Does Paul Johnson have a double-digit upset on his play-sheet? (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)
Breaking down the ACC title game…
- 12/01/12 No. 13 FSU (10-2) [-14] v. Georgia Tech (6-6) / 8:00 ET / ESPN
The Lead: FSU seeks a dominant finish to a dominate run through the ACC, while the Jackets can play spoiler en route to the Orange Bowl.
Watch 4: Jackets to have some success, not enough to run with ‘Noles
Georgia Tech has played two top-10 run defenses this season (like FSU), with mixed results – shut down by BYU (117 yards) and rolling up 370 yards the next week against Maryland. After a tough loss, the ‘Noles have to get their minds right, down leading tackler DE Cornelius Carradine (torn ACL) and with their defensive coordinator Mark Stoops accepting the Kentucky job midweek (will coach Saturday). That said, the Yellow Jackets still have to stop FSU – giving up 39 points per game against FBS opponents with a QB (taking out Maryland), while the ‘Noles are eighth nationally in scoring offense (41.5 points per game). The game is as close as FSU’s defense allows it to be, a battle of who wears down who in the second half.
More analysis: Check out our primer on Southern Pigskin here.
The Picks: Brandon Rink – FSU 41-24; Griffin Wong – FSU 27-14; J.J. Greenstein – FSU 45-21; Billy Watson – FSU 55-17; W. Gustin Vandiford – FSU 56-24.
Season Pick Records: Rink – 76-20 (42-37-3 ATS, FBS v. FBS games); Wong – 74-19; Greenstein – 68-28; Vandiford – 56-28; Watson 32-16.
Follow us live from Charlotte Saturday at @accblogger
And there's a game this weekend too... (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)
The ACC voted to add Louisville this morning, in an almost stunningly-football-related move.
I was in favor of it from the get-go, but pleasantly surprised the conference came around to actually bringing it to fruition.
From a sports standpoint, it’s an upgrade, and they’ve got money, so the Cardinals will be around for awhile too. In terms of TV markets and such, I don’t know much it helps, but I’m glad the ACC actually bent to the will of the football-first teams in adding them (seems to be a trend of late).
There’s a tendency after every realignment move to go – yeah, okay, that’s it – the (insert conference here) is secure now (…or the complete opposite, IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING, STRAP IN!!!!1). I don’t know if the ACC will get raided or add more Big East schools, but like I did with adding Notre Dame recently and Syracuse and Pittsburgh as well – I like the move and think the ACC will become a better league overall for it.
But all that said, I think this is an opportunity to shake up the divisions a bit. With an 8-game conference slate and 14 teams, I’d like to move Georgia Tech to the Atlantic and Louisville into the Coastal. FSU is right down the road and shouldn’t be playing the Jackets once every 4-5 years (outside of the ACC title game). Here’s my new divisions and cross-divisional games (starting in 2014 I presume)…
Atlantic (Cross-divisional opponent)
Clemson (Virginia Tech)
Georgia Tech (Virginia)
Wake Forest (Duke)
Florida State (Miami)
NC State (UNC)
Coastal (Cross-divisional opponent)
UNC (NC State)
Virginia Tech (Clemson)
Duke (Wake Forest)
Oh, there’s a game this weekend too…
- 12/01/12 No. 13 FSU (10-2) v. Georgia Tech (6-6) / 8:00 ET / ESPN
Bringing the Noise: The big news of the week is FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops accepting the Kentucky job, but he is expected to coach Saturday. The Orlando Sentinel’s Coley Harvey breaks down the Jackets. A-back Orwin Smith is expected to play after injuring an ankle against Duke. And it broke early in the week, but FSU’s Tank Carradine is out after tearing an ACL against Florida.
