The ACC Coastal crown now rests comfortably upon Georgia Tech’s head.
But the Atlantic Division still has some shaking out to do. Wake will host
our Hokies, then the Demon-Deacs travel to play Maryland, who has a tough game
up on Chestnut Hill this weekend vs. a still improving Boston College. My
Atlantic pick? I’m taking an intentional Delay Of Game penalty, as I need more
room to punt. Why? Because it is my prognostication that both Wake and Maryland
will be beaten this weekend.
Then there’s this absurdity…what odds would Vegas have quoted you on both
Florida State and Miami of Florida staying home, in the Panhandle State for the
2006 bowl season? 500:1? 1000:1? More? As the ACC Florida football teams that
were picked by nearly everyone to play in the 2006 ACC Championship Game, may
indeed miss this bowl season. FSU must beat Western Michigan, because they won’t
beat Florida to close the year. Miami must beat france in paris, as they
match-up pretty tough to close 2006, having to host the Boston College
Flying-Eagles, who will still be competing for an elevated bowl bid at that
B’streets ACC Rankings:
#1 Wake Forest (they are playing the best overall ball in the ACC right now)
#2 Virginia Tech (the best defense in all of D-1 lives in Blacksburg, VA)
#3 Gah.Tech (gonna win the Coastal Division, but we could beat them today)
#4 Maryland (they do not win pretty; but the Terps do win often)
#5 Boston College (had their Jacksonville destiny in their own hands, not any
#6 Clemson (see above)
#7 Florida State (Coach Bowden’s days are numbered; which Bowden, or is it
#8 Miami of Florida (there is no “U” in Boise)
#9 france (they did beat NC State head to head after all, beret-fest begins
#10 NC State (where is 1986 Peach Bowl QB Erik Kramer when you need him?)
#11 UNC (loaded Men’s hoops team, ready to reverse this ACC pecking order)
#119 Duke (Men’s Hoops team worked Ivy League Columbia this past weekend)
Current ACC Standings
This Week’s Games
Western Michigan+15.5 @ Florida State O/U=44: (11.11 Saturday 2pm,
- FSU strengths: Passing Offense, 9th in Run Defense, 10th in Total
- FSU weaknesses: 98th in Rushing, 111th in Kickoff Returns, 106th in Turnover
- WMich strengths: 8th in Run Defense, 10th in Turnover Margin, Sacks/TFL.
- W.Mich weaknesses: G.Darnell has left the building; Ryan Cubit still plays
college football (WMU’s QB), 90th in Passing Offense, 115th in Net Punting.
Last week was the first time ever in Brubaker Bowden’s 31 years as FSU head
football coach that the ‘Noles took a goose-egg in Doak Campbell Stadium? Yup,
and yikes! As Wake Forest turned a 0-30 trick the wrong way, down in front of
cow-girl Jenn’s favorite football team. But just’ how bad was last weekend?
Check it out: FSU had 26 yards rushing, completed 32% of their passes, converted
7% of their 3rd down attempts, were held to 139 total yards, chalked up an ugly
-4 turnover margin, and was shut-out for the first time in 232 games. WOW! That’s
hysterically bad for an FSU football team at home. But they did show some class
by wearing #95 on their helmets to honor the memory of recently departed Miami
of Florida DT Bryan Pata. Props for that. I did try to find some FSU positives,
but even 400 yards of punting does not impress me here.
This week Florida State catches a very nice 7-3 Western Michigan football
team at home. This one is no gimmie, in spite of the fact that WMU looked really
bad last week on Friday night national TV. WMU’s pass defense looks
susceptible to me, but FSU does have seven ballers in their 3-deep out for the
year, and four other’s banged-up. FSU must win one of their last two (they
close with Florida away) to be Bowl eligible, ergo, the ‘Noles stay home this
Probability of upset=40%
Maryland+7 @ Boston College (O/U=41): (11.11, Saturday 12noon, ESPN)
- MU strengths: Special Teams play, QB protection, scrappy, gutty football
- MU weaknesses: 102nd in Total Offense, 101st in Rushing Defense.
- BC strengths: Special Teams play, 14th in Turnover Margin, Sacks/TFL.
- BC weaknesses: still fielding a somewhat shaky Pass Defense, Defensive
Senior Maryland Pivot Sam Hollenbach really seems to have found himself as
starting QB’s go, as he averaged a NFL’esq 36 yards per completion during
the first two quarters of play last week vs. Miami of Florida up in College
Park, and is hitting on a sizzling 67% of his passes over his last six games.
Maybe it’s the new Black jerseys? Maybe it’s the now expired Under Armor
contract? Whatever it is…only three points separate Maryland from being
perfect in 2006 ACC play. Last week the Terps were dominated in the following
categories by Miami, but still won by 1 point: TOP, 3rd down conversions,
rushing yards, and total yards. Think about that. Jim Grobe may be the sexy pick
for ACC Coach of the year, but Ralphie Friedgen gets my vote. I can explain to
you how Wake wins, though I have no idea how the Terrapins are not a .500 (or
worse) ball-club right now??? As Maryland has won their last six football game
by an average of 2.25 points!
