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The Confidential

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Archive for the tag “part I”

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 10) and the Week that will be (Week 11) 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 10?

Len (Louisville): The way Miami beat North Carolina. The Canes are finishing strong as Duke Johnson is playing up to his potential & as their freshman QB settles into the starting role. They.are an improved team over the one that played the Cards in the first game of the season.

Mike (NC State): The relative ease with which Miami handled UNC.  I thought Fedora’s team had turned a corner, but now they need to win two of their last three to get into a bowl. If the Canes get to Charlotte to face FSU, that could actually be interesting…they beat Duke but lost to Tech…hmm…

John (UNC):  Louisville really blew it. They had a huge lead over the #2 team in the nation and couldn’t finish. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised the Cardinals led 21-7 at one point. I was more surprised that they didn’t win. The Seminoles, while talented, haven’t seemed as unstoppable as they were last year. They looked extremely vulnerable against a motivated Louisville team playing in front of a home crowd. That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if the Noles lose one of their next four games. The remaining schools (Virginia, Miami, Boston College, Florida) have either beaten, or narrowly lost, to some of the hottest programs this year (just ask Georgia).

Brian (FSU):   I was surprised how good UM looked against UNC.  I was already concerned about the UVA game and UM, but now UM is looking like a very dangerous game for the Noles.

Anthony (Syracuse): I really thought that Florida State would play a 60-minute game against Louisville.  Instead, it was a 35 minute game, with a lot of good fortune along the way.  Florida State fans may not want to hear it, but the thing about luck is that it eventually runs out.  Florida State needs to play much better if it is going to repeat as national champions.  Jameis Winston impressed the heck out of me though.  If he can mature off-the-field, he could be an all-time great on-the-field.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 10?

Len (Louisville): That Parker didn’t score on the first play of the game. When he is up to full speed that would normally be a TD. I was surprised by all the holes in the Cards defense in the second half leaving the Noles wide open for big plays. The game drew a 3.5 TV rating so that bolds will for the ACC & gave the Cards national exposure. It was a big recruiting weekend & the Cards got 4 quality commitments.

Mike (NC State): I was really surprised that Pharoah McKever would be the guy who made the play that snapped the Pack’s ACC drought.  Here’s hoping that the Wolfpack uses this win as a springboard.  It feels really good to stop thinking about the losing streak and realize State is just one win from bowl eligibility. 

John (UNC): I really thought North Carolina would put up a better fight against Miami. I really did. With a two game winning streak and a chance to take the lead in the Coastal Division race, there was so much at stake this past Saturday. Instead of rising to the occasion, the Tar Heels put up an anemic 258 yards and looked lost on both sides of the ball for the first time this year. At least in losses to East Carolina (who saw their Peach Bowl dreams go up in flames with a loss to Temple), Notre Dame and Clemson, the North Carolina offense was dynamic, giving the team a chance to win (unlike the defense). This week it wasn’t. Awful. Just awful.

Brian (FSU): I was surprised that FSU was able to develop a run game against one of the best D’s in the country.  I was disappointed by FSU’s kicker missing a kick finally.

Anthony (Syracuse): After facing a very tough Clemson team, Syracuse quarterback AJ Long continued to look like a true freshman against NC State.  Granted, they had two weeks to prepare for Syracuse.  Even worse, he was not running the ball until the 2nd half.  There is little point in having a mobile QB and taking his feet out of the game.  Not one of Tim Lester’s best offensive coordinator performances.  Then again, he has only had 4, none of them with Syracuse’s two best weapons or a healthy offensive line.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 11 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

Len (Louisville): If the offense continues to improve & if the Cards can contain BC QB Murphy. The D has been solid against the run so it will be interesting to see how well they handle the best scrambling QB that they will face this seaon. With Dyer turning in back to back strong performances it would be nice to see the WR’s step up their game & score some TD’s against BC with Notre Dame lurking ahead on the schedule. This could be a trap game, if the Cards are caught looking ahead, BC is good enough to get the victory.

