown Charlotte.

Brian Kelly has been quite vocal about the fact that friends and family of the college athletes deserve to be at the game in person. We all know that Kelly has been outspoken in the past when it comes to things not going exactly his way. If Notre Dame loses a close game to Clemson on Saturday it will be interesting to see what Kelly has to say.

Note that this will likely be Notre Dame’s only chance to win an ACC Championship or any conference championship as they will go back to being independents next year. What many may not realize is prior to Knute Rockne and the Four Horseman Notre Dame wanted to join the Big Ten and the Big Ten and the Big Ten would not allow them. This will go down as one of the biggest mistakes in college football history. Well, that and any of the decisions to allow Big Ten teams into the College Football Playoff in the last several years.

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UNC Women’s Lacrosse Wins 4th Straight ACC Championship

The senior class of women’s lacrosse players at UNC have never lost a game in the ACC tournament. That is an unbelievable statement as the ACC is, by far and away, the best conference in NCAA women’s lacrosse. Almost everyone in the lacrosse world expected Boston College to roll through the 2019 ACC Tournament not only because they were undefeated but they were also hosting the tournament in their home stadium. No travel, favorable conditions and the most talent in the country would lead to Boston College’s first ever ACC Championship right? Not so fast.

The most shocking aspect of the 2019 ACC Tournament was the fact that #1 and undefeated Boston College was up 6-1 in the early part of the first half and seemed to have things well in hand. Add to that that Jamie Ortega was almost non existent on the offensive end and you would have written UNC off. Rather than getting their heads down and accepting defeat, the Tar Heels stormed back and took the lead with just under 20 minutes to go in the second half.

With Sam Apuzzo, Kenzie Kent and Dempsey Arsenault on the field for the #1 team in the country one would think a 6-1 lead less than 10 minutes into the game would have been the nail in the coffin for UNC. Instead of the big names determining the outcome of this championship game it was some of the lesser known athletes for UNC that stepped up big. Kara Klages, Tayler Warehime and Gianna Bowe all played pivotal roles in the comeback for the Heels.

To end the regular season, Sam Apuzzo finished with 78 goals vs Jamie Ortega’s 71. Ortega got the last laugh as she assisted on the Tayler Warehine goal that game UNC the lead that held until the final buzzer. One would imagine UNC will be the #2 overall seed for the NCAA Tournament with Maryland being the #1 overall seed. Syracuse, Northwestern and Notre Dame will all be vying for that important #4 spot to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Boston College will be the #3 overall seed.

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UNC vs Kentucky Rematch in the NCAA Tournament?

UNC plays Kentucky almost every year in the regular season before conference play. This has been a tradition that continues to work as fans from both schools want to see how each team will stack up prior to conference play. Interestingly, in the latest ESPN Bracketology the experts have UNC as a #3 seed and Kentucky as a #6 seed in the same region. This is not uncommon as the NCAA Tournament Committee would love to see a second round matchup between UNC and Kentucky.

We still have the entire conference season to go so there is no reason to take this Bracketology seriously. What we do know is that CBS and the NCAA would love to have UNC and Kentucky in a game during the March Madness tournament in 2019.

Many would argue that Kentucky has a better resume prior to conference play. Not only do they have a better resume, but they also won the head to head matchup at a neutral location. This makes us wonder why ESPN would give UNC the #3 seed and Kentucky the #6 seed. Either way, most times the seeding from 3-6 doesn’t matter all that much in the NCAA Tournament. The seeds that are not appealing at 7-10 as those teams will have to play the #1 or #2 seeds in the second round.

As the ACC and SEC regular seasons progress, we will update the potential for these two powerhouses to meet again in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Ultimately, UNC will want to be playing on the East Coast as they do not want to travel to the midwest or western part of the country.

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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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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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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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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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