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. Here is Part I, Part II will be tomorrow. Tell us what you think below.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR THE ACC IN WEEK 5?
David (FSU): North Carolina taking ND down to the wire, seems ND was guilty of the look ahead game but luckily survived.
Len (Louisville): North Carolina giving ND a scare. Louisville defense extended its streak to 17 qtrs without giving up a TD against Clemson. NC St only putting up 14 against BC. I think that national parity is starting to show itself with Ole Miss & Miss St LEADING the SEC. A few ‘experts’ can joke about Virginia leading their division but FSU is leading the ACC. The gap had definitely closed between them & everyone else.
John (UNC): I was surprised by the Duke-Georgia Tech score. The Yellow Jackets were finally ranked, looking good and playing at home. I didn’t even think an hour and 17 minute rain delay would stop the inevitable- a Georgia Tech win for the 11th year in a row. But I was wrong. Even though Duke hadn’t really been impressive yet this season (beating teams they should have and losing to a very average Miami team), this win went a long way toward showing that they’re for real. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain their momentum through the rest of the Coastal Division schedule.
Matt (Syracuse): Although I didn’t watch the game, judging by the final score final score between the Irish and Tar Heels of 50-43, I would say that I was surprised by how well Mike Brey’s ball & tempo control stifled what should be a dynamic Roy Williams’ crew…wait, that was football?
Mike (NC State): The way North Carolina hung with Notre Dame. Maybe Larry Fedora has been teasing us again and the Heels are about to turn on the afterburners.
Brian (FSU): My biggest surprise in the ACC last week is either Louisville being unable to beat Clemson when Watson missed most of the game due to injury, or Georgia Tech losing to Duke after it started the season so strong. If I have to pick one it would be Georgia Tech, as it has been over a decade since Georgia Tech lost to Duke. Also, when Georgia Tech beat a UM team that just beat Duke, it seemed the streak would continue. Now with Duke beating the Jackets, they have the inside track again on the Coastal.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): I have to say it was Boston College beating North Carolina State. Boston College is a very hard team to predict–having beaten USC, but losing to Colorado State. Really figured that Dave Doeren’s crew would take care of business at home.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST SURPRISE/DISAPPOINTMENT FOR YOUR SCHOOL IN WEEK 5?
David (FSU): It was great to finally see the run game/offensive line come together, even without starting tailback Karlos Williams.
Len (Louisville): That Quick didn’t score on that 80 yard pass with a minute to go. The play calling from the 5 yard line in the closing minute. That the Cards had a chance to win. That Patrino didn’t go with Gardner sooner. The OL protected better & overall played better but they still need to clean up those penalties. Bonnafon probably has more potential at QB but Gardner has a larger play book and makes decisions quicker. It was obvious to me early in the game that Bonnafons scrambling ability wasn’t going to be that big of a factor & thought that Patrino would’ve made the change sooner. Louisville’s defense is for real folks & if they can improve their offensive efficiency they should be able to compete with anyone in the country.
John (UNC): My biggest surprise is related to my biggest disappointment from last week’s roundtable. All season long, Coach Fedora had been inserting redshirt freshman QB Mitch Trubisky into the game on the third series, no matter the momentum or score. This week against Notre Dame, he didn’t play him at all. Perhaps the anger of the fans became too much, or Fedora finally realized that Williams really did give the team the best chance to win, but it’s because of this move that the Tar Heels were able to stick with Notre Dame for so long.
Matt (Syracuse): Even though the Orange lost, I’m going with surprise and not disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised by Syracuse’s offense under new OC Tim Lester and, presumed starter for the remainder season, AJ Long. I remain unconvinced that the problem on SU’s offense was solely on McDonald’s playcalling, but it is obvious that whatever changes were made were for the better.
Mike (NC State): I was disappointed in the play of Jacoby Brissett. Granted, he was rushed early and often, but as the game started to get out of hand he seemed to panic. Can’t get the image of him throwing the ball backward as he is being tackled and giving up more yardage than if he had just taken the sack. Coach Doeren and staff need to address this, not to mention the poor offensive line play.
Brian (FSU): My biggest surprise from FSU last weekend was how good Cook looked. I like Pender more than Karlos Williams at RB, but if you squinted your eyes just right Cook looked a few times like a young number 22 for Dallas Cowboys in the 90s… yeah I said it! (Also, I know this is a college site, but I refuse to acknowledge 22’s Orange and Blue roots). My biggest disappointment is how poor the defense looked against an offense just off replacing its QB and OC. I think some of the lack of being able to scout the new OC/QB for Syracuse explains the early struggles, but some of it is a lack of discipline from the defensive players. The defensive talent is still raw, and this game showed that reality.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): The biggest surprise was Syracuse’s offense. It looked inept with veterans at QB, WR1, WR2, and offensive coordinator. Syracuse had none of them for the Florida State defense and looked… better? Granted, Florida State may not have been playing with top notch passion, but Syracuse moved the ball with more rhythm than all year.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN WEEK 6 FOR YOUR SCHOOL?
David (FSU): Just win. Win and advance, don’t care how, don’t care who makes the plays. Look for Jameis to test a banged up secondary that struggled against UNC.
Len (Louisville): Improvement on offense. WR getting involved more, fewer penalties & Parker seeing action this week. I want to see the Cards win by 3+ TD’s to feel good about our offense going down the stretch of the season.
John (UNC): Honestly, I’m looking forward to something that resembles defense. There have been small signs of improvement the past few weeks, and despite the fact that the Tar Heels almost always lose to Georgia Tech (GT is 12-2 against North Carolina since 2000), the stage is set for a rebound win. This time last year, the Tar Heels were 1-5 before rattling off 5 straight wins and turning around their season. If it’s going to happen this year too, then you have to think that despite the fact the Heels just finished the most difficult stretch of their schedule, that this game is now actually the most important.
Matt (Syracuse): Not so much what I am looking forward to, but what I WANT to see from Syracuse: Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Tackling. Glad to see the offense take some steps forward, but the defense seems to get worse at the basics week-after-week. Too many missed tackles, too many (unsuccessful) strips at the ball. Scott Shafer has proven that he’s not above making changes to his coordinators mid-season, and if the Orange cannot tackle against WtF, then Chuck Bullough should be put on notice.
Mike (NC State): I have the same answer I did before the Clemson game: the Pack must stay competitive in a hostile environment. Again, I think a win is only a remote possibility, but show me something more than you did in Death Valley. Or even this past Saturday at home vs. BC.
Brian (FSU): The thing I am looking forward to out of FSU this week is what is likely the last big game feel of the season for FSU. I have a bad feeling the never ending Winston saga will eventually lead to either a loss due to distractions or outright implosion if something happens to Winston’s status as QB. This weekend may be the last time an FSU game garner’s major national attention, even if a lot of the attention is not so positive.
Anthony (Syr/ACC): How will the Syracuse offense fair with game film for Wake Forest–a decent defense–to review. If Syracuse’s offense plays anywhere near the way it did last week, the Orange can win. Even without that, the Orange could still win. But this might be Wake Forest’s best chance for a conference win all year–they will not go down lightly.
Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow.
In the meantime, what do you think? How would you answer these questions?