Welcome to the ACC Roundtable of the ACC Correspondents! Week 6 was noted for the number of upsets around college football, but the ACC was fairly stable. As is and will be the plan for the remainder of the football season, the Confidential correspondents will discuss the Week that was (week 6) and the Week that will be (Week 7) for the ACC and their respective schools. Special thanks to the Confidential contributors–Len (Louisville), David (Florida State), John (UNC), Matt (Syracuse), and Anthony (Syracuse/ACC)–for their comments and opinions. Tell us what you think below.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 5?
David (FSU): Georgia Tech remaining undefeated, really thought they were going to get knocked off last week.
Len (Louisville): That there weren’t any big surprises. The way Clemson handled NC State.
John (UNC): For the second week in a row, my surprise is the play of NC State. A week after starting strong against a very good Florida State team, the Wolfpack came out flat against Clemson and got shut out. I was there the week before when North Carolina played the Tigers, and despite their poor play, even the Tar Heels managed to put up 35 points in a game that was never as close as it seemed. Perhaps his numbers were inflated by playing against mainly lower level teams, but I expected more from Wolfpack quarterback Jacoby Brissett (1399 yds, 13 tds, 1 int). If anything, the game was a testament to the play of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson (1181 yds, 12 tds, 1 int) and the impact he’s made since he took over as the starter for the Tigers.
Matt (Syracuse): The ACC’s biggest surprise was the lack of upsets, or wtf games. Considering all of the major upsets that happened last week, the ACC’s outcomes were pretty routine by comparison. Florida State had a slow start against Wake Forest and Notre Dame had a nailbiter against Stanford, but in the end there were no surprises – and that was a pleasant surprise.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): The Georgia Tech win over Miami surprised me the most. Al Golden seems like a good coach, but maybe he is just a good coach at a lower tier program. Or maybe Georgia Tech is just better than we all thought.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 5?
David (FSU): FSU’s biggest surprise has to be Lorenzo Featherston. He was a kid I thought for sure was destined to redshirt and instead he’s been arguably the most productive freshman of his class.
Len (Louisville): Its week 6 & the offence is still committing stupid penalties. Brandon Radcliff has emerged as the top RB the last few weeks. As inefficient as the offense has been all season the Cards are still 5-1.
John (UNC): My biggest disappointment is how Coach Larry Fedora continues to stick with the two quarterback system, despite the fact that Marquise Williams has outperformed Mitch Trubisky on every level. The choice is obvious when looking at the numbers (Williams- 1083 yds, 9 tds, 4 int vs. Trubisky- 237 yds, 2 tds, 3 int), even though they’re not directly comparable because of the disparity in playing time. Williams, with an average quarterback rating of 134.2, far outpaces Trubisky’s 94.9 rating in efficiency, and that’s just one area to look at, there are others. For whatever reason, Fedora keeps inserting Trubisky into the lineup on the third series of every game no matter what’s happening, and it’s severely inhibiting the potential of this team and interrupting Williams’ flow and development. I understand that Fedora may have promised Trubisky playing time, but as a coach you have to do what’s best for the team. If that’s letting Trubisky walk then that’s fine. If he’s not interested in what’s best for the team then I don’t want him with us anyway.
Matt (Syracuse): The biggest surprise with Syracuse this past week is obviously the demotion of Offensive Coordinator George McDonald and the promotion of Tim Lester to the OC position. This seems like a knee-jerk reaction by Scott Shafer to appease the fan base (and likely the AD and alumni) and is throwing McDonald under the bus to try and save his own hide. That is NOT #hardnosed, that’s gutless. The more I think about this move, the more disappointed I am in Shafer. The man needs to provide answers, not gimmicky moves and grasping at straws.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): The biggest surprise was Syracuse’s former offensive coordinator deciding to run a play from Syracuse’s own 1 yard line… involving a QB in a pistol/shotgun and a pitch to Syracuse’s powerful, but slow, running back for one of the easiest safeties ever seen. It was said on Twitter… “What would have been a better call? Anything.” Cannot disagree at all. That is not competent coordinating. And it has not been all year.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 6 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?
David (FSU): Same as last week, take care of business. Syracuse is a rowdy environment but they are without their starting QB due to injury and are dealing with some turmoil.
