Winners: Anyone who doesn't play in the Coastal Division
Posted November 12, 2012
As long as Florida State can figure out a way to beat Maryland in College Park on Saturday, the Seminoles will be the champions of the Atlantic Division of the ACC.
And, you've got to like their chances, considering they've got a little extra rest after their near catastrophe Thursday night at Virginia Tech, not to mention that the Terrapins are almost completely out of players. They came into the season with a shorter roster due to player attrition, and are completely out of quarterbacks. I mean, they don't have a player on the active roster who is listed as a quarterback. Sean Petty, the player who currently lines up under center, is still listed as a linebacker on Maryland's roster!
All four of the Terps' quarterbacks entering the season have suffered season-ending knee injuries, leaving the cupboard bare. It's like going down the toilet paper aisle in the grocery store ahead of a winter storm.
The only thing left to figure out is which team from the Coastal Division will play the role of accident victim in Charlotte in three weeks. And make no mistake about it, the side of the ACC opposite Florida State and Clemson is a complete dumpster fire. John Swofford should be passing out HAZMAT suits to all Coastal Division personnel. Consider the following:
* Duke's four losses are by a combined 195-60. Granted they're all brand name losses, but you can't be THAT good and be -135 in a 4-game stretch.
* Georgia Tech had a rough stretch earlier this year in which they dropped four out of five games, giving up 41 or more points in each loss and causing the firing of defensive coordinator Al Groh. Even in a win over North Carolina, they still gave up 50 points.
* Miami played three ranked teams this year and lost those games by a combined 126-36. They've also lost four of their last five games.
* Virginia Tech has lost five of their last six games and is in danger of missing out on a bowl game for the first time in 20 years.
* Virginia has won two in a row, something that amounts to a blazing hot streak in the Coastal Division. But, prior to their recent scorching play, the Cavaliers had lost six in a row, three of them at home and two of those to teams that won't be playing in a bowl game.
* North Carolina just allowed 68 points to Georgia Tech -- at home, in football -- including 209 passing yards to the 115th ranked passing offense in the country.
The football season can't end fast enough.
Team of the Week
I'd like to give it to Duke, since they didn't play this week and thus avoided the embarrassment felt by others. But, I'll hold my nose and give it to the Yellow Jackets for their 68-point performance against North Carolina's hologram defense. What UNC lacked in tackling they made up for with unimaginably poor pass coverage. But, that shouldn't take away from Georgia Tech's offensive explosion. They were on the right end of a game that featured the most points in ACC history and allowed just a pair of second half touchdowns -- by ACC standards a performance akin to those of the 1975 Steelers.
Player of the Week
How confounding is Miami? Well, they managed to turn Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco into a candidate for the player of the week. Rocco completed 29 of 37 passes for 300 yards and four touchdowns including the game winning, 10-yard strike to Jake McGee with :06 left that gave the Cavaliers a 41-40 win over the Hurricanes and kept the Wahoos' bowl hopes alive.
Local Hero of the Week
Durham Hillside got knocked out of the NCHSAA playoffs in the 1st round, but there still had to be a bunch of happy people from that school as former star Vad Lee has appeared to take over the starting QB position from senior Tevin Washington. Lee completed a half dozen passes for 169 yards (28 yards per completion!) and a touchdown and carried 23 times for another 112 yards and two more scores to lead Tech's 588-yard outburst. I'm not a huge fan of Paul Johnson's triple option, but I am a fan of a local kid becoming a star, and Lee appears to be growing into just that.
On second thought of the Week
Georgia Tech was definitely impressive offensively in the win in Chapel Hill, but 588 yards of offense is almost the norm in the ACC this year. In fact, it's not even in the top 10 among offensive outbursts in the ACC this year.
