Friday, November 28, 2008

Week 14 Preview: More Mayhem Ahead

MIAMI (7-4) at N.C. STATE (5-6)
Saturday, 11/29/08, noon ET - Carter Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
Series Record: Miami leads 7-4-1; the Wolfpack won last year's meeting 19-16 in OT
What May or May Not Happen: Russell Wilson and the Pack are in a groove. Just two weeks ago, odes to Randy Shannon were abundant; now, watch the wolves come out when State beats the Canes. A fickle game, this college football is. N.C. State 27, Miami 20

GEORGIA TECH (8-3) at GEORGIA (9-2)
Saturday, 11/29/08, noon ET - Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA
Series Record: Georgia leads 59-38-5; the Bulldogs won last year's meeting 31-17
What May or May Not Happen: Georgia's been overrated and soft from day one. Josh Nesbitt and Jonathan Dwyer will rattle the Dawg defense, while Michael Johnson and Co. will punish the grossly over-hyped Matt Stafford. Georgia Tech 30, Georgia 20

SOUTH CAROLINA (7-4) at CLEMSON (6-5)
Saturday, 11/29/08, noon ET - Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
Series Record: Clemson leads 64-37-4; the Tigers won last year's meeting 23-21
What May or May Not Happen: The five-to-ten year future of Clemson football likely rests on this game; if they win, it's The Dabo Show for at least a few more years. If they lose, they move on to bigger and better names. Clemson 20, South Carolina 17

VIRGINIA (5-6) at VIRGINIA TECH (7-4)
Saturday, 11/29/08, noon ET - Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 47-37-5; the Hokies won last year's meeting 33-21
What May or May Not Happen: We all know how this works in the ACC in 2008: When you have a chance to separate from the pack, you lose. Therefore...Virginia 14, Virginia Tech 13

FLORIDA (10-1) at FLORIDA STATE (8-3)
Saturday, 11/29/08, 3:30pm ET - Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL
Series Record: Florida leads 31-19-2; the Gators won last year's meeting 45-12
What May or May Not Happen: Perhaps with a more disciplined defense, the Seminoles could pull this one off. Maybe next year. Florida 42, Florida State 31

MARYLAND (7-4) at BOSTON COLLEGE (8-3)
Saturday, 11/29/08, 3:30pm ET - Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, MA
Series Record: Boston College leads 3-2; the Terrapins won last year's meeting 42-35
What May or May Not Happen: See Virginia-Virginia Tech. Maryland 17, Boston College 14

NORTH CAROLINA (7-4) at DUKE (4-7)
Saturday, 11/29/08, 3:30pm ET - Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
Series Record: North Carolina leads 54-36-4; the Tar Heels won last year's meeting 20-14 in OT
What May or May Not Happen: This is everyone's trendy upset pick this weekend. I'm betting the Heels are seething over last week's embarassment to State and will take it out on the Blue Devils. Sorta. North Carolina 28, Duke 17

VANDERBILT (6-5) at WAKE FOREST (6-5)
Saturday, 11/29/08, 7pm ET - BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
Series Record: Vanderbilt leads 7-4; the Demon Deacons won last year's meeting 31-17
What May or May Not Happen: The SEC's darling goes 0-2 against the ACC's two smallest schools. And nobody notices. Wake Forest 20, Vanderbilt 14

ACC on TV

Where to find tomorrow's games on the tube or internets:

Georgia Tech @ Georgia, noon ET - CBS
Virginia @ Virginia Tech, noon ET - ESPN, ESPN360
South Carolina @ Clemson, noon ET - ESPN2, ESPN360
Miami @ N.C. State, noon ET - Raycom, Gameplan, ESPN360
Florida @ Florida State, 3:30pm ET - ABC, ESPN2, ESPN360
Maryland @ Boston College, 3:30pm ET - ABC, ESPN2, ESPN360
North Carolina @ Duke, 3:30pm ET - ESPNU
Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest, 7pm ET - ESPNU

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tiebreaker Tutorial

All this talk over the last few weeks about who's going win which division has given me a headache, but at the same time has caused me to investigate what tiebreakers are actually in place to solve the potential mess we may face next Sunday (and that mess would be five of the twelve league teams at 5-3 and tied atop their respective divisions; or to put it another way...nearly half of the league would be tied for a division crown).

