10 quick takes on the ACC after week 12.


So you thought you had the ACC Coastal riddled solved. You weren’t even close… Let’s look at that and other happenings in the ACC this week.

1) Florida State has the heart of a champion. 

I don’t know how else you can describe Florida State at this point. They take everyone’s best shot. They fall behind in games, but they never panic. The Noles adjust, and then they win the game. Unfortunately the playoff committee is making their rankings about style points, but with around 120 division 1, there is only two undefeated teams. That is Florida State and Marshall. The Seminoles took a strong shot from arch rival Miami, but they persevered yet again to win 30-26.

To me that’s more important than blowing away people, only to later lose a game. Until Florida State loses they should be ranked #1.  The Noles offensive line hasn’t always played well this year, but they manned up in the 4th quarter to help get the running game going. The Noles just keep getting it done.

2) 3 and out Stoudt for Clemson

Clemson would have traded what they saw today for 3 and out Cole Stoudt. It was simply one of the worst quarterbacking performances you will ever see. Once Deshaun Watson got hurt, the Tigers were finished in Atlanta against an opportunistic Georgia Tech team. It was the kind of meltdown we haven’t seen from Clemson in several years. The offensive line was terrible, the quarterback was terrible, and the offensive coaching staff was terrible. Now Clemson is in trouble. With Watson out, the Tigers don’t look capable of beating South Carolina in 2 weeks. The good news for Clemson is that Watson’s injury is not as serious as first appeared, and he may have shot at returning this season.

3) Georgia Tech can sit back and enjoy the next week.

You would think people would learn. Paul Johnson’s triple option offense works. Now that he has some talent back there, even the nation’s number 1 defense struggled at times to contain it. Deshaun Watson’s injury crippled the Tiger offense, but he doesn’t play defense. The Yellow Jacket offense had over 340 yards offense after the first quarter. Not an alarming number, but when the Tiger defense needs to pitch a shutout, that won’t get it done. The defense has improved immensely in the last month, and the Jackets are playing some of the best football in the ACC at the moment. The season already has been a big success at 9-2, but there’s a chance it could be an all-time type season. The Jackets still have a shot at the Orange Bowl, and now have a real chance to compete in Athens against Georgia in two weeks. The Jackets can enjoy that BYE week now.

4) I thought Duke football was past this kind of performance

It was all there for Duke. Beat reeling Virginia Tech at home, and the Blue Devils would just about have the Coastal Division title. That did not happen. The Blue Devils had a vintage Duke football performance. They snatched defeat from the hands of victory. Duke had 6 turnovers, tons of penalties, and just in general sloppy play. This certainly is not what I expected out of Duke in their football program progression. I thought they were past this. Apparently I was wrong. Now the Coastal Division is back up for grabs. The Thursday night game with UNC suddenly looks very dangerous. Duke wins and the Coastal is theirs. Lose and Georgia Tech heads to Charlotte. No pressure Duke…

5) Virginia Tech doesn’t quit

On their way to one of their worst seasons in the Frank Beamer era, Virginia Tech forgot that they were supposed to pack it in for the rest of the season.  The Hokies went on the road and beat Coastal Division leading Duke 17-16. The Hokies ran the ball effectively, limited their mistakes, and now have knocked off two ranked teams on the road this season. Suddenly a season that looked like it could be a trainwreck, might be able to be salvaged somewhat. The Hokies play at Wake Forest next week, and could get bowl eligible with a win. There is still a chance Virginia Tech could have an 8 win season, and maybe the future is a little brighter than we thought.

6) NC State goes bowling! 

NC State went nearly two years without winning an ACC conference game. There was only one way to go and it was up. With the 42-13 win over Wake Forest the Wolfpack are going bowling. That’s a step in the right direction for the Wolfpack. Now NC State gets a week off to prepare for arch rival UNC. Win that game, and I think NC State fans can be very pleased with the season. Dave Doeren is slowly turning things around in Raleigh.

7) UNC in position for another strong finish

UNC might not have much to speak of on defense, but they can score some points. They dropped 40 on Pittsburgh in a 40-35 last minute win. They rolled up over 500 yards of offense, and have now won 3 of their last 4 games, and are looking for another strong finish to a season. UNC can get bowl eligible by winning at Duke Thursday. A win would also cost Duke the Coastal Division title. The Heels would love to do that to their biggest rivals I’m sure.

8) Remember when Pittsburgh?

Remember when Pittsburgh became the trendy ACC Coastal pick after starting the year 3-0 that included a win at Boston College? The wheels have completely come off the bus now. The Panthers have lost 6 of their last 7 games, and their season is about to go down the drain. The defense has completely fallen apart, giving up a whopping 147 points in their last 3 games. James Conner ran for 220, but his great season is being lost in the Panthers recent slide. The host Syracuse next week. That’s a must win. Pitt needs two more victories if they don’t want to spend the holidays at home.

9) Is Miami close to turning the corner? 

Miami had a chance at a landmark victory Saturday. They had the Seminoles on the ropes, but couldn’t close the deal. As well as they played we are left to wonder again is Miami close to turning the corner? Florida State has played a lot of close games this year, but I’m not sure what that really means for the teams they are beating. I think Brad Kaaya at QB is a future star in the making, and the Canes have good offensive skill talent. The season still has a chance to be a good one. If Miami can win at Virginia then beat Pitt at home to finish 8-4 then I’d feel better about saying they are close to turning the corner. These days just staying close to FSU doesn’t yet prove that.

10) Louisville has a tremendous opportunity this upcoming week.

Louisville sits 7-3, and this week they head to 7-3 Notre Dame. The Cardinals are always looking for signature wins, and even though the Irish have slipped as of late, this would still qualify. The Cardinals may be catching the Irish at the right time. Notre Dame’s playoff dreams are history, after their 3rd loss in 4 games. Louisville with 2 weeks to prepare should be ready.

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