This week's ACC Roundtable is brought to you by the good folks from From The Rumble Seat, who remind you that everybody hurts sometimes. Check out our answers to their questions below.
1. Enough with the MVP's and the National Title Talk. What ACC teams are going to be bowl eligible by November? Who will be left out in the cold?
Heading into the season, I predicted that BC, Florida State, Clemson and N.C. State would be bowl-bound from the Atlantic, while Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and North Carolina would go bowling from the Coastal side of the conference. So with 1/6 of the regular season in the books, I don't think I'd change much about my preseason predictions.
Maybe, just maybe I'd swap N.C. State for Maryland, who has already matched their win total from last season through two weeks. So I'll stand pat with my bowl predictions after two weeks -- Miami (Orange), Virginia Tech (Peach), Florida State (Champs), BC (Sun), Georgia Tech (Music City), North Carolina (Car Parts), Clemson (Independence) and N.C. State, but probably really Maryland (EagleBank).
For those following along at home, that leaves Maryland / N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest and Virginia home for the holidays.
2. What team performance (or lack thereof) this weekend shocked you the most? What individual's performance impressed/depressed you the most?
If this question isn't a clean sweep for the Hokies, I don't really know what to think of this ragtag bunch of bloggers. Let's just say this one goes out to our boy furrer4heisman:
If that song doesn't depress you enough, then Josh Nesbitt completing only one-third of his passes in a 28-25 loss to Kansas is sure to send this week's roundtable hosts over the cliff.
3. The ACC is fifth out of the Big 6 conferences in terms of out of conference winning percentage. Is this a function of a difficult out of conference schedule or are we legitimately the second worst conference in the BCS?
The ACC continues to set out each and every year to prove that they can compete with the big boys, scheduling marquee non-conference opponents in the first few weeks of the college football season. Yet every year, like clockwork, a "named" ACC team falls flat on their face in these matchups, whether it be the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic or a made-for-TV game with Boise State.
The ACC had a record five teams ranked in the preseason Top 20. This week -- just one, 1-1 Miami at number 17. After two weeks, the league could still have all five of those teams ranked in the Top 25 if they scheduled like the SEC and didn't schedule like they had something to prove.
4. James Madison's victory was the 13th I-AA victory over an ACC squad since 1984 (out of 160 total games). It was also the 5th I-AA victory over a I-A opponent in 2010. Is it really worth scheduling I-AA opponents to start the season particularly I-AA juggernauts like Appalachian State, James Madison or Villanova?
In a word, no. Scheduling a I-AA opponent the first week of the season is all risk, no reward. It gives that program the entire offseason to prepare for what amounts to their program's Super Bowl, as they stand to earn their 15 minutes of "Appalachian State-esque fame" if they pull off the upset.
Ideally, the I-AA game should be scheduled for the third or fourth game of the season, tucked away between a winnable game against a BCS opponent and the start of ACC play. The league should really just follow my 5-step guide to avoiding another ACC football colossal FAIL weekend.
And if you insist on scheduling an I-AA opponent to start the season, find yourself a team nicknamed the "Blue Hose." And avoid like the plague any program from the CAA South not named Towson.
5. Have your expectations for the 2010 season or your team's place in the ACC changed after Week 2's round of games?
Not really. Well, that's a lie. My expectations have actually grown since the preseason. Before the season starts, I had the Eagles finishing with a record of 10-2, and losing to Miami in the ACC Championship Game. The two losses I had for the Eagles on the 2010 schedule -- Florida State and Syracuse -- suddenly look like both could easily be wins.
I did have BC knocking off Virginia Tech in two weeks and feel even more comfortable with that prediction now that the 0-2 Hokies are in full-on meltdown mode. Then again, I would hardly be surprised if the Hokies travel to Chestnut Hill, knock off the Eagles and use that win as a springboard to quickly right the ship.
Still, I think we've learned that the Hokies defense is very young. So is the Seminoles' D. Notre Dame under Brian Kelly isn't invincible, and the ACC title race probably hasn't been this wide open since 2006. BC isn't without their issues, however, but with a schedule that currently features zero ranked teams, every one of the Eagles' remaining 10 games appears winnable.
6. What's a bigger mismatch: You vs. Ralph Friedgen in a competitive eating matchup or the Iron Dukes versus Nick Saban on Saturday?
Duke is currently a 23 point home dog to the Crimson Tide. Speaking of dogs, let's say said competitive eating match is a Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest, Chestnut vs. Kobayashi-style. Now those that have met me in person know that Friedgen has a good 100-125 pounds on me. But a 23 HDB (hot dog and bun) handicap is a LOT of hot dogs, especially considering Fridge is a svelte 105 pounds lighter than the 400+ pound version of Fridge circa 2008.
I'd set the line for this mythical coach vs. blogger hot dog eating contest in the 12-15 HDB range, making Duke-Alabama the far bigger mismatch this weekend.