ACC Blogger Power Poll – Week Nine

Posted by Brandon Rink on October 31, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Georgia Tech's defense stepped up in holding Clemson under 400 yards for only the second-time this season in a 31-17 win. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

ACCBlogger.com ranks the ACC after week nine…

Rank..(LW)..Team…………………………………Record
1)..(1)..Clemson Tigers………………….8-1 (5-1 ACC)
ACC’s national title hopes? Poof – gone. Georgia Tech took it to the Tigers – holding Clemson to under 400 yards for only the second time of the season and running up 383 rushing yards. Clemson takes a much-needed week off to rest and rehab (especially running back Andre Ellington who missed the GT game) before taking on Wake Forest in Death Valley for their second-trip to the ACC Championship Game.

2)..(2)..Virginia Tech Hokies………………8-1 (4-1 ACC)
Dominating – it was not. The Hokies scuffled to a 14-10 win at Duke, repeatedly not shutting the door on the Blue Devils’ hopes, giving them four fourth-quarter chances  – two in the red zone to take the upset. Virginia Tech definitely has some issues to work out before the Thursday game at Georgia Tech in two weeks – most likely deciding the division.

3)..(T-6)..Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets…………..7-2 (4-2 ACC)
Complete. Domination. That’s how you play with a nationally-televised game and a top-5 BCS team in town, but if they don’t take care of business in two weeks versus Virginia Tech in Atlanta – it’s all for naught.  

4)..(T-6)..Florida State Seminoles………….5-3 (3-2 ACC)
The Seminoles rolled up NC State 34-0 with E.J. Manuel hitting 25-of-34 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. They get the dreaded-short week before the trip to BC on Thursday, who showed some signs of life at College Park last week.

5)..(T-3)..Wake Forest Demon Deacons…5-3 (4-2 ACC)
Wake Forest’s defense was improved coming in, and allowed 562 total yards and 49 points at UNC. Good news? Like Clemson’s loss at Georgia Tech, it has no bearing on the Atlantic Division title game in Clemson in two weeks. Pretty incredible to think Wake is in this spot after the 3-9 effort last season.

6)..(7)..North Carolina Tar Heels…………6-3 (2-3 ACC)
UNC running back Gio Bernard rushed for three touchdowns and quarterback Bryn Renner had a career-high 338 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 49-24 drilling of the Deacs.

7)..(9)..Virginia Cavaliers…………………..5-3 (2-2 ACC)
The roller coaster ride that is UVa went up this week with a 28-21 road win at Miami. Virginia running back Perry Jones passed for 37-yard touchdown and caught a crucial 78-yard touchdown to seal it.

8)..(T-3)..Miami Hurricanes………………………4-4 (2-3 ACC)
If you were on a roll coming into this week, that most likely ended, and Miami kicked off the weekend that way after impressive wins over UNC and Georgia Tech – laying an egg on a Thursday 28-21 loss to Virginia, putting a nail in the coffin of any late-run to Charlotte.

9)..(8)..North Carolina State Wolfpack ………..4-4 (1-3 ACC)
Back to the drawing board for the Wolfpack after getting shut out 34-0, and hosting a hot UNC offense coming in.   

10)..(11)..Duke Blue Devils…………………………3-5 (1-3 ACC)
Close, but no cigar is the official motto of the 2011 Blue Devils, as they just couldn’t punch in that last score no matter the amount of opportunities Virginia Tech gave them. You look at this season – Duke should’ve been bowling with the amount of close games they’ve played, and instead, just a lot of disappointment.

11)..(12)..Boston College Eagles………………2-6 (1-4 ACC)
BC is on the board with an FBS win with a dominating win in College Park – racking up their most yards (404) since the opener against Northwester. Eagles running back Rolandan Finch had a career-game as a workhorse with 243 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries.

12)..(10).. Maryland Terrapins………..2-6 (1-4 ACC)
Welcome to the cellar, Maryland, after a third home loss of the season, and just never being really in it against previous bottom-of-the-barrel-team BC, 28-17.