Mike (NC State): Curious to see two things: will the momentum carry on? And how well can the Pack deal with that Ga. Tech option?  They stopped the Syracuse rushing attack but this is a whole different wrinkle.  One that they face but once a year.

John (UNC):  I’m excited that it’s a bye week for the Heels. Whatever is going on with the team needs to be addressed. With three games left, and two wins needed for bowl eligibility, it’s not too late to save the season, even though it will be probably be disappointing either way because of the preseason expectations. Matchups against Pittsburgh (4-5) and NC State (5-4) at home are very winnable, and despite the fact that Duke is a much better team than the Tar Heels this year, games between the two schools are almost always close.

Brian (FSU): I would like to say hopefully FSU finally showing up at full strength in a game (last week 7 linebackers were our plus FSU’s safety who led the ACC with tackles), or as close to it as possible, but then word hits that Winston is banged up.  He should still play, but hopefully FSU will find a way to end this game early so Winston can get some rest along with other key players… of course hope is the key word… I am not expecting a big win by FSU.

Anthony (Syracuse): The offense must get better.  The defense has played well for the past several games now.  The offense needs to have one of those “it all comes together against a good opponent” games.  If they don’t have it this week, then the result will be sitting at home for December/January.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 11 FOR THE ACC?

Len (Louisville): The Cards have already lost at Virginia & in Death Valley, can they get a quality road win in Boston? Can ND win at Arizona State? GT going into NC State should be an interesting game but Duke is in control of the coastal so the meaning isn’t as great. However a three way tie is still possible if Duke losses again.

Mike (NC State): Three ACC teams are clinging by a thread to the top 25: Clemson (21), Duke (24) and Louisville (25).  The one that might fall off:  the Cards, if they are not on their game at Boston College.  And an angry Syracuse could give Duke more than they are bargaining for.

 John (UNC): I’m really interested in the NC State-Georgia Tech and Boston College-Louisville games. Can the Wolfpack seize the momentum from their first ACC win under second year coach, Dave Doeren, or will the Yellow Jackets prove that they belong back in the Top 25? And which team, the Eagles, or the Cardinals, win the Battle of the Birds and take that next step, proving that they belong in the upper echelon of the Atlantic? It will be a fun weekend to watch for sure.

Brian (FSU): I want to see if Louisville will implode or will it stand up and beat a very good BC team.  If BC wins, they are very much still in the Atlantic race.

Anthony (Syracuse): My eyes remain squarely on Florida State and Notre Dame.  If these two want to be in the playoff, they need to start working on style points.  ND has several spots to leapfrog.  Florida State eking by opponents will lead to a first-round playoff elimination.

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

Len (Louisville):1) FSU 2) Miss State 3) Auburn 4) Oregon. The odds are good that the SEC will get two in but which two is still up in the air. The SEC East has been correctly called a dumpster fire with Missouri leading the way with their loss to Indiana. Should they win the CCG how would that effect the way the committee perceives the SEC? Florida thumping Georgia enhances the game between the Noles & Gators so I’m not buying the weak argument that FSU wouldn’t make it in with 1 loss, their schedule isn’t weak. They dont have a win against a top 5 team but you can also make a strong case as to why some of the SEC wins were againat over rated teams.

Mike (NC State):This part is getting a bit easier.  1) Mississippi State, 2) Florida State, 3) Oregon, 4) Auburn.  Although I am dead set against the SEC getting two in, this is where I think we are at this moment.

John (UNC): Ole Miss lost, so in comes Oregon, as predicted and right on schedule. They are joined by Mississippi State (who already beat Auburn, but has tough matchups against Alabama and Ole Miss ahead of them), Florida State (who is only in for now after their shaky play against Louisville) and Michigan State. Again, while another SEC West team may deserve a bid, and certainly the final few games could show this, I still think the committee will go for balance in the Playoff’s first year.

