Wednesday, September 6, 2006

ACC Week 1 in Review

Game-by-game, and off we go.....

Boston College 31, Central Michigan 24
For some of my major thoughts on this game, go here. To reiterate, the score doesn't bother me as much as the auto-pilot mentality the Eagles went into when up 31-10. That's somewhat understandable against that type of opponent in mid-October, but not in week one.

Virginia Tech 38, Northeastern 0
A very pleasant start for QB Sean Glennon and RB Brandon Ore, along with the predictable domination of the Hokie D and special teams. However, with "just" 374 total yards for the game and a dry spell in the 2nd quarter against a 1-AA foe, it is evident that the Hokies have a ways to go before things are back to normal in Blacksburg.

Clemson 54, Florida Atlantic 6
They pretty much hit my predicted score right on the head (I picked 45-6, damn my dyslexia) and every part of the Tiger team got into the act scoring-wise, with the special teams and defense finding the end zone in the 4th quarter. New starting QB Will Proctor had a steady debut, after getting the oh-man-where's-the-nearest-bathroom jitters out of his system.

Rutgers 21, North Carolina 16
This is the kind of loss that really tells me that the Heels are never going to get to the next level with John Bunting (perhaps the kick-ass 3-9 and 2-10 campaigns of '02 and '03 should've told me as much). The early candidate for Most Inappropriate Demeanor On The Sideline award for 2006 is Bunting, who was giggling with a few players right before QB Joe Dailey threw his game-ending pick at the Scarlet Knight 29 with 1:52 to play. With the game on the line, Knute Bunting was yukking it up with the kids. Impressive.

N.C. State 23, Appalachian State 10
A better win for the Wolfpack than most would give them credit for, as Appy State is better than about 20 1-A teams at the moment (including one right here in our little ACC). But, the Wolfpack look to be playing out the same script as last year, anemic offense (QB Marcus Stone was just 7-of-13 for 44 yards and a pick, and State lost 3 fumbles) and dominant defense (held the Mountaineers to 92 total yards).

Richmond 13, Duke 0
This one has to rank up there with UNC's 28-3 loss to Furman in 1999 as one of the all-time nadirs in recent ACC football history. We all know Duke is, well Duke. But to be shut out at home, by a good-but-not-great 1-AA team (by 1-AA standards) is woeful beyond words. Former Blue Devil coach Carl Franks, quite possibly the worst ACC skipper of the last 25 years, never delivered an atrocity like this. Ted Roof may have just killed his career Saturday afternoon.

Maryland 27, William & Mary 14
Another blah performance by an ACC school against a 1-AA foe. QB Sam Hollenbach was OK, but certainly didn't look much improved from 2005's erratic performance. More concerning for the Terps is that they managed to turn the ball over 4 times (3 to Bill, 1 to Mary) while managing to not force a single pick or fumble from the Tribe. So, out of 4 games against 1-AA foes, no ACC club could manage to break 40 points. Hmmmmm....

Wake Forest 20, Syracuse 10
Probably the best example of how the new clock rules affected a team's performance from week 1. Last year this is likely a 34-10 Wake rout, but the Deacons' 2-to-1 rush/pass ratio chewed up clock like Charlie Weis at a Golden Corral all-you-can-eat meatballs night. The loss of QB Ben Mauk for the season may not be as big an issue as many think, as backup Riley Skinner had pushed Mauk very hard for the starting job in the preseason.

Pitt 38, Virginia 13
Folks, Pitt is an OK team - probably good for 7-5 on the year - but I'm telling you, the Cavaliers are going to have a look-away-this-is-too-horrible-dear-God-make-it-stop season. There is a dearth of talent on offense like I have never seen out of UVA squad. Top that off with new offensive and defensive coordinators, and the Cavs could be hard-pressed to get to 4-8 this year (my brilliantly projected record for them in the preseason).

Notre Dame 14, Georgia Tech 10
Raise your hand if you just knew that the Irish were gonna win this one right after they pulled to within 10-7 shortly before the half. You could see it in the faces of the Jacket and Irish players, in Charile Weis and Chan Gailey, and in the stands. QB Reggie Ball continued his Chris Rix-like career (that is, he peaked in his freshman year and has had continued problems with accuracy ever since). Offensive coordinator Patrick Nix has miraculously found a way to orchestrate just 7, 10 and 10 points in each of Tech's last three games (dating back to last season, obviously) with talent like Ball, PJ Daniels/Tashard Choice at RB, and the incredible Calvin Johnson at WR. Poor Jon Tenuta's superb defensive efforts are being wasted time and again in Atlanta.

Florida State 13, Miami 10
Enough has been said about this one. You should not have to gouge your own eyes out after witnessing Monday night's contest, as so many columnists, TV and radio jabberjaws, and internet pundits apparently wish to do. When you can walk out of your 12th-ranked arch-rival's house with a 3-point triumph in front of a national TV audience, it's a damn good win. Was it a work of art? Hell frickin no. But neither was, say, Penn State's 14-10 Fiesta Bowl upset of Miami in 1986 when Vinny Testaverde threw an NCAA record 27 picks, both teams fumbled all over the place, Penn State had all of 160 yards of total offense....yet that game is gushed over as an all-time classic. But I digress. Back to FSU-Miami '06. Both offensive lines carried over their problems from last season, but it is not as catastrophic as has been portrayed. Both respective offensive schemes were as vanilla they can be - much like last year and in 2004 - with plays designed for minimal risk. The game is too important to start trotting out new sets, formations and such, as could be done with openers against directional-school-pushovers. And the defenses....my word. Incredible. The Larry Coker Death March (which is ridiculous, to say the least) has officially begun.

All in all, a rather ho-hum and somewhat disappointing opening week for the league. Nothing good can ever come of playing so many second-division opponents, as evidenced this past weekend. Shape up, ACC. You're starting to embarass yourselves here.

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