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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “ACC Football”

Syracuse Football Attendance – Needs Moar Fan(nie)s

For now, the Syracuse Orange sits atop the ACC football standings (2-0 overall, 1-0 in conference play), but based on the attendance at the Dome during yesterday’s victory over Wake Forest you would think that the Greg Robinson and Frank Maloney teamed up to coach this year’s team. Not surprisingly, Bud Poliquin was quick to point out that there was “a lack of fannies in the seats” as a mere 26.5k fans trudged-up to the dome to watch the game. To put that in context, last January approximately 23.5k fans took over half of the dome to watch the Syracuse basketball team (sans McCullough) defeat Wake Forest – and that basketball attendance number was without the benefit of free tickets to the frosh students.  Read more…

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ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 14/15

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 14) and the Week that will be (Week 15) 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 14?

Len (Louisville): The ACC going 4-0 against the SEC. That was a great win by Georgia Tech. I am also surprised by how Miami finished the season. They showed potential earlier in the season but finished on a down note. It looked as if they would challenge for the coastal but instead tied with Virginia Tech and Virginia.

Mike (NC State): I don’t know how big a surprise it was, outside of Georgia Tech/Georgia, but the ACC sweep of the SEC was a rush.  Finally some good news in the ongoing battle against The Best Darn Football Conference Ever Just Ask Them.  ACC!!! ACC!!!

John (UNC): Wow. Say what you want about the supposed weakness of the SEC East, but the fact is that Clemson, Louisville, Georgia Tech and Florida State helped the conference make a statement this past Saturday. You can add Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech to that discussion too. With 11 bowl eligible teams for the second year in a row, and a perfect rivalry weekend record against the SEC, the ACC is poised to take another step forward. That is, unless Georgia Tech proves to be TOO good, and knocks the Seminoles out of the playoff.

Brian (FSU): The ACC going 4-0 against the SEC last week. Wow, you would think that would impress the committee… but yet FSU is 4 and GT who has beaten 2 straight ranked teams and is 10-2 is not even top 10, while Michigan State who has not beaten a single committee ranked team and is also 10-2 is ranked 3 spots higher at 8. In that case, the committee is saying Michigan State’s two loses to ranked teams in Oregon and OSU is more important than Georgia Tech’s wins over ranked teams Clemson and UGA. Oh and to add insult to injury no conference has more wins against non-conference Power 5 opponents (10) than the ACC, and the ACC is one of two power 5 conferences with a winning record in that same category (the other being the Pac 12). So, I am surprised both by the ACC’s success and utter lack of respect by a committee that seems either ignorant of college football or void of credibility in its selection.

Anthony (Syracuse): The biggest surprise had to be North Carolina State taking the Tar Heels to the woodshed.  It looked like UNC was finally putting something together…. and… NOT!  A close second for me is Pitt beating Miami.  Again, Miami looked like they were ready to turn the corner… and then NOT!  The ACC sweeping the SEC did not surprise me, really.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 14?

Len (Louisville): The Cards pulled out the victory with its 3rd string QB & while losing the turnover battle. Bolin was dreadful in his only other appearance this season but turned out one of the best performances by a Louisville QB this season against Kentucky. Their pregame antics reeked of desperation and I was surprised by the lack of class from our rival. I was disappointed that the antics worked and that some Louisville players fell to their level.

Mike (NC State): Well. let’s see.  The Wolfpack beat UNC to finish 7-5.  They played their best game of the season against their archrivals. Not much to complain about, but I was disappointed in a couple of things. The overly aggressive plays that resulted in boneheaded penalties that twice prolonged a Carolina drive in the second half were ridiculous.  And why not pull the starters going into the fourth quarter with the game already won?  Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man.  Anyway, big win, happy happy. The Pack is back.

John (UNC): I’ve all but given up on trying to understand this team. One week the Tar Heels completely demolish a very good Duke squad (now 9-3), and the next they fall flat on their faces against another big rival in NC State. ON SENIOR DAY. If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is. Now, they await their bowl placement, and all I can say is, they need the extra practices.

