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Roundtable of the Confidential’s ACC 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.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 12?

  • HHuntley (NC State): State put together an adequate performance this weekend. Not great, but not bad.
  • Kevin (Louisville): Most notable for UofL was holding PITT to only 3 second half points after helplessly coughing up 35 in the first half.
  • Alwin (North Carolina): The resiliency and clutch performance in OT, even though it was brought on by not taking care of the ball. Oh, and the defense seemingly carried the offense until the end there. That was new. 
  • Lenville (Louisville): The Cards experienced a complete breakdown in the 2nd quarter at Pittsburgh. That was easily the ugliest quarter that I ever remember them playing as the Panthers were overwhelmingly dominant, putting 35 points on the scoreboard. The Cards needed a QB change & a 49 yard TD bomb to pull back within 42-24 at the half.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): In a game that could have saved his job, Scott Shafer continued to be unduly risk averse, choosing a FG rather than going for the score on 4th and goal from the 1.  Later, down 21-3, he would go for a two-point conversion.  Not to be a hypocrite, but you have to know your football situation.  Why eschew an easy 1 point to take an offensive play from the 3 yard line (net possible gain of 1 point), when you did not try to get extra points on an offensive play from the 1 yard line (net possible gain of 4).  Plus, even if you fail on the 4th and 1, the other team STILL has to start from the line of scrimmage.  Instead, he again showed that he lacked confidence in his offense to score from the 1 and in his defense to take advantage of an opponent starting at the 1.  And in the end, the A.D. and fans lacked confidence in Shafer (who was fired).

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 13?
  • HHuntley (NC State): This is the big one. A chance to spoil a nearly spotless season for the rival…doesn’t get much better than this. It would be typical NC State to win this game when it makes no sense at all.
  • Kevin (Louisville): This week I need to see a UofL team that can avoid long mental lapses and an offensive line that can create some resemblance of an average running game. Last, I want to see defensive backs who can prove they can actually tackle in space as they will get opportunities against Boom Williams and JoJo Kemp.
  • Alwin (North Carolina): I’m really looking for a complete effort in enemy territory. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be insane, and it’s going to be intense. We need to play our best game of the season Saturday for many reasons. 
  • Lenville (Louisville): Good effort & focus from start to finish. It’s the last game of the regular season & the Cards are still looking for a QB to step up & claim the position of full time starter. To prevent our in state rival from getting to 6 wins & bowl eligibility for the second straight year.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): As bad a head coach as Shafer turned out to be, he was still a very good defensive coordinator and helped bring Syracuse back to respectability.  He is also, by all accounts, a good man.  I hope that he has a nice send off at the Dome this week with a supportive crowd and a victory.

3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 12?

  • HHuntley (NC State): Boston College sure gave Notre Dame a scare. That’s the second time this season they’ve done this. If they were bowl eligible, they’d be scary.
  • Kevin (Louisville): I was most impressed this week by North Carolina. They held off a very stingy VA Tech team in their house who had nothing to lose and looking for an upset.
  • Alwin (North Carolina): Virginia Tech. I know that may be biased considering they pushed us to the brink in the beginning of the game it looked as if the emotion had been spent sending Coach Beamer off, but they never gave up. 
  • Lenville (Louisville):Pitts 2nd quarter performance against the Cardinals. The secondary was no match for Boyd & they took full advantage of it. The Cards were able to make some halftime adjustments & were able to make a comeback just to come up short.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Miami keeps on winning.  Is there any chance that their interim coach gets retained by the new staff?  Recall that Urban Meyer kept Luke Fickell at Ohio State.  It would not be unprecedented.

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Clemson, Alabama, B1G champion, and Big 12 champion. Sorry Notre Dame, but getting a week off is going to cost you.
  • Kevin (Louisville):I think the following will be in……Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
  • Alwin (North Carolina): Clemson, Alabama, Iowa, and Oklahoma (for now)
  • Lenville (Louisville):Today I would have 1 Clemson, 2 Alabama, 3 Iowa & 4 Notre Dame. My prediction for the final rankings are 1 Clemson, 2 Alabama, 3 Oklahoma & 4 Michigan State. Notre Dame could still be a factor in the final poll with a victory over Stanford.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Season ends today & season’s end: 1. Clemson, 2. Alabama, 3. Notre Dame; 4. Iowa.  By season’s end: 1. Alabama; 2. Clemson, 3. B1G Champion; 4. Notre Dame.  If so, the Big XII would be left out again.  Maybe time to go to 12 teams???

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

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ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 10/11

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 19) and the Week that will be (Week 11) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 10?

  • HHuntley (NC State): This was really an encouraging win. It was the first game without either of the top 2 running backs, and the running game survived. Defense rebounded nicely from the week before.11
  • Lenville (Louisville): The Cards turned in their first complete game & got above .500 for the first time this season. The offense racked over 500 yards through the air & on the ground while the defense held Syracuse to 17 points. The Cards opponents have now committed over 50 turnovers in the last 22 games.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): That the Syracuse defense continues to be unable to do ANYTHING well.  It is like a chess game between a grand master and a novice.  Another QB coming off the bench to have a career day. 

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 11?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Oh boy, not really for this one. NC State hasn’t had great luck playing in Tallahassee recently, and FSU is going to be coming off a tough loss against Clemson. I guess I’m looking to keep it close…
  • Lenville (Louisville): Will Bolin remain as the starter at quarterback & can the Cards put together another complete game. The Cardinals lost at Virginia last season & will look to get their first victory against their cross division rival to become bowl eligible.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): This week’s game will have little to do with Scott Shafer’s tenure.   If he wins the last two games, he will likely be back in 2016.  However, will the team respond with the type of performance that they had against LSU?   Will Shafer play to win, rather than his usual “play not to lose”?  I thought he turned the corner with the LSU game and had finally realized this.  Instead, he has regressed miserably.  If the game is still a game after halftime, that will be a baby step.

