Sunday, October 13, 2013

Weekly ACC Football Roundup: Pack It Up Edition

For three quarters, Clemson was in serious danger of Clemsoning all over themselves again. Up against a feisty but underpowered Boston College team - remember, these guys got creamed by Kiffiny USC - they were down 14-10 going into the late stages. Then, finally, they realized that they were ranked #3 in the country and BC wasn't, and that was that. Still, it was a nice effort for a BC team that seems to have found its second win, and which will probably finish better than expected.

NC State loses to Syracuse, which may in fact be worse than a loss to Richmond would have been. The Spiders, at least, have a habit of pulling that kind of upset. Syracuse - well, the 'cuse is just bad. (Seriously. Take out their 54-0 stomping of FCS opponent Wagner and they go to 169 passing yard a game, and an average point differential of  +7 to -2. Cupcakes, as they say, are filling.) Pack fans may have been up in arms to forcibly launch Tom O'Brien into orbit after last year, but games like this are a stark reminded that for years, he did a pretty good job with what he had to work with.

Virginia Tech beat Pittsburgh, as they should. Again, the margin of victory was uncomfortably close, as the Hokie offense seems to have massive trouble getting into gear. Apart from Miami , there doesn't seem to be anyone left on the Hokies' schedule who can make them pay for their inability to score, but that ought to be enough. As for Pitt, they look to continue their habit of beating up second graders for their lunch money, and then dutifully turning it over to the fifth graders who beat them up instead.

Maryland seems to have suddenly realized it's Maryland, barely squeaking out a win over a wobbling Virginia team. This is par for the course for a Randy Edsall outfit - do something big early, then stagger to the finish line. They ought to scrape together a couple of wins from a remaining schedule that includes Wake Forest, NC State, Syracuse, and BC, but their back nine is going to look a lot worse than their approach. As for UVA, 4 wins looks like their ceiling at this point.

The stat line for Georgia Tech-BYU looks pretty even, until you realize that BYU ran wild in the first half and then slapped it into cruise control. Run-first teams have a hard time coming back from big deficits. For one thing, running the ball takes time off the clock. For another, when they finally do unlimber the pass in desperation, they tend to be less-than-polished with it. End result: 7-20 passing, a couple of big turnovers in the 4th quarter, and BYU avenges its loss at the hands of Virginia.

And finally, Duke beat Navy in the only really satisfying result for the league all weekend. Kudos to the Duke defense for tightening up against a creditable opponent.The same lessons from the BYU-GT game apply here, of course - running teams win when they play from ahead. When they try to come back, that's when you get sub-30 QB ratings.

Next week, it's a clash of the titans as Clemson takes on Florida State, and Miami hopes a meteor hits the stadium. Meanwhile, Pitt gets Old Dominion in the only non-conference game. Good seats, still available for that one.

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