Brian (FSU): I was surprised FSU could win a game in spite of Winston instead of because of Winston. I was disappointed in the committee deciding that TCU should be ranked higher than FSU, at 3.  This decision is idiotic for many reasons, but here are a few:  TCU has a loss, FSU does not have any losses. TCU has 2 less wins than FSU, not 1 but 2. TCU has faced only 9 power 5 schools, FSU has faced 11. TCU actually has a worse SOS than FSU in most rankings, and the one used by ESPN recently has TCU behind FSU in that category. The committee chair yesterday had the cojones to say FSU is undefeated but struggled in its games… FSU WON ALL OF ITS GAMES! So the eye test or game control literally means more in the committees eyes than wins. By the way Kansas, Washington State, and Arkansas all say hello committee members… all teams who are not very good that gave teams ranked higher than FSU fits, not allowing those higher ranked teams to control those games at all; and saying hello right behind those bad teams are Baylor, Ole Miss, and Arizona… they actually beat TCU, Bama, and Oregon. I would like to ask Ninja Swofford to start getting vocal now. I would hope if FSU wins this weekend it could not possibly fall again, but if OSU sitting at five blows out a team in Wisconsin ranked near GT, and FSU struggles to win in its game then FSU, if recent history holds, could fall to 5. Everyone says it is impossible, but 2 months ago would you have thought college football’s only unbeaten team would be sitting behind 3 one loss teams? One last thing, Mike Tranghese was too sick to vote last week, and FSU sat at 3… he was able to vote this week and FSU is at 4.  You know the same Tranghese who was the Big East commissioner until 2009… just saying, if anyone has a an ax to grind against ACC schools it would be the guy whose league imploded due to ACC poaching.

Anthony (Syracuse): Scott Shafer has gone from hero to zero so quickly it is really unfathomable.  If he was coaching with any sense of courage, maybe he would be given the benefit of the doubt.  But his gutless playing for field position–without any regard for game, score, and time.  His hard-nosed mantra is a ruse.  Meanwhile, his team plays undisciplined football, both in terms of penalties and knowledge of the game.  Any Syracuse fan can look past the injuries, but the warning signs on Shafer are huge.  He will likely get 2015 to show that 2014 was an anomaly.  If it shows that 2013 was the anomaly, he will be unemployed.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 15 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

Len (Louisville): Our bowl match up. Where are we going & who will we play. Who be will our starting quarterback? Bonnafon will be available but Bolin looked good against Kentucky. Accuracy has been a problem for Louisville QB this season.

Mike (NC State): What bowl, what bowl?  That’s about all that’s left to contemplate.  Watching the game it seemed that the Belk was mentioned a lot.  Wherever the Pack ends up, it’s a lot better feeling than last year.

John (UNC):  The Tar Heels began the season with ACC Championship dreams, but once again, they’ll be watching, not playing, this Saturday. It’s ironic that North Carolina’s best chance to win the league happened the year they weren’t eligible to participate, but that’s irony for you. With movement already happening in the coaching world (vacancies at Michigan, Florida and Nebraska among others), I’m hoping that Coach Fedora pulls the trigger and at least begins a discussion with a few prospective defensive coordinator replacements. Unfortunately, while former Florida coach Will Muschamp has North Carolina ties (his father played for the Tar Heels), he’s likely to be out of the price range of the basketball centric pocketbooks in Chapel Hill.

Brian (FSU): FSU winning the ACC and getting in the playoff… but I am fully aware of how dangerous GT is in reality. In fact, all my complaining is likely to be moot… I think the Jackets pull it out.  One thing to look for is Smelter is hurt, and GT relies on him for making the big catch and or the big reverse. Of course it is raining this weekend in Charlotte, so that helps Tech much more than FSU. Long story short, I think FSU loses… but if they win, I hope it is a narrow victory. I also hope TCU, Baylor and OSU blow out their opponents… and Oregon and Bama win this weekend. I want to dare the committee to be stupid enough to keep an unbeaten FSU out. I want chaos. I have written them off… and I am rooting for the rest of the country to look at the committee as a bunch of foolish members. I am essentially daring the committee to leave out an unbeaten FSU.

Anthony (Syracuse): It will be interesting to see if the fans cool off over what was a disappointing season made worse by poor coaching.  I suspect not.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 15 FOR THE ACC?

Len (Louisville): Can Georgia Tech upset Florida State and if so can they make the playoffs? Will FSU fall out of the top 4 by winning again? Apparently in this new world of college football you have to lose to be number one and going undefeated is meaningless.

Mike (NC State): What else but the ACC Championship Game?  Part of me wants an underdog Georgia Tech win, but the other part smacked that part down and threw it in the garbage disposal.  Not only am I pulling for FSU, they absolutely have to win so we can see Round Two of The ACC Wins It All.

John (UNC):  Nothing got me more excited for the ACC Championship Game than watching Georgia Tech-Georgia this past weekend. What a game! As a North Carolina fan, it’s funny to think that the Yellow Jackets’ only two losses are to the Tar Heels, and to the Blue Devils, who North Carolina beat. But Georgia Tech has really come on strong at the end of the season under the direction of newly crowned ACC Coach of the Year (and North Carolina native) Paul Johnson. The Seminoles better be on watch Saturday if they want to preserve their playoff hopes.