3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 10?

  • HHuntley (NC State): UNC looked better than ever in a dominant win over Duke. Does this say more about UNC or Duke? I’m temped to say it’s how good UNC can be, but both teams have had a rollercoaster of a year.
  • Lenville (Louisville): North Carolina is looking good & put together another dominant performance. FSU also gave Clemson a better game than what I was expecting.
  • Commander (Syracuse): How about Miami getting to bowl eligibility?  The ACC could benefit with UNC beating Miami this week, but Miami could win out and have a 10-3 season with a bowl victory.  The loss to Cincinnati stings more than the loss to Clemson.  That is the type of game that Miami HAS TO win 100% of the time.  In any event, if Miami can finish by winning 2 of its last 3, that would make it an 8-4 team heading into the bowls.

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Chaos reigned supreme this week atop the polls, so my vote right now would be: Clemson, Ohio State, the Big 12 winner, and Notre Dame. I would choose Notre Dame over Alabama because Notre Dame has a better loss right now than Alabama.
  • Lenville (Louisville): 1 Clemson 2 Ohio St 3 Alabama 4 Oklahoma St. The Buckeyes have a chance to jump Clemson for the top spot with Michigan St & other quality opponents coming up on their schedule, including a possibly undefeated Iowa team in the B1G championship game. Oklahoma St should be in after their dominating performance against TCU. Alabama is looking like the best team in the country since their loss but they shouldn’t be any higher than #3, they have quality wins that other undefeated teams just don’t have. I would put Notre Dame, Baylor & Stanford as the next three.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Season ends today & season’s end: 1. Clemson, 2. Ohio State, 3. LSU, and 4. Baylor.   Alabama, Notre Dame, and Stanford are all in mix obviously.

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

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 9/10

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 9) and the Week that will be (Week 10) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 9?

  • HHuntley (NC State): All in all, I think NC State played well against Clemson. Without Matt Dayes in the second half, I think losing was inevitable. I’m proud of the effort and not really upset with the result.
  • Lenville (Louisville):The Cards won the turnover battle with 4 interceptions. The secondary displayed poor tackling technique but the front 7 played strong throughout the game. Young has emerged as a threat from this group. The offense found some success through the air while the ground game sputtered along.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): Florida State sat Cook and Golson, yet turned in one of their better performances offensively against an ACC foe.  What is notable is that Syracuse continues to be outmatched by ranked opponents under Scott Shafer.  Moreover, when the wheels fall off, they rarely get put back on.  That being said, there were a few Syracuse players that, despite their youth, belonged on that field with FSU.  The problem is that FSU’ young defense will mature along with Syracuse’s young offense.  Until Syracuse can field a FBS-level defense, Syracuse will not be able to win consistently.

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 10?
  • HHuntley (NC State): NC State has never won when playing at Boston College. That’s a really bad streak that needs to be broken. Also, being bowl eligible wouldn’t hurt.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Still waiting for the offense to come alive. Can the defense contain Dungey? It will be nice to see Syracuse back in Papa Johns Cardinals Stadium.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): Louisville has struggled offensively, but will they find a way to dominate a Syracuse defense that has not stopped anyone other than Rhode Island?   Probably.  Will the Syracuse offense do more against a Louisville defense than other foes have?  Probably not.  But that is why they play the games.

3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 9?

  • HHuntley (NC State): In all the Miami/Duke chaos, I think Virginia’s win over GT was a big story. UVA really needed that win, but Georgia Tech couldn’t capitalize on the momentum.
  • Lenville (Louisville): There was plenty of controversy surrounding the finish of the Duke v Miami game but I was more surprised by Virginia getting the win over Georgia Tech. Beamer announcing his retirement at the end of the season also caught me by surprise. He is a living legend & among the all time greats, while it will be sad to see him go I believe it is time. Hopefully VT can find someone who will continue his legacy of excellence.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Jimbo Fisher.  Is there a coach at any elite-level program that carries himself with more class?  He sat Winston before the Clemson game last year.  Urban Meyer would have buried his head in the sand for a week.  Against Syracuse, Fisher played without Golson or Cook, but just went with it in stride.  The offense sputtered for two series, but then went to Plan B–attacking a weak Syracuse secondary.  Many coaching staffs would spend an entire half trying to establish the run or whatever their Plan A was.  Fisher and his staff adjusted quickly and dominated.  Then, after passing for 300 yards in the first half, Fisher took the air out of the ball to coach to a victory.  Despite losing to Georgia Tech, he did not run up the score.  When he went to his 3rd string QB for some first-game action, he allowed a few screen passes to let the kid get some passing experience… without running up the score.  Just a good, smart coach.

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Ohio State, Baylor, Clemson, and LSU. I actually feel somewhat confident saying this could be my first accurate prediction.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Clemson, LSU, Michigan St & Baylor. Ohio St & TCU are right at the doorstep. Not much changed this week but next weekend will showcase some CFP showdowns like Clemson v FSU & LSU v Alabama. The committee will finally let their voices be heard starting this Tuesday.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Season ends today & season’s end: 1. LSU, 2. Clemson, 3. Ohio State, 4. TCU.  LSU and Clemson get tough matchups–lose and drop out–perhaps permanently.  Unfortunately for the ACC, a 12-1 FSU might be on the outside as well–a loss to Georgia Tech will do that.

