ACC Championship Assorted Thoughts

Posted by Brandon Rink on November 30, 2009 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Kyle Parker hoping to relive a strong performance against Georgia Tech earlier this season with fewer mistakes.

Kyle Parker hoping to relive a strong performance against Georgia Tech earlier this season with fewer mistakes.

Sure, last week sucked for both of these teams, but we are going to see a great game between Clemson and Georgia Tech this Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on the 4LN. Here are some thoughts I have going into my preview/prediction for the game…

  • Before the dud games that were Clemson-SC/Georgia-Georgia Tech, everyone could have gone with the, “boy, these teams have improved since their meeting in September. Now, we really do not know. Both offenses are definitely improved from the game still, but Georgia Tech made a number of mistakes/suffered some injuries while Clemson was shut down by the Gamecocks with a lot of pressure on Parker. It is hard to see where either team gained an advantage after last week.
  • The September matchup was a streaky game as the Jackets scored the first 24, Clemson put the next 27 on the board, and Georgia Tech would amass the final 6 points for the 30-27 victory.
  • Big plays are Clemson’s weapon and they burned Georgia Tech multiple times in game one of this two game series. C.J. Spiller had his moments, but Jacoby Ford broke out also and would have had the game-changing score in the 4th quarter if not for a (phantom) holding call.
  • There is no question that Georgia Tech’s passing game has become a lot smoother between September 10 and now as they have the 7th ranked efficient passing game in the nation.
  • Georgia Tech only put field goals on the board on their sustained drives vs. Clemson. Big passing and running plays like a huge run by Allen in the first quarter would be how the Jackets put TDs on the board.
  • Clemson sold out to stop the dive play with Dwyer with their big DTs in Jenkins and Thompson. Nesbitt and Allen were the most effective weapons for Georgia Tech.
  • Kyle Parker had a great day against the Jackets’ D with 3 TDs in his first road start. Having guys like Spiller and Ford help you in that area. The biggest weapon that was not being used back on September 10 that is a major factor now–is TEs Michael Palmer and Dwayne Allen in the passing game. They pick up key down conversions for the Tigers when the line can protect.
  • In light of what happened in those rivalry games, Georgia Tech should look to step up the pressure on Parker as it is their only shot to thwart the Tigers. Clemson, on the other hand, needs to follow the model of Georgia with keeping it on the ground for big yardage and ball control.
  • There are several troubling elements to Georgia Tech’s defense, but being 90th in the country in tackles for loss is not good. Means that Clemson should be moving forward with each play.
  • Clemson’s rushing defense has been suspect of late with Viriginia and South Carolina’s use of the wildcat package. If you watch the South Carolina game though, the defense made a number of stops and single-handedly kept Clemson in the game. In the Virginia game, they gave up 21 in the first half and zero in the second half.

There’s some of my thoughts going into the game…honestly, I do not have my pick locked and loaded yet…I will ask for your picks on Thursday when I give mine, but here’s your chance to sway me in one direction or the other with an argument. Should be a close game one way or the other.

OTB's ACC Power Poll: Week 13

Posted by Brandon Rink on November 29, 2009 under ACC Football | 2 Comments to Read

Read poems and wear sweatshirts!

Read poems and wear sweatshirts!

After a tumultuous regular season, we found out that the ACC sucks on the last weekend before the ACC Championship Game that lost a TON of luster this week. They still are good teams when they are on, but their losses to rivals are deflating for the teams and the conference and leave us with a ton of questions going into the ACC Championship. Regardless, should be a fun game between teams that usually keep it close. As for the rest, Virginia Tech just did work, Miami secured the ACC’s ownership of the Big East(I have no proof to back up this statement–just throwing it in here), NC State ruined UNC’s season, and the teams that lose a lot—lost.

Rank (LW)….Team……………………..Record
1)..(1)…Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets…………..10-2(7-1 ACC)
The result could not be any more shocking. They were rolling coming off a bye week and with 10 wins against a rival that they beat the previous season on the opponent’s home-field. GT’s defense was bad, real bad. Georgia pushed them around like they were an FCS squad. The offense was sufficient and suffered from lots of miscues which I feared could happen next week for them–and nothing has shown me any different right now. What little credibility the ACC had going with the Jackets went straight down the toilet here.

2)…(3)…Virginia Tech Hokies…………………9-3(6-2 ACC)
Ryan Williams, Hoo Slayer. He contributed to the Hokies first five TDs as he rushed for the first four and fumbled to a teammate for the 5th. He would have 183 rushing yards in the 42-13 Hokies win and they now have secured a spot in one of the ACC’s top bowls.