Brian (FSU): Ummmm good recruiting, and John Swofford getting after the committee.

Anthony (Syracuse): Well, FSU winning would be best for the ACC.  On the other hand, if a 13-0 Florida State is dominated, that will tarnish the ACC’s season somewhat.  But if Florida State can beat Georgia Tech, then this will be a true sign that they will be very competitive in the playoff.

WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?

Len (Louisville): 1 FSU ( because being undefeated should still mean something ) 2 Alabama 3 Oregon 4 Ohio State. I can’t understand the argument of ranking Alabama and Oregon ahead of FSU but not TCU! FSU & TCU resumes or similar but only one is 12-0. I’m calling BS on the committees rankings this week. If you want geographical matchups then don’t seed the top 4. Go Noles!

Mike (NC State):

Florida State – undefeated for a reason.
Oregon – the western powerhouse rolls on.
Ohio State – they earned it, no matter who is at QB.
Alabama – so FSU can complete the Auburn/Alabama sweep.

John (UNC): It’s conference championship week and anything could happen. Arizona has ALREADY beaten Oregon once. Georgia Tech is looking strong. Ohio State will probably screw up. One thing is certain though, and that’s the power of Alabama. For another week, I’m sticking with Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and TCU. I’m just not as confident about it as I was before.

Brian (FSU): Right now: 1) FSU, 2) Oregon, 3) Bama, 4) Baylor…. in reality it will end up being: 1) Bama, 2) Oregon, 3) OSU, 4) TCU

Anthony (Syracuse): The fact that the committee has Florida State at #4 is an abomination.  The entire committee should be scrapped and replaced.  Under the old system, the only question would be who was #2.  Under the new system, the only question should be who is #2 through #4.  In NO circumstance should an undefeated team from ANY POWER FIVE conference… that is the sole undefeated team… be anything but a #1 seed overall.  The bottom line is that Alabama, Oregon, and TCU have each not even been the winner on a field this year, whereas nobody can say that about the Seminoles.  And while FSU has had its share of good fortune, so has TCU (see the West Virginia late-game implosion).  Moreover, there is nothing about the committee’s ranking that is consistent.  So my top 4 is: (1) FSU; (2) Alabama; (3) Oregon; and (4) T.C.U.

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

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 13/14

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 13) and the Week that will be (Week 14) 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 13?

Len (Louisville): I was expecting North Carolina to beat Duke but not in that fashion. I know BC is good but I was expecting Florida State to handle them better. It’s hard to rank them number 1 in the country when they haven’t dominated anyone.

Mike (NC State): It was a wild week in the ACC.  Florida State struggled mightily against Boston College, but that has been the norm this year for the Noles.  Then there was that weird 0-0 tie and double overtime win for Wake Forest over Virginia Tech, the Deacs first conference win of the season.  But Duke failed to show up against UNC, and while I thought the Heels might win, by rights it should have been a bit closer than the 45-20 blowout it was, or as we call it down here, the whuppin’ it was.

John (UNC): Last week, the talk was about Notre Dame’s freefall (which continued with a loss against Louisville). This week it’s all about the Hokies. What happened to this team? Seriously. Even with an uncommon number of season ending injuries (it’s in the double digits), this isn’t how a Frank Beamer team plays. Fighting for bowl eligibility on the last game of the season? Something has got to give.

Brian (FSU): Duke completely getting destroyed by UNC.  Duke has completely fallen on its face.  It went from one moment showing it is a regular power in the ACC to possibly being a flash in the pan. To let your rival ruin your season in that manner might be as soul crushing as it gets in college football.  Duke has to win this weekend or risk an 8-4 regular season, with no shot at double digit victories on the year.

Anthony (Syracuse): I have to go with Duke getting blown out by UNC.  Virginia Tech losing to Wake Forest after defeating Duke–well, the Duke win looks a bit less impressive now.  And Wake has been trending up since bottoming out against Syracuse.  And UNC winning is not the same level of surprise that UNC dominating was.  Coastal is just a mess.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 13?

Len (Louisville): My biggest disappointment would have to be that Louisville didn’t force more turnovers. I was surprised by Notre Dame tenacity on defense with all their injuries. ND came out on senior day & were fired up to play & pretty much sustained that throughout the whole game. I was really surprised that ND missed the field goal to send it to overtime.

Mike (NC State): It was a bye week for State, so now might be a good time to drop in a line about an intriguing 2015 recruit: Darian Roseboro, Def. Tackle.  Roseboro played for Lincolnton High School, not far from where I live, and he is rated 4 stars by Scout.com. He’s 6’3″ and 293 lbs and should be making plenty of tackles for the Pack next season.  Looking forward to that.