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

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 8/9

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 8) and the Week that will be (Week 9) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 8?

  • HHuntley (NC State): Well we finally broke the streak of losing at Wake Forest. Moreover, it was refreshing to win a game like that. The past two weeks haven’t been great, but this one was nice.
  • Lenville (Louisville):Louisville fumbled twice setting up a BC TD & threw 2 interceptions, one in the end zone. BC also blocked a punt & returned it for a TD. The Cards lost the turnover battle 4-1, not including the blocked kick, & had only one offensive TD & yet still won 17-14. How? The Cards defense held BC to -14 yards rushing & just 79 total yards for the game. DT Rankins also returned the lone BC turnover, a fumble by the BC QB, 46 yards for a TD while hurdling a fallen OL along the way. BC picked up only 4 first downs for the game. It was a defensive slugfest in the rain at Papa Johns Cardinals Stadium.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): The Syracuse defense once again failing to stop an opponent from driving nearly the full length of the field.  The defense is bend and break right now, especially in crunch time.  It may be time to mix up the schemes somehow.   Syracuse demoted an Offensive Coordinator for less last year.

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 9?
  • HHuntley (NC State): It’s a nationally televised game against a top 10 ACC team. That has all the makings of a improbable NC State upset. Really, there’s no bad outcome of this game. Either theyll lost really bad like they’re supposed to, or they’ll pull an amazing upset and become bowl eligible.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Improvement & some consistency from the Cards offense as they travel to Wake Forest this Friday night. Can the Cards defense smother WF like they did BC & keep up that intensity level?
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): FSU should win easily.  But don’t sleep on Syracuse and Shafer making a game out of it… or FSU may, like LSU, allow Syracuse to make a game out of it.  In the end, no matter the result, it will be interesting to see if Syracuse’s offense can move the ball against the superior athletes on FSU’s defense (who are similarly inexperienced).  If Syracuse can put up 20 or so points, then perhaps Syracuse will be able to move the ball against FSU as both units grow in experience over the next few years.

3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 7?

  • HHuntley (NC State): I think the Virginia schools showed us how competitive the Coastal really is. Two of the worst teams staying close with two of the best makes for a really fun year in the ACC.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Clemson destroying Miami on their field, giving the Canes their worst loss in their history while sealing Golden fate.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Florida State losing to Georgia Tech.  The Seminoles have flirted with upset defeats all too often during the past two years and it finally caught up.  Georgia Tech is reeling this year.  FSU was undefeated.  This is not the end of the world for FSU, but it does show a vulnerability that may turn the season into a single-digit win total.

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Down goes Utah, and that makes the picture a little clearer. Give me the AP top 4 as it stands today: Ohio State, Baylor, Clemson, and LSU.
  • Lenville (Louisville): 1 Clemson 2 LSU 3 Michigan St 4 Baylor 5 Ohio St 6 TCU. In my opinion these are the best & most deserving teams today. With Utah loss the PAC should be on the outside looking in. There are some 1 loss powers waiting on the sideline (Alabama, Notre Dame & Stanford to name a few) should chaos rain supreme down the stretch. Should Clemson stumble I would put Notre Dame in at this point. My pick for the ACC CCG is Clemson vs North Carolina. The Heels are putting things together since their season opening loss to the Gamecocks.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Season ends today: 1. Ohio State; 2. Baylor; 3. Clemson; 4. LSU.  By season’s end, do not be surprised to see TCU beat Baylor at home and leapfrog them.  Meanwhile, one of Ohio State and Michigan State WILL lose when they play and Michigan/OSU should be interesting.  This may cost the Big 10 a spot ultimately.  If so, perhaps 2 Big XII or 2 SEC schools slide into the playoffs to fill the void.  The Pac-12 is in the worst position right now of the P5 conferences.

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

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 7/8

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 7) and the Week that will be (Week 8) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 7?

  • HHuntley (NC State): Bye Week…NC State didn’t lose, but teams above them did. It was a good week.
  • Lenville (Louisville):The passing game improved even against a good FSU defense. Jackson found Quick for 3 TD’s passes. Unfortunately the run game disappeared. This loss was on the D as they continuesly shot themselves in the foot with penalties & poor tackling which led to multiple big plays. 
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): The continuing narrative of Scott Shafer’s lack of courage, especially for a so-called “hard-nosed” coach.  Given the chance to go for 2 in the second overtime to win the game, he chose to kick the XP and force a third overtime even though: (1) his defense had not stopped Virginia in four consecutive drives, including two length of the field drives in regulation and a 40-yard drive in OT; (2) his offense had performed well in overtime; (3) his team would go first in OT3; (4) the opposing defense had a key LB–an already thin position–ejected for targeting, and gave up a TD in one play; (5) in light of #4 above, an option would have had more chance of success with an inexperienced LB substitution; and (6) in OT3, Syracuse would have HAD TO go for 2 on a TD anyway.  A complete lack of courage that, to me, is inexcusable.  3 years of playing not to lose has, well, led to losses.  Even if you fail, show your team that you have confidence in them and that you will take the responsibility for a loss (and off their shoulders).  