RB Andre Callender rushed for 105 on the day, only to be trumped by RB L.V.
Whitworth’s 118, as the Flying-Eagle’s allegedly vaunted rushing attack
finally got itself on track with a season high 241 on the ground. QB Matt Ryan
was his normal efficient self, completing passes to 12 different WR’s, as B.C.
rolled to an ACC season high of 31 first downs! B.C. has been beaten twice on
2006 by an average of 3.5 points, so in reality just two plays stand between the
Flying-Eagles and perfection. In fact, B.C. could very well be the best
all-around football team in the ACC right now, as they currently have 15 outta
17 units ranked above average in the 17 NCAA categorical team rankings. BC does
a lotta things well to downright good, does nothing poorly, but lacks true
star-power to finish those above 3.5 points off. A very good year that was
pretty dog-gone close to being great, that’s 2006 for BC.
Quick, if all I tell you is team M has been out gained in nine straight
football games, you would say their record is what: 7-2? Me neither. But that’s
how the BIG-boy rolls. I’ve yet to understand how Maryland wins as often as
they have, but they do not quit, and they do not beat themselves. Terps’ QB
Sam Hollenbach’s improved play gives them a real shot up in bean-towne, but I’ll
go with the home team Flying Eagles by seven.
Probability of upset=42%
N.C. State-5 @ North Carolina O/U=39.5: (11.18, Saturday 12noon,
- NCS strengths: Return Teams, protecting the QB, Pass Defense, Health.
- NCS weaknesses: 95th in Total Offense, 100th in Turnover Margin, Passing
- UNC strengths: Return Teams, Pass Defense, Men’s Hoops team.
- UNC weaknesses: 2nd from last in Turnover Margin, 110th in Run Defense,
Other than State QB Daniel Evans’ suspect 25% passing, the Wolfpac looked
primed to pull the upset after two quarters of play against Clemson. Tony Baker
had a buck-17 rushing, and State had a cute girl attractive +1 turnover margin.
So your RB finishes with 173 on the ground and you win by how much? -6? Yup.
State got beat. As the Wolfpac defense bent then broke for 219 yards allowed on
the ground, and State QB Evans’ was only able to muster 3.4 yards per pass
attempt. Then to top all of that off, Clemson elected to kick a rub-it-in 26
yard FG with 3 seconds left in the game! That’ll snap any camel’s proverbial
16 penalties on the day for -120 in reverse, a negative turnover margin and
barely a bicentennial offensive output of 207 yards is no way to win a football
game. But it is a good way for finish 1 for 11 on the year. UNC LB Chase Rice
had a nice day, swarming the ball in run support, and even picking off his first
career pass. But junior Tar-Heel QB Joe Dailey could only complete 13 outta 31
passes, for a lowly 4.6 yards per pass attempt. That’s not gonna beat too many
football teams, nor will being held below 10 points for the 4th time all year,
and actually being shut-out for the second time on 2006 really does limit UNC’s
chances to win.
Tough to pick a winner here, but this ACC football game jus’ has that MLB
look and feel to it. I’ll say State 7 to 3, in a baseball scoring kinda day.
Probability of upset=45%
Duke+26.5 @ Georgia Tech O/U=43: (11.18, Saturday 1:30pm, Gametracker)
- Duke strengths: Kickoff Returns, TFL, had (past tense) a nice Defense.
- Duke weaknesses: 9 unit rankings of 100th or worst out of 17, ’nuff typed.
- GT strengths: #1 in Net Punting in all of D-1, 17th vs. the Run, Sacks/TFL,
- GT weaknesses: Reggie Ball still only 76th in Passing Efficiency, Return
Duke went up to Chestnut Hill last week and only got beat by 21. I guess that’s
something. But Duke’s once formidable stop-unit allowed two different Boston
College RB’s to crack the century mark, while allowing the Flying Eagles to
top 500 total yards on the day. Duke’s offense was actually not all that bad,
as they did rush for a very reasonable 170 on the ground. But it sure is tough
to overcome Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis’ hatchet like 5:13 passing ratio (TDs:INTs),
when he only completes every other pass on the year. The Blue-Devils do have an
all together decent top-11 ballers on defense, but the lurid Duke offense has
hung them out to dry in terms of being on the field way too often throughout the
year. Duke vs. UNC on November the 25th, someone has to win, but the only real
winners are the people who do not watch.
After 30 minutes of play Gah.Tech was only up one play, trailed UNC by 11
total yards, and was about to go dog-race-track cruelty and run poor Tashard
Choice into the ground. As dude was on pace for a whopping 39 carries on the
day, yikes! Choice did finish with 111 yards on 31 hardcore carries, but it was
Reggie Ball being Reggie Ball and only connecting on 40% of his throws as the
Rambling-Wreck only managed seven points on the 111th ranked scoring defense all
day that kept this one much close than it should have been. In fact, GT was bad
for a paltry 225 total yards on the day. But this meager road win did sew up the
ACC Coastal crown for the Yellow-Jackets. That’s all they needed, that’s all
they wanted, that’s all they got.
