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ACC Roundtable 8: Are The Eagles Full of Sharks or Sheep?

This week's ACC Roundtable is brought to you by your Coastal Division leaders, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Winfield, Dane and Bird of the Tech blog From the Rumble Seat. Their questions and our answers below.


1) Alright fellas, this is your turn to apologize to the Boston College Eagles who went to Hell and back and have now arrived as the 3rd team for the ACC (and only team in the Atlantic) to be bowl eligible. You know you were snickering in the preseason. Also, give a high five to Mark Herzlich for finishing his last treatment of chemo.

Apology accepted, and major ups to Herzlich for finishing his treatments.


2) An Orange Bowl victory over a Boise/TCU or an Orange Bowl victory over a Penn State/Cincy team - which means more for the conference? Is there even a difference?

A win is a win when it comes to the Orange Bowl. We are all painfully aware of the 1-for-the 2000s streak that the ACC has in BCS bowls. The conference will (and should) take any win we can get. This is especially important this year given that the Orange Bowl gets first pick of the BCS at-large teams.

That being said, all Orange Bowl losses aren't created equal. A loss to a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference (e.g. the Mountain West or the WAC) will damage the already frail reputation of ACC football even more. A loss to a MWC/WAC team further shines the spotlight on the fact that the ACC and the Big East continue to have an automatic bid while the Mountain West and WAC do not. A loss to Penn State would do less damage the league's rep, although I have a hard time believing that this year's Penn State team could beat the ACC champ. Since the Orange Bowl gets first pick and Cincinnati played in the Orange Bowl this year, I don't think there's any chance the Bearcats are back in Miami this year. But the general takeaway is that if the ACC Champ is going to lose, lose to a fellow BCS conference team.


3) Enough with the CJ Spillers, the Christian Ponders, and the Jacory Harrises. We wanna talk defense. Who is the defensive POTY thus far in the ACC?

So glad you asked. We are biased, but we just waxed poetic about Luke Kuechly's chances of winning the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award. We'll stick by that and go with the homer pick. All Kuechly has done is lead the nation in solo tackles through 9 weeks and fill the huge shoes left by last year's Defensive POY Mark Herzlich and Mike McLaughlin (for the first few games of the season) in the Eagles linebacking corps.

In our eyes, no clear cut winner has yet to emerge from the conference. The defensive players that are putting in great performances are on bad teams, and the preseason first-team all-ACC selections aren't having the years they were billed to have. If there ever was a year to hand the hardware to a true freshman, this would be the year.


4) Recently, Bird compared the Atlantic to the Big 12 North. Is this a fair comparison? The Coastal is currently 8-2 against the Atlantic. There are still 8 interdivision games left. Can the Atlantic redeem itself this season?

I'll take the questions in reverse order, please. No, the Atlantic won't redeem itself this season. Of the 8 remaining games, the Atlantic Division team will likely only be favored in 3 of those contests (BC at Virginia, BC vs. North Carolina, Clemson vs. Virginia). Barring any major upsets, the Atlantic Division teams records against Coastal Division opponents will look like this:

  • Clemson 2-1 - L (at Georgia Tech), W (at Miami Fla.), W (Virginia)
  • Boston College 2-1 - L (at Virginia Tech), W (at Virginia), W (North Carolina)
  • Florida State 1-2 - L (Miami Fla), L (Georgia Tech), W (at North Carolina)
  • Maryland 0-3 - L (Virginia), L (at Duke), L (Virginia Tech)
  • NC State 0-3 - L (Duke), L (at Virginia Tech), L (North Carolina)
  • Wake Forest 0-3 - L (Miami Fla), L (at Georgia Tech), L (at Duke)

That makes a grand total of 5-13. Ouch. I would point out though that Duke ... that Duke ... has a good shot of finishing 3-0 against the Atlantic. The Blue Devils probably wouldn't have finished with a 3-0 mark against the Atlantic if they had to play Clemson, BC and FSU this season. Instead, they have feasted on what will likely end up being the bottom three teams in the Atlantic.

Second question. Is the comparison between the Atlantic and the Big 12 North a fair one? No. I say this for a few reasons. For one, two teams have separated themselves from the rest in the Atlantic Division race in Clemson and Boston College with a third - Florida State - looking to win out and get some help from BC to force a 3-way tie for the title. When it is all said and done, two (or three) teams will separate themselves from the pack at a respectable 6-2 or 5-3 mark. You can't say the same about the Big XII North. I think every team is mathematically alive and in contention to win the Big XII North and there is no clear cut clubhouse leader. Is it K-State? Nebraska? Or the four other teams that have 3 losses already? Only K-State and Nebraska can finish at 6-2, and both those scenarios are highly unlikely. It's more looking like 5 or even 4 wins will win you the Big 12 North.

Second, given that Georgia Tech is now the prohibitive favorite to win the Coastal Division, the big reason why the ACC Atlantic can't be compared to the Big 12 North is that no one is giving the Big 12 North champ any chance of winning their conference's Championship Game. Everyone is assuming that Texas will roll en route to a BCS National Championship Game appearance. With all due respect to this week's hosts, I don't think you can make the same claim with Georgia Tech, especially given that Florida State and Clemson both played Georgia Tech extremely close. Statistically speaking, Tech doesn't have nearly as good of a defense as they had a year ago. And their triple option offense is always prone to have an off-game. If Clemson or FSU makes it to Tampa to face Georgia Tech, the Jackets will have their hands full. I think the Atlantic could very well steal an ACC title away from the Coastal Division, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone to say something like that about the Big 12 North.


5) Tailgating is essential to all things football. In Atlanta, the tailgating game of choice is cornhole. What is your game of choice to pass the time?

Recently, the game of choice for us has been cornhole as well. But the tried and true tailgating games of choice at BC are flip cup and beirut (beer pong), probably in that order.


6) Let's cut to the chase. There are two kinds of people: sheep and sharks. Sharks are winners and they don't look back 'cause they don't have necks. Necks are for sheep. Is your team full of sharks or is your team full of sheep?

Spaz: Which one is the one people like to hug?
Steve: Gutsy question Spaz, you're a shark.

At least I'll play the optimist here and say BC is full of sharks. With only 3 ACC games left and 2 on the road, there can be no looking back at the Eagles past road woes (0-3 on the road, 6-0 at home). Virginia and Maryland won't be nearly as tough outs as Virginia Tech, Clemson or even Notre Dame, so both those remaining road games are definitely winnable. BC finishes the 2009 season with 3 wins, finishes with a 9-3 (6-2 ACC) mark, and puts the pressure on Clemson to win their remaining 3 ACC games to head to Tampa as the Atlantic Division champs.


7) Create a cocktail in the spirit of your school and explain it to us. Non-edible ingredients are allowed and encouraged.

I can't say I'm much of a cocktail guy, but if Boston College had a cocktail, it would probably taste like chowdah or lobster. Suffice it to say, it would probably taste terrible.