Len (Louisville): If the Cards defense can stop Clemson & if Parker returns. If he does will he help jump start the offense. Will Gardner return at QB or will Petrino stay with the true freshman Bonnafon. The Cards got a commitment from a 2016 top 70 overall prospect out of Oklahoma, will he get a few friends to commit as well.
John (UNC): Not sure how to answer this one. I’ve gone from cautious optimism to realistic pessimism the past few games, and the match-up with #6 Notre Dame this weekend isn’t making it any easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still interested, and I’ll never stop watching my team, but my expectations for this season have been lowered significantly due to the inconsistency of the Tar Heels on both sides of the ball. If I had to pick something, I’m interested to see how former UNC commit, longtime Tar Heel fan, and current Fighting Irish quarterback, Everett Golson, handles this game. Will he feel like he has more to prove to validate his decommitment? Or has the Irish’s record already done that for him?
Matt (Syracuse): Not much. This is basically going to be a scrimmage situation for Syracuse and Florida State. Hunt’s injury takes a lot of pressure off of the SU offense from having to do much of anything, and maybe the kids can just go out there and play and have fun. If SU is going to have a chance at this game, they will need their defense to put up another good game – force some turnovers and convert some turnovers to points. What won’t work against FSU is the lazy arm tackling, the attempts to strip the ball before engaging the ballcarrier, etc…
Anthony (Syr/ACC): Everything. How will a new QB or two perform? How badly will Florida State dominate? What kind of calls will be made by a new offensive coordinator? Will Scott Shafer go one step further and use a timeout during a timeout? Will he punt from the Florida State 30 yard line? Will Syracuse get to the Florida State 30-yard line?
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 6 FOR THE ACC?
David (FSU): I’m biased, but looking for both FSU and ND to advance to set up a marquee top 5 match up for ACC schools for the second year in a row.
Len (Louisville): I will stick with the Cards & Clemson game here, how will they fare against a top ACC team? I’m also looking forward to seeing the GT vs Duke game & seeing how Miami does as they step out of conference against Cincy.
John (UNC): This is a tough weekend because I think under the right circumstances, Clemson, Louisville, Duke and Georgia Tech wins could see them all ranked next Sunday. Unfortunately though, these teams are all playing each other, with Clemson taking on the Cardinals in Death Valley, and the Blue Devils traveling to Atlanta to take on the Yellow Jackets, making it impossible. Personally, I would like to see Clemson and Georgia Tech assert their dominance because I think of the four, those two are the stronger teams with more postseason potential.
Matt (Syracuse): The game I’m most interested in is Duke vs. Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are 5-0 and have looked very impressive. Duke started off 4-0 but wasn’t challenged by their opponents until Miami knocked them off 2 weeks ago. I expect Coach Cut will have his team fired-up and ready to avenge that loss, will GaTech be ready for the challenge and be able to stay in the top-25?
Anthony (Syr/ACC): Can Florida State, Notre Dame, and Georgia Tech stay undefeated? All of the sudden, Georgia Tech is a clear front runner in the Coastal. If they are 11-1 or 12-0, that makes for a VERY interesting ACC Championship Game.
WHO ARE YOUR FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS IF THE SEASON ENDED TODAY?
David (FSU): Wow what a difference a week makes. I’m going to give two different ones. The teams I would pick if the playoffs started today, and the final 4 as I expect it to play out.
Len (Louisville): 1 FSU, 2 Auburn, 3 ND & 4) Baylor. Glad to see the rest of the country experience upsets this week, the ACC has had them both ways. My #4 is difficult, to keep from taking a team from Mississippi I put Baylor in there but I expect them to fall from that spot.
John (UNC): This past weekend really shook things up. I’m still sticking with Florida State, but it’s hard to count out Auburn and Notre Dame for the second and third slots. For my fourth choice, I’m going with Michigan State. It’s a crazy pick, and the Big Ten is awful this year, but you have to think that the committee is going to be extra careful about overrepresentation of one conference over another in the Playoff’s first season. Then again, we all know they want four SEC teams anyway…
Matt (Syracuse): Florida State, Notre Dame, Baylor, Mississippi St.
Anthony (Syr/ACC):Florida State, Auburn, TCU, and Michigan State. The Oregon loss hurts the Spartans, but the idea that the W-W-NCAA would allow a 12-1 MSU to be left out is absurd. If TCU loses this week, then Baylor is the front-runner for the spot.
What do you think? How would you answer these questions?