Brian (FSU): If the playoffs started today it would be: 1) Miss St, 2) FSU, 3) Auburn, 4) Bama; but I think at yearend FSU will lose somewhere (they are playing with fire too much this year with how they win, and I am still not sold they will finish unbeaten… UM is the best bet right now, but UF looks dangerous and so does UVA or BC and of course the Coastal Winner).  Also, I think Miss St will lose twice more (Bama and Ole Miss… although I am less certain about this outcome due to the Treadwell injury).  I think Auburn will lose to Bama. I think LSU could shock Bama, but I think Bama pulls it out.  All that said the Final 4 will be in my view: 1) Bama, 2) Oregon, 3) ND, 4) Mich St.

Anthony (Syracuse):My preseason was FSU, Alabama, Oregon, Michigan State.  I may have under-appreciated the Big XII, which has TCU and Kansas State primed to have someone enter the mix.  If the season ended today, then I think the committee nailed it with Miss St., FSU, Auburn, and Oregon.  All I know is that this system is working great.  Every game matters, yet we’ll decide the champion on the field.  #5 through #8 will have some reason to complain, but they had a chance to control their own destiny and tripped up.  No undefeated team (save Marshall) will be left out.

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

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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.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Mike (NC State), Brian (FSU), and Anthony (Syracuse)–for their comments and opinions.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 9?

Len (Louisville): Miami beating VT the way they did, 30-6. VT has gone in the wrong direction since winning at Ohio St. VT can still become bowl eligible but have to win games at Wake & at Virginia to end the season. They have BC at home next but travel to Duke for the first of 3 straight road games. This off season could be interesting for Hookie fans. My biggest surprise of the weekend however came on the ACC Blitz show before the game of the week when they discussed swapping Clemson for Miami in a divisional shake up. I favor going divisionless if a change occurs.

David (FSU):  Biggest surprise for me was that the rest of the country just now is realizing VT & Frank Beamer are FSU & Bobby Bowden circa 2007-2009. Beamer has needed to go for a while now and that offense? Eeesh. I want to say pull the trigger VT, but who is chomping at the bit to head to blacksburg as a replacement?

Mike (NC State): Not so much Georgia Tech’s win at Pitt but how they did it.  After  two straight losses, the Jackets could have tucked their tail between their legs and conceded the Coastal race.  Instead they dominated, jumping out to a 28-0 first quarter lead and never looking back.  On the road against a team on the verge of  bowl eligibility.  Impressive to say the least.

John (UNC): At some point, something has got to give in Blacksburg. Frank Beamer is one of the most respected coaches in the game, and deservedly so, but the Hokies have really slipped in recent years. I was amazed at how flat they played against Miami, and I’m really beginning to wonder if Beamer will coach through the end of his contract (which just got extended until 2019). More likely, I see him having a ‘farewell season’ next year, and stepping down before bowl eligibility is no longer a given.

Brian (FSU):  I am shocked that UM was able to bring a whooping so easily at VT’s house (wait can I say that in today’s world?).   It is so surprising because the last time UM won in Blacksburg was in 2005… although that was also a shocker, when #3 VT was blown out at home by Coker’s Canes.

Anthony (Syracuse): The North Carolina and Miami wins.  Both Virginia schools really needed a big win and neither got it.  At least Virginia was competitive.  The onside kick by Fedora was legendary.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 9?

Len (Louisville): They were finally on a bye week so hopefully they got themselves healthy. Patrino is difficult to beat when he has extended time to prepare. Add to the fact that it’s a home game on a Thursday night & history says the Cards have an edge here, but will it be enough to pull the upset?

David (FSU):  FSU had a bye week, if there was any disappointment it was the news that Mario Pender was considered questionable for Thursday’s game.

Mike (NC State): The biggest disappointment for NC State is that a bye week is really their most impressive recent performance.  I still think they will recover and likely get a bowl game, but time is running short.  If this ends up another 0-8 conference season, it will be running out on the Dave Doeren era.

John (UNC): I was blown away with how things unfolded at the end of the Virginia game. In no way did I ever think the Tar Heels would attempt an on-side kick. In retrospect, it makes sense, but the sheer improbability of being successful with such a move is enormous. It paid off though. It also didn’t hurt that Virginia got flagged for a crucial penalty coming out of a time out, giving North Carolina a first down and ending the game. What a finish.

