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.

You’d Be Amazed At The Things People Write When They’re Mad

Of course I’m disappointed at the Maryland loss. The offense couldn’t sustain drives, and the Maryland offense, while not too impressive, did not make mistakes on which the defense could capitalize. And of course there’s the matter of losing UNC’s third (and probably last) opportunity to win the Coastal division title. But this team has made great strides this season, and have overcome serious obstacles to get to 7-3. If Butch Stays at Carolina, this is going to be a very good team for a very long time. As much as the short term hurts, the long term is no less bright.

Some people, however, are a bit more short-sighted. Take, for example, these, um, gems from the Inside Carolina boards, guaranteed to combust after a loss:

“I’m tired of watching my football team lose when it matters most YEAR after YEAR.”

Because the sheer amount of important games we’ve had for the past decade is just EARTH SHATTERING.

“THE” Official bench Cam Sexton thread


Well, Sexton was a HUGE reason we lost this game…..I will be extremely disapointed if he remains the start….he completely sucked this game…

I went and sat in the rain to watch this ******* lose us the game?…Wow.

I can’t believe BD didn’t bench him after the first drive of the second half…..
that was one of the worst performances that i think i have ever seen. he just looked completely confused out there. i have no f-ing clue why he was not yanked out of the game. he couldnt even complete a simple slant at least 3 times and also overthrew Nicks on a 5 yard pass play on the last drive. However, it is not just on him. It is also on Butch. Cam should have been taken out after the drive where he missed Foster wide open in the end zone.

The UNC-Maryland game was played during a storm that, just 12 hours and a few hundred miles earlier, produced tornadoes. It was played either in driving rain or in a green slip-n-slide. These are conditions that are, by nature, not conducive to a passing game. John Shoop decides to run more pass plays than run plays. When UNC did run the ball they only got 71 total yards. And somehow this is all the fault of a quarterback who, to that point, was a 5-1 starter with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

“[Casey] Barth should have to run till he pukes out his mouth and butt!!! Laughing on the sideline… UUGGGGHHH!!!”

So many legitimate reasons to be infuriated about this game…and you pick the emotional state of a freshman kicker after he missed a field goal by about two inches in the green soup that qualified as a field in College Park on Saturday. Had UNC won the game, this would have been considered amazing emotional resilience. Instead, it haunts your nightmares. Unless he’s being choked by the long snapper, I doubt that the a kicker’s sideline emotions are that important in a game.

Also, I wouldn’t wish butt-puke on anyone. That just sounds awful.

A reason for Butch Davis to leave Carolina


Two years ago, Carolina finished 3-9, with losses by big margins (anyone remember the score of the Clemson game?).

Now Carolina is 7-3, with the losses by a combined scores of 8 points (including an OT loss). Yet this board is populated tonight by the usual fairweather fans and trolls who always show up after a loss, moaning and whining like a bunch of 10 year old girls who just learned they’re not going to the Hannah Montana concert. Some are even questioning whether Butch is worth the money or deserves a raise. These people NEVER show up here after a win to congratulate the the team or coaches, but they’re always here after a loss.

And not enough supportive fans show up here after a loss. It’s one thing to be disappointed after a loss—–I’m really p.o.’d tonight—–but I’m not going to throw our team and coach under the bus after every loss. I’m very pleased with the progress made over the last two years. I’m a Tar Heel born, a Tar Heel bred, and one day I’ll be a Tar Heel dead. But we have too many “fans” posting here—-gosh, remember the good old days when the moderators actually, ya know, moderated?—–who are Tar Heels only when it’s convenient and pain-free.

So take the money from Tennessee or wherever and run, Coach Davis. These “fans” deserve no better than a Torbush or Bunting. And if you don’t believe me, Coach Davis, give Mack Brown a call.

Ah, yes. Tell the greatest thing that’s happened to Carolina Football in more than a decade get out of town because we have angry fans with computers. Angry fans with computers are a characteristic completely unique to UNC and none of the die-hard SEC fans with computers would dare act like this.

UNC vs. Maryland Live Blog

The Tar Heels today face the biggest road block between them and Tampa in the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are notoriously Jekkyl-and-Hydeish this season, but their scary team tends to show up at home. This game is going to be exciting.

This game has 99% of my attention today, and it would have 100% of it if not for the BEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD EVER playing their opener at the same time. So you will get periodic updates of that game as well.

Live blog link is below.

Click Here

It’s Maryland Week

Adjust your diets accordingly.

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.

The Good News About the Maryland Game: Will Graves Hit a Shot When It Mattered

The bad news:

finalscore.jpg

I’ll be posting two articles about the game on Monday: the first is a analysis of the Heels’ play, and the second is a retelling of my experience in the Dean Dome risers (with pictures). Even though we lost, it was one of the best experiences of my life as a fan.

