First, from last week’s post: it was pointed out to me that I spelled Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s last name incorrectly. That’s what I get for writing while the TV show Biggest Loser is on in the background with host Alison Sweeney.
The title of the post describes two ACC teams in the same division, that had different expectations when the season began. One was freely mentioned as a national championship contender, just as it had been in years past. The other, merely an afterthought with low expectations-while expected to be better, not expected to win their division after coming off a 3-9 season last year. The teams I just described played each other just this past weekend, and with Wake Forest (the afterthought) beating Florida State (the former championship contender)-their current standing in the Atlantic Division reflect the title perfectly. For Wake, it was their fourth straight victory after an opening weekend overtime loss to Syracuse and put the Demon Deacons at 3-0 in conference-shockingly tied for the lead with Clemson, which has already had its share of surprises. For the Seminoles, it was their third successive loss, dropping them to 0-2 in conference and scuttling all the “Florida State is back” talk from preseason. For much of the game, the Deacs looked like the better, more prepared team. Watching the game on Saturday, it seemed to me that the Seminoles figured they would walk into Winston-Salem and cruise to victory, but that wasn’t the case. The rise of Wake and the fall of Florida State may or may not be a continuing trend as the season goes on, but both of their cases bear watching.
The game of the weekend, for sheer entertainment value, had to be the Miami-Virginia Tech game. Each team went back and forth, particularly in the second half. Logan Thomas, the Hokies sophomore quarterback had his breakout game for an offense that barely made a whimper against the Tigers the week before-scoring the game winning touchdown with 56 seconds to play while going 23-25 for 310 yards and three TD passes and two rushing touchdowns; Lamar Miller continued his conference player of the year campaign with another outstanding performance-rushing for 166 yards and a touchdown, and also catching a touchdown pass. Next week, the Hokies take on the Deacs in Winston-Salem, Miami heads to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels in what looks like a must-win game if the Hurricanes want to get back in the Coastal Division race.
Finishing last week’s recap-Maryland may have a quarterback controversy on its hands after benching starter Danny O’Brien and replacing him with C.J. Brown in the Terps 21-16 loss to Georgia Tech. The Terps slowed the Yellow Jackets somewhat-holding them to 21 points-but needed to rally late to make the score close. Clemson defeated Boston College 36-14, but had a scare when quarterback Tajh Boyd injured his hip during the game. As of this writing, Boyd is expected to play on Saturday against Maryland. North Carolina continued its good season with a 14-7 win over Louisville while North Carolina State got a win over Central Michigan 38-24.
Heading into next week, besides the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest, Clemson-Maryland and Miami-North Carolina matchups, Duke and Virginia return to action after bye weeks. Duke hosts the reeling Seminoles, while Virginia hosts the Yellow Jackets. Tom O’Brien’s current team (N.C. State) and former team (Boston College) get the weekend off.