Ballots

Brandon Rink: 1) Clemson 2) GT 3) VT 4) Wake Forest 5) FSU 7) UNC 8) Virginia 9) Miami 10) NC State 10) Duke 11) BC 12) Maryland

Griffin Wong: 1) Clemson 2) VT 3) GT 4) FSU 5) UNC 6) Virginia 7) Wake Forest 8) Miami 9) NC State 10) Duke 11) BC 12) Maryland

J.J. Greenstein: 1) Clemson 2) VT 3) GT 4) Wake Forest 5) FSU 6) UNC 7) Virginia 8) Miami 9) NC State 10) Duke 11) Maryland 12) BC

ACC Football Links/Pick’em – Week Nine

Posted by Brandon Rink on October 27, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Paul Johnson goes for a 4-1 record against Dabo Swinney in four seasons on Saturday night in Atlanta. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

ACCBlogger.com picks week nine in the ACC…

Last week (Overall)

Brandon Rink – 5-1 (50-14)

Griffin Wong – 5-1 (49-15)

J.J. Greenstein – 6-0 (47-17)

  • 10/27/11  Virginia Cavaliers (4-3, 1-2 ACC) @ Miami (4-3, 2-2 ACC) / ESPN / 8:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Miami RB Lamar Miller vs. Virginia rush defense

Miller has been the one constant through the ups-and-downs of the Miami season, and he’s matched up against the weaker part of the Virginia defensive attack.

Bringing the Noise: Eye of the Hurricane breaks down the game. London and co. are easing back on playing true freshman quarterback David Watford. London looking for more big pass plays and a consistent running game. The stats back up that the Golden era is more disciplined football. Virginia’s defense knows they’re facing a hot Miami offense. This game has a special meaning for Jacory Harris. Streaking the Lawn previews and picks it. From Old Virginia does the same, but picks Miami.

Watch 4: Virginia to keep it close, Miami to pull out win

We have a couple things at work here – one, the team coming off a big, physical win against Georgia Tech, and two – a home Thursday game. Mississippi State is the only team to lose on their home field on a Thursday ESPN game this season, and that was to LSU. But Virginia knows all too well about playing after beating Georgia Tech the week before – falling by two TDs at home last week. All in all, they even out, and the better team wins, Miami.

The Pick: Brandon Rink – Miami 26-17; J.J. Greenstein – Miami 31-21; Griffin Wong – Miami 28-14

  • 10/29/11 NC State Wolfpack (4-3, 1-2 ACC) @ Florida State Seminoles (4-3, 2-2 ACC) / ESPNU / 12:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: New-look FSU rushing offense vs. NC State defense

The injuries on the NC State defensive line are well-known, and FSU has had its only 100-yard rusher in back-to-back games via freshman running back Devonta Freeman.

Bringing the Noise: Coley Harvey and the Orlando Sentinel helps you get to know the Wolfpack. OS says both have momentum coming in. Dynamic ‘Noles freshman Rashard Greene might get back to action Saturday, meanwhile receiver Bert Reed is feeling better and trying to stay healthy himself. Backing the Pack puts their spin on the game and Q&As with Tomahawk Nation. NC State injury report link.

Watch 4: More balanced FSU attack to pull away

The last two in this series went down to the wire – NC State holding off a late FSU drive to a 28-24 win last season, and the Seminoles taking a 45-42 decision in Tallahassee two seasons ago. Wolfpack quarterback Mike Glennon needs another big day after throwing three touchdowns last week, and he’ll be decent – just not enough to pull off a win.

The Pick: Brandon Rink – FSU 31-17; J.J. Greenstein – FSU 35-33; Griffin Wong – FSU 31-17

  • Virginia Tech Hokies (7-1, 3-1 ACC) @ Duke Blue Devils (3-4, 1-2 ACC) / ACC Network / 12:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Sean Renfree’s arm vs. depleted Hokies’ D

Renfree is completing nearly 70 percent of his passes on the second-most attempts in the ACC, but failed to throw a touchdown pass for only the third time all season against Wake Forest last week. The Hokies have surrendered eight passing touchdowns, 205.75 yards per game and picked off two passes in October so far.

Bringing the Noise: Gobbler Country has the game guide. Tech Sideline previews and picks the game. Duke can’t afford another slow start. Virginia Tech lost linebacker Bruce Taylor earlier this week.

Watch 4: Virginia Tech to be Virginia Tech, Duke to be Duke

The Blue Devils have had more than enough opportunities to convince me that they can pull off a big home win this season, and just haven’t delivered. The Hokies are starting to get on that roll that they did last year in ACC play before a bye and two big Thursday night games to hold on to the Coastal in November.

