ACC Roundtable: It’s About You Edition

Because it definitely, certainly, absolutely isn’t about us.

A last-minute decision was made to host this week. Six Roundtable members were kind enough to provide their answers this week.

1) What player whom you were not even thinking about in August has made the most positive impact on your team? Conversely, what supposedly key player(s) has fizzled for reasons other than injury?

When I posed this question, the players I had had in mind were Erik Highsmith, who has come out of nowhere to be our #2 receiver, and Marvin Austin, who is either under-performing or being swallowed up by double teams.

BC Interruption had the most direct answer to the first half of the question:

Without hesitation, the answer to this question has to be BC’s true freshman linebacker Luke Kuechly. Even though there was message board chatter and whisperings that this kid would be good, back in August we weren’t really sure if he would even see the playing field. Kuechly has been an absolute animal on the field, helping fill the void left by Mark Herzlich, Mike McLaughlin and most recently, Will Thompson. Kuechly paces the Eagles in tackles through 7 games. In fact, he has twice as many tackles (69) as the next best Eagles defender (33 from Marty Bowman). Kuechly also is tied with Alex Albright for the team lead in TFLs (6). Kuechly has been a pleasant surprise on the defensive side of the ball and can be considered our defensive MVP through 7 games.

College Game Balls‘s answer, on the other hand, may be the most honest:

If you’re like me and have no social life and an unhealthy obsession with college football then your finger is on the pulse of your program 24/7. No one flew under my radar

I appreciate your insight, CGB.

2) UNC’s performances, and in particular the (first) two losses, have felt like the ghost of Carl Torbush is roaming the sidelines. What part of your team’s past, positive or negative, has this season drudged up?

From Old Virginia immediately channels groundhog day:

Let’s see, how about last year, and the year before that? Even outsiders can see that Groh appears to be embarking on his now-annual job saving rampage through the ACC. Plenty of drama left in this one, though.

Testudo Times’ bad memories seem to be more in tune with my own:

Mark Duffner, anyone? You get the feeling Ralph doesn’t have much of a plan with these guys, which is the same feeling you got with Duffner. Duffner’s final three years (4-7, 6-5, 5-6) are probably going to be the area Maryland nestles into at the end of the year, too. I’m not saying Ralph’s as bad as Duffner was, but you couldn’t tell from this year.

On The B.Rink, while a neutral ACC blog, answers this question on behalf of the Tigers:

Man, that Maryland/Clemson game reminded me of Clemson with Bowden. The Tigers came out flat and were out-played inexplicably–but to their credit, they came back strong against Wake.

3) Because this is the ACC, no team is truly out of the conference race yet; 5-3 can still win the division. Find your inner optimist, no matter how bruised, and tell us why you’re still holding out hope for your team. (This is NOT the best-case scenario question; rather, what your team has shown to indicate success in the immediate future.)

My remaining optimism ended on that 98 yard pass play last night. No matter: the consensus seems to be that 5-3 isn’t good enough to win the Coastal. For the Hokies, even 7-1 might not be enough:

I’m extremely confident VT can post a 7-1 record, but they no longer control their own destiny. Optimally the Hokies need the Yellow Jackets to lose an ACC game. They might be able to get by on any Georgia Tech loss as long as Miami and VT both win out and we’re ranked ahead of GT and within five places of Miami in the final BCS standings.

A thorough (and if you’re John Swofford, scary) answer comes from Jim Young, another one of our neutral members:

As previously mentioned, a lot of people think the Tigers are the team to beat in the division. That’s due in large part to Clemson’s head-to-head wins over Wake and Boston College the two other teams that folks could actually see winning the Atlantic. (Sorry, FSU Maryland and N.C. State)

But Clemson will be an underdog in this weekend’s game at Miami. The Tigers have to play N.C. State in Raleigh, by which time Tom O’Brien may be in the midst of another second-half turnaround with the Wolfpack. Then there’s a trap game on Nov. 21 against Virginia, a week before Clemson’s huge rivalry game with South Carolina.