John (UNC): I legitimately thought that North Carolina had a chance against Duke, especially given the Blue Devils’ performance the week before in their loss against Virginia Tech. Never in my wildest dreams, however, did I think it would be a blow out in the Tar Heels’ favor. What a game! So yes, I wasn’t surprised at the outcome, just how it went down. And unfortunately, I also wasn’t surprised when I heard that the team destroyed Duke’s locker room and field. North Carolina football is the gift that keeps on giving…at least if you’re a reporter.

Brian (FSU):    I was both surprised and disappointed that Winston found a way to spark off the field type controversy ON THE FIELD! He is very lucky the referee did not flag him for touching the referee.  I was also very surprised that the kicker missed his 3rd kick of the season.

Anthony (Syracuse): Scott Shafer’s punt on 4th and 1 from his own 47 with a minute or so remaining was just the latest example of him not being nearly as hardnosed as he claims.  So that is more of a disappointment than a surprise.  The real disappointment is that the defense could not stop Pitt without RB James Connor.  But for a few shanked FGs and an opportune red zone interception, the score could have been a lot worse.  Simply stated, a Syracuse team that purports to be hard-nosed is anything but that right now.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 14 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

Len (Louisville): Pitino (Editor’s Note: Petrino?  Why does Jurich have to confuse us like this!) is undefeated vs Kentucky & I look forward to that remaining true this Saturday. The cats are struggling as of late while the Cards are playing at their best right now. Bonnafon is developing consistency at the quarterback position & Pitino doesn’t take a knee against the cats so I am looking forward to a huge victory.

Mike (NC State): Everything.  It’s the rivalry game Pack fans look forward to all season, and here’s hoping for a good showing against the Tar Heels. Realistically, Carolina is peaking and playing at home, so it could be a long day.  But if State does win, it would give us a more bowl-attractive 7-5 record, so go Pack!!!

John (UNC):  I can’t overstate the importance of a win this week. Sure, the Tar Heels are bowl eligible now, but a victory against the Wolfpack would give North Carolina a much needed boost in the public eye. Frankly, the University just needs something positive to talk about, and a sweep of their main conference rivals would be a good start.

Brian (FSU): Hopefully, FSU knocking off the Gators putting Fisher’s record against the big 3 rivals for FSU at 13-2.  I still think FSU is due for a loss though, so I will watch the game with one eye closed.

Anthony (Syracuse): Syracuse showing up with great effort and a game plan.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 14 FOR THE ACC?

Len (Louisville): All the rivalry games! Should be a fun weekend. Clemson v South Carolina and if Georgia Tech can upset Georgia. How the ACC fares against the SEC. Could be a statement weekend.

Mike (NC State): Florida State faces its last hurdle before the ACC title game, and it’s a doozy.  Sure, Florida isn’t as tough this year as they would have liked, but this game is for my money the best rivalry in college football.  And if the Noles, who have been building their undefeated record on the edge of a sharp razor all season, can’t win this one there will likely be no playoff spot waiting no matter what happens against Tech in Charlotte.

John (UNC):  As a Tar Heel in a Hokie family, I’m really hoping for a Virginia Tech win. But that’s not the only important game going on. This week, the ACC has an opportunity to make a statement against its bitter rival to the South. If the conference can hold its own against the SEC (and we’re not talking just Louisville-Kentucky), then it will gain a whole lot more respect in the college football world, and with the selection committee.

Brian (FSU): The ACC is favored to win 3 of its 4 SEC match-ups, Louisville vs. KY/FSU vs. UF/Clemson vs. S Car, and GT has a realistic shot to beat UGA.  I would like to see the ACC at least go 2-2 in those games… please no losing record.

 Anthony (Syracuse): A whole slew of rivalry games.  But more specifically… the ACC/SEC matchups.  The ACC needs Florida State to win and expects Louisville to win.  But can Georgia Tech rise up and beat Georgia?  Can Clemson end its streak of losing to South Carolina.  And keep an eye on Virginia–if Mike London wins, does he save his job?

WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?

Len (Louisville): 1 FSU 2 Oregon 3 Alabama 4 Baylor.

Mike (NC State):Florida State, Oregon, Mississippi State and Alabama, in that order.

John (UNC): Despite the fact that TCU was almost upset by a lowly Kansas team, they’re staying in the top 4…for now- Florida State, Alabama, Oregon, TCU.

Brian (FSU): Right now: 1) FSU, 2) Oregon, 3) Bama, 4) Ms St.  End of Year: 1) Bama, 2) Oregon, 3) Ms St, 4) OSU.

