Posts Tagged ‘ACC’

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NCAA Football Week 3 Recap: This is why I love College Football

September 20, 2010

Football Fiends!!!

This past Saturday of FOOTBALL GOODNESS encompassed so many examples of why College Football is vastly prefereable to the No Fun League. (And you all know how much I love ALL football!) You just don’t get the passion, the spirit, the excitement, in the NFL that you get on a weekly basis in College Football.

For every Alabama battering Duke (62-13) and Oregon dismantling Portland State (69-0), there was Auburn kicking an OT FG to best Clemson 27-24 or ASU nearly pulling off the big upset in Madison (Wisconsin 20- ASU 19).  No matter what part of the country you live in, or which BCS conference you root for, there was a heart-stopping (quite literally in the case of Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio) game to tune into.

Michigan State’s controversial last second fake field goal lifted them above Notre Dame 34-31. Notre Dame had to be feeling shades of 2005 USC @ ND with that clock ticking down trickery.

Auburn and Clemson dueled it out the entire game and it took a field goal in overtime for the Tigers to beat the Tigers 27-24. (What is it with all the Tigers in that part of the country, anyway?)

Everyone had Arizona State as the big underdog going into their game at Wisconsin. The Sundevils surprised everyone by nearly pulling off the upset 20-19.  Even UCLA, who started their season 0-2,  pulled off the upset of #23 Houston 31-13.  Speaking of the Pac-10; USC beat Minnesota in highly unimpressive fashion 32-21, Stanford clobbered Wake Forest 68-24 and Oregon State beat Louisville 35-28.

But the biggest game of all of the marquee games in the Pac-10 and, in fact, the country  was Iowa at Arizona. Iowa went into Tucson ranked #9 to Arizona’s #24. People expected it to be a game, but not many thought Arizona would pull off the upset. (Am sure all of AZ’s Pac-10 competitors could have predicted it, though. Let us not forget, The Pac-10 OWNS the Big Ten)

Arizona was up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. At the end of the 2nd quarter the Wildcats were up 27-7.  In the 3rd quarter Iowa rendered the AZ offense inoffensive and scored 7 to the home team’s 0. 27-14 Arizona heading into the 4th. The Hawkeyes were not going to make this easy as they went on to score 13 in the 4th quarter to even things up.  With 3:57 remaining in the game QB Nick Foles threw a 4 yard pass to William Wright for a touchdown and the Arizona D held the Hawkeyes off for the rest of the game to win it 34-27 in one of the most exciting games of the weekend.

Arkansas-Georgia was another great one. Arkansas ran away with the first 3 quarters. The Razorbacks were up on the Bulldogs 24-10 at the end of the third quarter with QB Ryan Mallet firmly inserting himself into the Heisman race. In the 4th quarter UGA came back to tie the game with under 4 minutes to play. Then, when it looked like this game was heading into overtime, Ryan Mallet lobbed a 40 yard pass to Greg Childs for a touchdown with :15 seconds on the clock.

Back in the Pac-10 for all the big and near wins we had, we also had some big losers. Washington State continued its disappointing record against FBS opponents with a 35-21 loss to SMU. California lost a stunner of a game to mid-major Nevada 52-31 and Washington’s 56-21 performance against Nebraska likely put an end to Jake Locker’s Heisman hopes since he went 4 for 20 on the day for an abysmal 71 yards.

My Trojans have the dubious distinction of being the only FBS team in the country to win each week so far and drop two points in the polls each week. We started at #14, beat Hawaii and moved down to #16. We beat UVA and moved to #18.  We beat Minnesota and moved down to #20.  Sure, they haven’t been overly impressive showings by the men of Troy. But we WON. And sure with the sanctions and everything, we’re bowl ineligible. But STILL it feels like a slap in the face and another way for the polls to punish the current USC team who had nothing to do with Reggie Bush’s shenanigans five years ago. But, I am biased and might have a small chip on my cardinal & gold sheathed shoulder.

College Football season truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

-Your Gridiron Goddess

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Guest Post: ‘Nole Chick’s ACC Atlantic Division 2010 Preview

August 23, 2010

ACC Atlantic Division

By ‘Nole Chick

Ever since the ACC expanded to form a “powerhouse” conference, I think most fans (including myself) are tired of waiting for it to happen! Now that Atlantic division new coaches have some experience notched and no more coaches in waiting, we might start to see a powerhouse glimpse this season. As we bid farewell to a legend, Bobby Bowden, this could be a very interesting year for the conference!