Georgia Tech wins, the only matter of consideration is by how much? I’ll
say by only two plays, as the Yellow-Jackets will try to rest a few starters and
give some departing ballers some extra PT in their final home football game
Probability of an upset=1 divided by 0, or unknown.
Miami-3 @ Virginia O/U=37: (11.18 Saturday 12noon, Raycom)
- UVA strengths: 21st in Total Defense, Kickoff Returns, Health, Sacks/TFL.
- UVA weaknesses: 113th in Total Offense, 99th in QB protection, Passing Ratio.
- MiaFla strengths: 3rd in Run Defense, 5th in Total Defense, 9th in Net
- MiaFla weaknesses: 80th in Scoring Offense, Return Teams, motivation?
So.Beach newbie starting QB Kirby Freeman opened up with a sensational 174
all-purpose yards to begin last week’s game vs. Maryland. Another thing ‘Cane-fan
should enjoy is Miami played hard and clean all day, only being whistled for two
penalties for 10 yards. A yeoman’s effort very worthy of the memory of
recently departed 23 game starting DT Bryan Pata, as the ‘Canes has 12 more
first downs, out-gained the Terps by 62 yards, and held the ball for nearly a
full quarter of play longer than Maryland did on the day. But a -2 turnover
margin did Miami in. Oddly enough both Sunshine State football teams now need a
win in their final two to become bowl eligible. “Winning is habit forming,
unfortunately so is losing.” –Vincent Thomas Lombardi- Preach on
St.Vince, preach on.
The french were OFF last week, so there is not much to recap for them. But al
deGroh’s offense really needs some work to prep for this week’s ACC
match-up. As the FB playing TB named jason snelling was held to 60 yards rushing
by the lightening-fast FSU defense two weeks ago. Speed has always been france’s
number one enemy, just ask the year know as 1940, and remember that when
November the 25th rolls around.
This week, I gotta somehow like the home team on the champs-elysees. This is
a pick based on Miami running outta 2006 steam more so than anything else.
Lottsa ugly on field-trouble, multiplied by obviously way too much off-field
terminal force. : (
Probability of an upset=45%
Virginia Tech (even) @ Wake Forest (O/U=38.5): (11.18, Saturday 7pm,
- VT strengths: no Defensive unit ranked lower than 3rd best! Return Teams,
- VT weaknesses: 94th in Total Offense, 84th in Protecting the QB, is Ore
- WF strengths: lottsa momentum, 10th in Turnover Margin, 8th in Scoring
Defense, 8th in Net Punting.
- WF weaknesses: skill position health, Pass Defense, Passing Offense is 108th.
Ore averaged 2.1 yards per rush, Glennon checked in at 43% passing, producing
4.1 yards per attempt. Not much was working in the first 30 minutes of play
offensively for our Hokies. The lone offensive bright spot was Brandon Pace, who
connected on his 19th straight FGA, well on his way towards winning the 2006 Lou
Groza Award. But at least our defense looked better than great, only allowing
182 total yards on the day and creating a +2 turnover margin. That’s tight.
But pitching our 3rd shut-out on the year is even tighter, and that has not
happened since the 2001 Hokie defense tossed four perfect games on the year. To
top that off Bud’s stop-unit scored its 28th point of the year! Nic Schmidt
had one of his better career days, bombing punts for an all-conference quality
48 yard average. On defense Vince Hall had a season high of 15 total tackles.
Tight, tighter, tightest, that was the Hokie stop-unit last Saturday afternoon,
yet another A+++ Hokie defensive effort.
Wake set a seasonal record for most wins ever (9, breaking Bill Dooley’s
old mark of 8), broke a 33 year non-winning streak vs. FSU, and won in
Tallahassee for the first time since 1959! That’s all the Demon-Deacs did last
week folks. Coming into this FSU game, Wake had won four straight ACC games by
an average of 4.25 points. In looking back, Wake was more efficient than
excellent last week, despite such a lofty looking score. As four FSU turnovers
gave the Demon-Deacs three short-fields to play on deep in Seminole territory.
But Wake was quite surgical: 68% passing, only four yellow-flags and nearly a 10
minute TOP edge says as much. Great win for Wake, and mega props to them, but
can they beat us???
IF Frye and Ore are good to go: in short, “no”. The above ACC margin of
victory stat makes me feel confident that we will win. As we are Wake’s worst
(defensive) match-up of the year. BOOK THAT!!! The ‘Noles have defensive
speed, we to have defensive speed, but the kicker here is that we also have the
other key ingredient to beating Wake’s counter-based rushing attack: defensive
assignment-discipline. “Don’t worry, be Hokie.” — Dr. Isani- Williams
Probability of an upset=39%