That investigation began and ended with my discovery of The Official ACC Tiebreaker Rules. For those too lazy to click on the link, here's the gist:
A. Two-Team Tie

1. Head-to-head competition between the two tied teams.
2. Records of the tied teams within the division.
3. Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall record (divisional). Conference record and proceeding though the division. Multiple ties within the division broken from first to last.
4. Overall record versus all common non-divisional opponents.
5. Combined record versus all non-divisional teams.
6. Record versus common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish (divisional and non-divisional) and proceeding through other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within their division.
7. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the end of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game.
8. The representative shall be chosen by a draw.

B. Three (or More) Team Tie
(Once tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker format is used)

1. Combined head-to-head record among the tied teams.
2. Records of the tied teams within the division.
3. Head-to-head competition versus the team within the division with the best overall (divisional or conference) record, and proceeding through the division. Multiple ties within the division will be broken first to last.
4. Overall record for non-divisional teams.
5. Combined record versus all common non-divisional teams.
6. Record versus common non-divisional with the best overall Conference (divisional and non-divisional record) and proceeding through the other common non-divisional teams based on their order of finish within the division.
7. The tied team with the highest ranking in the Bowl Championship Series Standings following the conclusion of regular season games shall be the divisional representative in the ACC Championship Game, unless the second of the tied teams is ranked within five-or-fewer places of the highest ranked tied team. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top two ranked tied teams shall determine the representative in the ACC Championship Game.
8. The representative shall be chosen by a draw.

So let's get started.

ATLANTIC DIVISION
The Candidates: Florida State (5-3), Boston College (4-3), Maryland (4-3)

Scenario 1
: Boston College defeats Maryland next Saturday, setting up a two-way tie between the Eagles and the Seminoles for the Atlantic Division crown.
Resolution 1: Boston College wins the Atlantic by virtue of the first two-team tiebreaker.

Scenario 2: Maryland defeats Boston College next Saturday, setting up a two-way tie between the Terps and the Seminoles for the Atlantic Division crown.
Resolution 2: Florida State wins the Atlantic by virtue of the first two-team tiebreaker.

Well that was easy.

COASTAL DIVISION
The Candidates: Georgia Tech (5-3), Miami (4-3), Virginia Tech (4-3)

Scenario 1: N.C. State defeats Miami and Virginia defeats Virginia Tech next Saturday, leaving Georgia Tech alone atop the Coastal.
Resolution 1:
I think that would be rather obvious.

Scenario 2:
Miami defeats N.C. State and Virginia defeats Virginia Tech next Saturday, setting up a two-way tie between the Yellow Jackets and Hurricanes for the Coastal Division crown.
Resolution 2: Georgia Tech wins the Coastal by virtue of the first two-team tiebreaker.

Scenario 3: N.C. State defeats Miami and Virginia Tech defeats Virginia next Saturday, setting up a two-way tie between the Yellow Jackets and Hokies for the Coastal Division crown.
Resolution 3: Virginia Tech wins the Coastal by virtue of the first-two team tiebreaker.

Scenario 4: Miami defeats N.C. State and Virginia Tech defeats Virginia, setting up a three way tie between the Yellow Jackets, Hurricanes and Hokies for the Coastal Division crown.
Resolution 4: The first three-team tiebreaker results in a stalemate; all three teams went 1-1 against the other two (Georgia Tech beat Miami, Miami beat Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech beat Georgia Tech). The second three-team tiebreaker eliminates Georgia Tech and Miami; the Jackets went 2-3 in the Coastal, the Canes posted a 3-2 Coastal record, while the Hokies went 4-1 in the division. Virginia Tech then wins the Coastal by virtue of the second three-team tiebreaker.