Clemson Tigers

Now that Dabo Swinney has some experience under his belt with the Clemson Tigers, the team seems to be heading in the right direction. The 2009 season started on shaky ground for the program, but ended well with the Tigers winning the their division and their bowl game. Clemson had to replace C.J Spiller and have 2 eager running backs ready for the job in Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper. The Tigers start the season with young quarterbacks that will need to find consistency and some maturity to make it to the championship this year. On defense, safeties DeAndre McDaniel and Rashard Hall combine as corners that are perhaps the best in the NCAA. The real run for Clemson will be beating the other top contenders to win the division, FSU and Boston College on the road. The Tigers also play Georgia Tech and Miami from the Coastal division that will be a test for the Tigers but at least the play them at home.

Boston College

The Eagles have always been one of those “fly under the radar” teams. They win consistently every year, but never get a lot of chatter about them. They have won at 7 games or more in the past 11 seasons.  The ended up in 2nd place in the ACC. Frank Spaziani will be going into his 2nd season at BC with a lot more confidence. Mark Herzlich has beaten the cancer that kept him off the field last year and you can bet on an emotional return to the field for him come September. He has been practicing but with no contact so what can he bring to the table this season on defense is still a big question mark. On the QB scene, there is the 25-year-old Dave Shinskie and the sophomore Mike Marscovetra returning as the starter and back-up respectively. Look for Marscovetra to turn it on this year as he tries to upend Shinskie from the starting position. Last year, BC was ranked 116th in 3rd down conversions. The O-line and QB’s need to take the maturity they are bringing to the field this year and focus on improving that stat. RB Montel Harris returns after a 1457 yard season last year. Schedule wise, BC has VT and Clemson at home along with Notre Dame. The other test will be on the road against FSU. BC starts the 2010 season with veterans and maturity and should be a division winning contender.

Florida State University

Now we come to FSU. My love! I will say that the preseason ranking is a bit of a stretch. They are coming off of another mediocre season and has a defense full of issues. There is a lot of hoopla surrounding the head coach Jimbo Fisher and what he can do with this team now that he is no longer the coach in waiting. The recruiting improved to levels seen years ago under Bowden in the FSU hay day. On offense, Christian Ponder returns at QB with lots of talent and maturity. He has a seasoned O-line returning, including all-star stud LG Rodney Hudson,  which will give him the edge and support this year to be an excellent QB.  In the running back department, on the surface it appears that FSU is pretty loaded. Last year’s leading rusher left the team due to competition in the position. On defense, this is where FSU used to have it’s swagger. Greg Reid will be the player to watch and hopefully ignite this lackluster team. LB Nigel Bradham returns as well and gives the Noles the boost they will need on tackles. Having Mark Stoops on the defensive coach has to help this team. Way too many points scored on them last year. The schedule will be tough for FSU. OOC is Oklahoma on the road, BYU and Florida at home.  FSU has Miami on the road as well. Top contenders for the division title is FSU, Clemson, and BC. FSU has both Clemson and BC match-ups at home. FSU went from dominating the ACC title to not even winning a division title in 5 years. Rebuilding should be over. It is time for this team to step it up a lot.

Wake Forest

The Demon Deacons had a losing season in 2009 for the first time in 4 years. They didn’t get anyone of note in their recruiting class this year and lost a ton of veterans. QB Riley Skinner graduated last year leaving Skylar Jones and Brendan Cross to vie for the starting position. On offense, they have 2 potential stars in backs Josh Adams and Brandon Pendergrass. The O-line for Wake appears to be weak again this year. WR Devon Brown returns after a 600 ++ yard season. Defensively, look for Kyle Wilber to return strong after missing most of last year with a broken leg. Schedule wise, Wake goes on the road to FSU, but OOC is Presbyterian, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Navy. If they were a little more seasoned, they might have a shot at post – season play and may still have a shot with what should be easy wins against Duke, Presbyterian, Maryland, etc,

North Carolina State

NC State has had 3 seven loss seasons in a row. They lacked a defense and a running game in all 3 of those years and this season should prove to be no different. At least they are consistent on something! The team is young and inexperienced. QB Russell Wilson returns with confidence and poise that relics that of Philip Rivers. However, rumor has it the MLB wants him for his talents in baseball. If that happens, this team is as good as done. On defense, LB Nate Irving returns after a season long injury. NC State’s biggest issue last season was turnovers. They gave up the ball 25 times. Schedule wise, not super tough. Notable game will be against BC in which NC State’s coach Tom O’Brien voluntarily left his coaching position at BC to go to NC State. OOC games include Western Carolina, UCF, Cincinnati, and East Carolina.

