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Headlines: BC 21-0 and the ACC Horror Show Weekend

Brian: Jeff, break down what you saw on Saturday night from the Eagles. Likes / dislikes?

Jeff: Well If I had to give a one word answer following Saturday's game about how it went I would definitely say happy. It wasn't perfect but there were a lot more positives than negatives. Starting with the defense, which pitched a shutout. Kent State only had one scoring opportunity late in the game where they could've kicked a field goal but why bother when you are down 21 points. Then Herzlich picked off a pass just beyond the line of scrimmage to preserve the shutout.

Brian: Nothing more has to be said about the defensive performance this game. You can't perform better than a shutout. It was certainly known that the Eagles strength this season would be the defensive play. It was great to see Brian Toal back out on the field. He looked comfortable and quick and ended up with a bunch of tackles. What about that offense?

Jeff: On to the offensive side of the ball, I think a lot of questions were answered on the first play of the game when Haden ran off left for a nice pickup of 8 yards. This was a big difference from last year when Matt Ryan started the season by throwing a pick 6. Jeff Smith got plenty of touches too and ended up ripping off one really nice 42 yard touchdown run down the sidelines. He finished with 74 yards and Haden finished with 66 yards. Even if you take off each of their long runs, Haden had 14 carries for 46 yards or 3.4 ypc and Smith had 10 carries for 32 yards or 3.2 ypc. So you should be happy with the running game so far. Then on the second play Crane completed a pass to Purvis for a small 5 yard gain. I think this is basically how our offense is going to go this year. A lot of rushing and short passes. Crane did not show the ability to go deep. The offense is exciting in a different way this year where you don't know what might happen when we keep the ball on the ground vs. holding your breath every time Matt Ryan dropped back last year.

Brian: I agree with a lot of what you said. Crane did not show the ability to throw the ball deep which concerns me a little. He missed a wide open Rich Gunnell on the right sideline for an easy touchdown pass. He also got away with a poor pass in the end zone that could have easily been picked off by a better team. My one concern is are we wasting the talent laden receiving corps with our offensive play calling?

Jeff: How about experienced receiving corps, not talent laden. Last year the recievers were the reason Matt Ryan was drafted #3 without having better numbers. I know they probably improved in the off-season, but they are not suddenly great. We're going to see a lot of ground game all season but we're gonna have to be 2 dimensional once we get to the tougher part of our schedule in mid-October.

Brian: I was impressed by our offensive line play. I think given Smith's limited experience over Haden, Jeff Smith seems to hit the holes just a bit quicker than Haden does. I expect Haden to improve greatly over the course of the year.

Jeff: I know you disagree with me here, but I think Haden had a better game than Smith. Smith broke the big one, but Haden showed some toughness between the tackles.

Brian: Also, since we didn't mention it, this was a good thing. The special teams effort was solid. Kickoffs went deep and were in-bounds. The punts were great. Quigley impressed with 4 punts for 162 yards (40.5 yards per punt) and with a long of 48. Flutie's one punt was effective too, pinning the Golden Flashes inside the 20. While I would like to have attempted a field goal, we'll just have to hold our breath and hope for the best next weekend. Overall though, great job by the special teams units.

Jeff: We are also well aware that the ACC got embarrassed this weekend. See below.
  • East Carolina beamer balled the Hokies.
  • Clemson didn't show up to play. They have a terribly inexperienced offensive line and bad in-game coaching. You can have the best skill players in the country but if your offensive line doesn't hold up, you got nothing.
  • North Carolina barely got past McNeese State. McNeese State?! Where is McNeese State? Terrible.
  • Maryland beat I-AA Delaware by a touchdown. I actually started to believe the crap they were saying about Maryland over at
  • Virginia got trounced by the Trojans 52-7 at home
  • And Tom O'Brien and the Wolfpack lost a nationally televised game against the SEC's South Carolina 34-0 on Thursday night

Was it as bad as it looked for the ACC? Is there any chance of them mending wounds before the end of the season?

Brian: This was a disaster for the conference, headlined by Clemson laying a huge egg in the Georgia Dome. The ACC went 2-4 against FBS teams this weekend. Those two wins? Wake Forest 41-13 at Baylor and the Eagles 21-0 victory over Kent State. Oddly enough, both Wake Forest and Boston College were the only two teams that won bowl games for the conference last season as well. You can't ask two small private colleges with 40% of the undergrads of Florida State (combined!) to carry the banner for ACC football. The media and the national perception of the conference will never be improved when schools like Wake Forest and Boston College headline the conference. This is the sad state of college football.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - the national perception of ACC football can only be improved by the resurgence of Florida State and Miami football. Those two programs are why everything happened with the ACC over the last five years. That's why FSU and Miami are in separate divisions, why the ACC Championship game was played in Jacksonville for the first three years, and why the ACC has the silly rivalry game scheduling system.

Now, can this situation be improved before the end of the season? Well we haven't seen Florida State play yet and Miami trounced their cupcake in week 1. Florida State will be playing with a suspension-depleted roster for the first three games of the season which includes their game against Wake Forest. I don't see the Seminoles pulling off the upset in week 3, which puts them squarely behind the eight ball in the Atlantic Division race.

In the Coastal, who knows at this point. Maybe Miami can make a run at the Coastal Division crown. This would help the perception but ultimately won't correct the poor showing from this past weekend.

Jeff: The way Clemson lost was bad, but did anyone expect UVA to hang with So Cal? Or NC State to beat South Carolina on the road? And I know Delaware only lost by a TD but they scored their one TD late and Delaware is historically one of the best 1-AA programs.

Now how did we do relative to the other conferences? Compares to the Pac-10 and SEC, horrible! But the ACC is not being compared to them. The ACC is compared to the Big Ten and Big East. Combined, the Big Ten and Big East only had 1 win against BCS conference schools and that was Northwestern's win over lowly Syracuse. The ACC had a bad bad weekend, but FSU didn't play, Miami looked good, and Wake Forest looked great. The ACC can recover and be looked at as better than the Big Ten and Big East by the end of the year which is all we could've asked for.

Brian: Granted, the Big Ten only had 1 win against a BCS team, but their ranked teams didn't take on a challenge week 1 like Virginia Tech or Clemson did. Both those games were high risk, high reward, but both fell flat on their face.