Let’s say for the sake of this argument that the Tigers lose two of those games and finish at 4-4 in the ACC. That opens the door for … BC.

The Eagles are 3-2 in the league and have these three ACC games remaining – at Virginia, home against UNC and at Maryland. I could see BC winning at least two of those, couldn’t you?

(Sorry ACC title game folks, but I could really see this happening.)

I could see it happening too, Jim. This rerun’s starting to get old (except, of course, for BC):

It doesn’t take much channeling of my inner optimist to envision the Eagles playing for the ACC Championship Game in Tampa. At 3-2, the Eagles need to win their last 3 ACC games and hope that Clemson loses just one of their remaining 4 games. Why am I holding out hope? I’m holding out hope because the Eagles toughest ACC opponents are in their rear-view mirror. The Eagles have a home game with North Carolina and road games at Virginia and Maryland. Despite how poorly BC has played on the road, my hope is that UVA and Maryland are sufficiently bad enough that the Eagles can pull out two Ws.

And therein lies the problem: BC’s road woes. It’s almost like Frank Spaziani’s mustache is under house arrest. Then again, it should have known better than to shoot that Wildebeest at the Bronx Zoo.

4) What remaining conference game not involving your team do you look forward to most and why?

The general consensus (CGB, B.Rink, Jim Young) seems to be that Clemson-Miami on Saturday is the best game left. The way everything has turned out, the conference front-loaded its big games this season. Testudo Times is being very, very kind in telling us the VT-UNC game will be interesting.

5) Now for what Block-C would call the “shits and giggles” question. Offense in the ACC is…well, offensive. To solve this problem we’re putting four ACC offensive coordinators into Thunderdome, where only one man will emerge to smear a football field with his tactics again. Bryan Stinespring and John Shoop are shoo-ins. Nominate at least one more offensive coordinator (preferably, yours) and tell us why he deserves a 75% chance of doom.

Strangely enough, College Game Balls is having second thoughts about throwing Stiney into the fire:

That train has left the platform. Virginia Tech is ranked first in the ACC in scoring offense with 32.6 points a game and second behind Georgia Tech in rushing offense. I’ll nominate Virginia’s Gregg Brandon to replace Stiney. Brandon’s offense has been horrible from the get go and the big reason why UVA has had some recent success is because they’ve begun to replace parts of his spread offense with their traditional pro-style scheme.

From Old Virginia isn’t throwing their OC under the bus, either:

Despite the apparent failure of the fancy new spread, I’m not tossing Gregg Brandon into the Thunderdome. I don’t think the problem is the offense or the coach, I think it’s just another exhibit in the growing case that in general, you can’t shock the system with a radical new spread offense and expect it to be immediately successful. Georgia Tech is the exception, but Auburn was a particularly high-profile example last year, and Michigan was too.

No, I’ll toss Jimbo Fisher inside instead. Here’s the thing: It’s pretty widely known that Bobby Bowden is at least half figurehead in Tallahassee. He delegates. A lot. Florida State is his team in name only for the most part. His assistants are generally believed to do most of the actual coaching. So why do people think getting rid of him is going to solve anything? It seems to me that the team is mostly Fisher’s, and that the debacle currently going on in Tallahassee is also mostly Fisher’s. Not that I don’t enjoy watching Florida State flounder, but Fisher is the “offensive coordinator” most in need of replacement in the ACC.

An excellent point on Jimbo, but we’re looking for bloodlust here. The Roundtable member willing to oblige? Testudo Times.

Have you ever seen a Maryland football game? We possess the ACC’s top weapon, easily, and we throw him the ball three times. We can’t seem to get enough LaQuan Williams and Ronnie Tyler, the latter of whom can’t catch a ball that hits him in the numbers, while Torrey Smith languishes in one-on-one coverage with no safety help. All. Game. Long.

I’m pretty sure James Franklin invented the run-run-pass offensive strategy, too. And we all know how that works out.

The only thing that scares me here is that his replacement as play-caller will be Ralph Friedgen, and that’s even worse.

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