3)..(2)..Clemson Tigers………………8-4(6-2 ACC)
There is no other way to describe the 34-17 loss other than gut-wrenching to South Carolina, but Georgia Tech’s loss later in the night settled the odds and opened up so many possibilities for exposing weakness in the Jackets. Clemson could not move the ball at all as Spiller was contained after his NCAA record breaking 7th kickoff return for TD putting pressure on Clemson’s defense that was not sustainable to keeping SC off the scoreboard.

4)..(5)..Miami Hurricanes………………………9-3(5-3 ACC)
The Canes dominated from start to finish with a strong running game to defeat South Florida 31-10. Jacory Harris was efficient with 2 TDs, but not many yards as the Canes pounded the ball more on the Bulls. A Miami win and a UNC loss has made them a lock for atleast the Champ Sports in their topsy-turvy 9 win season.

5)..(4)..North Carolina Tar Heels………………………8-4(4-4 ACC)
Another painful rivalry game loss is here and it is really crippling to the Heels because they are now slip-sliding down the bowl ladder as an 8-4 team now. For North Carolina, they put up almost 500 yards, but had a FG blocked that would have given them the lead in the 4th quarter. For UNC, one loss really defines a season and their winning streak coming into this one has been voided.

6)..(6)..Boston College Eagles………………….8-4(5-3 ACC)
In an ugly game where neither broke 20 points, BC gave Montel Harris the ball 41 times(41!) and they would put up 19 points overall to edge the Terps. (Uncle) Dave Shinskie had a solid day with over 200 yards passing and 2 TDs in the win. Sid Vicious’ consecutive made kicks streak would be ended much to the odd chagrin of the ESPNU announcers who called this game. We all know the drill when it comes to BC and the bowls–yes, they will deserve a better bowl than they are going to get–no, it is not fair–but what can you do about it? I don’t know other than get a better reputation for traveling and/or win the ACC Championship Game.

7)..(7)..Florida State Seminoles……………6-6(4-4 ACC)
Vegas knows what they are talking about, eh? As 24 point dogs, Florida State would lose by 27 to Tim Tebow and the Gators on an emotional senior day. The Noles would not score a point against the Gators’ first team defense and the defense would just be made to look silly throughout the debacle. The half glass full part of this recap is that ESPN is saying Bowden might be ready to hand over the reigns at FSU.

8)..(9)..Wake Forest Demon Deacons…5-7(3-5 ACC)
Wake Forest beat Duke for its second most impressive victory this season to their increasingly good looking win over Stanford earlier at Grobe. Riley Skinner went out with a bang with 372 yards passing and 5 TDs. No bowl for the Deacs and a lot of questions will plague them going into next season–disappointing year overall.

9)..(11)..North Carolina State Wolfpack………….5-7(2-6 ACC)
He stepped up…and big. Russell Wilson played mistake-free football with all 4 Pack TDs on the strength of his arm in the 28-27 win. This is the kind of game you would expect from a Tom O’Brien-coached team with no turnovers and few penalties. No bowl is in the works, but spoiling a rival’s season is usually priceless this time of year.

10)..(8)..Duke Blue Devils…………………………5-7(3-5 ACC)
Duke’s move to the back of the rankings was completed with the 45-34 home loss to Wake. A season so promising at points was first thwarted by UNC and the rest was history. Losing Thad Lewis(387 yards passing and 3 TDs) will be tough next season, but Renfree had a lot of reps this season to be ready for next year.

11)..(10)….Virginia Cavaliers…………………..3-9(2-6 ACC)
Poetic ending? Virginia faced a tough schedule down the stretch and played hard in Groh’s last games as a Hoo, but they simply were not good enough for reasons that have piled up during Groh’s tenure as coach. I don’t know who out there can turn Virginia around, but from watching the ACC today, any team can take hold of this conference–just takes the right guy.

12)..(12)..Maryland Terrapins……………………2-10(1-7 ACC)
I never would have thought Maryland would have reached double digits in the record…wait, what? 10 losses? There are some positives coming out of this season as Robinson looks like a gem that could be refined into a dynamic QB for Friedgen’s Terps, but everything else is pretty bleak going into next season. Ah, well, you still have Torrey Smith and he had a great year.

Agree with the rankings? Think they’re wrong? Offer a comment…

OTB Live: Rivalry Day

Posted by Brandon Rink on November 28, 2009 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

C.J. went out on top last week in Death Valley, but going 2-0 at South Carolina is still on the table.

C.J. went out on top last week in Death Valley, but going 2-0 at South Carolina is still on the table.

It’s Rivalry Day now and we’re here live all day with thoughts and all the ACC tweets you can handle. I can imagine they will get a little more intense with what is on the line in most of these games. Enjoy!

OTB Live: Rivalry Day