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Nov
29
2014

10 quick takes on the ACC after week 14.

Swofford

Rumor has it, this photo of John Swofford was taken after the ACC went 4-0 against the SEC today. OK it wasn’t, but I bet it wasn’t far from the truth.

1) ACC makes statement against the SEC

When you are the ACC and fighting for respect, you can’t afford to lose rivalry games against the SEC, especially when you are favored in 3 out of the 4 games. Not only did the ACC win all the games they were favored in (Clemson over South Carolina, Louisville over Kentucky, FSU over Florida), Georgia Tech came up with a stunning win in Athens, GA as a double digit underdog against Georgia.

Had the ACC’s 4 best teams, struggled in these games, the conference would have got skewered. That didn’t happen, and while other than Georgia, this wasn’t the best teams SEC had to offer, the ACC teams took care of business. It was a very good day for the ACC. I’ll get into each of these games now…

2) That high school offense of Georgia Tech is shredding defenses apart

That game was lost and then it was won. Georgia Tech’s triple option ran for a whopping 399 yards against a Georgia team, that stuffed Auburn and shutout Missouri. As I’ve said before this is Paul Johnson’s best offensive line that he’s ever had. Georgia Tech controlled the line of scrimmage, and defensively did just enough to slow the Dawgs. This was a sweet win for Paul Johnson, who has proved his option offense can and will work at the FBS level.

The win probably locks up an Orange Bowl for Georgia Tech no matter what happens against Florida State in the ACCCG. It’s been a great season in Atlanta, and it was a great win today.  Folks QB Justin Thomas is only a sophomore. He’s going to get better running the option.

ACC 1 SEC 0

3) Clemson was better than South Carolina in the trenches. 

The fact that Clemson beat South Carolina with a QB on one leg, and beat them handily just shows how much better the Tigers were upfront than the Gamecocks. Clemson’s Offensive Line had not played well this year, but manhandled South Carolina upfront. The Tiger defensive line consistently beat the Gamecocks offensive line. South Carolina’s offensive line was a considered a strong unit as well. I’m fairly confident that if Deshaun Watson had been 100% healthy Clemson would have won by more than than three TDs. Clemson was the much better team today. Deshaun Watson played with torn ACL… That’s takes guts. Folks he’s just a freshman.

ACC 2 SEC 0

4) Louisville we’re happy you joined the fun!

Louisville over Kentucky? Yep that counts too. It’s been a strong season in the ACC for Louisville. They have added depth to the conference, and they have gotten better as the season progressed. They struggled defensively today giving up 40 points to the Cats, but with WR DeVante Parker being unguardable since his return, the Cards can win shootouts. Petrino shows again what a good offensive mind he is, by getting great production out of RS FR QB Kyle Bolin who came in for injured starter Reggie Bonnafon.

ACC 3 SEC 0

5) Florida State beats Florida with their worst game of the season.

Florida is one bad football team. They have some athletes, but they are poorly coached. It’s no wonder this is Will Muschamp’s final season. Florida State for their part played poorly, especially Jameis Winston who made shaky decisions throughout. I don’t think FSU couldn’t play worse, and they still found a way to win. It’s what they do. FSU finds ways to win. They are sloppy, but someone makes a play. The Seminoles just know how to win. You have to give them credit. Their winning streak is at an astonishing 28 games now.

ACC 4 SEC 0

6)  Virginia Tech’s offensive line stands tall

You think Clemson’s offensive line has struggled this year? Virginia Tech’s offensive line has been downright awful at times this year. Virginia has a legit front 4, and it didn’t look like a good matchup for the Hokies. Did the Hokies O-Line answer the bell Friday night or what?

The Hokies ran for 198 yards against the Hoos, and helped Virginia Tech put together a couple of great 4th quarter drives. The Hokies won for the 11th straight time against archrival Virginia. A victory that has to feel oh so good for Frank Beamer after such a roller coaster season.

7) Miami crashes and burns

It was simply a disastrous finish to the season at Miami. After playing so well against FSU, the Canes got routed at Virginia then had a listless home game against Pittsburgh losing 35-23. I have serious doubts about Al Golden now. Yes the schedule was challenging, but by season’s end this was one of the worst teams in the Coastal, maybe the worst. There is good skill position talent at Miami, but the Canes don’t play with consistent effort and that falls on Golden. A bowl win would salvage some semblance of a season.

8) How far has Duke come? 

Duke finished the year 9-3 after beating Wake Forest, but they have to be kicking themselves for not winning the Coastal. Did you ever think it would be possible for Duke to feel a little down about a 9-3 season? That’s how much David Cutcliffe has changed the football culture at Duke. That gives the ACC five 9+ win teams. Duke will have an opportunity at a 10 win season if they win their bowl. Quietly Duke has had another solid year. This program isn’t going anywhere.

9) NC State and Pittsburgh finish with a flourish

Where did NC State come up with that 35-7 win over in UNC in Chapel Hill? The Wolfpack were brilliant running their rivals out of their own stadium. At 7-5, Dave Doeren has done a rock solid job in Raleigh this year. There’s something that hasn’t been at NC State in a long time… hope.

Pittsburgh is the most bi-polar team in the ACC. You’ve heard me say it before, one minute they look like an 8-4 team, the next 4-8. Today it was the 8-4 version. They went down to Miami and dominated Canes. The Panthers won their last 2 games to get bowl eligible. Credit head coach Paul Chryst for keeping his team focused when it looked the season was about to be lost.

10) Biggest ACC Title Game Ever? 

Florida State will enter the ACCCG in position to make the college football playoffs. Georgia Tech will probably be ranked around 9 or 10 and is coming off the monster win against Georgia.

Is this the biggest ACCCG ever? You bet…

This is the kind of matchup John Swofford has always dreamed of. Two top 10 teams, national title implications. I expect the atmosphere to be electric in Charlotte.

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