So there you have it. It's either Florida State/Boston College in the Atlantic and Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech in the Coastal. Most of you already knew that, but seeing how we got there always helps.

Bright and early Blog Pollin'

Nothing like submitting the ol' ballot while the images of Saturday's festivities are fresh in my mind...
RankTeam
1 Texas
2 Oklahoma
3 Alabama
4 Florida
5 Southern Cal
6 Texas Tech
7 Penn State
8 Utah
9 Oklahoma State
10 Missouri
11 Ohio State
12 Oregon State
13 Georgia
14 TCU
15 Georgia Tech
16 Boise State
17 Florida State
18 Cincinnati
19 Mississippi
20 Boston College
21 Ball State
22 Michigan State
23 Oregon
24 North Carolina
25 Pittsburgh
Dropped Out: Maryland (#21), Miami-FL (#23), LSU (#25)

Allow me to explain a few selections that might raise some eyebrows:

-Oregon State #12. It's all about the resume - beat #5 USC, lost to #7 Penn State, lost to #8 Utah close, handled a decent Cal team. The opening loss to Stanford looks pretty bad...but that was week one.
-Boise State #16. This may or may not be controversial. They're unbeaten, yes, but they played one real team all year, Oregon, and won in close fashion. The rest of their schedule has a combined record of 43-70.
-North Carolina #24. Before yesterday's debacle against the Wolfpack, their three previous losses were by 3 points to Va. Tech, 3 points in OT at Virginia, and 2 points at Maryland. And they blew out Boston College and Georgia Tech in the last month. And they seal-clubbed decent UConn and Rutgers teams earlier this season. They'd be Top 20 if the loss to NC State was respectable; 41-10 knocks them nearly off my ballot.
Whatcha think?

Friday, November 21, 2008

ACC on TV

Where to find Saturday's games on the telly and/or google machine...

N.C. State @ North Carolina, noon ET
- Raycom, Gameplan, ESPN360
Clemson @ Virginia, noon ET - Raycom, Gameplan, ESPN360
Boston College @ Wake Forest, 3:30pm ET - ABC, ESPN, Gameplan, ESPN360
Duke @ Virginia Tech, 5:30pm ET - ESPNU
Florida State @ Maryland, 7:45pm ET - ESPN, ESPN360

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Week 13 Preview: Somebody has to win this league. I'm pretty sure there's a rule.

I was thinking of how fitting it would be if all 12 league teams finished at 4-4 this year in conference play, but then realized that Duke at best can finish at 3-5 leaving someone else at 5-3 and undisputed lord and master of the ACC. Still, 10 conference teams at 4-4 in the league would be both groovy and sad. Anyway...

MIAMI (7-3) at GEORGIA TECH (7-3)
Thursday, 11/20/08, 7:30pm ET - Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Series Record: Georgia Tech leads 9-4; the Yellow Jackets won last year's meeting 17-14
What May or May Not Happen: If Josh Nesbitt is a no-go, so are the Jackets' Coastal title hopes. The Hurricane defense is chewing up opposing offenses and is quick enough to handle a Nesbitt-less Ramblin' Wreck attack. Miami 20, Georgia Tech 13

CLEMSON (5-5) at VIRGINIA (5-5)
Saturday, 11/22/08, noon ET - Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA
Series Record: Clemson leads 35-8-1; the Cavaliers won the last meeting 30-10 in 2004
What May or May Not Happen: The momentum generated by the Hoos' October surge is gone. The Dabo-led Tigers are all over the place mentally and fundamentally, but are still good enough to pull one out on the road. Clemson 24, Virginia 20

N.C. STATE (4-6) at NORTH CAROLINA (7-3)
Saturday, 11/22/08, noon ET - Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
Series Record: North Carolina leads 55-28-5; the Wolfpack won last year's meeting 31-27
What May or May Not Happen: State will give the Heels all they can handle but will come up a tad short, which is pretty much the story of Wolfpack football over the last few years. North Carolina 27, N.C. State 24

