On the surface, Week 6 - the first full week of conference play - looked pretty normal in the ACC. After the giddy heights of the first few weeks and the mayhem of weeks 4 and 5, it was almost a relief to get into conference play and have favorite pretty much run the table. But even in the midst of a sea of the expected - like, say, Florida State pummeling Wake Forest like they were re-enacting the Hulk-Loki scene in Avengers - there is still proof that we got some things wrong. Namely:
We are very sorry for saying NC State might be the second-best team in the ACC. At best they had a hangover after letting the game against FSU slip away; at worst they've shot their bolt and won't get far now that they're not playing Northwest Rhode Island Welding Institute's JV squad. Clemson QB DeShaun Watson is laying claim to the Triangle as his own personal kingdom, having single-handedly throttled UNC the week before and led Clemson to a 31-0 lead by halftime. Even Clemson can't Clemson that sort of thing away. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack managed 154 total yards, including 35 yards passing. Just by way of comparison, Presbyterian managed 130 against NCSU. That's what they call a statement, gents. The line for second behind FSU starts with Clemson, and don't you forget it.
At the beginning of the season, conventional wisdom was that Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson was about out of rope. The conference had figured out his gimmick option, he couldn't win with his own players, and it was just a matter of time. Yeah. Wrong about that one, too. Taking advantage of thinner opponents, Tech has played Johnson's game plan to perfection as opponents have just worn down. This time the victim was Miami. It doesn't matter if you know what's coming if your entire team is too gassed to stop it.
Conventional wisdom also held that Larry Fedora was safe all year in Chapel Hill, largely because he hadn't gotten the NCAA called on the university again. But being 124th in the country in scoring defense and giving up an average of 42 a game is no way to hang onto a job. When letting Virginia Tech's normally sluggish offense hang 34 on you is a sign of notable improvement, you started in a very dark, very deep hole. When letting VT hang 34 on your makes your points allowed per game go down, you're doomed. And this week, it's #6 Notre Dame. Put down tarps, kids. This one could get ugly.