The ACC is not down this year, enough of that talk already. Five ACC football
teams ranked in the Top-25 is how bad again??? Defensive play is much improved,
the ACC has about eight to 10 RBs that will be drafted, several handfuls of pro
O-linemen, and it may very well have the best player in all of college football
(in GT’s Cal Johnson). But what the ACC just does not have is much in the way
of Quarterbacking talent.
ACC trivia time: how long has it been since the ACC had an individual QB
ranked in the top-20 nationally in Passing Efficiency? That would be going all
the way back to the days of Philip Rivers at N.C. State in 2003. The highest
ranked ACC QB this year is 37th, meaning all but one of the ACC starting Pivots
are ranked 51st or worse. That’s the problem folks. ACC QB play has fallen and
it can’t get up.
Current ACC Standings
This Week’s Games
Boston College-5 @ Wake Forest O/U=39.5: (11.04, Saturday 7pm, ESPN2)
- B.C. strengths: TOP, 5th in Turnover Margin, Passing, Special Teams.
- B.C. weaknesses: 95th in Pass Defense, sub-par Rushing attack, Ryan’s
- WF strengths: Counter based Running-game, 29th vs. the Run, Special Teams.
- WF weaknesses: Depth, Health, Passing Offense.
Last Week: Boston College could not have had a better week. We did them a
major favor by giving Clemson their 2nd ACC L on the year, as the Atlantic JAX
invite is all but theirs. Ryan got the day off, back-up QB Chris Crane went off,
and the Flying-Eagles dropped a goose-egg on lowly Buffalo, 41-zilch. B.C. ran
for over 200, held the Buffalo Bulls to -12 rushing, was only flagged once, and
held the ball for over a full quarter more than B’lo did. To top that off they
forced four turnovers on a rainy, windy, typical New England George Clooney’s
fishing boat is resting comfortably on the bottom kinda day. B.C. is indeed an
ACC Atlantic Divisional perfect storm.
As for Wake, they (somewhat surprisingly) had a game on their hands up on
Chapel Hill, as Demon Deac LB Jon Abbate had to INT UNC on the game’s final
play before this one was put to rest. Wake ran for a smooth 200 yards right on
the nose, and former back-up QB Riley Skinner was 88% on the day. But he was
only able to account for 89 yards through the air, as UNC actually out-gained
Wake by nearly 100 total yards. Against UNC that was an issue; next week with
the Atlantic Divisional bid to JAX on the line that will officially become a
crisis. But Wake is your North Carolina D-1 State champion, after sweeping
Tobacco Road clean (beating: N.C.State, UNC, and Duke) for the first time since
1987! T-shirt idea anyone???
Game Outlook: The Atlantic Division has come down to a B.C. vs. Wake
Forest football game in November? Sure enough. I’d like to pick Wake in
Winston-Salem, I really would. But Ryan got the rest he needed last week, while
Wake was in a dog-fight. I’ll take rest any day. B.C. by 10.
Probability of an upset=33%
Maryland+17 @ Clemson O/U=36: (11.04, Saturday 12noon, ESPN2)
- MU strengths: Return Teams, lack of Penalties, Special Teams play.
- MU weaknesses: Passing Offense, Run stop unit, Turnover Margin.
- CU strengths: few yellow Flags, 3rd down conversion%, Rushing Offense, Total
- CU weaknesses: Mental status uncertain after last Thursday night, Punt
Last Week: Senior Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach only threw for 130 yards,
but 37 yard of that went for 18 points, which was enough to scalp the lame
Seminoles in College Park last Saturday night. The Terrapins were out-gained by
FSU by over 230 yards, held to only 37 yards of total offense in the final 30
minuets of play, but Maryland now stands 2-17 all time vs. FSU, notching only
their second win last Saturday night. FSU had nearly a 10 min TOP edge, and
nearly 10 more 1st downs. So you gotta give the Maryland football team
cardiologist credit, as this Terps football team has a really huge heart. I
wrote about such going back to the Terps second-half effort vs. wvu. This is not
one of the more overly talented Maryland football teams, but it is one of the
mentally toughest, as they only place winning comes before working is the
dictionary. But if you are a Terrapin football player, you already knew that.
Every year Clemson goes on the road, and lays a favored egg. Last year it was
at Georgia Tech, in 2004 it was at Duke, and in 2003 it was at Wake. This year
it was in Lane Stadium, as the #1 ranked scoring offense in all of D-1 could
only manage 166 yards, bad for seven points on the night. The Tiger offense was
tranquilized last week, as both James Davis and C.J. Spinner were held
approximately three yards below their incoming yards per carry for 2006. But it
was the Clemson defense that really fooled me. Other than #25 CAT (Clemson’s
positional jargon, not mine) Michel Hamlin, who was a heat seeking missile, the
remaining Tiger defenders were Charmin soft. A bunch of tackling wet Kleenexes
if you will. Some of it was the short-week, some of it was a cooler night than
the Tigers are accustomed to, but all in all, Clemson jus’ did not want to pay
the physical price to win. It was just that simple.