BOSTON COLLEGE (7-3) at WAKE FOREST (6-4)
Saturday, 11/22/08, 3:30pm ET - BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, NC
Series Record: Boston College leads 7-6-2; the Eagles won last year's meeting 38-28
What May or May Not Happen: The Eagles' defense is the only surefire reliable unit in this game. Both offenses will clunk around, but Chris Crane and Co. do just enough to pull out a win. Boston College 16, Wake Forest 13

DUKE (4-6) at VIRGINIA TECH (6-4)
Saturday, 11/22/08, 5:30pm ET - Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
Series Record: Virginia Tech leads 8-7; the Hokies won last year's meeting 43-14
What May or May Not Happen: Without Thaddeus Lewis, the Devils stand little chance of pulling off the shocker in Lane. The Hokies send Duke to their 182nd straight losing season. Virginia Tech 30, Duke 10

FLORIDA STATE (7-3) at MARYLAND (7-3)
Saturday, 11/22/08, 7:45pm ET - Byrd Stadium, College Park, MD
Series Record: Florida State leads 16-2; the Seminoles won last year's meeting 24-16
What May or May Not Happen: Can the Terps - of all teams - buck the trend of league contenders falling flat when division titles are in sight? Against the suddenly reeling Seminoles, that answer is yes. The FSU defense continues its late season epic fail. Maryland 26, Florida State 21

And here endeth the week 13 preview.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Obligatory Blog Pollin'

RankTeam
1 Texas Tech
2 Alabama
3 Texas
4 Oklahoma
5 Florida
6 Southern Cal
7 Utah
8 Penn State
9 Oklahoma State
10 Ohio State
11 Missouri
12 Michigan State
13 Georgia
14 Boise State
15 Oregon State
16 Cincinnati
17 North Carolina
18 Ball State
19 Georgia Tech
20 Pittsburgh
21 Maryland
22 TCU
23 Miami (FL)
24 Florida State
25 LSU
Dropped Out: Virginia Tech (#19), California (#25)

Make of this what you wish. Remember, I'm ranking based on overall season resume, not as a power poll and not as a standard up/down shift based on who won or lost this past weekend. Fire away...

Friday, November 14, 2008

ACC on TV

Sorry for the lack o'posts this week. It's a good thing the season is winding down because I'm not seeing how I can regularly update this blog and still remain employed. Nonetheless, I should be able to swing it for another few weeks, so fear not. Alas, no weekly preview this week. But I have managed to find time to provide with your handy TV/web listings for Saturday's festivities:

Duke @ Clemson, noon ET - Raycom, Gameplan, ESPN360
North Carolina @ Maryland, 3:30pm ET - ABC, ESPN, Gameplan, ESPN360
Wake Forest @ NC State, 3:30pm ET - ESPNU
Boston College @ Florida State, 8pm ET - ABC, Gameplan, ESPN360

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Out of Conference Report '08 - Homestretch Edition

For those who are new to this blog, I began a feature last season that would attempt to quantify the strength of each BCS league based on the quality of it's non-conference competition. Yes, I realize that football has far too many intangibles and such that can't be broken down into mere numbers. But I'm a stats guy, and if someone is going to tell me that the Big Ten or Big East or whoever is better than the ACC, I'd like to see some justification for that aside from the typical message board smack.

Updated non-conference records among the six BCS leagues through the first two+ months of the season:
Conf.RecordPct.
SEC33-8.805
Big XII38-10
.792
ACC34-10.772
Big Ten
31-12.721
Big East
26-12.684
Pac 10
13-16.448
The SEC's dominance in these standings earlier in the season has eroded and the Big XII and ACC are in position to pass them. The ACC especially, what with four head-to-head matchups with the SEC still on tap.

