Around the ACC: October 14, 2011

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This was supposed to be the year where the Florida schools stepped up and
really contributed to the success of the ACC. After another week of football,
the opposite is true. Florida State and Miami are a combined 4-6, with an 0-4
record in conference play.

Florida State has defeated Louisiana-Monroe (1-4) and Charleston Southern
(0-5). Miami has defeated Ohio State (3-3) and Bethune-Cookman (2-3). Of those
four bad teams, only Ohio State has defeated a 1-A opponent this season. Neither
Florida school has been able to beat a good team this season.

Last week’s games shook out like this …

Georgia Tech 21, Maryland 16
North Carolina 14, Louisville 7
Wake Forest 35, Florida State 30
Clemson 36, Boston College 14
NC State 38, Central Michigan 24
Virginia Tech 38, Miami 35

Despite not playing particularly well this week, I still have Georgia Tech at
the top of the power rankings, but its close between them and Clemson.

ACC
Power Rankings
Rank Team
1 Georgia Tech
2 Clemson
3 North Carolina
4 Virginia Tech
5 Wake Forest
6 Miami
7 Florida State
8 Duke
9 Maryland
10 Virginia
11 NC State
12 Boston College

There are only four teams with an unblemished record in the ACC: Georgia Tech,
Clemson, Wake Forest and Duke. We all know what will happen to Duke in the long
run, and I’m not quite ready to set Wake up as a major contender as of yet. That
said, the likely ACC Champion is going to come from this group of teams: Georgia
Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest, UNC and Virginia Tech. With an 0-2 record in the
ACC, Florida State and Miami are basically finished.

Big Dates in the ACC

Keep in mind the following matchups in the ACC, and how they could have an
effect on the ACC Championship.

October 15: Miami at UNC, Virginia Tech at Wake. Miami has the talent to hand
UNC their second ACC loss. If the Hokies lose at Wake, their Coastal Division
chances will take a serious hit.

October 22: Georgia Tech at Miami, North Carolina at Clemson. Miami has the
talent to beat Georgia Tech’s option, but do they have the discipline? UNC has
the potential to give Clemson a stern test.

October 29: Clemson at Georgia Tech, Wake Forest at UNC. When the Tigers and
Jackets meet later this month, it could be the first of two meetings this
season. Wake and UNC has the potential to be a very important game as well.

November 10: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech. This could be a battle for the
Coastal Division Championship.

November 12: Wake Forest at Clemson. This could be a battle for the Atlantic
Division Championship.

November 17: UNC at Virginia Tech. If the Hokies manage to get past by
Georgia Tech, they’ll still need to beat a talented UNC team.

What happened to Danny O’Brien?

If you watched the Miami-Maryland game to open the season, you probably
though Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien was the best player at his position in
the ACC. He torched the Canes on that Monday night, and he was terrific as a
freshman in 2010. Since that opening game however, his performance has tailed
off, and he’s even been benched.

Danny O’Brien
Game Comp. Att. Yards TD INT
Miami 31 44 348 1 1
WVU 34 52 289 1 3
Temple 17 33 153 0 1
Towson 14 21 123 2 0
GT 1 6 17 0 1

Totals
97 156 930 4 6

Those numbers make a pass efficiency rating of 113.02, which ranks him #92 in
the country. That’s almost as bad as it gets, and it’s a huge dropoff after he
looked so dominant in the rain against Miami in week one.

It’s obvious that Maryland is not a good football team, and a lot of their
problems were masked by playing a depleted Miami team that opening weekend.
Still, O’Brien is nowhere as good as he was a year ago, and that is surprising.

The Terps host Clemson this week, and there’s a chance we could see O’Brien
as well as sophomore C.J. Brown. Quarterback controversies generally aren’t
good, but Randy Edsall is grasping at straws at this point.

The Weekend Schedule and Picks

There are some entertaining games going on around the ACC this week. The
action starts at 12:30, and lasts all day.

ACC Weekend Schedule
Game Time TV
Miami at UNC 12:30 ACC Network
Florida State at Duke 3:30 RSN
Georgia Tech at UVA 3:30 ESPNU
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest 6:30 ESPN3
Clemson at Maryland 7:00 ESPNU

Miami and North Carolina play in a very important game on the ACC Network. If
the Canes lose, they’ll drop to 2-4 and 0-3 in the ACC. They’ll be in danger of
not going to a bowl for the first time since 2007. If the Tar Heels lose,
they’ll have two ACC losses, including one to Georgia Tech. Their chances of
winning the Coastal Division would basically be gone.

Georgia Tech at UVA is an interesting matchup. The Hoos had an extra week to
prepare for Paul Johnson and his triple option offense. At the same time, UVA is
using two quarterbacks, and they don’t look as good as they did at the beginning
of the season.

Virginia Tech at Wake Forest is an important game. If the Hokies drop their
second ACC contest of the season, and with Georgia Tech and UNC still on the
schedule, then a second trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game is
unlikely. The Demon Deacons are in the middle of their first 3-0 ACC start in
school history, and they’ll be fired up for a home night game against a ranked
team.

The Terps played very good defense against the Georgia Tech offense last
week, and this is the type of game that always seemed to trip Clemson up in the
past.

I went 4-2 last week, and the record for the season is 40-13. Here are the
picks for this week …

Miami over UNC
Florida State over Duke
Georgia Tech over UVA
Virginia Tech over Wake Forest
Maryland over Clemson

It’s probably a silly pick, but Maryland seems to play pretty well at home in
night games. Their defense was much better against Georgia Tech, and Clemson is
due to lose to an inferior team at some point.

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