Last week, I wrote that the ACC had made a statement. That it could be proud of the results of the previous week. Miami and Clemson won games over ranked opponents, and Florida State and Maryland held their own against two others. That while they hadn’t completely gotten over the hump, things were looking up.
Then the ACC football squads set foot on the field for last weekend’s games.
First, someone had to lose the Clemson-Florida State game, but the fact that it was the Seminoles that went down proved that the revival in Tallahassee isn’t complete just yet. It also raised hopes that Clemson may finally be worthy of some hype as the best team in the conference. Stop me if you’ve heard that before. The Tigers can take a giant step forward with a win on Saturday in Blacksburg against the Hokies of Virginia Tech. Unlike previous years, the Hokies haven’t played a tough non-conference opponent, but they also haven’t suffered an embarrassing loss. The winner of this game becomes the conference favorite, except for…Georgia Tech, which is also undefeated, thanks to its victory over North Carolina, dropping the Tar Heels from the unbeaten ranks. The Yellow Jackets didn’t roll up another 700+ yards of offense, but they still made their share of big plays. Tech could be the best team right now, but it’s still early.
As for Maryland, Miami, Virginia and N.C. State? Thanks for collectively bringing the conference down to earth. The Wolfpack are beat up on defense, but the offense (-26 yards rushing) wasn’t much help either in the 44-14 loss to Cincinnati last Thursday. Virginia proved it still has a ways to go after the Cavaliers lost to Southern Mississippi. Miami took the good vibes from beating Ohio State the previous week and wasted them in a home loss to Kansas State. But the most embarrassing result was turned in by the Terrapins, who were drilled by Temple, 38-7, in a game that wasn’t even that close. But hey, the team looked great in those new uniforms, huh? And the players may want to ease up on the trash talk until they beat somebody of importance-that Miami victory looks less impressive now.
In addition to the Clemson-Virginia Tech matchup, two more conference games are on the schedule for this weekend: the Wolfpack gets another test as the Yellow Jackets and their big-play offense come to Raleigh; and Wake Forest, which escaped the carnage from last weekend, meets a Boston College team coming off its first win in Chestnut Hill. Five non-conference games round out the remaining schedule: Duke, winners of 2 in a row, travel to Florida to take on the Panthers of Florida International; Maryland tries to regain its lost swagger with a home game against Towson; Miami tries to regroup against Bethune-Cookman College; North Carolina will try to bounce back from its first loss by taking on East Carolina; and Virginia will attempt to get back on the winning track against Idaho. Florida State gets the bye this week.