To delve a little deeper, below is the combined record of all 1-A/FBS opposition faced by each BCS league in non-conference play:
Conf.RecordPct.
Pac 10162-106.604
ACC
152-127.545
Big East
157-135.538
Big Ten170-155.523
Big XII176-183.490
SEC137-172.443
Call me crazy, but the ACC looks damn fine with the third best record, against the second best competition. The Pac 10's horrid showing is somewhat understandable, while the SEC's record doesn't appear so sterling now.

ON THE ROAD
Below illustrates the percentage of games each league has played away from home in non-conference action:
Conf.Road Games/OOC GamesPct.
Big East15/3839.5%
Pac 1010/2934.5%
ACC12/4427.2%
Big XII13/4827.1%
SEC11/4126.8%
Big Ten11/4325.6%

*non-conference neutral site games (i.e. Missouri-Illinois, Alabama-Clemson) are calculated as road games for both leagues.

Historically, the ACC and Big East always seem to play more non-league road games while Big Ten schools are seemingly oblivious to the likes of Travelocity and Orbitz.

BCS COMPETITION
The following indicates the percentage of non-conference competition played against fellow BCS-league opponents:
Conf.BCS Foes/OOC GamesPct.
Pac 10
13/2944.8%
ACC19/4443.2%
Big East15/3839.5%
Big XII15/4831.3%
Big Ten13/4230.6%
SEC11/4126.8%
*For this analysis, Notre Dame is included as a BCS/power-league team

And each conference's record against other power-league competition:
Conf.RecordPct.
ACC12-7.632
Big East
8-7.533
Big XII
7-8.467
Big Ten
6-7.462
SEC
5-6.455
Pac 10
5-8.385
Furthermore, the following is the combined record of each league's BCS opposition:
Conf.RecordPct.
Pac 10
81-47.633
ACC
109-69.612
Big East
87-59
.596
Big Ten
67-53.558
SEC
56-45.554
Big XII
82-68.547
Perhaps this will dispel all the parity-due-to-mediocrity talk in terms of the logjam in the ACC standings these days. These numbers prove that the ACC is a damn good league thus far this season. And a golf-clap to the Big East as well, for being the only other BCS league team with a winning record against other power-conference competition...and against the third best BCS opposition to boot.

OTHER 1-A/FBS COMPETITION
Each league's record against other 1-A/FBS foes...that is, the non-conference results against the poor schmoes from Conference USA, the MAC, the WAC, etc.:
Conf.RecordPct.
Big XII21-2.913
SEC20-2.909
Big Ten17-5.773
ACC8-3.727
Big East
11-5
.688
Pac 106-8.429
And the combined record of the "other 1-A" opponents for each BCS league:
Conf.RecordPct.
Pac 1081-59.579
Big Ten
103-102.502
Big East
70-76.479
Big XII
94-115.450
ACC
43-58.426
SEC81-127
.389
OK, so the ACC's armor gets a little chinked here. But the SEC and Big XII's lofty records are partially the result of fattening up on a horde o' UAB and North Texas-style cupcakes, while the Pac 10 was getting dusted by the likes of Utah, Boise State, TCU and BYU. Let the numbers drive it home for you....the Pac 10 and SEC's non-BCS 1A competition both have 81 wins; but the SEC's opposition has 68 more losses. Thank you, and good night.

THE 1-AA/FCS FACTOR
The percentage of non-conference games against 1-AA competition...
Conf.1-AA Foes/OOC GamesPct.
ACC14/4431.8%
SEC7/3319.5%
Big XII9/4818.8%
Big Ten8/4318.6%
Big East7/3818.4%
Pac 102/296.9%
And this is what keeps the ACC out of the Big XII/SEC "best conference" talk this season. Just under a third of all ACC out-of-conference games have been against the minor leaguers. Unacceptable. And the close calls (UNC-McNeese, Maryland-Delaware, Georgia Tech-Gardner Webb) further erode credibility. On the flipside, the Pac 10 would do well to not be so damn righteous.