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 8?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Quite simply…not to loose. NC State hasn’t won @ Wake Forest since 2001 and it would be great to break that streak.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Continued improvement. BC has a tough defense & their offense showed signs of life this past weekend. I want to see the Cards put a full game together, with rushing & passing from the offense & a full game from the defense. With their marquee games behind them they can grow their youth, try to make a bowl & build on next season.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): With FSU, Clemson, and Louisville looming, this is a must-win game for bowl-eligibility.  While not impossible to beat Louisville, NC State, and Boston College (who are 1-8 in conference play so far)… it is also very unlikely.  Frankly, it is just as likely that the team would lose to all three.  A win over a ranked Pitt would be the signature win for Scott Shafer at Syracuse (second only to perhaps Minnesota) and start to win back some of the fan base.  

3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 7?

  • HHuntley (NC State): Not sure what’s going on with Pitt, but they looked great this week in their win over Miami. Imagine the #CoastalChaos that would arise if they made it to Charlotte.
  • Lenville (Louisville): North Carolina beating Wake Forest 50-14. They are a team showing improvement every week & putting 50 up against a good WF D is a tough task. The Coastal maybe the toughest division in the ACC from top to bottom, take away FSU & Clemson and it is without a doubt.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Pitt, Duke, and UNC are two basketball schools and a school that has had more hoops success than football success recently.  But there they sit, undefeated in the Coastal.  Not Virginia Tech.  Not Georgia Tech.  Not Miami.  But a trio of essentially basketball schools.  Props to those athletic departments (well, except for UNC’s NCAA issues, of course).

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Ohio State, Baylor, Utah, and Clemson. All the conference champions sans the SEC. LSU has a tough schedule ahead and might need to run the table to make the playoffs.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Today it would be 1 Utah, 2 LSU, 3 Clemson & 4 Michigan St. with Baylor, Ohio St, TCU & FSU in order. Alabama & Notre Dame are strong contenders among those with a loss. Ole Miss, who beat Bama, loss to Memphis may hold Bama back in the eyes of the CFP committee.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Right now?  Chalk–Ohio State, Baylor, LSU, and Utah.  By season’s end?  Baylor, Michigan State, LSU, and Clemson.  I like Baylor over  TCU and the field.  I also think that Utah is not quite ready to join the playoff mix.  MSU over Ohio State.  LSU over the SEC field.  And then Clemson getting the nod by beating a wounded South Carolina, a not-quite 2013 FSU, and the Coastal offering in the ACC Championship Game.

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

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 5/6

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 5) and the Week that will be (Week 6) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 5?

  • HHuntley (NC State): I think it goes back to a stat I referenced in my recap. NC State running backs only received 20 carries with Matt Dayes getting 19. The running game has been a strong point for the entire season and it was weird to see the coaching staff go away from it.
  • Lenville (Louisville):The Cards defense stopped the Packs run game & the offense ran for 200+ yards. It was a good win for the Cards as they were able to keep in check an explosive NC State offense. Both quarterbacks struggled with their accuracy throwing the ball due to the wet weather but the Cards were able to grind out a 20-13 victory. The Pack did break the Cards defensive streak of 17 straight games with an INT.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): No new injuries during the bye week, as well as the return of QB Eric Dungey and Erv Phillips are good signs for the Syracuse offense.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): Backup QB Mitch Trubisky had a record setting performance, the Mack Hollins we know and love reappeared, passing defense was stout (even though Delaware only threw 10 times they were held to 24 years passing), and third down conversions.

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 6?
  • HHuntley (NC State): NC State gets up for big games, no question. I hope to see them get up and at least be competitive against VT on Friday night. Getting blown out on national TV is never fun.
  • Lenville (Louisville): The Cards need to work on their OL & QB play during this bye week before playing @ FSU.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Can the offense score 27+ points?  They have been averaging 28 ppg against FBS foes.  Can the defensive secondary perform better in isolation than against the prior three FBS foes?  Stopping the run is great; stopping the run and getting gouged by the pass is only going to work for so long.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): We’re on a bye so getting rest and healing up for the ACC Coastal push is what I want to see.

3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 6?

  • HHuntley (NC State): Clemson really established themselves as the class of the ACC this week. I was a doubter, but I really think they’re better than FSU this year. Even though that last quarter said otherwise, Clemson really owned the that game in less than perfect conditions. Hats off to them. Also, UNC looked good against GT this weekend. Who thought they’d be in the driver’s seat for the Coastal?
  • Lenville (Louisville): Pittsburgh winning at Virginia Tech. It was a tale of 2 teams, Pitt finding stability with yet another new coach & VT seeing the Beamer era falling apart around them.
  • Commander (Syracuse): The fact that Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are at the bottom of the Coastal.  I get that the Coastal is apparently never going to be Miami’s to win.  But it has been the “Techs” that have carried the division most years.  Even more surprising–it is hoops powerhouses Duke and UNC that are streaking ahead of the pack so far.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): That’s a tie for both us and Clemson for different reasons. Clemson held on and got a much needed victory in prime time that puts it squarely in the conversation for the College Football Playoff. North Carolina won in Atlanta for the first time since 1997 after trailing 21-0 (the largest comeback in school history).

