And down the stretch they come. UNC woke up, NCSU went back to sleep, and Idaho accidentally embarrassed two teams in the conference. Just another week at the office, really.
UNC 80, Old Dominion 20 - A funny thing happened to UNC when they lost their starting quarterback and Marquise Williams took over: They got good. As in, really good. As in "Nick Foles" level stuff here. Now, beating an FCS team by 60 points at home isn't the same as, I don't know, beating East Carolina, but it's a damn sight better than Florida managed to pull off this week. Saturday, the Heels play Duke in a game that actually has consequences and isn't being played indoors. Madness rules the Triangle, I tell you.
Duke 28, Wake Forest 21 - Speak of the Blue Devils, they pulled out a squeaker over a Wake team that's better than its record but worse than its talent. Duke now controls its destiny in the Coastal division going into the Saturday grudge match, but they're going to have to step up their game - the series of squeakers they've pulled out recently seems eerily reminiscent of the tightrope Miami walked before their reckoning at the hands of Florida State.
Florida State 80, Idaho 14 - It is worth noting that Idaho put up more points on the Seminoles than either Syracuse or Wake. Of course, the big question around the 'holes is not whether they'll win out - a defanged Gators squad doesn't look like it's going to put up much resistance this weekend - but whether their Heisman front-runner QB is going to get charged with sexual assault, which could cause him to miss some games. The internet reaction in certain quarters thus far has been that the potential for missing games is far more important than the other half of that equation, which pretty much sums up everything that's wrong with sports in our society. But man, can Winston through a pretty deep ball.
Georgia Tech 66, Alabama A&M 7 - I had no idea Alabama A&M had a football team. Heck, I'm not sure I knew there was an Alabama A&M at all. Regardless, this is the time of year when rich teams pad their schedules with dessert in the form of a cupcake, and cupcakes pad their athletic department budgets by agreeing to go on the road to get mauled. See also: this week's Clemson, UNC, and FSU games.
Clemson 52, The Citadel 6 - The latest stop on the "Tajh Boyd tries to remind ESPN he's still relevant" tour.
Pittsburgh 17, Syracuse 16 - Two deeply uninteresting former Big East teams play football and a mud wrestling match breaks out. Seems about right.
Miami 45, Virginia 26 - There are two possible explanations for Miami finally getting back on track here. One is that their defense did enough scoring to make the absence of their injured offensive skill players irrelevant. The other is that Virginia is terrible. I'll take C: All of the above.
East Carolina 42, NC State 28 - ECU is 8 points, including an overtime loss, away from an undefeated season. They have a serious passing game, and play just enough defense to be interesting. In all probability, they are the best college team in the state of North Carolina. NCSU…is not.
Boston College 29, Maryland 26 - This weekend, Maryland plays NCSU in their farewell to the ACC. Local sports radio guys are demanding that State whup up on them, then hand them a bill after the game as punishment for their temerity for daring to leave the hallowed traditions of the ACC. These same guys are giddy with glee over the notion of Syracuse and Pittsburgh now being a part of the ACC, having left the hallowed traditions of the Big East. Consistency, as they say, is the hobgoblin of small minds. In any case, Maryland is mediocre, but they're better than State, and will probably go out victorious before getting thumped in the Beef o'Brady's Bowl or something. BC has had a better year than they had any right to, buoyed largely by running back Andre Williams, who's now leading the "people not currently under investigation for sexual assault" category of the Heisman race. Williams is up over 2000 yards, and is likely to pad his totals extensively against Syracuse. Then again, he doesn't have a weird nickname, wasn't suspended for a half for improper autograph signings, and plays for a team that will likely wrap up with 8 wins. So, it was fun while it lasted.