Around the ACC: October 20, 2011

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After another week of games, only one unbeaten ACC team remains. The Atlantic
Division is likely a two-team race, while four teams have one loss in the
Coastal Division. An upset in Charlottesville has muddied the Coastal waters,
and the Hokies find themselves in great shape in the middle of October.

There were no huge surprises in the ACC last week, though the UVA win over
Georgia Tech was an upset.

Miami 30, UNC 24
Florida State 41, Duke 16
Virginia 24, Georgia Tech 21
Virginia Tech 38, Wake Forest 17
Clemson 56, Maryland 45

Only six of the ACC’s 12 teams have winning records right now, while Miami
and Florida State did not record their first conference victory until this past
weekend. Clemson, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech have already qualified for
bowls, while North Carolina isn’t far behind.

Atlantic Coastal
Team Overall Conf. Team Overall Conf.
Clemson 7-0 4-0 Georgia Tech 6-1 3-1
Wake Forest 4-2 3-1 Virginia Tech 6-1 2-1
Florida State 3-3 1-2 Virginia 4-2 1-1
Maryland 2-4 1-2 Duke 3-3 1-1
NC State 3-3 0-2 North Carolina 5-2 1-2
Boston College 1-5 0-3 Miami 3-3 1-2

Clemson and Wake Forest will battle it out in the Atlantic Division, while
Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech are the top two Coastal Division contenders.
Virginia can also be considered a dark horse after they upset the Yellow Jackets
in Charlottesville this past weekend.

Georgia Tech’s Offense Running out of Steam

Remember early in the season when Georgia Tech’s offense was unstoppable? Not
so much anymore. The Yellow Jackets seem to be running out of gas, particularly
in their last two games – a narrow win over Maryland a loss to UVA.

We all know that Georgia Tech can run the football, but how dominant their
offense can be depends on how well they can throw the football. As the Yellow
Jackets have gotten into the meat of their ACC schedule, their passing numbers
have gone down, while their interceptions have gone up.

Georgia Tech Offense
Opp. Total Yards Passing
Western Carolina 662 365 0
MTSU 596 214 0
Kansas 768 164 0
UNC 496 184 1
NC State 413 117 0
Maryland 386 114 1
Virginia 296 24 2

The Georgia Tech offense looked very scary against those first three opponents.
However, Western Carolina is a bad 1-AA team. Middle Tennessee State is 112th
nationally in total defense. Kansas is a terrible defensive team, allowing 594
yards per game against their 1-A opponents.

Since the Yellow Jackets hit conference play, and their quality of opponents
started going up, their offensive production has gone down each and every week.
Notice that their total yards and passing yards have gone down ever since that
UNC game.

Quarterback Tevin Washington is just 8-of-27 for 138 yards with two
interceptions over the last two football games. Georgia Tech is a much more
dangerous team when they are balanced, but ever since their competition has
started getting better, they haven’t been balanced. Paul Johnson badly needs to
find a way to get the passing game going again, because their next three
opponents are Miami, Clemson and Virginia Tech.

VT Offense Had an Off Night Against Clemson

We said it then, and we’ll say it now. The Clemson defense played well
against Virginia Tech, but that 23-3 loss was mostly the Virginia Tech offense
playing poorly and playing hurt. Logan Thomas was banged up, as was Jarrett
Boykin, and Marcus Davis couldn’t go either. The passing attack sputtered as a
result, and the Hokies couldn’t punch the ball in the end zone all night.

Clemson Defense
Opp. Points Rush Yards Pass Yards Total Yards
Troy 19 165 258 423
Wofford 27 272 127 399
Auburn 24 237 198 435
FSU 30 29 336 365
Virginia Tech 3 133 125 258
Boston College 14 126 132 258
Maryland 45 291 177 468
Average 23.14 179.00 193.29 372.29

Virginia Tech managed just three points against Clemson, while everyone else has
scored at least 14. The Hokies were held well under the average in rushing yards
and passing yards, and are tied with Boston College (who has a very bad offense)
for least amount of yards gained against Clemson this season.

You’ve got to give Clemson credit for coming into Lane Stadium and playing a
good game. That being said, when everyone else (except Boston College) was able
to move the ball successfully against the Tigers, you’ve got to think the night
of October 1 was more about the Tech offense playing poorly and being hurt than
about the Clemson defense playing well.

Perhaps Virginia Tech will get a chance to prove that in a rematch in the ACC
Championship Game in Charlotte.

Regis Suspended by Miami

Miami head coach Al Golden has suspended starting senior defensive tackle
Minacor Regis for Saturday’s matchup with Georgia Tech. Regis was caught on film
punching UNC wide receiver Dwight Jones in the groin in last weekend’s 30-24
Miami victory.

Saturday wasn’t the first rodeo for Regis. He was captured on film (see
below) choking Logan Thomas during the VT-Miami game earlier this month.

Losing their most experienced interior defensive lineman could put Miami at a
disadvantage when they play Georgia Tech’s efficient triple option attack.

The Weekend Schedule and Picks

There are a couple of games this Saturday that will be critical for the
Atlantic and Coastal Division races.

Weekend Schedule
Game Time TV
UNC at Clemson Noon ESPN
Wake at Duke 12:30 ACC Network
BC at VT 3:00 RSN
GT at Miami 3:30 ESPN
Maryland at FSU 3:30 ABC/ESPN2
NC State at UVA 3:30 ESPNU

North Carolina has the defensive talent to slow down the Clemson offense and
upset the Tigers. On the other hand, if the Tar Heels lose, they are finished in
the Coastal Division race. Georgia Tech and Miami also play a huge game on
Saturday afternoon on ESPN, and the Yellow Jackets have the opportunity to
finish off Miami in the Coastal Division.

I went just 3-2 with my picks last week, and I’m now 43-15 on the season. I
called the Maryland upset over Clemson, and it was looking good, but then that
pesky fourth quarter happened. Here are this week’s picks:

North Carolina over Clemson
Wake Forest over Duke
Virginia Tech over Boston College
Miami over Georgia Tech
Florida State over Maryland
UVA over NC State

Some of those games are tough to call. It’s possible, with UNC and Miami
losses, that Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and Virginia will be the only remaining
contenders in the Coastal Division. Either way, we’ve got a pretty good
afternoon of ACC football on tap.

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