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): I’ll stick with my prediction that 4 conference champions will get in the playoffs. I think at this point, the SEC will get left out. I’ve got Ohio State, TCU, Utah, and Clemson. Obviously, Michigan State and Baylor could get in if they beat their respective conference opponents. The “SEC meat grinder” has really taken its toll on those teams in the polls and they may miss the playoffs because of it.
  • Lenville (Louisville): The B1G has been far from impressive & the SEC certainly hasn’t dominated. The PAC is down to only Utah & Cal as their lone undefeated teams, I’m seeing a lot of parity this season. The CFP committee is going to have a tough job this year, luckily we are only in week 6. Just picking from the undefeated, I would put Clemson, Utah, Ohio St & LSU in with Oklahoma, TCU, Baylor, Florida & Michigan St banging on the door. In the end I expect the PAC to be left out with the Big 12 champ taking their place.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Right now?  Ohio State, TCU, LSU, and Clemson.  By season’s end?  Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, and Baylor.  This means that the ACC and Pac-12 get shut out, with two SEC teams getting in.  The ACC is actually deeper this year than ever before.  This makes it that much less likely that Florida State and Clemson can run the table.  Plus, they play each other and one more SEC opponent.  Meanwhile, not buying into Utah.  Michigan State might displace an SEC school or Ohio State, but they have an additional tough game with Michigan trending up under Harbaugh.  Baylor-TCU is a tossup.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC):Baylor, Utah (whatttt?), Clemson, and Florida.  I could be the lone wolf here, but OSU, MSU, and Michigan all being in the same division could be setting them up for a shocker come December. Michigan has to play both OSU and MSU at home and right now I look to Michigan to be the Big 10 spoiler.  Both TCU and Baylor have to play each other AND Oklahoma before the end of the season with no conference title game. Right now I give the edge to Baylor based on absolutely nothing other than winning point margins. Texas is a mess so I don’t count that point margin for TCU yet.  Utah has a manageable schedule and Clemson just needs to get past NC State, FSU, and Miami. Easy right? Not in the least but if they do then look for them to in that Top 4.

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

The Confidential’s Correspondents’ Football Poll: October 6, 2015

Here is this week’s Confidential Correspondents Football Poll!  Still hard to differentiate a lot of these teams… even at the bottom.

13-15. Wake Forest (2-3); Virginia (1-3), and Virginia Tech (2-3)(0 points).  Welp, these three teams did not receive ANY votes.  Nothing to say, other than the obvious–only wins will change that.

12  Boston College (2-2)(5 points).  So far, BC has lost to undefeated Florida State and once-defeated Duke.  And somehow folks have Louisville, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina State ranked above them.

11. Georgia Tech (2-3) (7 points).  With losses to Notre Dame, Duke, and North Carolina, the Yellow Jackets difficult season is going even worse than expected.  No rest for the weary as they must travel to Clemson next.  With Florida State and Georgia on the schedule, bowl eligibility is not a certainty.

10. Miami (3-1, 9 points).  From 4 to 10, as the correspondents recognize that, once again, Miami is just not ready to return to prominence.  A loss at Cincinnati is not the end of the world.  But, needless to say, you are not a playoff team if you cannot beat ANY of the AAC teams on the road.  The idea of Miami as a football powerhouse is simply as obsolete as referring to DePaul as a basketball powerhouse.  An entire generation simply does not remember “the U” that way.

9. North Carolina State (4-1, 10 points).  We mocked NC State’s schedule.  Deep down, however, we wondered if they could be a very good football team.  The loss to 1-3 Louisville is more reasonable in real life than the records suggest.  With trips to Virginia Tech and Wake Forest (see above), this team could reach bowl eligibility by mid-October.

8. Pittsburgh (3-1, 13 points).  After Iowa’s upset of Wisconsin, the Pitt loss to the Hawkeyes is not looking nearly as bad.  And the Panthers welcome Virginia to town this week, a realistic chance at getting to 4-1.

7.  Louisville (2-3, 17 points).  Yes, two correspondents from Louisville lead to such things as the Cardinals being the only team below .500 in the top 10–and they are ranked #7 overall.  In fairness, the Louisville schedule was very frontloaded–with a back six of BC, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Virginia, Pitt, and Kentucky.  Much more daunting in hoops than the gridiron.  With Florida State up next in two weeks, Louisville may be 2-4 heading into that back half.

6.  Syracuse (3-1, 22 points).  Winston Wolf had a particularly relevant quote in Pulp Fiction about getting excited prematurely.  In other words, at 3-1, Syracuse has done exactly what was expected–even if Syracuse fans feared it might not happen.  Now it comes down to whether Syracuse can exceed expectations the rest of the way.  A trip to South Florida is the last OOC game and the first road game.  The Orange cannot afford to lose this game.

5. UNC (4-1, 23 points).  All of the sudden, North Carolina is making some serious noise in the Coastal.  There is a potential Duke-UNC showdown for the division title looming.  You know, just like ACC leadership expected when it added Miami, Virginia Tech, and Pittsburgh to that division.  Kudos to the Tar Heels for taking care of business so far.

4. Duke (4-1, 34 points).  The loss to Northwestern suddenly does not look so bad.  It was not an indication that Duke was retreating into irrelevance again.  Even better, Duke has a trip to Army coming up.  This will be a tough matchup…tougher than one might expect.  Duke’s defense will have to continue to carry the day.  So far, this has not been a problem.

3.  Notre Dame (4-1, 41 points).  The Fighting Irish played valiantly in Death Valley, but this team is not ready for the playoff.  Moreover, injuries are really starting to take a toll.  Still, this is a team that could very well get back to and stay in the top 10 all season long.  USC and Stanford are the only remaining ranked foes.

2. Florida State (4-0, 44 points).  Florida State has not really looked great in a few seasons now, right?  Seriously, has this team overwhelmed any competent opponent since the national title?  At the same time, the Seminoles’ record speaks for itself over that same span.  It will be interesting to see what FSU does with hapless Miami this week.  Will the Hurricanes out-effort FSU and stay in the game?  Or will FSU be up for the game and put its rival out if its misery early?

