Death Valley saw quite possibly a bitter end to the Kyle Parker era in Clemson Saturday night. (Per OrangeandWhite.com, by Nathan Gray)
Ranking the ACC 1-12 as we close out the regular season…
1)..(1)..Virginia Tech Hokies…………………10-2 (8-0 ACC)
The Hokies finished off a great ACC run to Charlotte with a 37-7 win for the Commonwealth Cup. You all had Virginia Tech running the table after the JMU loss, right? I know I did(n’t) and I’ll be in Charlotte to see if they can make it 11 and another Orange Bowl bid this Saturday.
2)..(3)..Florida State Seminoles………….9-3 (6-2 ACC)
FSU is starting to get that swagger back – as the ‘Noles took a 24-7 lead into the half, cameras caught Christian Ponder doing a demonstrative “gator chomp” into the locker room, and the players didn’t even know the half of it with Maryland taking care of business against the Wolfpack. After an odd finish in the Atlantic, the Seminoles represent the division Saturday night – I picked them preseason to win the ACC …we’ll see if they can do it.
3)..(5)..Maryland Terrapins……………………8-4 (5-3 ACC)
Maryland couldn’t make it an ACC Division title game last week, but came out focused and finished the season well against the Wolfpack. Ralph Friedgen answered the bell on a season where he needed to bring some results, and now, they will see if the bowls reward them or let them slip down the scale.
4)..(2)..North Carolina State Wolfpack………..8-4 (5-3 ACC)
Ouch. It was all right there – 14-0 lead on the road, but they couldn’t finish Maryland off and Torrey Smith absolutely burned them for 4 TDs. In one game, the season went from one of the best in a while – back to another disappointing season. Eight wins are nice, but it’s still only good for third in the Atlantic.
5)..(7)..North Carolina Tar Heels…………7-5 (4-4 ACC)
The tumultuous season ended with a win for the Heels at Duke. Hard to assess this season for UNC with so much controversy.
6)..(8)..Boston College Eagles………………….7-5 (4-4 ACC)
Five-game winning streak – after a five-game losing streak – after preseason expectations that went as high as double-digit wins (like mine). Saturday had to be encouraging to BC fans with freshman Andre Williams delivering a Montel Harris-esque performance of 42 carries for 185 yards and a TD…and another freshman in Chase Rettig commanding the offense in the 16-7 road win at Syracuse.
7)..(4)..Miami Hurricanes………………………7-5 (5-3 ACC)
Wow. Loss to USF. Shannon gone. Gruden hired then not hired then talking to Miami. Crazy week in Coral Gables.
8)..(6)..Clemson Tigers………………6-6 (4-4 ACC)
Dominated at home by a rival they are used to dominating. Benching the starting QB after a reported exchange between Parker and Swinney with 25:17 to go in the second half and down 26-7. It was a rough night for Dabo’s Tigers and all eyes are on the QB situation going into the bowls.
9)..(9)..Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets…………..6-6 (5-3 ACC)
So close, yet so far – the Jackets battled to the end, but an errant extra point killed momentum in a 42-34 road loss at Georgia. Tough year for last year’s ACC Championship participants.
10)..(10)..Duke Blue Devils…………………………3-9 (1-7 ACC)
Duke continued their run of close losses against the Heels as the winless streak at home continues against their rival. Mixed bag of a season for Duke this year – no real progress will come without some development on D.
11)..(11)..Virginia Cavaliers…………………..4-8 (1-7 ACC)
Another ugly loss to Virginia Tech – but it’s not like it wasn’t expected in a season that saw its positives for a rebuilding year in Charlottesville.
12)..(12)..Wake Forest Demon Deacons…3-9 (1-7 ACC)
Wake won! Take that SEC! In all seriousness, good for the Deacs to not carry a 10-game losing streak into the offseason – solid road win in a tough year for Grobe’s Demon Deacons.
Thoughts on the week in the ACC? ACC Championship coverage coming this week and we’ll be tweeting live from the ACC Championship Game this Saturday!
Bowers will be the key in a Clemson win Saturday. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com, by Ken Ruinard)
ACC Pick’Em (63-24 so far on the season)
Coming off a perfect week, it’s all uphill from here.
- 11/27/10 – Virginia Cavaliers @ Virginia Tech Hokies / ACC Network / noon ET
The Lead: The ‘Hoos have an uphill climb for their first win since 2003 in the series and last since 1998 in Lane Stadium against the 7-0, in ACC play, Hokies.
Watch 4: Hokies to pound the rock, cruise in win
Virginia Tech’s strength on offense is Virginia’s weakness on D and that will mean points on the board for the Hokies.
The Pick: Hokies 38 ‘Hoos 20
- Boston College Eagles @ Syracuse Orange / ESPN / noon ET
The Lead: Without Montel Harris, BC presses on to the Carrier Dome to extend their winning streak to five games.
Watch 4: Big East to get first win over the ACC
Flip a coin on this one – neither team has an offense and BC really doesn’t without Harris, but both have top 20 defenses.
The Pick: Orange 21 Eagles 17
- South Florida Bulls @ Miami Hurricanes / ESPNU / noon ET
The Lead: It’s not exactly a rivalry game, but it is a Sunshine State Showdown and Miami goes for 3-0 all-time against South Florida.
