This Graphic Accurately Portrays Yesterday’s Disaster

Once again, from FRTS. Congratulations to Tech, but damn. I’ll discuss in more detail later, but that was the second most disappointing performance I’ve seen from the Heels since Butch Davis arrived. (This, of course, being numero uno.)

On a completely unrelated note, a yellow-and-black, winged version of The Tick (seen here holding T.J. Yates and Shaun Draughn) wouldn’t be a bad Tech mascot. But how would they work in the stinger?

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Considering We’re Only Hours From The Georgia Tech Game…

…we should probably preview Georgia Tech.

beesThis is Georgia Tech at 11:59 EDT today.

Let’s get this out of the way. Both offenses are probably going to lose the battle at the line of scrimmage. Georgia Tech’s offensive line is too small compared to Carolina’s DTs, and the Heels O-line is so banged up that Shaun Draughn will have Derrick Morgan nightmares tonight. Morgan would probably have found his way into the backfield no matter what, but you get my point.

It’s not going to be pretty unless either team can develop the passing game. Tech, of course, will be focusing on this for most of the game after being torched by Kyle Parker and Jacory Harris in their last two matchups.  UNC clearly has the air advantage, especially after Erik Highsmith has been an absolute revelation at wide receiver. Coming into Spring practice, he the #6 WR option at best; now he’s on pace to put up Hakeem Nicks numbers. When Georgia Tech has the ball, if Josh Nesbitt isn’t throwing it to Dermaryius Thomas, he’s not throwing it. I’m not kidding; the rest of the team has caught exactly three passes from him all season.

Not all hope is lost for the offensive lines. Both lines know their weaknesses, and intend to diminish them somewhat. UNC is going to use a lot of play action and waggle passes, and while the Tech line is smaller than others, they are more nimble by the nature of the offense Tech runs. How well they are able to hold their ground at the point of attack will be the difference in this game.

And therein lies Tech’s biggest problem. The point of the option offense is to have as many points of attack available as possible, so that the defense has to account for them all and eventually a seam opens up. UNC has some of the fastest linebackers in the country in Bruce Carter, Zach Brown and LORD QUANTAVIUS, and they’ll have been coached to stay at home no matter what.

I don’t have much confidence in UNC’s offense today. Paul Johnson is really going to have his team fired up, and playing well on the road is always tough. I think, however, that the Heels defense will give the offense just enough room for error to leave Atlanta with the victory.

beesonfireThis is Georgia Tech at 3:15 EDT today.

Prediction: UNC 17, Georgia Tech 12.

For more about the Yellow Jackets, check out the excellent Tech blog From The Rumble Seat.

ACC Roundtable: Swagger Edition

This week’s ACC Roundtable comes courtesy of Clemson blog Block-C. I promise not to pollute into Lake Hartwell.

1) Does this weekends OOC performance for the ACC negate that first weekend’s total bed s—ing performance? Why or why not?

Well, the bed still stinks, but now it stinks of Clorox and Febreze, thanks to Florida State’s dismantling of BYU. The mess is being cleaned up and no one is going to get sick, but it’s still pretty apparent something bad happened not too long ago. Maryland blanking on its home-and-home with Middle Tennessee State didn’t help matters, but we’ve adjusted our mental expectations of the Terps, Cavs, Eagles, and Blue Devils. For any of them to get to a bowl, at this point, would be a small miracle.

2) Continuing the weekly theme of predicting the conference outcome, who’ll play in the ACC CG?

Honestly, I have no idea. Miami certainly bolstered their position with their win against Georgia Tech, and they’re on the inside track to Tampa if they win in Blacksburg this Saturday. UNC-GT is a must win for the Jackets; if they lose, I don’t see how they can recover and win the Coastal. Simply too much would need to go in their favor after that. If both Techs win, the entire division is thrust into chaos.

As for the Atlantic, only Florida State has done anything positive of note. The jury’s out until at least next week.

3) Is Miami a legit top ten team? Why or why not?

At the moment, absolutely. They had one of the toughest first two games of anyone in the country, and they’ve passed those tests with flying colors. Jacory Harris, under OC Mark Whipple, is developing into the best QB in the conference. There are still two big tests in the next two weeks, but if the Hurricanes can beat Virginia Tech and Oklahoma to start the season 4-0, the talk will be about a national title, not a conference title.

Of course, I would love nothing more than for UNC to burst their bubble when the Canes come to Chapel Hill.

4) If you had to declare an ACC MVP right now, who’s your top guy?

Robert Marve. One day, in 2012, we will look back at the conference’s recent past, and we will think to ourselves, “there may not be a person who has done more for a team by leaving than this man.” At the very least, it would be a toss-up between him and Bryan Stinespring.

Enjoy Purdue. And thanks for that last-minute interception that one time in Miami last season. We appreciate it.

5) Women, whiskey, and travelin’ is all I understand. What three things do you understand, blogger friends?