Brian (FSU): I was hoping I could say that I was surprised no bad news or drama took place during FSU’s bye week, and as of Monday it seemed likely to come true…. then FSU’s starting RB got himself into some trouble.  So, I think I am disappointed that Williams allegedly behaved the way he did.  For the record assuming all of the facts about what Williams allegedly did are true, and I think they are, I am more than fine with him being removed from the team permanently.

Anthony (Syracuse): The biggest surprise was that Syracuse’s defense could force Clemson mistakes.  The biggest disappointment is that Syracuse’s offense did not realize that it was not going to beat Clemson by anything other than tough running of the ball.  When you have less than 200 yards of offense, it is going poorly.  Run the freakin’ ball and at least hope to tire the opponent out.  Beyond that, AJ Long looked like a true freshman, which is fine because he is.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 10 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

Len (Louisville): Parker presence should help the offense since the opposing defenses will no longer be able to stack the box & will have to double team him or risk a huge play. Can Dyer have a repeat performance? These new weapons on offense should help the struggling Gardner & the OL. The Cards saw improvement from the QB & OL with Parker & Dyer performance against NC State. My ideal scenario would be the Cards getting the win & FSU still making the playoffs.

David (FSU): I’m looking forward to Matthew Thomas getting more comfortable at LB, I’d also like to see a little less of Lorenzo Featherston at DE. Not because he’s played poorly, but I don’t think his body can handle the grind of the season much longer if he keeps getting the same amount of snaps. Look for Demarcus Walker to step up. Offensively, I hope to continue to see the rise of Travis Rudolph as a dependable option for Jameis, and Dalvin Cook to split time with Karlos Williams.

Mike (NC State): The pressure is on against Syracuse, both teams will be desperate for a win.  While State did look better last time vs Louisville than they did against BC, the result was the same.  Really all phases need to step it up several notches to pull off this absolutely vital road win. The road ahead is narrow, with only  Wake Forest looking winnable.  And that is no guarantee.

John (UNC):  Last year, the Tar Heels rattled off 5 straight wins, going 6-1 at the end of the season, including a Belk Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats after a poor start. With the right play calling and focus, they look ready to do the same thing this year. Miami seems improved from the squad that beat the Tar Heels in the last seconds of the game in Chapel Hill last year, but this is a North Carolina team that still has a lot to prove and has shown significant improvement the past few weeks. I don’t see the game being at Miami as a disadvantage. The Hurricanes have no home crowd, and the Tar Heels proved they can march right into a division rival’s backyard and pull victory from the jaws of defeat last week. I’m not expecting a win necessarily, but I wouldn’t be surprised with one either. The defense still needs improvement.

Brian (FSU): I am dreading FSU’s game against Louisville this Thursday.  All year I assumed this was the best place for FSU to lose.  Vegas agrees, hence the -3.5 FSU line on the game (opened at -8.5, a lot of Cardinal money coming in the last few days).  Considering FSU is unbeaten but only 1-6 against the spread, if FSU wins, odds are it will be able to finally cover this week.  So I guess that is what I am looking forward to… yeah I know it is not much, but like I said, I think FSU loses this Thursday night.

Anthony (Syracuse): The NC State game is not mathematically a must win for bowl eligibility, but it is nevertheless a must win.  Syracuse can run the table against Duke (H), Pitt (A), and BC (A), but it is not likely.  If Syracuse cannot win this one, it does not deserve a bowl.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 10 FOR THE ACC?

Len (Louisville): Separation in the Coastal Division. Duke & GT are looking to be the best there & they have a chance this week to to start separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Duke has the head to head edge and are my pick to face FSU in the CCG.

David (FSU): Hard to beat the Thursday night matchup with FSU @ Louisville, Can FSU keep the unbeaten streak alive?

Mike (NC State): Of course the big matchup is FSU-Louisville Thursday night, but watching the Coastal sort itself out is fascinating.  Every game in that division is almost like a playoff, and this time around we have such matchups as UNC/Miami, Georgia Tech/Virginia  and Pitt/Duke to go with the  Virginia Tech/BC interdivisional matchup.  Somebody has to win the Coastal.