Anthony (Syracuse): (1) Florida State; (2) Alabama; and (3) Oregon.  For number 4, you look at Mississippi State, Ohio State, Baylor, and TCU, obviously.  Ohio State has the worst loss.  But they are also looking fairly strong right now (save for a lackluster performance against Indiana).  Baylor beat TCU, but lost to West Virginia.  Mississippi State may have the best resume–the best loss at the very least.  But I think the committee will want four conferences represented if possible.  So if Ohio State can run the table, they will be number 4.  And if you look at Ohio State–they beat the same team, Minnesota, than TCU beat.  So (4) Ohio State.

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

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?

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 11/12

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 11) and the Week that will be (Week 12) 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 11?

David (FSU): The week went pretty much as planned, though Clemson did struggle a bit more than I expected early, the week was pretty much the status quo.

Len (Louisville): All the blowout victories. Not surprised by the wins but by the margins. The way Arizona State dominated Notre Dame.

Mike (NC State): The way Wake Forest hung with Clemson, trailing only 20-17 going into the fourth quarter.  This does not bode well for NC State; of their remaining two opponents, Wake looks to be the most winnable game.  Or is it?

John (UNC): Nothing too surprising this week, honestly. All the teams that won were expected to win, even though the margins may not have been exactly the same. At times, Clemson struggled against Wake Forest, and Florida State looked sloppy against Virginia, but no one will remember that years from now when they look back at each team’s win-loss record. Pretty standard. Oh wait, Notre Dame got destroyed by Arizona State, completely ending the Fighting Irish’s chance at the College Football Playoff. Not entirely surprising given the way they’ve played against their questionable schedule, but fantastic for the ACC’s chances at having them join all-in at some point in the future.

Brian (FSU):  Wake Forest putting up 20 points on Clemson’s defense.  I could not believe Wake’s anemic offense was able to score on Clemson.  On a side note I am surprised that OSU blew out Michigan State… you know the same OSU team that lost to the team currently in last place in the Coastal.  Of course if you watch ESPN the OSU hype machine is spinning that OSU is improving while asking us to ignore the VT loss.  Here is the thing, if you praise OSU you cannot do so without praising the ACC.  If one of the worst ACC teams can handily beat the best Big 10 team at their house, what does that say about the ACC?  You cannot brush off that loss for OSU when all they have played since the loss are other Big 10 teams and High School level competition, and the best Big 10 team should be able to handle the worst of any conference, even with a new QB.  Everyone has called JT Barrett one of the bright spots for OSU this year… well you cannot ignore what one of the worst ACC teams did to that QB in September. Sorry all BIG 10 homers, fact is the Hokies beat your best team.

Anthony (Syracuse): By far… it was Clemson allowing 20 points to Wake Forest. A close second was Notre Dame laying an egg against Arizona State.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 11?

David (FSU): I was surprised at not seeing Mario Pender & some others play either at all or very sparingly in the second half. FSU seemed to pack it in once they had a 2 score lead, appearing to just desire escaping with a W and as much rest as possible for key players still hampered by injury. 

Len (Louisville): I was surprised by how bad Boston College special teams were. I was disappointed in Dyers performance, I was expecting him to continue his high level of play. I was pleased that they weren’t caught looking ahead to Notre Dame. The 38-19 final score was surprising as well, it’s a solid road victory.

Mike (NC State): Zero momentum carried over from the Syracuse game and the Pack was pummeled.  Not that the Tech game looked too promising, but 56-23?  Really?

John (UNC):  North Carolina was off last week, so thankfully, we didn’t lose. The Tar Heels continued to be in the news though, as former player Michael McAdoo (no relation to former basketball player James Michael McAdoo) sued the school, claiming that the University ‘failed to provide him with a quality education.’ While that may be true on some level due to his involvement in the African American Studies Department’s paper classes, this is a guy who got kicked out of school for plagiarism and academic fraud that he committed, not someone else. While I agree that it’s the University’s responsibility to provide a quality education, I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. The blame falls solely on McAdoo for going along with the paper class system instead of waiting to speak out when it was more convenient for him. Much like fellow whistle blower Rashad McCants, McAdoo’s professional career has been a complete bust, in part because of his bad attitude.

Brian (FSU):   I was surprised and disappointed that the UM game is currently sitting at -1.5 FSU.  Yes, UM is a rival…. Yes, statistically they have better numbers… Yes, they have played better offenses, and their D is top 11… Yes, FSU has not looked like last year… I do not care!  Fact is FSU should be more of favorite than they are, and certainly not an underdog (trending that way).   FSU has actually faced far better run defenses and defenses that are far more aggressive than UM.  UM has actually played some of the worst run defenses, have Duke Johnson, and they are still not a top 30 team in rushing.  In two of the games they lost this year they played good run defenses (the only 2 all year ), and could not break a 100 yards rushing.  Fact is, if you stop UM’s ground attack they are in trouble.  Would you believe me if I told you with all the injuries and all the criticism that FSU has the third best run defense UM will have faced all year, sitting at 35? Well they are, and are coming in healthier in the front line than they have been all year.  Remember, FSU had 2 total linebackers going up against Louisville… that will not be the case against UM.  That being said… UM will likely shock FSU… I always assume the worst.