Top 10 + 1 offensive performances by ACC schools in 2012
1-Clemson, 718 yards at Duke (W, 56-20)
2-Georgia Tech, 712 yards vs. Presbyterian (W, 59-3)
3-Florida St., 667 yards vs. Clemson (W, 49-37)
4-NC State, 664 yards at Miami (L, 44-37)
5-Miami, 651 yards vs. NC State (W, 44-37)
6-Florida St., 649 yards vs. Boston College (W, 51-7)
7-Virginia, 625 yards vs. Louisiana Tech (L, 44-38)
8-Florida St., 612 yards vs. Wake Forest (W, 52-0)
9-Miami, 609 yards at Georgia Tech (W, 42-36 OT)
10-Florida St., 606 yards vs. Murray St. (W, 69-3)
11-Clemson, 601 yards vs. Georgia Tech (W, 47-31)
You might have noticed that only three of the 600+ yard outbursts came against schools outside of the ACC. Yeah, well, I'm trying hard not to belabor that point. It's depressing.
Sequence of the Week
The start of the second half in Chapel Hill was wild enough, with three touchdowns in the first five minutes, but what happened just past the midway point of the period changed the game completely and the Tar Heels weren't going to recover. Carolina trailed 44-36, and was facing a 4th and 10 from their own 25-yard line. Yes, the half had not gone well, having allowed a kickoff return for a score, a 70-yard touchdown drive and a turnover that led to a field goal. But, it was a manageable score and there was no need for what happened next. Clearly acting on his own -- because to assume otherwise would be to accuse Larry Fedora of being an idiot in search of a village -- North Carolina punter Thomas Hibbard decided to try and run for the first down. Wait, a fake punt from your own 25??? Suicide. Hibbard was stopped well short of the first down, and when Tech's Robert Godhigh ran around left end for a 27-yard touchdown on the very next play the game was effectively over.
Sobering thought of the Week
Either Duke, Georgia Tech or Miami is going to be in Charlotte carrying the banner for the Coastal Division. Therefore -- barring something incredibly stupid, such as a team with a horrific offense with a linebacker masquerading as a quarterback beating the best team in the league -- Florida State appears to be headed towards the conference title game against one of the three worst defenses in the league. The only saving grace would be for the opponent to be Georgia Tech as the Seminoles have yet to rout them this year. For that to happen, Duke would have to lose in Atlanta and then beat Miami on Thanksgiving weekend. Regardless, this year's tilt is poised to make the Wake Forest-Georgia Tech clash of 2006 look like the 1958 NFL Championship Game. Please, make it stop.
Top to Bottom of the Week
1-Florida State (9-1)…I wonder how long it took Jimbo Fisher to dislodge the horseshoe.
2-Clemson (8-1)…Still in good shape for a BCS al-large bid. But, they still haven't Clemson'd yet.
3-North Carolina (6-4)…bowl...
4-Georgia Tech (5-5)…partners...
5-NC State (6-4)…of...
9-Virginia Tech (4-6)…be...
10-Wake Forest (5-5)…contemplating...
12-Boston College (2-8)…today…
After Florida State and Clemson, these are the options for the Chick-fil-A Bowl on through the Military Bowl in Washington: NC State and Duke are still the only other bowl-eligible teams. Still! With two weeks left in the season! Georgia Tech, Miami and Wake Forest are all one win away. Tech is home to Duke before the annual game with Georgia, so this appears to be the money game for the Jackets. The Canes are home to South Florida (3-6) and at Duke, so that looks promising. Wake visits Notre Dame and hosts Vanderbilt -- both bowl teams -- so that doesn't. Meanwhile, Virginia and Virginia Tech -- assuming they were to both win this week would play an elimination game next weekend in their season finale in Blacksburg.
It's just a hot mess.
Three to watch of the Week
3) North Carolina at Virginia, 7:30/ESPN (Thursday)…after not winning in Charlottesville since 1981, can Heels make it two straight?
2) Duke at Georgia Tech, 3:30/ESPNU…this is an elimination game for the Coastal Division. The loser is out.
1) NC State at Clemson, 3:30/ABC…the Tigers are in line for a BCS game, but still haven't Clemson'd yet. This would be typical.