Thursday, October 28, 2010

This seems very familiar

ESPN Thursday night. Florida State at NC State.

For the fourth consecutive time, and fifth overall since FSU began ACC play in 1992, the biennial (not biannual, apparently) Wolfpack-Seminole showdown in Raleigh will highlight ESPN's broadcast on a Thursday evening. And despite all the jitters among the Seminole faithful, the arrangement has been successful for the Noles, who have won three of the four previous Thursday-at-Carter-Finley meetings. Nonetheless, the best Thursday night throwdown between the two was the lone Pack victory, a 24-20 grinder in 2006 that had all sorts of subplots and effects, namely:
  • it was then-Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato's (NCSU letterman '65-'69) last victory in that capacity as NCSU promptly went on a 7-game skid to end the season
  • yes, the Chuck Amato who was Florida State's linebackers coach prior to (1982-99) and following (2007-09) his stint as skipper in Raleigh
  • it was - debatably - when en-masse finger pointing shifted from Jeff Bowden to Bobby Bowden regarding the slip in the Seminole program; the Jeff experiment as Florida State's offensive coordinator was put out to pasture a month later
  • it was the beginning of FSU's second slide of the decade - from middle-lower end Top 25 program to perennial six-loss/unranked unit
Soooo.....lots of curious recent history here. Do I have a preview or prediction for tonight? No, I most certainly do not. A prediction is pointless since both teams have had 12 days to prepare, both teams are coming off subpar efforts, both teams have (thus far) performed better than expected, both teams are playing for the clear division lead, and both teams sport the two best quarterbacks in the league - recent struggles be damned.

Should be an interesting game though, if for no other reason than it's the first Florida State-NC State matchup sans any Chuck Amato involvement since 1964, a span of 23 games (1965-69, 1992-2009)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I see things haven't changed much

Well hello there. And to those three diehards who keep checking this space daily to see if my hibernation is over - loves ya Mom, Dad and random stranger!

So it's been a season and a half since I've regaled humankind about ACC football and lo and behold, we still suck according to everyone at ESPN, Yahoo/Rivals, CFN, SEC blogs, most blogs, most message board posts (spelling/grammar very optional), Girl Scout troop 442-Brandon, FL and Lady Gaga (allegedly). And it is time for me to offer a rousing defense.

They're right. But so what.

For the 318th consecutive season, all ACC teams were eliminated from serious national title contention by week 3.

Coincidentally, for the 318th consecutive season, the ACC (thus far) has played a ridiculously unbalanced non-conference slate: ACC #8 Clemson at BCS #1 A; ACC #12 Duke hosting defending BCS champion and current BCS #7 Alabama; ACC #10 Wake Forest at BCS #13 Stanford....just to give you three games from one singular weekend (the enthralling yet inevitably soul-devouring Week 3).

What I wouldn't give to see a weekend where Florida State hosts Northwestern, Miami welcomes Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech entertains Colorado, NC State faces a suspension-depleted Washington in St. Louis....and, oh, let's say Georgia Tech makes an easy road trip to Kansas (wait...what? Retract).

This is not to defend the ACC's overall performance; the Jackets' afore-referenced facepalm in Lawrence is turning out to be one of the biggest non-conference gakks in recent memory (KU vs. three mediocre Big XII teams and North Dakota State = 34pt loss on average; KU vs. top-half ACC team and defending league champ = 3pt win). The Hokies' loss at home to James Madison (that's the 1-3 in the FCS Colonial league James Madison, mind you), despite all the "five days after the Boise loss blah blah blah" justification, was catastrophic for the conference as well since that Tech team is likely to win the dang league in the end. And the team the Hokies are likely to beat for that ACC crown, Florida State, endured a 47-17 dear-God-make-it-stop beating at Oklahoma; the same Oklahoma site where Utah State and Air Force took the Sooners to the wire in the weeks prior and after the FSU visit.

So yes, things have not changed all that much. The ACC keeps sabotaging itself through scheduling, through comically yet easily predictable poor play and tone-deaf self-promotion. At least I can pick up right where I left off.

Still, it is good to be back. For how long, I can't say. But the juices are flowing again.