Anthony (Syracuse): Syracuse keeps losing players and keeps performing at the same level.  For all the criticism lofted at Scott Shafer (e.g. here), he has kept this team together despite the losses.  Syracuse may not have talent, but it certainly has heart.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 12 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

David (FSU): I’m most looking forward to seeing how the run game works itself out on both sides of the ball. Getting Pender back should help FSU, and supposedly Cook will be able to play as well. Can the team finally have a dominate rushing game that we expected to see at the start of the year? As for MIA, they’ve already proven they can run the ball as well as anyone in the ACC not named GT. Will the FSU DL have gap composure and integrity? Exactly how healthy are Mario Edwards & Eddie Goldman, their play will be vital to FSU’s chances for success.

Len (Louisville): The Cards are on a bye week so I’m looking forward to them getting healthy again. Lorenzo Mauldin missed the game against BC due to a shoulder injury, that injury has been nagging him all season. Golson is struggling with turnovers and Holliman added 3 ints to his season total, giving him 13 to lead the nation, so I am looking forward to our trip to South Bend in two weeks. The Cards defense should be able to pressure Golson much like Arizona St did which should give the Cards the advantage.

Mike (NC State): The Wolfpack must focus and beat Wake to ensure bowl eligibility.  I have no confidence that they can go into Chapel Hill and beat the Heels in Week 14, especially if the bowl issue isn’t yet nailed down.

John (UNC):  It’s Homecoming, so I’m looking for a win against Pittsburgh. If we can’t pull it off against the Panthers, our shot at bowl eligibility decreases significantly since a win at Duke can’t be guaranteed, or even remotely expected, at this point. The Tar Heels need to take care of business against the Panthers in order to set up a crucial home game against rival NC State the final week of the season. Something to watch- If NC State loses at home against Wake Forest this Saturday (highly unlikely, but possible), the stakes of the Tar Heels’ end of the month meeting with the Wolfpack become even higher. NC State is only 5-5 with two games remaining.

Brian (FSU):  Not much, since I somehow expect to lose. I would say, with our great kicker it would not be due to a wide right field goal… but then he shanked one against Louisville.

Anthony (Syracuse): Rest and healing.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 12 FOR THE ACC?

David (FSU):I’m actually going to take the Clemson v GT game here, the GT offense vs Clemson D should be a great matchup to watch, and both teams still have plenty on the line this year.

Len (Louisville): If FSU can remain unbeaten after traveling to Miami. Also the Clemson and GT game. You have two Coastal teams, Miami and GT, playing at their best right now hosting the two top dogs from the Atlantic. Pop open a cold one, grab your favorite snack and enjoy the games.

Mike (NC State): Florida State vs Miami.  One of the two rivalry games the Noles face as the season draws to a close.  The Hurricanes are peaking at the right time, and the Seminoles have looked vulnerable over most of this season.  Will this be the game that ruins the chance of getting an ACC team into the first College Football Playoffs?

John (UNC):  The spotlight is on the Florida State-Miami game, but the other four games have bigger implications. Will North Carolina get one step closer to bowl eligibility against the Panthers? Will NC State get to six wins with a victory over the lowly Demon Deacons? What will another (expected) loss for the Hokies do to Frank Beamer’s tenure at Virginia Tech? And how will fierce rivals Clemson and Georgia Tech fare coming into a game with only four losses between them? There’s a lot at stake on Saturday, and it’s more than just pride.

Brian (FSU): I could say the only time ranked teams from the ACC are playing each other this weekend, and it is a rivalry game in GT vs. CU… but the Duke game is also important.  Right now it is a 3 way race for the Atlantic, in reality.  GT needs a lot of help. Duke controls its destiny.  UM is in a good tie-breaker position against Duke head to head.

 Anthony (Syracuse):Well, there are two top notch games between FSU/Miami and Georgia Tech/Clemson.  What else could anyone want?

WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?

David (FSU): 1) Miss State 2) FSU 3) Oregon 4) Alabama (obviously this changes after this weekend).

Len (Louisville): 1 Miss State, 2) FSU, 3) Oregon. I was expecting a bigger margin of victory from FSU so I put them at #2. The top 3 are.solid but #4 isn’t getting any easier. My top candidates for the 4 spot are Alabama, TCU & Baylor. I would give this spot to the Big 12 champ but for now I will put Baylor there.