Must-See Matchup: FSU v. itself
The ‘Noles last trip to the Tar Heel State left them their first loss (17-16 State), and they come off a demoralizing defeat to Florida in a number of ways. Georgia Tech isn’t the team to face unfocused, matching their No. 1 in the ACC rushing attack (323.3 YPG) against FSU’s No. 1 rush ‘D’ (85.1 YPG). The ‘Noles have the talent to control the tempo of the game and roll to the Orange Bowl, but after suffering their first home loss – Stoops leaving – Carradine going down…it wouldn’t be surprising if the game goes down to the wire.
Terrorized by Jadeveon Clowney, Tajh Boyd was one of two ACC QBs who didn't perform against top-15 SEC teams (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com).
Recapping the weekend…
1) 29-of-57 (50.8 cmp. %) for 182.5 per game, 2 TDs, 5 INTs
That’s the combined line for ACC Player of the Year candidates Tajh Boyd and E.J. Manuel in rivalry losses to South Carolina and Florida this weekend, at home, respectively.
FSU and Clemson were minus-five in turnover margin combined.
The Seminoles’ vaunted D, often times in tough situations because of those turnovers, surrendered a new set of downs 53 percent of the time on third down and 5.2 yards per rush.
Clemson’s not-so-vaunted D gave up more yards to USC with a backup quarterback (Dylan Thompson) with a new defensive coordinator (Brent Venables), 444, than to Connor Shaw and the ‘Cocks in a 34-13 loss down in Columbia with a soon-to-be fired coordinator last season (Kevin Steele), 420.
Poor QB play – turnovers – struggling defenses…are not a winning formula in beating top-10 teams.
The ACC’s formerly top-10 squads were manhandled. Big. Egg. Laid.
Oh, and Georgia Tech and Wake Forest combined to lose by 66 points to Georgia and Vanderbilt.
Numb – ACC teams doing this just doesn’t surprise me or anyone any more. When the conference needed some sign that it actually played the game of football this season – the teams carrying the banner (and everyone else) failed. It’d be embarrassing if it wasn’t just so familiar.
2) BC, NC State take steps towards…something
BC finally fired Frank Spaziani, while State made a statement by canning Tom O’Brien.
More than likely, that’s it for head coaching changes in the ACC, but it is interesting that both came in the Atlantic.
Both new Eagles AD Brad Bates and Wolfpack AD Debbie Yow got a first-hand look at where their programs were compared to Clemson and FSU – teams that finished a full three games ahead of the rest in the division.
In Chestnut Hill, the decision was pretty easy, with Spaz in charge of the Eagles’ first double-digit loss season since 1978, but at State, Yow is setting a standard.
Tom O’Brien won games – beat the rival more often than not, and overall, made the program look respectable (basically, he was Tommy Bowden). But after six seasons, the divide in the Atlantic was getting wider, with Clemson and FSU racking up the recruiting scores, and recruiting is something Yow emphasized in the post-firing media session. You have to have players, and especially when two divisional teams are bringing in top-15 classes each year.
With good hires, each can make headway towards, in what we saw this weekend, an inconsistent top of the ACC.
For a good look at the State decision from a Wolfpack perspective, check this out.
3) Bowlpocalypse 2012: ACC Edition
The Orange Bowl could be a mess (or more than usual), with Kent State (11-1) having a chance to crack the top-16 and earn an automatic berth. FSU will be favored to play them, but both the ‘Noles and Jackets have some demons to shake headed to Charlotte.
Georgia Tech needs a NCAA waiver if they lose to make the Sun Bowl, which Paul Johnson has been assured by his AD will happen. Technically, it shouldn’t because there are enough actually bowl eligible teams, but who knows – UCLA did in the PAC-12 at 6-7 so the precedent has been set.
Here’s what we’re likely looking at if the favorites win this weekend…
Orange: FSU v. Rutgers
Chick-Fil-A: Clemson v. LSU
Russell Atlantic (Orlando): Virginia Tech v. Louisville
Sun: Georgia Tech v. USC
Belk: Duke v. Cincinnati
Music City: NC State v. Vanderbilt
Call me pessimistic, but we could be looking at a one-win ACC bowl season. #goacc