1. Clemson (4-0, 50 points, 5 first place vote).  Clemson beat Notre Dame.  In doing so, it made this poll very easy—as the Tigers were a unanimous #!.  No other position had unanimity.  But there are still 9 games standing between Clemson and the playoffs.  Some will be obviously difficult (FSU, South Carolina).  But it is games against desperate opponents–as in Georgia Tech this week–that has burst the Clemson bubble in years’ past.  Has Dabo Swinney eliminated this from the program?  We will see soon enough.

What do you think?  How do you rank these teams?

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 4/5

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 4) and the Week that will be (Week 5) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 4?

  • HHuntley (NC State): NC State absolutely destroyed South Alabama. They totaled 586 yards of total offense. Four players had at least two touchdowns and two had more than 100 yards rushing. The most notable thing is just how well the team is playing right now. Personally, I’m excited to see us take on an ACC team this week.
  • Lenville (Louisville):Getting the first W. At this point Louisville was supposed to be 2-2 but are a few plays away from 4-0. Freshman Lamar Jackson got a lot of playing time at QB & appears that he will be the starter from here on. Junior WR James Quick made his return since suffering an injury in the first game.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): The fact that SEC refs called more penalties against LSU than Syracuse?  Lest there be any doubt, if this game was close in a crucial moment, the penalty gap would have narrowed.  Beyond that, the fact that Syracuse was able to move the ball at all against a fast LSU defense bodes somewhat well.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): Backup QB Mitch Trubisky had a record setting performance, the Mack Hollins we know and love reappeared, passing defense was stout (even though Delaware only threw 10 times they were held to 24 years passing), and third down conversions.

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 5?
  • HHuntley (NC State): To play a real team! I feel like an NFL fan who just suffered four weeks of preseason exhibitions (hello Frank Beamer). This week should tell us just how good NC State can be this season. Louisville is not a bad team, even though their record may suggest otherwise.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Continued improvement. Samford was the lone cupcake on the schedule & it’s all conference play from here until Kentucky to finish the season. Jackson had a bad start against Houston, how well he do at NC State this weekend?
  • Commander (Syracuse): Healing of injuries and no new ones.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): An improved rush defense, please. Since the Ga Tech game hasn’t happened yet I’m going to chalk that woe on preparation for them. But if something isn’t tweaked between now and Saturday it’s going to be a long day in Atlanta. 



3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 3?

  • HHuntley (NC State): Duke is the obvious answer here, so I’ll go with Syracuse. They played a really solid game against LSU and “handled” Leonard Fournette. They’re playing with lots of guys injured, and they still look competitive. ACC teams should look out for Syracuse this year, especially their superstar punter [Riley Dixon] (http://espn.go.com/blog/acc/post/_/id/86192/dixonforheisman-campaign-reaches-new-heights).
  • Lenville (Louisville): The most impressive win was Duke beating GT but the most impressive team was Syracuse. They played LSU tough with a 5th string walk-on QB. The biggest difference in the game was the LSU starting RB, you may have heard of him. If Syracuse can keep Dungey healthy they can win 8-9 games this year.
  • Commander (Syracuse): The Duke win was impressive, but how about North Carolina switching QBs?  Who saw THAT coming?
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): Duke. I was not expecting them to beat Ga Tech.  (Ed. Note–why would any UNC fan expect Duke to have a good week?)

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): Ohio State, Ole Miss, TCU, Notre Dame/Clemson. TCU has jumped Baylor in the polls, so I’ll do the same with my playoff picture. OSU playsMichigan State, and I think they’ll beat them and knock MSU out. I think the winner of this weekend’s ND/Clemson game will have the inside track to the playoff.
  • Lenville (Louisville): I still like Ohio St, Notre Dame, Georgia & Oklahoma. I think TCU & Baylor will eventually lose & fade down the stretch. Michigan St, FSU, Clemson & UCLA are also contenders. Clemson hosts ND this weekend, this could prove to be an elimination game.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Right now?  Still going with 1. Michigan State; 2. Ole Miss; 3. Ohio State, and 4. Notre Dame.  Notre Dame/Clemson could change #4.  And one has to think that MSU and OSU will cancel each other out at some point.  And don’t overlook LSU.  If Fournette stays healthy… and they can pass the ball against secondaries that are better than Syracuse’s (i.e. all SEC teams)… then they might be the SEC representative in the playoffs.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): I am not comfortable with these choices but unlike last week I’ll name four (or five, you’ll see why in a second): Ohio State, Michigan State, TCU, and Clemson/Notre Dame. I still have questions about OSU, and I believe the winner of the Clemson/Notre Dame gets the nod for now. What I expect to happen is Ohio State bowing out to Michigan State later in the season which will allow some other teams to cause utter chaos at the top of the CFP rankings until the B10 Championship Game. I’m probably alone with that expectation.

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

The Confidential’s Correspondents’ Football Poll: September 29, 2015

Here is this week’s Confidential Correspondents Football Poll!  Still hard to differentiate a lot of these teams… even at the bottom.

13-15. Wake Forest (2-2); Virginia (1-3), and Pitt (2-1)(0 points).  It may not be fair for these teams to be at the bottom, but it is what it is.  Wake Forest has two wins, but two losses against Syracuse (3-1) and Indiana (4-0).  Pitt beat Akron (who may go bowling this year) and an FCS foe, with a loss to Iowa.  Virginia, meanwhile, has an FCS win and losses to three very good programs in UCLA, Boise State, and Notre Dame.  What would Duke’s record be with that schedule?  Or North Carolina State.  But it is what it is.