Mike (NC State):1 Florida State, 2 Oregon, 3 Mississippi State, 4 Alabama

John (UNC):  Oregon, Mississippi State and Florida State were victors on Saturday, but Michigan State fell out of the race entirely when they lost to rival Ohio State. I’m not ready to put the Buckeyes in the rankings though, because Alabama has made a great case to be team #4 this week. Actually, make that team #3. With a loss against the Crimson Tide this weekend, Mississippi State falls out of the rankings too, and TCU moves in. Get ready for the Horned Frogs!

Brian (FSU): Right now: 1) Miss St, 2) FSU, 3) Oregon, 4) TCU… of course I think Baylor having the tie-breaker over TCU should count for something.  At year end: 1) Bama, 2) Oregon, 3) Baylor (I think TCU will choke at UT… calling it now), 4) Miss St (With 1 loss, they beat a battered Ole Miss squad but by losing to Bama they avoid the SEC Title game, but resume trumps a 1 loss OSU BIG winner…  the BIG then literally flips a… cannot finish that sentence.) 

Anthony (Syracuse): I am going with Florida State, Mississippi State, Oregon, and TCU. I have zero issues with the way the playoff committee has things right now.  Except… why is Florida State #3?  They beat Notre Dame… who was good enough to propel Arizona State UP three spots.  Meanwhile, Oregon has a MUCH worse loss and just had their Michigan State win downgraded.  I think that they were just trolling #FSUTwitter

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

Week 7 ACC Preview & Game Thread

Welcome to Week #7.  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:

Saturday

#1 Florida State (5-0) @ Syracuse (2-3).  If all was going well for Syracuse, we would think Florida State would win comfortably.  But all is NOT well for Syracuse, which is suffering from such poor offensive performance that it is making midseason coaching changes of questionable appropriateness (to some).  Meanwhile, Syracuse will be playing without its QB (Hunt), as well as its two biggest offensive threats (Broyld/Estime).  So…   this one will likely get ugly.  You probably do not want to let young children watch.

Cincinnati (2-2) @ Miami (3-3), 12:00 pm.  As much as the Confidential likes Al Golden, it is questionable whether he is losing the fan base.  Miami has had enough “average” seasons recently.  It has been mostly mediocriami of late.  They are looking for something more.  At the same time, Golden seems to be beating the beatable teams–which is a start.  If Cincinnati does not have Kiel at the QB position, the Hurricanes should get to 4-3.

Duke (4-1) @ #22 Georgia Tech (5-0), 12:30 pm.  The narrative is that the ACC Atlantic is way ahead of the ACC Coastal.  But Duke/Georgia Tech have the same number of losses as FSU/Louisville.  If Georgia Tech can somehow run the table, it would be HUGE for the ACC.  So far, the Yellow Jackets have beaten Virginia Tech and Miami, two huge foes.  Duke is the next biggest foe.  This is a game that the old Georgia Tech loses.  Meanwhile, Duke is just as likely to win the Coastal–making this a game that may decide who gets to play (likely) Florida State in Game #13.  HUGE game!

Boston College (3-2) @ North Carolina State (4-2), 3:30 pm.  It is hard to figure out BC, who has beaten USC and lost to Colorado State.  North Carolina State is easy to figure out–having beaten 4 weak teams and having lost to Florida State (narrowly) and Clemson (not so narrowly).  If NC State wins, it will say something about how the first 6 games prepared them for the more doable last six.  If NC State loses, one begins to question whether the team peaked during the Florida State game.  Either way, one of these teams will move closer to a realistic bowl game.

North Carolina (2-3) @ #6 Notre Dame (5-0) 3:30 pm.  This game is big for ACC fans.  If Notre Dame can get by UNC, this will have them travel to Florida State at 6-0–which is good for both teams.  If UNC beats Notre Dame somehow, this will prevent FSU from having an important scheduling boost.  North Carolina is reeling, especially on defense, which should bode well for the Fighting Irish.  Notre Dame having a good season helps the ACC.  It just does.

ACC GAME OF THE WEEK: Louisville (5-1) @ Clemson (3-2), 3:30 pm. Regardless of the Coastal, these may be the two best teams in the ACC not named Florida State.  If it is so, it is because both teams have stout defenses–even if not able to stop Florida State (Louisville will get its chance).  These two teams may also be battling for second to Florida State in terms of fan passion, which is why this game was elevated to Game of the Week over the Coastal showdown between Duke and Georgia Tech.  The Confidential is looking forward to seeing whether Bobby Petrino’s defensive staff can stop the Clemson offense.  An equal challenge is whether they can move the ball against a defense that is likely better than Virginia’s.  This is a game to watch.