Watch 4: Miami to keep it on the ground in a sluggish win
There just has to be a letdown after last week, but the ‘Canes are the superior team and will put up enough points.
The Pick: ‘Canes 27 Bulls 14
- North Carolina Tar Heels @ Duke Blue Devils / ESPNU / 3:30 p.m. ET
The Lead: UNC is 19-1 in their last 20 meetings and has won on Duke’s home field every year since 1988, but the Blue Devils’ O does edge UNC’s statistically so they have that going for them.
Watch 4: Yates to have big day in Heels win
Yates has had his best season at UNC and will finish with an exclamation mark to keep the Blue Devils down again.
The Pick: Heels 31 Devils 21
- Florida Gators @ Florida State Seminoles / ABC-ESPN / 3:30 p.m. ET
The Lead: Thankfully for FSU, no Tebow on the other side – in fact, there are 3 QBs trying to replace him and it hasn’t quite worked out this season at 7-4 on the season for the Gators.
Watch 4: FSU running game to open it up for Ponder and passing game
The ‘Noles play their best at home since Wake Forest and edge out the Gators.
The Pick: ‘Noles 24 Gators 20
- NC State Wolfpack @ Maryland Terrapins / ESPN2 / 3:30 p.m. ET
The Lead: Will we see Garnet and gold or red and white in Charlotte next Saturday – we’ll find out if the Wolfpack can take the Atlantic on the road at Maryland.
Watch 4: Experienced QB and solid Wolfpack offense overall to take down Terps
Here it is – the final deciding game in the Atlantic. I’m interested to see how focused Maryland is and what they have left in the tank after an emotional loss last week. Overall, NC State is just the better team and pull it all together for the win.
The Pick: Pack 31 Terps 20
- South Carolina Gamecocks @ Clemson Tigers / ESPN2 / 7:00 p.m. ET
The Lead: South Carolina hasn’t won back-to-back years since 1970, but they also hadn’t won the SEC East yet…we’ll see if the history-changing trend continues Saturday night at Death Valley.
Watch 4: Clemson to win – because they have to.
South Carolina is the better team. They have absolute monsters at the skill positions and the Tigers just haven’t been impressive overall this season. But that’s not how it works in this series – South Carolina doesn’t string together consecutive victories and more than 365 days of bragging rights…just doesn’t happen.
The Pick: Tigers 27 Gamecocks 24
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons @ Vanderbilt Commodores / CSS / 7:30 p.m. ET
The Lead: The Deacs try to keep from taking a 10-game losing streak into the offseason with a trip to Vandy – Wake won by 13 over the ‘Dores in 2008 in their last meeting.
Watch 4: Deacs to have some success on ground, outscore the ‘Dores
Though Wake is on a 9-game losing streak, Vandy has been far worse in their 6-game one…Wake gets some yards on the ground and points on the board to break the streak.
The Pick: Deacs 24 ‘Dores 17
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets @ Georgia Bulldogs / ESPN / 7:45 p.m. ET
The Lead: Will it be the 409 rushing yard peformance that won at Sanford Stadium in ‘08…or the 205 yards that tripped the Jackets up before winning the ACC last year? Georgia Tech would take a little in between if it means a win.
Watch 4: Green-eyed monster to put UGA over the top
Night game, bowl eligibility on the line, and just playing better since Green was reinstated – just not a good mix for a team with an inexperience QB and still developing D under Groh.
The Pick: Bulldogs 28 Jackets 21
ATS Section (39-34-1 to date)
From winning week to winning streak, let’s see if we can finish this season on a good note…
- Miami and over 11.5 vs. South Florida
Take to Bank %: 15%
I grant that this could be a letdown game, but USF hasn’t impressed me at all this season and the ‘Canes running game is getting in gear.
- FSU and over 2.5 vs. Florida
Take to Bank %: 15%
With a steady eye on the action in College Park, the ‘Noles go for the first win in a looong time over Florida – and I think they pull it off.
- South Carolina and over 2.5 vs. Clemson
Take to Bank %: 10%
While history and superstition favor Clemson, the Gamecocks are the better team and safer bet.
- Syracuse and over 3 at BC
Take to Bank %: 25%
The ‘Cuse have been struggling at home and BC’s on fire – so I’m going the other way.
- Wake Forest and under 5.5 at Vandy
Take to Bank %: 35%
See above reasons…just not impressed with Vandy.
- NC State and over 2.5 at Maryland
Take to Bank %: 25%
Think NC State can close the deal.
Take to Bank %: 25%
Yes, Duke is playing well and the Tar Heels are coming off an emotional loss, but I think they just edge out the number.
- Virginia and under 22.5 vs. Virginia Tech
Take to Bank %: 15%
New-look ‘Hoos can keep it within 3 TD, no?.
- Georgia Tech and under 13 at UGA
Take to Bank %: 15%
Georgia’s good, but two TDs better than GT? (You can tell I’m really confident when I drop question marks)
Check out @ACCBlogger on Twitter as we cover ACC football all day Saturday – also join me at OrangeandWhite.com for a Clemson/South Carolina chat!