Just like every other season, the ACC looks to be on the oustide peeking in for a spot in the BCS national championship game. The Clemson Tigers were at least in the hunt, having risen to fifth in the BCS rankings prior to this past Saturday’s games. With four games left on the schedule, if the Tigers could win out and get some help, there was a slight chance they could be playing for the national championship. Staring them in the face, though was their history. Many seasons Clemson would have a team capable of big things, but would always suffer a defeat that was not expected, or let down in the most humiliating fashion. Personally, I thought that Clemson would have had their moment by now, and while watching them play Maryland a few weeks back, I thought surely that would’ve been the night, particularly after falling behind by 18 points. But the Tigers roared back in the second half and won going away.
So what would you call Saturday’s loss to a Georgia Tech team coming off two straight losses and looking like they were headed for a free fall? Another Clemson disaster? Not exactly-though the Tigers played beneath their capabilities down in Atlanta, what it showed was how good Georgia Tech can be when everything is clicking on offense. It wasn’t so much that the Tigers lost; it was more apparent that the Yellow Jackets took the fight to Clemson and won the game. So while I wouldn’t say the loss was an embarrassment; the end result ended the championship dreams of the Tigers. That is, the national championship dreams. Clemson can still get to a BCS bowl by winning the ACC, and even with the loss, still has the inside track to win the Atlantic Division, and looks to be the favorite to win the conference title game. The Tigers will have a bye this week, and will look to regroup before facing Wake Forest in what could decide the Atlantic Division title.
Elsewhere, Virginia Tech-looking nothing like a division leading team-struggled to handle Duke 14-10. The win keeps the Hokies in the driver’s seat in the crowded Coastal Division, just a half-game ahead of the Yellow Jackets. Both teams have a bye week before a key Thursday night matchup on November 10th in Atlanta. Other games on the schedule included Florida State defeating North Carolina State 34-0, Virginia beating a Miami team thought to be on the upswing, 28-21, Wake Forest losing to North Carolina 49-24, and Boston College getting its first ACC win of the season over slumping Maryland 28-17.
Looking ahead, with three teams on bye weeks, there is a very light schedule for this week as we come down to the final four weeks of the regular season. The week kicks off on Thursday night, as the Seminoles look to continue their winning ways (and begin to look more and more like the team everyone thought they were) at Boston College. Rounding out the schedule, Duke heads down to Miami to take on the Hurricanes, North Carolina and North Carolina State go at it in Chapel Hill, and Virginia takes on Maryland in a battle of two teams currently heading in opposite directions.