The Pick: Brandon Rink – Virginia Tech 34-17; J.J. Greenstein – Virginia Tech 35-14; Griffin Wong – Virginia Tech 31-9

  • Boston College Eagles (1-6, 0-4 ACC) @ Maryland Terrapins (2-5, 1-3 ACC) / RSN / 3:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Unknown Maryland QB vs. BC defense

Is dual-threat QB C.J. Brown too banged-up to give Maryland that extra threat, or do the Terps opt for the better passer…or do they alternate play in the game? Maryland coach Randy Edsall is playing it cool, much like the Clemson game where Brown ended up playing.

Bringing the Noise: Soaring to Glory breaks down the Maryland O vs. BC D hereBC O vs. Maryland D here. Like I said, Edsall isn’t revealing his hand on the QB situation, instead – just throwing stuff out there. Eagle in Atlanta talks Terps with Turtle Waxing. BC Interruption previews the game with Testudo Times.

Watch 4: BC not to score enough, again

The Eagles have put up 16.5 points per game in ACC play – two of those games against Duke and Wake Forest at home. Meanwhile, Maryland has averaged 38.5 points in ACC home games. Neither team here is exactly lighting it up, so I’ll go with the home team.

The Pick: Brandon Rink – Maryland 28-17; J.J. Greenstein – Maryland 24-17; Griffin Wong – Maryland 21-17

  • Wake Forest (5-2, 4-1 ACC) @ North Carolina Tar Heels (5-3, 1-3 ACC) / ESPNU / 3:30 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Wake Forest QB Tanner Price vs. UNC’s secondary

Just in the third quarter, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd hit 10-of-14 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns last week in a 59-38 beatdown. Price is second only to Boyd in passing yards per game (260.1) with 14 touchdowns to three interceptions on the season.

Bringing the Noise: Inside Carolina previews the top matchups Saturday. Wake Forest trying to clinch a bowl berth. The Deacs are getting clutch plays en route to their fast start.

Watch 4: UNC to get off the schnide in a close one

The Tar Heels are a touchdown favorite at home against Wake Forest, which is one of those lines where you could flip it and not many would bat an eye. UNC has played more than uninspired in their last three games – dropping two-straight ACC games by nearly a two-TD margin. I really want to pick Wake Forest, but UNC has to get it right some time, right?

The Pick: Brandon Rink – UNC 24-21; J.J. Greenstein – Wake Forest 28-21; Griffin Wong – UNC 24-20

  • Clemson Tigers (8-0, 5-0 ACC) @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (6-2, 3-2 ACC) / ABC / 8:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Paul Johnson’s offense vs. Kevin Steele’s defense

Clemson is going to score Saturday night – will Georgia Tech keep up? Clemson DC Steele’s scheme has struggled against Paul Johnson’s spread option in the past, and didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the 35-27 win over a similar offensive style in Wofford earlier this season.

Bringing the Noise: OrangeandWhite.com gives the keys to win for Clemson here and GT here. From the Rumble Seat breaks down Clemson’s field position game so far this season. FTRS did a Q&A on Shakin the Southland earlier this week, which wasn’t received too well by Tiger fans apparently.  Shakin the Southland takes a look at the talent on the respective depth charts. Dabo Swinney says this game is all about the individual matchups. Steele says stopping Georgia Tech all about responsibility. From the Rumble Seat breaks down Tajh Boyd’s favorite target, Sammy Watkins by down. HD looks at the GT offense’s decline of late. I have no idea what this is, but I feel compelled to link to it.

Watch 4: Georgia Tech to have some success on ground, Clemson to pull away in second half

Paul Johnson’s Jackets had their way with the Tiger defense in 2009 to two wins (one not on the records any more), but even with Josh Nesbitt healthy at the helm, were held to 242 yards in Death Valley last season. In October, Georgia Tech has averaged roughly half the yards they did in September and been outscored 24.8 to 23.5 after drilling teams 53.3 to 23.5  in September for a 4-0 start. The Tigers have outscored opponents 175-77 in the second half this season – 107-40 just in the third quarter. I’m drinking the orange-flavored kool-aid right now – they’re the far better team and should pull away in the second half (which probably means they’ll pick this one to letdown and drop to 8-1 on a national television broadcast).

You pick'em game of the week: Clemson at Georgia Tech

  • Tigers (86%, 12 Votes)
  • Yellow Jackets (14%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 14

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The Pick: Brandon Rink – Clemson 38-24; J.J. Greenstein – Georgia Tech 35-31; Griffin Wong – Clemson 27-21

ATS Section

Last week (Overall): 2-4 (23-25)

We’re guessing at this point it seems…

  • Virginia+14 at Miami

Take to Bank %: 35%

Don’t see a blowout here.