Game Outlook: Clemson is the better football team, and I gotta like Davis
and Spiller to heal up with the extra days off. But should the Tigers be VT
hung-over, the Big-Boy’s team is coming to play. I’ll take Clemson in a
squeaker, mostly because they are at home.
Probability of upset=46%
Navy-10 @ Duke O/U=38: (11.04, Saturday 1pm no TV)
- Duke strengths: Kickoff returns, TFL, that’s it.
- Duke weaknesses: Offense, 3rd down converts, 11 units ranked 100th or worse.
- Navy strengths: no quit in Navy; Running Game, Turnover margin.
- Navy weaknesses: dead last in Passing, weak overall Defense, no big plays
Last Week: When you give up over 500 yards, at home, to a 3-5 football
team, you are not very good. That typed, Duke remained on schedule to chalk up a
perfect 0-12 kinda year. If you are counting at home, that was the Blue-Devils
16th straight L, which now leads all of D-1 in terms of longest active winless
streak. Looks like 2007 will dawn before that streak will be broken, as Duke has
precious little offense, and their formerly solid stop-unit is plum tuckered
out. Justin Boyle was the lone bright spot for Duke, becoming the first
Blue-Devil RB to crack the century mark in 2006. With 75% of 2006 now complete,
Duke RB Requan Boyette leads the Blue-Devils in rushing with 191 on the year!
That’s an 0-12 kinda stat folks.
Game Outlook: This might have been the best Navy football team in 20
years, if not for QB Mike Hampton’s devastating knee shredding a few weeks
back. But these Middies still have enough battle-cruisers left to deal with Duke’s
mothballed, leaky, rusty, pontoon boats. Midshipmen by 15+.
Probability of an upset=3%
Georgia Tech-6 @ N.C. State O/U=39.5: (11.04, Saturday 7pm, ESPNU)
- GT strengths: Running game, 2nd in Punting, 9th in Turnover Margin.
- GT weaknesses: 93rd in Passing, focus police please report to the Coastal
- NCS strengths: Return teams, better than average Defense, team speed.
- NCS weaknesses: next to last in Turnover Margin, suspect Total Offense,
Last Week: N.C. State actually out gained uva by about 30 yards,
converted 300% more 3rd downs, and passed for nearly 100 more yards. But
penalties and pandemic wide indiscipline threatens Coach Amato with change of
address mailing labels more and more every day. The Wolfpac has talent, they
have speedy athletes, but they play at, or well below their level of competition
week in and week out. State will be staying home for the Bowl season now, and
has the look of a football team that is about to pull a Timothy Leary and: turn
on, tune out, and drop out on their coach. Normally I’m not in favor of
in-season changes at the top, but if there is a Coordinator, or top Assistant
that might merit a full-time Head-Coaching looks-see on the Wolfpac football
staff, I’d have to give the option to audition for 2007 a very serious look
indeed if I were the State Athletic Director. This team is going no where fast,
so why not try something new?
Georgia Tech chalked up a de facto Coastal ACC invite to play in the
conference championship game down in JAX with its come from behind home win over
the formerly Category-5 Miami Hurricanes. Often maligned GT QB Reggie Ball was
only 40% on the day, but he did throw 2 TDs with no INT’s, including an
absolute Saturn Rocket of a throw to James Johnson that traveled nearly 60
perfect yards in flight. Oklahoma transfer RB Tashard Choice chipped in with 108
on the ground, and the modern-day Blitzkrieg known as Jon Tenuta’s defense
caused three Miami fumbles, and picked one Hurricane pass on the day. Georgia
Tech must now be beaten by both Duke and UNC for any other Coastal team to have
a shot at catching the Rambling Wreck, that’s not gonna happen folks. So let’s
give credit to Coach Chan Gailey and the Yellow-Jackets for their Coastal
Game Outlook: I for one will not be shocked if Gah.Tech is beaten just
once more in ACC play before the 2006 Season ends (not twice mind you, but
once). If GT is beaten again, it will be this week. State has already knocked
off two ranked teams at home this year. I’ll go good for a third.
Probability of an upset=40%
North Carolina+28 @ Notre Dame O/U=52: (11.04, Saturday 2:30pm NBC)
- UNC strengths: slightly above average return teams, that’s it.
- UNC weaknesses: 4th worse Run Defense, dead last in Turnover Margin!
- ND strengths: Passing attack, Coaching, Turnover Margin.
- ND weaknesses: 95th in Rushing, Gator Bowl Defense, Punt Returns, protecting
Last Week: UNC must like lame duck Head football Coach John Bunting
pretty well, because they sure rose up and give Wake a fit last week. RB Ronnie
McGill had his best game of the season, checking in with 117 on the day, and for
alternating QBs on a series basis, UNC finally threw the football rather well
for the first time all year. In fact, the Tar-Heels nearly out-gained Wake by
100 yards, but a -3 Turnover Margin did them in. That’s too bad, as UNC was
leading by a field goal heading into the 4th, and was actually driving to tie
the game on their very final possession. UNC may beat Duke to end the year, but
if they do not, they are staring 1-11 down without so much as a flinch, much
less a blink.
Game Outlook: This week UNC will get worked by Notre Dame in South Bend.