What do you think?   Let us know your thoughts during the games on Saturday too…

 

 

 

 

Week 6 ACC Preview

Welcome to Week #6.  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:

Friday

Louisville (4-1) @ Syracuse (2-2), 7:00 p.m.  Louisville’s season is off to a good start–even if not the national champion contender season that last year was.  In contrast, Syracuse is a reeling, desperate team.  It does not get easier for the Orange, with Florida State and Clemson looming.  If the Orange can win this one, they have a realistic bowl chance.  That gives them the ability to “only” win three of Pitt, BC, NC State, and Wake Forest.

Saturday

Virginia Tech (3-2) @ North Carolina (2-2), 12:30 pm.  The Hokies have fallen off the map after a win over Ohio State.  North Carolina has been awful on defense.  With a wide-open Coastal, neither of these teams can afford a second conference loss.  Larry Fedora’s squad needs this game badly.

NC State (4-1) @ Clemson (2-2), 3:30 pm.  After last week’s near shocker against Florida State, nobody would blame you for thinking that Clemson could be upset here.  However, with a new QB, and two-thirds of its toughest games played, the Tigers are looking to go on a run.  NC State can win.  The more likely result is that Clemson will continue righting the ship.

Wake Forest (2-3) @ #1 Florida State (4-0), 3:30 pm.  The Seminoles made it interesting last week, sending a message that this is not last year’s team.  With or without Winston.  Although Florida State rallied to win, it was an ugly win by any definition.  Wake Forest has played good defense, but they have not faced anything like what Florida State will bring to the table offensively.  And Florida State’s surprisingly weak defense gets a chance to get confidence against a struggling Demon Deacons offense.

Pittsburgh (3-2) @ Virginia (3-2), 7:30 pm.  It was bad enough for Pitt to lose to Iowa.  Losing to Akron… at home… was an embarrassment.  Now the Panthers travel to a rejuvenated Virginia, who is already above last year’s win total.  Both schools are 1-0 in conference play, with Pitt beating BC and Virginia beating Louisville.  Virginia’s losses to BYU and UCLA are nothing to be ashamed of.  Gotta figure the Wahoos will take care of business.

Miami (3-2) @ Georgia Tech (4-0), 7:30 pm.  Hurricane sighting last week!  Miami got back on track with a very nice win over a good Duke team.  Georgia Tech had three unimpressive wins for surprising everyone with a win over Virginia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets can win this game and gain a leg up in the Coastal.  Miami’s Al Golden cannot afford another let down.  Miami is not about 6 win seasons… it is about 8+ win seasons.  4-2 at the halfway point is exactly what the Hurricanes need.

ACC GAME OF THE WEEK: #14 Stanford (3-1) @ #9 Notre Dame (4-0), 8:00 pm. Last week, Notre Dame showed it could overcome 5 turnovers and still win handily over Syracuse.  The win over Michigan now looks dubious.  Of course, Stanford’s loss to USC looks bad, especially given that BC beat USC and then lost to Colorado State.  Notre Dame’s defense looks as solid as ever this year, and Stanford is routinely stout on defense.  Expect this one to be fairly low scoring.  Notre Dame’s home field advantage and veteran QB should be the difference.

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

NC State vs FSU: Let the Season Begin!

Believe it or not, the game between the Wolfpack and the Seminoles on Saturday afternoon is the second ACC showdown game of this season.  The first was FSU/Clemson, but to hear most folks talk, this week’s game will be an FSU romp.

Looking for some Wolfpack love, I went to Backing The Pack over at SB Nation. And there I found this from Akula Wolf.

Like most, the esteemed Mr. Wolf feels that the Pack has played no one (sound familiar?) and will be utterly destroyed on Saturday.  I beg to differ.

Read more…

The Tar Heel Football Gauntlet- One Week In

Last week, we looked at North Carolina Football’s difficult four-game stretch and examined some of the statistics and intangibles they held that may or may not be good indicators of future success. While there were some bold predictions and unlikely scenarios presented, it all seemed semi-plausible until East Carolina completely dismantled the Tar Heels on the way to a 70-41 victory last Saturday. In a record-setting performance, the dynamic Pirates offense, led by quarterback Shane Carden, totaled 789 yards of offense. With an 0-1 record  one week into the gauntlet, and a 2-1 record overall, it’s important to take last week’s performance into account when looking at North Carolina’s next three games. For the sake of some hope of predictability, we’ll just look at the most immediate game, Saturday AT Clemson, for now.

Read more…

Week 4 ACC Preview

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:

Saturday

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?

 

 

 

 

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