1. I understand that UNC’s defense is well equipped to defend Georgia Tech’s option offense on Saturday.

2. I understand, conversely, that UNC’s thin offensive line may get annihilated by one Derrick Morgan.

3. I understand that–UPDATE: wait, you meant about life? Okay, then. Life’s too short not to be happy, vegetarianism is for quitters, and when you boil it down, we’re hootin’ and hollerin’ about kids running around in numbered superhero costumes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you.

ACC PREDICTIONS PREDICTIONS PREDICTIONS!

VT blog Gobbler Country and Furrier4Heisman held a preseason conference poll among ACC bloggers and was kind enough to invite my opinion, despite my recent sporadic-ness-ness-ness. (I will save the explanation for another time, but for now I’ll say life got in the way.) Anyway, here were may predictions:

Atlantic Division

1. Florida State

2. NC State

3. Clemson

4. Wake Forest

5. Maryland

6. Boston College

Florida State has the talent, eventually they have to pull it together, right? State is a team on the rise despite the (temporary?) loss of Nate Irving. I sincerely hope he comes back to haunt running backs’ dreams again…just not our backs. Clemson is still talented, but we don’t know how consistent they are. Wake Forest will take a step back on defense, the key to their success the last three years. Boston College is squarely in rebuilding mode after all they’ve lost.

Coastal Division

1. Virginia Tech

2. Georgia Tech

3. North Carolina

4. Miami

5. Virginia

6. Duke

Last year was the time to pounce on the Coastal Division and step up in Virginia Tech’s rebuilding year. That window is now closed, and now anyone who wants to win this division must go through the Hokies. Georgia Tech’s Success will depend on whether their triple option stand the test of a team getting a second look. I actually predicted that North Carolina can finish as well as 10-2, but they have to beat one or both of the Techs on the road in order to win the division; honestly, I don;t think this team is ready. Miami still needs to show consistency to be placed higher than fourth. Virginia lose too many important players from 2008 and Duke is, well, Duke.

Offensive Player of the Year: Darren Evans, Virginia Tech

Partly because he’s very good and partly to be contrarian. How Gobbler Country let me get away with calling him “Darrell Evans” in the email I sent him, I’ll never know.

Defensive Player of the Year: QUANTAVIUS THE MAGNIFICENT, UNC.

I have never been more confident of a prediction in my entire life. Ever.

Rookie of the Year: Josh Adams, UNC.

Not knowing much (read: anything about other rookies in the ACC, I decided to stick to what I know. Judging by the pairty in voting in this category, everyone else voted the same way. I think Jamal Womble will have a bigger impact, but I have a hunch Adams will have better stats.

Thanks again to Gobbler Country for holding this poll.

(Belated) Final Regular Season Blogpoll

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a family member who used to work for the University of Texas in some capacity. Having said that, Oklahoma is playing as well as, if not better than, anyone in the nation right now, and they have a better out of conference schedule than Texas or Florida. But if a poller believes that a playoff system, fundamentally based on head-to-head matchups, is viable, then that poller must respect Texas’ victory over Oklahoma and hold it against the Sooners when ranking them. That is not to say that the Sooners are not worthy; they are. But 45-35 is still the reason why I placed Texas ahead of Oklahoma in my ballot.

In the ACC, the three teams with nine wins are in the top 25, including both of the ACC Championship participants. Barely.

Rank Team Delta
1 Texas 1
2 Oklahoma 1
3 Florida 1
4 Alabama 3
5 Texas Tech
6 Southern Cal 2
7 Penn State
8 Utah 2
9 Boise State
10 Ohio State 1
11 Cincinnati 1
12 Oklahoma State 2
13 Georgia Tech
14 TCU 2
15 Virginia Tech 9
16 Michigan State 2
17 Brigham Young 3
18 Oregon 3
19 Pittsburgh 7
20 Mississippi 2
21 Northwestern
22 Iowa 1
23 Oregon State 3
24 Boston College 5
25 Buffalo 1

Dropped Out: Missouri (#14), Ball State (#17), Rice (#25).

ACC Roundtable Roundup #2

Would you like to take a survey?

Welcome to the roundup of this week’s ACC Roundtable. Our esteemed panelists for this week are Myself, BC Interruption, Block C, College Game Balls, From Old Virginia, Gobbler Country, and The Legacy x4.

Okay, first things first: could someone please explain what the hell just happened this past Saturday?

The general consensus here is that the events of Saturday are less unexpected than at first glance. Sure, Wake, UNC, and Virginia Tech may have all been ahead in the standings. But, as From Old Virginia points out, those were all conference road games, which are never, ever easy.

BC Interruption sees the reason for the ACC’s “fluctuation” has less to do with the teams themselves and more to do with that the media “is easily distracted by shiny things” and constantly re-assesses the state of the conference from week to week.

College Game Balls, however, may have the best answer of anyone:

Heather Dinich used her Greek Goddess abilities to flip the league on top of its head, again.

Dinich bathes in the schadenfreude emanating from the ACC. Of course, CGB’s statement requires the suspension of disbelief that Ms. Dinich has abilities, is Greek, or is anything close to Godliness.