  • Wake Forest +6.5 at UNC

Take to Bank %: 30%

There’s a good chance they win straight-up.

  • NC State +18 at FSU

Take to Bank %: 10%

I’m liking the road teams against big spreads this week.

  • Clemson -3.5 at GT

Take to Bank %: 65%

Too good to be true?

  • Virginia Tech -14.5 at Duke

Take to Bank %: 20%

Five-for-five on ACC road picks here.

  • Maryland -7.5 vs. BC

Take to Bank %: 10%

My only home team of the week.

Pack doubles up Virginia

Posted by J.J. Greenstein on October 26, 2011 under Other ACC Coverage | Comments are off for this article

In typical Tom O’Brien at N.C. State fashion, the Pack (4-3, 1-2 ACC) came out looking much improved in their game against Virginia (4-3, 1-2 ACC) following the bye week.

Once again, State limped into the bye week. The defense decimated by injuries, an offense still looking to improve on the little things, and an overall lack of passion from both sides.

But Saturday was a different story, as State went in to Charlottesville, a place they hadn’t won at since 1994, and doubled up the Cavaliers 28-14 behind three touchdown passes from Mike Glennon and two interceptions from the nation’s leader, David Amerson.

The second of Amerson’s two interceptions was returned 12 yards for a touchdown with just over six minutes left in the game, sealing the win for the Wolfpack. That pick was his eighth of the year and not only did it tie him for the N.C. State single season record, but put him three interceptions ahead of the next best total in the country this season.

Glennon finished 20 of 36 for 231 yards, tossing three touchdowns and two interceptions. It was just his second multi-interception game of his career, both coming on the road. An underrated stat from the game was that the Pack did not allow a sack in the game, showing the solid effort put together by the Pack’s offensive line.

While Glennon may not have had his best game through the air, he was missing a couple of weapons he’s become accustomed to having with him. Senior T.J. Graham, the Pack’s leading receiver and the ACC’s leader in all-purpose yards, was suspended for the first half for “not living up to the expectations of a State football player.” To make things more difficult for the passing game, receiver Tobias Palmer suffered a concussion during warm-ups after running into fellow receiver Jay Smith.

Down two receivers and All-ACC tight end George Bryan, who did not have a catch in the game, having just an atrocious season hanging onto the ball, the Pack desperately needed someone to step up.

In came redshirt freshman Bryan Underwood, a speedster with little experience and only five catches in his career. He’d only have three catches in the game, but two of them were huge as he pulled in a 33 yard touchdown pass against single-coverage in the first half and tight-roped the sideline beautifully in third quarter for a 79 yard touchdown strike on third and long. He would finish the game with three catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

The running game that had produced back-to-back 100 yard efforts from James Washington was held in check by a Virginia defense that has been stingy against the run this season. Washington would finish with 82 yards on 25 carries, and freshman Tony Creecy added 28 yards on nine carries.

On defense, Amerson’s two interceptions were followed by a pick from safety Brandan Bishop to close out the game. Linebacker Terrell Manning had nine tackles and Markus Kuhn had the Pack’s only sack of the day.

State held Virginia to just 249 yards, an impressive feat. That, along with forcing four turnovers was the reason the Pack won this football game.

Player of the game: Sophomore corner David Amerson. Amerson’s two interceptions helped the Pack hold down Virginia’s offense. The second one he took back 12 yards for the sealing touchdown. He now leads the nation in interceptions by three over the next closest player.

What went right? Forcing turnovers. State picked off Virginia three times (Amerson, 2, Bishop, 1) and Earl Wolff recovered a fumble. State’s defense was much improved following the bye week.

What went wrong? Special teams. The Pack played a pretty solid game, but special teams could have made it an easier afternoon. Freshman kicker Niklas Sade was 4-4 on extra points but had his only field goal attempt blocked. Freshman punter Wil Baumann punted nine (yes, nine) times for just a 34 yard average. That must improve to help the Pack win the field position battle.

What’s next? State’s toughest test to date, at Florida State (4-3, 2-2 ACC). The two teams have split the last ten meetings at five a piece, eight of which were decided by ten points or less. The winner keeps themselves alive in the Atlantic Division race.