Jeff: This weekend did not play exactly how we or vegas expected it to on Friday, but it did play out a lot like we and others would have predicted entering the season. First and most importantly, Boston College is no longer winless. Also ...
-- Oklahoma destroyed Kansas State
-- Stanford and USC are pretty equal
-- Clemson is no longer a national championship contender
-- Ohio State won at home as they should
-- Notre Dame destroyed Navy at home
-- Florida State destroyed N.C. State at home
-- North Carolina beat up on Wake Forest
Certainly in the ACC, but also nationally, you could say "They are who we thought they were." What did you make of Saturday's college football action, particularly in the ACC?
Brian: Let's take the ACC results one by one, starting with BC.
Boston College 28, Maryland 17. Glad to see the Eagles finally off the schneid in the ACC ... and scoring more than 14 points against a I-A team. The loss sends Maryland to the bottom of the ACC standings. What I don't get, however, is all the shock and outrage from the Maryland camp calling this game one of the worst defeats in recent memory.
"Of all the depressing defeats authored by the Terrapins over the past decade - including consecutive losses to Middle Tennessee in 2008 and 2009 and this season's blowout loss to Temple - Saturday's result could stand as the worst.
Unlike Temple, which is one win away from bowl eligibility, Boston College limped into Saturday's game without a victory against a Football Bowl Subdivision team. But behind Rolandan Finch's 243 rushing yards, the most in an ACC game this season, the Eagles dominated Maryland on a near-freezing, dreary afternoon before what appeared to be no more than 10,000 fans at Byrd Stadium."
A worse loss than losses to Middle Tennessee State in back-to-back seasons? Or a blowout, near shutout loss to the Temple Owls at home? Seriously? Maryland came into this game win one more win over a I-A team than BC, a team that was decimated by suspensions and was a shell of its current team. Give me a break. I know that we both didn't expect much from Maryland this season, and the Terps have more or less lived up to our preseason expectations. (Boston College, on the other hand ...)
This year's BC team isn't all that good, but an 11-point home loss in a conference game is infinitely more palatable than nearly getting shut out by Temple or back-to-back losses to Middle Tennessee State. Let's not also forget this is a team that is two years removed from a similarly terrible 2-10 season, a season in which the Terps needed OT to beat James Madison and beat Clemson by a FG in typical Clemson fashion.
In my mind, Saturday's BC-Maryland result doesn't change much about my overall opinion on where this program is headed ... and validates our preseason expectations for the Terps.
Florida State 34, N.C. State 0. This win was not particularly surprising. N.C. State could very well be the worst team in the ACC and Florida State has rebounded nicely after three consecutive losses to Oklahoma, Clemson and Wake Forest. Tom O'Brien may be joining the bread line with Spaz at season's end. Given N.C. State's weak schedule, you'd probably expect this team to be 6-2 instead of 4-4. But the Wolfpack are staring at the very real possibility of not winning another game this season.
Virginia 28, Miami 21. I really don't know what to make of either of these teams this year. Myerberg has an excellent post on the different directions these two programs are heading down. I honestly have no idea what Miami team is going to show up for the regular season finale against the Eagles -- the team that crushed Georgia Tech or the team that lost by two scores at home to Virginia. The way things are shaping up though, I'm glad BC missed Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia from the Coastal Division this season, though it's not like the Eagles capitalized on their chances against the other side already this season.
North Carolina 49, Wake Forest 24. Hat tip to the Deacons for pulling out the win in Chestnut Hill, but I'm still not all that high on this year's Wake Forest team. I think this loss to North Carolina was very much a "They are who we thought they were" type of game for me. With just two ACC games remaining -- at Clemson and vs. Maryland -- the Deacons are still very much alive in the ACC Atlantic Division title race. But I think Wake won't get the win at Clemson and finish two games off the pace.
Virginia Tech 14, Duke 10. I'm not sure here if I should give Duke some credit or whether this is a red flag for the Hokies Coastal Division title hopes. The Duke offense is sound (as BC is well aware) but the Blue Devil defense needs a ton of work. I expected the Hokies to cruise in this one but they ended up giving fans a heart attack in this one. Compare the Hokies' final three ACC games with the Jackets final two games:
Virginia Tech: at Georgia Tech, vs. North Carolina, at Virginia
Georgia Tech: Virginia Tech, at Duke
You have to like Georgia Tech's chances to jump the Hokies in the final Coastal Division standings and make the ACC Championship Game this season. If the Jackets get in over the Hokies, Clemson may go from BCS National Championship game contention to Peach Bowl contention quicker than you can say "triple option."
Georgia Tech 31, Clemson 17. Speaking of Clemson ... it was only a matter of time before the Tigers pulled a Clemson this year. And with this game, the ACC's hopes at a BCS National Championship game contender are all but over. The Clemson offense may be the best in the conference, but it's the defense that got somewhat exposed in a 31-17 loss to the Jackets. Clemson had loss six of its last eight to Georgia Tech going into this game and if there was ever a game where Clemson would finally fall, this was it. Tigers fans better be hoping that the Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets next weekend, else they could very well miss out on notching the program's first ACC title since 1991 ... again.