11-12.  Louisville (1-3) and Virginia Tech (2-2) (3 points).  These schools got some love from the correspondents, but perhaps this is more based on history than present performance.  Virginia Tech lost to Ohio State, but also lost to East Carolina–and the win over hapless Purdue is not too impressive.  Meanwhile, Louisville has played 3 FBS teams and lost to them all.  The history says do not count these teams out, but for now they are outside the top 10.

9.  Boston College (3-1) and North Carolina (3-1) (7 points).  These two teams tied in the poll.  They each looked good against seemingly top foes (Florida State and South Carolina, respectfully).  They each have looked good against lesser foes.  They both have wins over good Illinois teams–Northern Illinois and Illinois, respectfully.  In fact, Northern Illinois may even be the better team.  In any event, these two teams are half-way to a bowl game with 2/3 the season remaining.

8.  Syracuse (3-1, 10 points).  Syracuse lost–but moved UP in this poll.  The win over Wake Forest and the overtime win over Central Michigan did not impress anyone, but going toe-to-toe with LSU with a 5th string, walk-on QB apparently did.  Syracuse now has a week to rest to prepare for South Florida.  However, how will Syracuse play on the road in Tampa and then the next week at Virginia.  If they can sweep–that would be great.  Get swept?  Well, it will be bottom 3 for Syracuse.  Nobody expects the Orange to beat Clemson or FSU, but they need to win the winnable games.

7.  Georgia Tech (2-2, 14 points).  The Yellow Jackets are reeling, with consecutive losses.  The triple option has not been effective lately, and without a running game there is no offense.  With North Carolina coming to town, they will need to put up points.

6.  North Carolina State (4-0, 17 points).  The cupcakes are eaten, now it is on to reality for NC State.  First up is a Louisville team that cannot afford any more losses in the division.  In fact, with Florida State looming, there are only so many losses that Louisville can suffer at all if they want to go bowling.  Which will prevail–desperation for a win (Louisville) or desperation for respect after a win (NC State)?

5. Duke (3-1, 23 points).  The loss to Northwestern was a disappointment, he Yellow Jackets had a great opportunity against Notre Dame, but fell short.  However, they can still take home the Coastal title.  It all begins this week with a trip to Duke.  With Miami, UNC, and Virginia Tech looking good also, they will have to earn that particular title.  Next up?  @ Duke.

4. Miami (3-0, 28 points).  Miami has the nice win over Nebraska, but that is a bit questionable given Nebraska’s performance this year.  Up next is a midweek game against Cincinnati.  The Bearcats are a tough team to beat at home on a Thursday.  If Al Golden wants Miami to take the next step, they need to start winning these games.

3.  Florida State (3-0, 34 points).  Florida State looked pedestrian in beating Boston College.  Wake Forest is likely a step down from BC, but that has not stopped the Demon Deacons in the past.  Of course, in the two most recent contests, the Seminoles have destroyed them.  Can this Florida State team dominate for 60 minutes?

2. Notre Dame (4-0, 36 points, 2 first place votes).  Notre Dame won, but UMass was in the game for a bit longer than expected.  Now the Fighting Irish get to travel to Clemson and see what Death Valley is all about.  Notre Dame is getting a taste of what life might be like in the ACC permanently–with games at Florida State last year and Clemson this year.  Hopefully, we will see Notre Dame join full-time someday.

1. Clemson (3-0, 38 points, 2 first place vote).  Despite being idle, the Tigers have slightly more love from the Confidential correspondents.  With Notre Dame coming to town, this is a huge game for the Tigers and the ACC.  The winner will be talked about as a playoff team.

What do you think?  How do you rank these teams?

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 3/4

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 3) and the Week that will be (Week 4) for the ACC and their respective schools.  Tell us what you think below.

1. What was most notable about your school’s performance in Week 3?

  • HHuntley (NC State): NC State is notorious for playing down to the level of their competition. This week we saw them play much better than a lesser Old Dominion team. That’s really encouraging to see moving forward.
  • Lenville (Louisville): This team has tenacity. The Cardinals are young & started the season with 2 ranked teams which proved to be to tough for their lack of experience. With 10 players drafted last season & another 16 graduated preseason expectations has proven to be to high. The Cards are off to an 0-3 start for the first time since 1984 but you have to give them credit for not filling the early schedule with cupcakes like most of the ACC has.
  • Commander/ACaffrey (Syracuse): The easy answer would be how good Eric Dungey was and how good the offense looked in the first half.  The most notable thing about the performance was the sheer level of coaching collapse in the second half.  Tim Lester called a great first half–24 points, including a TD drive with 4th and 5th string quarterbacks Austin Wilson and Zack Mahoney under center.  Then, in the second half, Lester did not get a first down with that same duo.  The play calling was odd, to say the least, but was saved by a nice 25-yard drive in overtime.  Meanwhile, Chuck Bullough’s defense was a sieve in the second half–allowing Central Michigan to move up and down the field.  Bullough was saved by his defense forcing two turnovers and making a great stop in overtime.  Meanwhile, Scott Shafer continues to show abysmal courage and clock management.  No need to continue debating, but you simply cannot call a timeout while the clock is running (15 seconds), your opponent has no timeouts, and they are 20+ yards from the end zone.  And, if you do, you better not let the one guy that has burned you all day score a relatively easy touchdown.  Egad.  The coaching staff as a whole was saved by its players.  For that, Syracuse deserves its 3-0 record.
  • Kevin (Louisville): Most notable was U of L holding Clemson to only 20 points despite having no running game and keeping their defense on the field all night
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): With a comparison to last year I think the most notable line was the defensive line. On the first drive of the game the Fighting Illini had them reeling, quickly moving down the field, but the defense stood up and denied them getting into the end zone.

