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