Maryland Terrapins

Maryland returns this year after a 2 – 10 season. Not pretty. Shockingly, Ralph Friedgen somehow kept his employment after that season. This was a coach who was very successful at Maryland at one time. It has been 7 years since this team has been talented. On offense, QB Jamarr Robinson returns this year as the starter.  WR Torrey Smith returns as well after a 824 yard season. RB Da”Rel Scott returns as a senior. He has been plagued with injuries so his value is yet to be determined. Defensively, Alex Wujciak leads the team in tackles last year at 131. Schedule wise, they have some cake teams suck as FIU and Morgan State at home. Additionally, they have Navy at home and West Virginia on the road in their OOC play. They also have Duke and NC State at home.

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Guest Post: ACC Coastal Preview with OhNoRomo

August 19, 2010

There’s nothing like the ACC. It’s one of a kind! But it’s sad how the conference is split via the Atlantic and the Coastal. Why must there be so much division in this country? Can’t we all play nice…Nah!

The U

I’d be dumb not to mention Jacory Harris. In fact, I’d be a bigger idiot if I didn’t make Harris the focal point of this part of the preview. No doubt, this is Harris’ chance to shine.

Miami’s quarterback tradition dates well back to Bernie Kosar. The Hurricanes have had the likes of Vinny Testaverde, Steve Walsh, Gino Torretta, and Ken Dorsey. I’d include Brock Berlin, but he was a Gator at a certain point in his life. Harris has the opportunity to carve his own place in Miami’s history of quarterbacks. He’s already proven himself in the ACC, leading the conference in passing yards.

The schedule won’t be an easy as they face Ohio State Sept. 11, and then take on Pittsburgh the week after. If they can survive both of those games, they have a shot to run through the ACC.

Georgia Tech

They fell flat against Iowa in the Orange Bowl, which will always be disappointing to me. The big question facing the Yellow Jackets though is, can they really replace Jonathan Dwyer?

Dwyer’s production was helpful for Georgia Tech. But now that he’s gone, it’s up to Anthony Allen to carry the load alongside quarterback Josh Nesbitt. Allen ran for 618 yards and 6 touchdowns, third best on the team.

But now, Allen is moving from the tuba section to the clarinet section. I hope he has the right reeds.

Virginia Tech

Okay, who isn’t giddy over the showdown between the Hokies and Boise State? Whoever isn’t deserves to be punched in the nuts. It’s the tough Tech defense against those Blue guys that are turning into popular BCS attractions.

The potential is there for this to be the game of the century. Granted, the last sentence was a hyperbole sandwich with a side of fries. But this could be freakin’ awesome. It could be a 13-7 game and it would still be awesome. It’s Boise State’s chance to prove themselves against a BCS contender, one with a tough defense.

The Hokies are of course carrying the flag for the non-mid majors. And don’t think for a second that Virginia Tech didn’t forget about the loss to East Carolina in the 2008 opener. They’ll be looking to crush the Broncos, thus crushing the hopes and dreams of mid-majors everywhere.

North Carolina

What can I say about UNC that hasn’t been said? They have their share of issues. So instead of analyzing how Butch Davis will keep this team from falling apart, here are my thoughts on Bigfoot.

Now I admit, I don’t know if Bigfoot is real or not. For all we know, he’s a figment of our imagination. However, that’s what they said about the Yeti. And now he’s as accepted in our culture as the Jersey Shore cast.

Now before you ask the question, I’ll answer it now and say there’s no connection. However, if Butch Davis loses players over these improper benefits, maybe he can try to recruit the all-mighty Sasquatch.

Virginia

The Cavaliers first game this season will be against Richmond. It will be Mike London’s first game coaching against his former team, the same team he guided to an FCS title just a couple of years ago. (Gridiron Goddess: And their second game is @ USC.)

London has the challenge ahead of turning around one of the worst offenses in the conference. It won’t be an easy process, but London’s credentials give him the opportunity to make the offense better.

Maybe Virginia can get on the right track. After all, it’s not like they’re Duke or anything.

Duke

Oh, we’re at this point. And well, they have Alabama and Navy on their schedule. But hey, their basketball team won a national title, so did their lacrosse team. So, it’s at least something to make Duke fans forget about football, right?

The one bright spot is they have a coach that wants to stay at Duke and who has produced wins for the program. David Cutcliffe was reportedly considered for the Tennessee coaching job, but chose to stay put in Durham.  Last season, the former Ole Miss head coach guided the Blue Devils to a 5-7 record. The last time they won more than five games in a season was 1994.

When you’ve spent most of the time at the bottom, you have nowhere to go but up. Hopefully, Cutcliffe can help the Blue Devils up the hill in the ACC, thus keeping them out of the basement.