Well week 1 in the college football season is nearly complete. For the ACC it was a mixed bag, but at the end of the day the results went pretty much to form.
So let’s run through 10 quick takes on the ACC after 1. We’ll be doing 10 quick takes on the ACC each Sunday.
1) Florida State will be fine
It didn’t take long for some in the national media to begin questioning FSU after their hard earned 37-31 win over Oklahoma St. I’m sure Jimbo Fisher wasn’t too pleased with the performance either, especially along the offensive line, but let’s not panic yet. The Cowboys lost a lot, but this is an established program. Mike Gundy has averaged 9.8 wins at Oklahoma St. since 2008, and they will win 8-10 games again this year.
Yes the score was closer than expected, but FSU fans predicting a 30-40 point win, and there were a few, obviously weren’t familiar with Oklahoma St. For FSU they have 3 weeks to prepare for Clemson, then another 3 before Notre Dame. Fisher will use this game as a teaching tool, and the Noles will be fine.
2) Virginia might have something this year
Last year in game 1 Virginia beat BYU then promptly only won 1 more game the rest of the year. Against UCLA though, it was a different feeling. The Cavaliers defense went toe to toe with a potent UCLA offense, and the Hoos had real chance at the upset. Matt Johns came in at QB and performed well. I’m not ready to call Virginia a Coastal contender, but they definitely aren’t going winless in the ACC this year. They have a chance to be a bowl team.
3) Justin Thomas impresses at QB for Georgia Tech
Who is leading the nation in QB pass efficiency? Justin Thomas at Georgia Tech. Hey it was only Wofford, but Thomas looked decisive running the TO and was accurate with his passing going 11-15 for 282 yards. Remember Thomas was recruited by Alabama to play DB, he’s got great athleticism, but he wanted to play quarterback.
The defensive line has all kinds of issues, but the offense may be just fine.
4) Clemson’s Chad Morris admits he was playing not to lose against Georgia.
“We got a couple first downs and that’s it – just something to breathe so your offense can open up. When you’re down there, you’re a bit conservative. With a (inexperienced) group of guys and the environment you’re in, that was our plan coming in. I wanted to make sure we got off our own endline and not beat our self – especially with how our defense was playing.”
Ugh, the epitome of playing not to lose. Once Morris stopped attacking, the game was lost. Yes you don’t want to make mistakes, and give the game away. You also won’t beat like Georgia playing that way. The Tigers offense has a ton of work to do, if they want to have a competitive game with FSU.
I discussed this game in detail yesterday in my article After Georgia loss, Clemson is who we thought they were.
5) Did Virginia Tech find some offensive punch?
Highly regarded RB Shai McKenzie had 106 yards on 9 carries, and QB Michael Brewer threw for 251 yards. You know the defense will be fine, but if the offense starts showing some consistent life, the Hokies will be looking at a 9 or 10 season. They have a shot against Ohio State next week.
6) James Conner will be a star RB at Pittsburgh
I called James Conner one of the 5 best RB’s in the ACC for this year. He proved me right by rushing for over 150 yards in a 62-0 win over Delaware. With as many teams that struggled with lower division teams, Pittsburgh took care of business easily. Keep an eye on these Panthers. It’s a big game with Boston College Friday night.
7) Wake Forest in for looooong season
It wasn’t too surprising the Deacs lost to Louisiana-Monroe, but their offensive line got man-handled all night long. That’s a really bad sign. Buckle up Wake fans, this looks like a season to forget.
8) UNC and Duke open strong
UNC and Duke didn’t nothing in their opening weeks to make anyone think they won’t contend in the ACC coastal division with UNC’s 56-29 win over Liberty and Duke’s 52-13 win over Elon.
9) Syracuse is very very lucky
Villanova lined for a 25 yard FG to beat Syracuse in the final seconds. They missed. Villanova went for 2 in double OT that would have beat Syracuse, and the Orange stopped it. The Orange used their rabbit’s foot, 9 lives, horseshoes whatever to avoid what would have been an embarrassing loss. The defensive line was terrible as Villanova ran at will. I get the distinct impression when the Orange’s defensive line faces the Wake Forest offensive line it’s going to go like this.
One of my favorite parts of ESPN’s deal with the ACC is the exclusive Labor Day night game. This is a statement game for the winning team, and I expect the atmosphere to be great in Louisville. This one should be a lot of fun.