This one will be over early, and this one will be ugly, as the Fighting Irish
continue their NBC sponsored big-bad wolf: “Let me in!” B.C.S. push.
Probability of an upset=6%
Virginia+10.5 @ Florida State O/U=41: (11.04, Saturday 12noon, Raycom)
- UVA strengths: 21st in total defense, Sacks/TFL, improving overall play.
- UVA weaknesses: TOP, Offense, protecting the QB.
- FSU strengths: 13th in stopping the Run, overall team speed, TFL.
- FSU weaknesses: 100th in Turnover Margin, Rushing Offense, Kickoff Returns.
Last Week: france is now a shocking one game below .500, and might be one
win away from getting to a certain Smurf-turf minor bowl after doubling-up N.C.
State at home in paris 14 to 7 last week. snelling rumbled for only 3` shy of a
triple-digit 100 yard day (would have been his 3rd in five games at that). The
maginot line held State to 69 yards on the ground. But hoo Pivot jameel sewell
may have taken a step backwards, as france was 2 for 11 in 3rd down converts,
and the hoo offense squandered four different trips into Wolfpac territory for
zero points during the 2nd and 3rd quarters of play. Averaging 5.5 yards per
throw will not get it done from here on out, but to their legit credit, france
has improved on the year.
All-everything FSU QB Xavier Lee finally made his starting debut, no thanks
to a foot injury to incumbent Pivot Drew Weatherford. When I studied last week’s
Box Score, it is very tough to see how FSU did not win? As the ‘Noles held
edges in every single statistical category, excepting a -1 turnover margin, and
a few more yellow-flags. Those round things you see rolling along the
Tallahassee campus are know as wheels, as they have now officially come off the
FSU 2006 band-wagon. The ‘Noles went on the road, racked up a 3rd best looking
girl you ever dated 176 on the ground, got a stellar pass catching day from
senior Chris Davis, and had a game tying field goal attempt to show for their
aforementioned statistical dominance. Welcome to the middle of the ACC pack FSU,
and here is the kicker: I now expect Head Coach Bobby Bowden has four, maybe
five games (counting a Bowl), left in his coaching career. FSU will not fire
Bobby, and how can Bobby fire his own nepotinistic son and FSU offensive
coordinator Jeff Bowden? Think that might lead to some interesting dinner-table
discussions? So I expect Bobby will just resign once this season ends.
Game Outlook: FSU is a staggering 2-4 in ACC conference play this year?
Yes they are! I would have never dreamed this, but france actually has some
chance here folks, even playing away. Ce qui enfer. france by 1, Zima on the
Probability of an upset=39%
Virginia Tech-3.5 @ Miami O/U=37: (11.04, Saturday 8pm, ABC)
- VT strengths: Branden “the mother-lode” Ore! Grit, guile, guts!
- VT weaknesses: OLine Depth, predictable offense has not topped 148 passing
- MiaFla strengths: 4th in Run Defense, 21st in Punting, great Defensive speed!
- MiaFla weaknesses: Announcers, Discipline, Rushing Offense, 3rd Down
Converts, QB Protection, Punt Returns.
Last Week: Branden Ore was looking like a 3rd round 2007 N.F.L.
draft-pick, Hall had an incredible eight first-half tackles, the Hokie defense
was gang-tackling, then patting people respectfully (pun intended) on the head.
Sean Glennon started off 6-of-7 passing, and we had 29 Yards After Contact (YAC:
bad Tiger tackling). Then a few bad breaks happened along the way to the
candyshop. Ryan Shuman ripped up his knee (jus’ as our offensive line was
starting to gel, per my Frye’s NorthLeastern injury timetable), and then Sean
Glennon went Bart Simpson’s favorite candybar, committing his 8th fumble of
the year. Earlier in the season vs. Georgia Tech, and two weeks ago up on
Chestnut Hill, that signaled the beginning of the end. But then 5th year senior
Will Proctor pulled a Butterfingers himself; that screeching sound you heard
were VT’s 2006 power-searing belts straining to hold the Spring Road, as the
Hokies made an ACC u-turn in the middle of Coastal no-where. EPIC coaching
effort by one Bud Foster! Frank needs to let Bud “zoom-zoom” the company car
around the Drill Field a couple of times for that. Maybe Bud’s best coaching
effort in 10+ years? WAR VT!!!
Miami on the other hand was in a position to salvage their season, delay the
second coming of Butch Davis, and put themselves in what is known as the Coastal
driver’s seat. But 17 4th quarter points by the Yellow-Jackets took care of
that, and clearly lessoned the importance of our game in So.Beach this Saturday
night. This just in: those of you waiting for Miami QB Kyle Wright to develop
can stop. After four years in the ‘Cane football program, and 20 starts, Kyle
is the Jack Nicholson of ACC QBs, As Good As It Gets.
Game Outlook: Our chances to win this game went way, way up with GT
beating Miami last week. Think the once proud ‘Canes care to scrap for the
Gator vs. the Champs Sports Bowl invite? That’s a big N.C. (No chance) and we
are on a roll. I like that.
Probability of an upset=the number of light-years in a parsec^3 or about 35%