John (UNC): I think there’s a really interesting slate this week. Louisville has looked strong at many different points this season, and has the opportunity to eliminate new conference rival Florida State from the playoff with a win at home. Once again, there is a lot at stake in the Coastal Division, and a win by Pittsburgh versus the Blue Devils at home could really change the direction of the whole season.

Brian (FSU): I guess since I think FSU will lose, I am looking forward to see if Duke can continue its reign over the Coastal.

Anthony (Syracuse): A slow week.  Did you know that Georgia Tech/Pitt is the game with the two teams with the best combined records (9-5)?  Miami and Va Tech are a combined 8-6.  Plus, Ga Tech/Pitt are 4-2 in conference, while the latter are 2-4.  The Coastal pillow fights remain interesting, as the teams seem to cannibalize each other down to mediocrity.

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

Len (Louisville): 1) FSU 2) Miss State 3) Oregon 4) Notre Dame.  3 & 4 are a toss up right now with a lot of good 1 loss teams. Alabama, Mich St, Kansas St & TCU all deserve consideration. I wrote this before the playoff committee released their rankings so I’m curious how my 4 compares to theirs.

David (FSU): 1) Miss State 2) FSU 3) Alabama 4) Oregon

Mike (NC State):This playoff thing is about 100 times more exciting than the BCS it replaces.  Here are my four as of right now:

Mississippi State, Florida State, Oregon, Michigan State.  Marshall likely finishes unbeaten but is relegated to a non-playoff former BCS bowl, which is why we need to look at expanding the field to sixteen sooner rather than later.  Give the Cinderellas a chance to get to the ball.

John (UNC): I’m just not buying 3 SEC West teams in the Playoff like the inaugural rankings suggested. Much like the PAC-12, I see the SEC West cannibalizing itself in the next few weeks. Either Auburn or Ole Miss is going to win this weekend, and someone still has to lose Ole Miss-Mississippi State. A more likely scenario includes Oregon jumping back in, and being joined by Florida State, one SEC West team and Michigan State who can easily run the table in the Big Ten. Sure, the playoff committee likes the SEC right now, but I see a little more diversity in January.

Brian (FSU): My Top 4 at year end is: 1) Bama (Miss St struggled with KY so I think they choke to Bama and Ole Miss, I think Bama wins out, and since I think Ole Miss loses to Auburn this weekend, all other SEC teams will have at least 2 losses), 2) ND (they will not lose again, and the Pac 12 winner will have 2 losses), 3) Mich St (who can beat them in the BIG?), 4) TCU… I predict FSU loses this Thursday (and probably a second time), and no way FSU gets in with even 1 loss… too much negative press for the school and negative perception of the strength of the ACC.  For crying out loud, I saw a replay of an ESPN CFB show the other night where some analysts seem to suggest FSU should not even be top 4 if they are unbeaten.

Anthony (Syracuse): I will stick with what I wrote last night before the top 25 was issued:

If it were me: 1. fsu, 2. Miss st., 3 auburn, 4 nd

3 out of 4 aint bad.  ND ended up #10, but I understand that logic.  ND has some winning to do yet. 

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

ACC Roundtable of the Confidential Correspondents: Week 8/9, Part I

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.  Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), Mike (NC State), Brian (FSU), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions.  Instead of breaking the questions down, we are doing a Part I with some of the correspondents… and then a Part II with the rest of the correspondents.  Tell us what you think below.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 8?

Len (Louisville): BC & Clemson. I wasn’t expecting a 4 point game here. After a change at QB & OC. Syracuse seems to have found themselves offensively.

John (UNC): I was surprised by the Virginia Tech/Pitt score. It seems like every year for the past few years, I’ve found myself giving the Hokies the benefit of the doubt, only to be disappointed. Perhaps the rest of the conference has caught up, or Beamer ball has slipped a bit, but this team doesn’t look like a vintage Tech team, and it certainly isn’t playing like one. That said, I still think the Hokies have something up their sleeve, and they’ll keep the Coastal Division race interesting until the end.