I happen to be of the belief that what happened last Saturday was less a product of superstition and more a product of the three offenses scoring nineteen combined points in regulation. An extra fourteen, of course, came courtesy of Chris Crane throwing to Hokies.

Block C takes his answer in another direction, answering what happened to Clemson against Georgia Tech. The saga of their beloved Tigers’ season is enough to fill a book. Hopefully, it has a happy ending with a new, smashingly successful coach. Wait, did I just use the word smashing?

Good Maryland, Bad Maryland, we’ve seen a fair share of both in 2008. Good Maryland may be the best team in the ACC, while Bad Maryland could probably lose by 20 to anyone left on their schedule. Which Maryland do we see for the rest of the season and where do you expect the Terps to finish?

No one on the panel is particularly optimistic about the Terps for the rest of the season. Currently at 5-2, No one except me expects them to do any better than 8-4, and everyone expects the Bad Terps to show up at least once. Most panelists, like From Old Virginia and The Legacy x4, point out their now-backloaded schedule will keep them from winning more than 3 games. Both Virginia Tech panelists mentioned that the Bad Terps usually show up on the road, while the Good Terps come out of the shell at home. (Hooray for more bad puns!) Most interestingly, Gobbler country discusses Maryland big weakness:

The key for the Terps this year has been their rush defense. If you can run on Maryland, you can beat them handily. But if they stop you from running the ball, things aren’t going to go well for you.

Whatever the case may be, the Roundtable is unanimously bursting Maryland’s Atlantic bubble.

Injuries are a part of college football, but they seem to have ravaged ACC offenses this year. Wake Forest has been without Sam Swank, Clemson is without C.J. Spiller, UNC is without T.J. Yates and Brandon Tate, Virginia Tech is without Kenny Lewis Jr., and NC State is without just about everybody. Which team misses their fallen star(s) most and why?

There seem to be two distinct camps here. Both BC Interruption and College Game Balls say that the conference’s most costly offensive injury is the one to Wake’s Sam Swank, the closest thing to an automatic kicker in college football and a big difference in close games. Which makes sense, until you consider that is reasonable to expect the Wake Forest offense, with all its talent, to score more than one TD in three conference game. Then there’s the factor that Wake’s defense usually keeps them in every game and–

You get the idea.

From old Virginia goes a different direction and points to the gradual loss of staff in Virginia Tech’s offense that has led, in part, to their 110th ranked offense. (And UNC gave up a 14 point lead to it? Yeesh.)  On defense, FoV references the injury to BC linebacker Brian Toal.

With four votes, however, the player whom the panel thinks is missed the most is UNC quarterback T.J. Yates. This completely florred me, not because it isn’t a good answer but because I never expected my conference brethren to have any sympathy toward the injuries of my beloved Tar Heels. Then again, I probably probably shouldn’t confuse sympathy with acknowledgement.

The primary reason seems to be, despite the admirable job that Cam Sexton has done in his stead, that the Heels just plain don’t lose that game of Virginia Tech if Yates had remained healthy. And that’s probably true. But that throws into question all of the other games that followed. Of course, if we have the same 5-2 record but with losses to Miami and Notre Dame instead of those teams from the Commonwealth, we’re probably in much better shape in the conference race.

Last one: the pretty much unanimous division champs were Virginia Tech and Wake Forest last week. Given all the craziness that just happened, give us your updated ACC Championship scenario.

But enough about my team. With two losses to teams ahead of them in the division, it would take a miracle for UNC to win the Costal at this point.

Many panelists (CGB, Gobbler Country, BC Interruption, and The Legacy x4) are opting for homerism and picking their own teams to go to Tampa. Fortunately for them Virginia Tech, Boston College and Georgia Tech are three of the teams in better position to win. Both BC and GT have daunting schedules, though, and the Jackets would lose any tiebreakers with the Hokies. Despite the Terps’ lights-out performance this past Saturday, no one has the guts to put Maryland in the Championship game as of yet (see Question 2). Of all the CG predictions, my own FSU-Miami pick was probably the most ambitious, and while I had reason to defense the pick, it ultimately boiled down to “this conference is crazy”.

In the final tallies, though, it’s 2.5 votes for Georgia Tech, 3.5 vote for Virginia Tech, 1 vote for Miami, 3 votes for Boston College, 2 votes for Florida State, and 2 votes for Wake Forest.

No team won a majority, but the plurality points to a rematch of last year’s championship game between Virginia Tech and Boston College.

You can almost feel the cynicism oozing out of your screen right now.

If you are an enterprising ACC blogger and are interested in joining the roundtable, just send an email with a link to your site. The more panelists, the merrier.

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

One of Duke Basketball’s traditions is for the Blue Devil to ride a surfboard on top of members of the pep band, who roll to propel him across the court. In Duke’s win over Georgia Tech, however, the stunt went horribly wrong (thanks to Awful Announcing for the video):

Granted, it’s just a knee sprain and he’ll be okay, but…watching the felt representative of all that is evil in the universe hold his knee in pain with such gusto…it is one of the many small joys that makes the world a better place.