Thursday, November 14, 2013

Your ACC Roundup: Why Even Bother Edition

I'm not even going to bother breaking this one up. There's no point. Any given week in the ACC can be summed up in two sentences: Florida State beat holy hell out of someone, and everyone else might as well have played rock-paper-scissors. (Well, except Virginia. Because they probably lost.)

On the surface, Florida State's 59-3 stomping of Wake Forest doesn't seem as impressive as it might have been. Less than 300 total yards? Of course, you don't have to rack up a lot of yards when your defense keeps giving you the ball inside the opponent's 20. So as 56 point victories go, it was kind of a gentle mauling. The real takeaway, of course, is that FSU is that much better than anyone else in the conference even on days when they don't really show up. Meanwhile, Ohio State fans, whose program is getting knocked for playing in a weak conference, can only watch in frothing-mouthed fury.

UNC 45, Virginia 14 - Suddenly the Tar Heels have risen from the ashes, and are almost-sorta-kinda contenders in their division. Virginia, however, remains covered in ashes. Their first five drives all ended in punts, and only one went more than 15 yards.

Boston College 48, New Mexico State 34 - NMSU is 1-9. Their only victory is over Abilene Christian, which I'm fairly certain is the name of an old Merle Haggard B-side. They lost to UTEP, New Mexico, Rice, and Louisiana-Lafayette by larger margins than they lost to Boston College.

Syracuse 20, Maryland 3 - Maryland started the season 4-0, people. Four and Oh. Then Florida State beat them like Keith Moon's snare drum, and they've won one game - a squeaker over Virginia - since. At some point you'd expect they'd get up off the canvas and win that last game to get bowl eligible, but coach Randy Edsall's never been big on followthrough.

Duke 38, NCSU 20 - At one point, State was up 20-17. Thirty seconds later, they were down 38-20. The lesson here is that pick sixes are bad, people, m'kay? NCSU can be justifiably proud of the fact that three of its alumni are starting QBs in the NFL right now. That being said, four's looking like it might be a bit of a stretch. Duke, meanwhile, has quietly turned into the second- or third-best team in the league, and they'll get to prove it all over Miami this weekend.

Virginia Tech 42, Miami 24 - And so the wild rumpus for first place in the division, and the right to get masticated by FSU in the title game, begins. Tech pulls out of its two-game free fall by beating the hell out of a Miami team that was still clearly gassed from the previous week's pounding. 3-12 on 3rd down and less than 30 yards rushing total say all that needs to be said. Now, the league offices are rooting for VaTech for the simple reason that they don't want a rematch in the conference title game that would also serve as a second round of spankings. They want fresh meat so they can at least pretend the paying audience is buying tickets for a football game and not a ritual sacrifice. So, sorry, Duke. Everyone but you wants you to lose next week, so VT can start sealing up that title game bid. Trust us, it's for your own good.

Pitt 28, #23 Notre Dame 21 - OK, everyone sing it with me - "O-ver-RA-ted!" Every time Notre Dame gets any traction in football, they immediately get Flubbered to the top of the polls based on the ghost of Ara Parseghian or something. Then they skate by a series of close calls until they're inevitably exposed. Usually, they're just lucky enough to have it happen before bowl season. Then you throw in the fact that at this point, they've got a toothbrush, three changes of clothes and a couple of stuffed animals staying permanently at the ACC's place but insists that in football, they're still open to seeing other people and, well, this had to feel good for someone in the league office. Watching an overrated ranked team get exposed by a Pitt team that came back and sealed the deal with a pair of 4th quarter interceptions had to be sweet. Watching a Pitt team that had lost to every FBS team on its schedule with a winning record except one pull it out had to feel like the Miracle on Ice.

And in the meantime, Georgia Tech is in first place in the Coastal Division. Not Virginia Tech. Not the Miami team that was top 5 in the country a few weeks ago. Georgia Tech. This week, they get Clemson, the ACC's equivalent of an angry drunk looking to pick a fight.
It's going to be a lot of fun looking at the division standings next week.
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