2. What are you looking to see out of your school in Week 4?
  • HHuntley (NC State): I’m really just looking for more of the same. It’s a very similar situation as the Wolfpack travel to South Alabama. There’s a tendency for this to be a trap game with the weeknight game @ VT coming up.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Their first W. The Cards finally get a break with Samford. They need to use this game to gain confidence, find some team chemistry & jump start their offense. Finding a starting QB would be nice as well.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Look, as a homer, I truly think that Syracuse can beat L.S.U.  I would not bet money earmarked for necessities (or any money, for that matter) on it happening.  But I am excited to see this coaching staff rebound with a good game plan.  Our run defense will either be surprisingly good or surprisingly bad.  If the former, it might be a game.  Granted, with a 5th string, walk-on QB, it will be a long shot.  But that is why they play the games.  Cannot wait!
  • Kevin (Louisville): Looking to see the new changes on the OL as it has been rumored that 2/3 new guys will get a chance to play.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): What I really want to see is the unit as a whole do what they did against Illinois, control the lime of scrimmage, make smart plays, and be the better team they’re supposed to be on paper for the entire game. Even last year we struggled with putting away an FCS opponent early. That will also allow our depth chart to get some reps as we prepare for Georgia Tech.

3. Who impressed you the most in the ACC in Week 3?

  • HHuntley (NC State): Miami’s win over Nebraska sort of symbolizes their return. They’ve been struggling in games like that for years, so it’s nice to see them play that well. I hope they remain a contender this year.
  • Lenville (Louisville): Notre Dame was impressive over GT, I was picking GT as the ACC champ. ND controlled the game despite all of their injuries. Miami was impressive as well for the first 3 quarters. Miami is off to a 3-0 start & Kaaya looks to be one of the best QB’s in the ACC.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Boston College.  Once again, a Steve Addazio team went toe-to-toe with a blue blood and did not flinch.  Even with a QB injury, BC was still in it until the end–a defensive touchdown really making the difference.  Just look at what Addazio has done in big games

2013.  FSU went 14-0, outscoring opponents 723-170.  Of that 170, Boston College scored 34–the most of all teams–in a 48-34 loss.  Auburn (31) was the only other team to exceed 17 points against the Seminoles.  Clemson was 11-2 that year, beating Boston College 24-14.  It was the fewest points that Clemson scored in a win all year and the second narrowest margin of victory (Georgia, 3).

2014.  Boston College lost by 3 and 4 to Florida State and Clemson (while also beating a 9-4 Southern Cal, splitting the 2-year series).

2015.  Florida State narrowly wins, 14-0.

In five games against FSU and Clemson over the past three years, the average margin of loss was a mere 45 points–9 points per game–(7 PPG against Clemson and 10.3 PPG against FSU).  By comparison, FSU has beaten Clemson by an average of 21.5 points in 2 games over that span.  FSU has beaten NC State (23.5 points per game) and Syracuse (37 points per game) with far greater ease.  Clemson has beaten NC State (27.5 ppg) and Syracuse (22.5 ppg) much more handily than it has beaten B.C.  And let’s just ignore Wake Forest.  In any event, Steve Addazio is doing good things up at B.C. and is worthy of being considered for a job at an elite school.

  • Kevin (Louisville): Most impressed by Clemson – hard to beat a hungry UofL team on the road on a Thursday night.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): Notre Dame (since we’re including them here). I really thought with the loss of their starting QB that Georgia Tech would be able to upend them but that was not the case. Actually, with that triple option offense I thought they could have done it with or without ND’s starter.

4. If the playoffs started today, who would you vote in?  Who do you think will be there at season’s end?
  • HHuntley (NC State): 1. Ohio State 2. Ole Miss 3. Baylor 4. Clemson.Last year showed us how much the committee values conference champions. So I’m betting on the winners of the B1G, SEC, Big 12, and ACC. I think the Pac-12 is too competitive to put a team in the playoff this year. It looks like their champion might end up with 2 or 3 losses.
  • Lenville (Louisville): There are a lot of worthy candidates after 3 weeks but no one has looked dominant so far. As of today I would put Ohio St, ND, Ole Miss & TCU in but if I had to project to the end of the season I would put Ohio St, ND, Georgia & Oklahoma in. Should Clemson beat ND then I would swop them out. Watson should get stronger and the Tigers will finally win the ACC championship.
  • Commander (Syracuse): Right now?  1. Michigan State; 2. Ole Miss; 3. Ohio State, and 4. Notre Dame.  MSU and Ole Miss have two very good wins.  Ohio State was greatly helped by injury against Va Tech, but any undefeated reigning champion has to be in the top 4.  Has to.  And No. 4 is the toughest.  Does anyone else have an impressive win?  For now, we can put Notre Dame in there… they beat Texas and Georgia Tech.  No idea where this goes at season’s end.  Could it be the year that the S.E.C. gets left out?  If Clemson and one of TCU/Baylor run the table, perhaps.  The Pac-12 is vulnerable here too.
  • Kevin (Louisville): Ohio State, Michigan State, Ole Miss & Notre Dame.
  • UNC Tarheel Fan (UNC): Michigan State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and (gasp) Clemson. May be more of a wish list and really it is difficult to choose having so many undefeated teams with soft schedules and big upsets. I think you’re going to have quite a battle for two of those with FSU, Clemson, Oklahoma, LSU, Mississippi State, Georgia, TCU, and Baylor controlling their own fates. I think the Spartans take the Buckeyes out if someone doesn’t do it before then.

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

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