The new job is sucking time right out of the day for me. Please accept these off-the-cuff thoughts on the weekend that was....
--North Carolina.....I really don't know how Butch Davis is doing it. All of the personnel losses (and at times the Everett Withers' defense) point to an inevitable collapse, but we're 75% into the regular season and Carolina is rolling at 6-2. Most pundits I'm reading and listening to are now harping on Al Groh or Paul Johnson for ACC Coach of the Year. As of today, Butch gets my vote.
--Virginia.....In all my years of following college football, I've never seen a midseason team resurrection on par with Virginia '08. It's one thing to have been 1-3, get hot, and vault to 5-3. But the Hoos were on the Syracuse and Washington State level of rot-gut BCS programs a month ago. The Orange and Cougars are still reeling...UVA figured things out and have gone from being one of the 15 worst 1-A teams to a BCS conference title contender in a month.
--Florida State.....I'm getting a little tired of hearing about their "struggle" at NC State two weeks ago. First, Thursday night contests on the road are unbelievably difficult, no matter who you play. Second, the Pack are clearly the best last-place BCS conference team. Maybe that's a backhanded compliment to Tom O'Brien and Co., but it's still true. And yeah, maybe the Seminoles should've beaten the Hokies more emphatically, given the QB decimation last Saturday. Whatever. The 2005-2007 Noles would be 3-4 right now against the same competition. This FSU squad has it together between the ears. Watch the hell out when the offense clicks for an entire game.
--Duke!.....As I expected, their win over Vandy has resulted not in adulation for the Devils, but in deafening silence from the sports media. Which is fine. Scoreboard is really all that needs to be said.
--Miami.....It was a win, but not a statement. The ground game got stuck in neutral, and QB Robert Marve had accuracy issues, but he didn't throw any picks. I would've liked to see a little more Jacory Harris, but it looks like Miami is hitching their wagon to the Marve train for now. And a Harris transfer is likely forthcoming, barring a massive Marve meltdown or injury.
--Virginia Tech.....Sean Glennon initially looked capable after taking over on the second play following the injury to Tyrod Taylor, which is not surprising in hindsight given that the Noles game-planned for a Taylor-led offense. But once FSU adjusted at the half, the Hokie offense was largely impotent and they only found a spark (briefly, at that) after Glennon went down and in came third-stringer Cory Holt. Still, a 30-20 loss in those circumstances is nothing to be ashamed about. What is concerning is that special teams has directly contributed to one loss already (ECU) and started the momentum-ball rolling in the defeat in Tallahassee.
--Maryland.....I still don't know what to make of the Terps, although last Saturday's escape against NC State was at least predictable; no mysterious shutouts going either way. It's going to take the rest of the year to find out which Turtles are for real.
--Georgia Tech.....Yes, it's time to really start giving UVA credit instead of eviscerating their victims, but what in hellfire happened to the Tech offense in the last three and a half quarters on Saturday? An early 14-3 lead stalled out and a Virginia tide just kept rising and rising throughout the afternoon. That the Jackets only managed to hold onto the ball for 25 minutes against the Hoos is a bad sign with a sturdier FSU coming to town.
--Boston College.....I wasn't too surprised by BC's 5-1 start given their competition, and I fully expected The Chris Crane Turnover Express to derail the Eagles at some point, but not necessarily in such spectacular fashion. How BC responds to their first depantsing of the Jagodzinski Era will be quite interesting.
--Wake Forest.....Call me bumfuzzled over the Deacs' plan to run run run run run run run on Miami when it was obvious by mid-second quarter that they couldn't, at least in any consistent fashion. Limiting Riley Skinner to eight throws against against a good but nowhere near dominating Cane pass defense was just one of many curious calls made by Jim Grobe and OC Steve Lobotzke this season.
--NC State.....My heart goes out to Pack fans. Over the last three weeks, they led FSU in the 4th quarter and they had the Maryland and BC games headed to OT before the defense just melted in crunch time. The Wolfpack mindset over the final third of the season may just make or break the Tom O'Brien regime. 2-10 is not acceptable despite the piss-poor luck this season. 4-8, maybe. 5-7 or 6-6 and State gets taken very, very seriously heading into 2009.