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.
Logan Thomas was met with rudely in his ACC debut thanks to the Clemson d-line - he's accounted for 21 total touchdowns since. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)
It all comes down to this – Clemson vs. Virginia Tech – the rematch…
Before we get to the picks, here’s some links/excerpts to ACC Championship Game work from the week across our media empire…
My detailed breakdown on Southern Pigskin (excerpt):
VT offense vs. Clemson defense
Honestly, Clemson’s defense hasn’t had many good games this season, but one they did, came against the Hokies.
Virginia Tech running back David Wilson still got his yards – 20 carries for 123 yards, but the ACC Player of the Year didn’t reach the endzone once.
Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas hit 15-of-27 passes for 125 yards with an interception – rushing for eight yards despite a sprained non-throwing shoulder.
Since the Oct. 1 game, the light bulb has come on for the junior first-year starter Thomas, and so, the Hokies offense.
Thomas led the charge, in a Hokies’ move from 65th to 36th nationally in total offense, with 14 touchdown passes to two interceptions post-Clemson game, and used his 6’6 245 frame to punch in nine touchdown rushes.
The improved dual threat-ness of Thomas comes particularly useful against Clemson, who has surrendered 89 or more yards to four quarterbacks this season.
Georgia Tech’s Tevin Washington lighting up the Tigers for 176 yards and a touchdown kicked-off the four-game slide, while South Carolina’s Connor Shaw kept it going into last week with 107 yards on the ground and a touchdown of his own.
Containing the QB scramble is key for Clemson, who according to defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, gave up 76 of the 107 yards to Shaw off intended pass plays.
In Blacksburg, Tigers first-team All-ACC defensive end Andre Branch whipped the Hokies’ offensive line for three sacks and five tackles for loss (11 tackles total) – his living in the backfield and containing Thomas is crucial to Clemson staying in it Saturday night.
Wilson should get his yards, but will Clemson give up the big play? That’s the key, as they did a great job at making Virginia Tech beat them with them with sustained drives earlier this season (which the Hokies couldn’t). All I know is after watching last week in Charlottesville, Wilson could have a field day hammering away at the Tigers in the second half if his team can jump out to a lead.
Edge: Hokies (the rest)
Looked at the decline of the Clemson defense, directly proportional to the fall of the Tigers’ offense (O&W.com).
Examined the recent history of the Hokies’ dominance in the ACC Championship, and the eerily similar scenarios both teams find themselves in. (O&W.com)
ACCBlogger.com picks week 14 in the ACC…
Last week (Overall)
Griffin Wong – 6-2 (71-25)
Brandon Rink – 4-4 (69-27)
J.J. Greenstein – 4-4 (68-28)
- 12/03/11 Virginia Tech (11-1, 7-1 ACC) vs. Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC) / ESPN / 8:00 p.m. ET
Must-See Matchup: Bad Clemson offense vs. good Clemson offense
It seems like a while ago, but at one point this season, the Tigers had one of the most dynamic offenses in the country thanks to an electric freshman receiver in Sammy Watkins and a solid first-year starter QB in Tajh Boyd. Well, 8-0 Clemson (40.6 points and 482.5 yards per game) meets 1-3 Clemson (18.5 points and 352.8 yards per game) Saturday – if the latter shows up, Virginia Tech will roll.
Bringing the Noise: The Clemson offense is looking for the elusive “spark.” OrangeandWhite.com scouts the rematch from a Clemson perspective. Gobbler Country has the game guide. Tigers left tackle Phillip Price says his knee is “fine” after missing the last two games. The Hokies are happy to have a rematch. Dabo Swinney says his team did a “poor job” of handling the 8-0 start. Logan Thomas started to click after the Clemson loss. Tech Sideline previews and picks the matchup. The stats picks the Hokies. The Key Plays says the Hokies need to act like they’ve been there before. All Sports Discussion weighs in with its keys to the game for each team.
Watch 4: Virginia Tech to move the ball, Tigers to keep pace to the end
I don’t see a blowout here, but then again, I didn’t see Clemson losing three of four down the stretch in the fashion they did. What I know is the Tigers seem to be due for a breakout game, but Virginia Tech is playing a lot better at the moment. They, including have a championship coach like Frank Beamer on the sidelines, have the clear advantage coming in, but then again, Clemson won by 20 in Blacksburg earlier this season. That’s the thing that still puzzles me about this game, but I’m boring and picking the Hokies here.
ACC Championship Pick: Clemson or VT?
- Hokies (72%, 13 Votes)
- Tigers (28%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 18
The Picks: Brandon Rink – Virginia Tech 27-20; J.J. Greenstein – Virginia Tech 28-21; Griffin Wong – Virginia Tech 27-21