POTENTIALLY FLAWED SUBJECTIVE CONCLUSION
All that said, this is how I'd rank the conferences so far in 2008:

1) Big XII
2) SEC
3) ACC
4) Big Ten
5) Big East
6) Pac 10

I think the numbers above support this ranking. Maybe next year I'll have devised a formula I like that just swallows up the percentages from above and spits out a rating. But for now, I think this is as accurate a ranking of the BCS leagues as you'll find.

Crunch-time Blog Pollin'

The ACCFR ballot after yesterday's shenanigans...
RankTeam
1 Texas Tech
2 Alabama
3 Texas
4 Oklahoma
5 Florida
6 Southern Cal
7 Utah
8 Oklahoma State
9 Penn State
10 Boise State
11 Ohio State
12 Missouri
13 North Carolina
14 Georgia
15 Florida State
16 Ball State
17 Oregon State
18 Michigan State
19 Virginia Tech
20 TCU
21 Cincinnati
22 Georgia Tech
23 Pittsburgh
24 LSU
25 California
Dropped Out: Maryland (#22), Minnesota (#25)

Feel free to chime in with comments, questions, scorn, etc. The post-week 11 poll results will be up Tuesday or Wendesday and can be viewed through this link.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election + Job = no time for blogging

This will be a light week here at ACCFR, as my attention has been focused on pesky little things like choosing the leader of the free world and putting in the hours at the new job. There probably won't be a weekend recap or a Week 11 Preview so try not to get too choked up. I'll check back in on Sunday or Monday.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bumfuzzlin' Blog Pollin'

"Blog Poll"? The story behind the legend.
RankTeam
1 Texas Tech
2 Alabama
3 Penn State
4 Texas
5 Oklahoma
6 Florida
7 Oklahoma State
8 Southern Cal
9 Utah
10 TCU
11 Boise State
12 Ohio State
13 Missouri
14 North Carolina
15 Georgia Tech
16 Georgia
17 Florida State
18 Ball State
19 Michigan State
20 California
21 Oregon State
22 Maryland
23 Pittsburgh
24 Virginia Tech
25 Minnesota
Dropped Out: Tulsa (#20), Notre Dame (#22), Connecticut (#25)
Maybe Next Week: Oh who the hell cares at this point


BRAIN DROPPINGS
--I'm at a loss after #16. I'm sticking the Noles at #17 because I'm a bit biased and because of the razor-thin circumstance of yesterday's loss at Georgia Tech (sure TD becomes a fumble in the end zone with 45 seconds left after a Jacket helmet pops the ball out of the arms of FSU's Marcus Sims at the goal line). That's also why I give Virginia Tech almost a complete pass for the loss to ECU in week one (blocked punt for a TD with a minute to go).
--I may be a week too early with anointing Texas Tech, but what the hell. Bama's win over Georgia just got devalued quite a bit and the uncomfortably close wins over Ole Miss and Kentucky don't sit well with me.
--I don't know how anyone can't have Texas as the highest ranked one-loss team. Their last four games are the toughest month-long gauntlet I've seen a team play in my lifetime.
--5 ACC teams on my ballot. Sue me.

Quite possibly the stupidest Top 25 of all time

CFN fellates Tebow, Florida, and the SEC something fierce.

Guys, nobody in Baton Rouge would even have the stones to say that LSU is the 12th best team, or playing the 12th best, or whatever cockamamie criteria Fiutak & Co. are concocting to prop up the SEC. It's just idiotic.

Missouri #9 after squeaking past Baylor? Georgia #10? South Carolina #14? Virginia #18?

Maybe they're just being intentionally provocative or outright insane in order to get goobers like me to link to their site and ratchet up the hit count. Whatever. CFN sucks today.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

ACC on TV

Wondering where to find today's games on the tube or the interwebby? Perhaps I can be of assistance...

Miami @ Virginia, noon ET - Raycom, Gameplan, ESPN360
Duke @ Wake Forest, 3:30pm ET - ESPN360 (web only)
Clemson @ Boston College, 3:30pm ET - ESPNU
Florida State @ Georgia Tech, 3:30pm ET - ABC, ESPN, Gameplan, ESPN360

Happy viewing!