Brian (FSU): Syracuse bouncing back and winning the way they did. Syracuse may give Clemson more fight this week than they expected… although it was only Wake that Syracuse beat, so maybe I am jumping the gun.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): North Carolina beating Georgia Tech.  I really thought that Georgia Tech was ready to turn the corner at 2-0 in conference play, but they turned a different corner.  Meanwhile, UNC righted the ship, building off a good game against Notre Dame in South Bend.

WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 8?

Len (Louisville): That NC State offense was so good against the Cards defense. That was one of the best performances against this defense all season. Gardner is still struggling with his accuracy and our WR’s are still struggling to catch the ball. The biggest surprises for me is Parker’s strong performance in his first game back & that it took Dyer this long to make a positive impact on a game.

John (UNC): Last week was exactly what the Tar Heels needed. Sure, the defense wasn’t amazing, giving up huge chunks of yardage to the Yellow Jackets,  but the team showed a lot of maturity when they lost the lead with three minutes to go. The offensive, led by Quarterback Marquise Williams, truly one of college football’s breakout players of 2014, was spectacular. They were confident, yet patient, and didn’t try to force anything. Most importantly, the Heels avoided penalties on both sides of the ball, a problem that had been plaguing them all season.

Brian (FSU): I was both surprised and disappointed how much attention the ND vs. FSU game received.  I knew it would get much attention, but I was surprised to learn it was the most watched Non-BCS Bowl game since November 2012 (which I believe was also a ND game, but against USC).  Of course ND had much to do with the ratings, along with the fact it was a top 5 match up, but that is not the only reason. I suspect another major factor was America rooting for FSU to falter. People tuned in to root for ND to beat FSU, and its not like everyone loves ND. FSU has become the heels of CFB,  and not of the Carolina Blue variety, but of the 4 Horseman variety. Of course like those guys, FSU defies everyone, and keeps finding ways to win… whether the refs were looking away when Double A slips in a chair shot or not! FSU keeps styling and profiling its way to wins… Okay, I will stop. I got it out of my system, but in all seriousness I am disappointed that my Noles are so hated. I suppose this is how Raiders fans felt when they mattered.

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Wake Forest is a decent defense, but Syracuse’s play calling and QB play continued to be improved over past weeks.  It is clear that former Offensive Coordinator George McDonald was part of the problem, as his replacement is using a backup QB to move the ball with backup WRs.  The offense still has a long way to go, but it just looks better.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 9 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?

Len (Louisville): The Cards are on a bye but they play a Thursday night game with FSU. They played 8 straight games and stayed healthy, better than I expected. I’m looking for the Cards to use this time to recover & work on their offensive struggles. The Cards actually got two players back the last two weeks, FS Reve & WR Parker.

John (UNC): The SEC may have the Iron Bowl and the Egg Bowl, but the ACC is home to the South’s Oldest Rivalry. North Carolina and Virginia have been playing each other since 1892, and every time they get together it’s exciting. UVA might have owned the Tar Heels in the mid-2000s, but this decade, it’s been all North Carolina. I’m looking for my team to seize the momentum from last week’s exciting Georgia Tech win and take it to Charlottesville to beat the Hoos.

Brian (FSU): They do not play, so I guess I am hoping for no news. No bombshells. No drama. No nothing. Just getting ready for UL, and trying to survive another week is all I want to hear! Oh the other thing I look forward to is all the Lane Kiffen to UF rumors floating around, and Gator fans freaking out… I know it is highly unlikely that it will happen, but how can we make this become reality is my question?

Anthony (Syr/ACC): Can Syracuse’s offense move the ball AT ALL against Clemson?  The Syracuse defense may or may not succumb to poor tackling and overpursuit of sacks/turnovers against Clemson’s vulnerable offense.  But the matchup between the Syracuse offense and the Clemson defense will likely decide the game.  I suppose one cannot discount the speedy Clemson skill players making a difference on special teams too.  Coverage will need to be better.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 9 FOR THE ACC?

