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?