Len (Louisville): It’s a good slate of games this weekend, I’m looking forward to all of them being competitive. VT v Miami & GT @ Pitt standout to me, maybe we can see some clarity in the Coastal Division.

John (UNC): I’m excited about this week’s Coastal Division matchups. With three divisional games, and everyone still in the hunt, we’ll have a much clearer picture about this year’s winner by the end of the day Saturday. Sure, current leader, Duke, is off, but others can still control their own destiny if they get hot.

Brian (FSU): This is a slow weekend, as 3 of the 4 most interesting teams (ND/FSU.UL) are on byes, so I guess I will look to see if Clemson can not be upset by Syracuse.  I also think it might be interesting to see if BC continues to turn the corner. Their defense is good, and should handle Wake. Otherwise, I guess UM vs. VT can be a solid game on Thursday Night, and it is the only game the ACC will have in any kind of national spot like. Okay, I will go with that, Canes and Hokies need to have a good game to help the ACC cause!

Anthony (Syr/ACC): A slow week.  Did you know that Georgia Tech/Pitt is the game with the two teams with the best combined records (9-5)?  Miami and Va Tech are a combined 8-6.  Plus, Ga Tech/Pitt are 4-2 in conference, while the latter are 2-4.  The Coastal pillow fights remain interesting, as the teams seem to cannibalize each other down to mediocrity.

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

Len (Louisville): The undefeated are dropping like flies, this is getting tougher. My teams today are 1) FSU, 2) Miss St, 3) Ole Miss & 4) ND. With Baylor losing I kept ND in. The Ole Miss & Miss St game is shaping up to have huge playoff implications, who would’ve guessed that at the beginning of the season. Unless Marshall makes it in, I dont see a way for there to be more than two undefeated in the playoffs making 3 & 4 a toss up. Maybe we should start the playoff next season?

John (UNC): It was another exciting week with another couple of Top 5 losses. I’m still not sold on the validity of the penalty at the end of the Florida State-Notre Dame game, but since that’s how things worked out, I’m keeping the Seminoles in the playoff (until Jimbo sits Winston, which he probably should). and removing the Irish. I still also feel pretty good about Mississippi State, but instead of Baylor, I’m adding Alabama. Because the Big 12 and Pac-12 will work themselves out of the playoff in the end, I’m keeping Michigan State for now, but expect the Big 10 to lose all representation if they lose to the Buckeyes on November 8th.

Brian (FSU): 1) Miss State, they look good, 2) ND, I think other teams will start losing rapidly with the Irish only have one close loss, 3) Mich State, they will not lose again, 4) Bama, yeah the SEC will have two teams in, and Bama has turned it on. Contrary to what the talking heads at the 4 letter network might say, FSU has some tough teams left. UVA and UL both have great defenses, and one is a Thursday Night road game; UM is statistically a solid team, along with it being a rivalry game on the road; BC plays everyone tough; UF will play FSU hard as they always do; and the ACC title game against Duke could be hard. So, I see FSU with the way they are playing dropping a game somewhere in there, and probably in its next game. I see all Pac 12 teams with 2 losses (Oregon on upset watch this week!), and the Big 12 is playing themselves out of contention.

Anthony (Syr/ACC):Florida State, Alabama, Michigan State, and Oregon.  FSU should run the table.  Who is going to prevent it?  Louisville is the best opponent and Florida State has 10 days to prepare.  Florida?  Please.  The Coastal champ?  Virginia is the team that should really worry FSU fans, as that has the look of a team that has caused FSU trouble in pre-Winston years.  Alabama need only run the table.  With #1 Mississippi State and #5 Auburn looming, don’t discount Nick Saban.  Michigan State is benefiting from Ohio State’s recent surge, and may get a second chance to beat a decent Nebraska team.  The Oregon loss can look better if Oregon keeps winning–as its one loss was assisted by OL injuries.  As for Oregon, their path is harder than FSU’s but not that much harder. 

In other words, it remains plausible for my original four picks to still make it to the playoffs, so how can I not stick with it?  See:

I am still watching Notre Dame though.

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.  In the meantime, what do you think?  How would you answer these questions?

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