ACC Women’s Tournament: UNC vs. Maryland Live Blog

Today the Lady Tar Heels face the Maryland Terrapins in the ACC Women’s Tournament semifinals. In their first matchup, UNC dominated for the first 28 minutes, but Maryland stormed back, and the Heels needed all of their effort to hold on in from of the largest crowd ever to see a women’s ACC regular season game. Because of Duke’s dominance in the ACC regular season, this game has considerably less hype, but a #1 seed is one the line for each team, and such a seed would be out of reach for the loser, and would probably mean playing most of the tournament far away from home. Consider also that they both want another shot at the Dookies, and this game is going to be very, very intense. At least today I don;t have to worry about Mike Jones! Who? Mike Jones!

4:02 pm: Scratch that last statement. NC State just beat Dook in the first semifinal, 70-65. Since the return of Kay Yow, few teams have played better than the Wolfpack.

4:36 pm: 2-0, UNC. Camille Little gets the game’s first basket off the offensive rebound of a Latta miss. I hope that’s not an omen, Latta missing her first shot.

4:38 pm: 4-2, UNC. I swear to God, Rashanda McCants looks like Rashad in drag. Kristi Toliver scores Maryland’s first basket.

4:40 pm: 7-4, UNC. Latta buries the three this time. Shay Doron responds, but the Terps have committed 4 turnovers in as many minutes.

4:42 pm: 7-6, UNC. Coleman drives across and gets a nice layup to reduce the Heels lead to 1. Conversely, UNC has committed their third offensive foul.

4:47 pm: 9-6, UNC. McCants gets a nice basket off an offensive rebound, but she needs to be careful; she’s in foul trouble already. Jessica Breland comes in and scores to make it 11-6, UNC.

4:49 pm: 13-12, UNC. Maryland again brings it to within one. Larkins gets her first basket, but Jade Perry has scored the last four points for Maryland.

4:51 pm: 15-12, UNC. Breland scores an easy jumpshot off the inbound pass.

4:52 pm: 17-15, UNC. Today, UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell looks like some sort of Tar Heel Zebra in that suit. Someone please tell her that the elephants can still see her in the African Savanna.

4:57 pm: 19-17, UNC. Maryland ties the game for the first time, but Larkins immediately outhustles Langhorne to the opposite basket and gets an easy layup.

5:00 pm: 23-17, UNC. Larkins is absolutely dominating the offensive paint right now. She has 8 points and 6 rebounds in 11 minutes.

5:03 pm: 23-19, UNC. There is no situation in which putting Latta man-to-man on Langhorne could possibly end well.

5:08 pm: This has really been a sloppy game so far. Neither team can get any rhythm.

5:12 pm: 26-20, UNC. Ivory Latta ends my nightmare by hitting a three. I was really starting to get worried; both teams were getting good opportunities, but they did not take advantage of them.

5:14 pm: 28-24, UNC. Larkins gets another easy layup, but McCants gets her third foul.

5:15 pm: 30-24, UNC. Jessica Breland hits another midrange shot. She’s 3-3 today.

5:18 pm: 32-25, UNC. Now this is what I;ve come to expect from Ivory Latta. She steals a pass, outruns everyone down the court and gets an easy layup.

5:20 pm: 32-30, UNC. Crystal Langhorne gets a tough basket inside, and then Shay Doron gets three the hard way off an offensive rebound.

5:21 pm: 34-30, UNC. Jessica Breland is going to be a great player next year playing starting forward alongside Larkins and Pringle.

5:22 pm: 37-30, UNC. Little drains a three to extend the lead to 7 with a minute left in the first half.

5:24 pm: A nice offensive set, but Ivory, what the Hell kind of shot is that?!? you’re all alone, you don’t need a floater.

5:25 pm: The first half ends, UNC leading 37-30. UNC played excellent defense, and their offense got hot at the end of the half. If they’re able to keep the pressure on Maryland and win the rebounding battle, they should pull out a win in this game. Maryland needs to get more production out of Langhorne and Doron to make a comeback.

5:44 pm: 42-32, UNC. Larkins helps the Heels get their first double-digit lead of the game to start the second half.

5:45 pm: 42-39, UNC. The Tar Heels proceed to immediately let Maryland cut the lead to three in less than 90 seconds.

5:50 pm: 44-39, UNC. Ivory Latta drive down the baseline and gets a nice layup. We need to see more of that out of her and not as many errant threes.

5:53 pm: 44-43, UNC. Maryland has started getting the ball to Langhorne in the second half, and She has played very well in the last few minutes against Larkins.

I noticed that Breland was hurt at halftime. I don;t know if or when she will return, but I can’t help but wonder if UNC frontcourt will be worn down in her absence.

5:55 pm: Langhorne is out with 3 fouls.

5:56 pm: Latta hits a big three to bring the momentum back in UNC’s direction.

5:58 pm: UPSET WATCH: Michigan 61, Ohio St, 59, 2:21 left.

5:59 pm: 47-45, UNC. Coleman hits an easy jumpshot in transition, but Harper picks up her 4th foul.

6:03 pm: 52-45, UNC. Camille Little hits another three out of the TV timeout. Langhorne picks up her fourth foul. Maryland’s frontcourt is in real trouble right now.

6:04 pm: 54-48, UNC. Jessica Breland is back in the game. This fares badly for the Terps, who have just committed their 19th turnover.

6:06 pm: 54-50, UNC. Shay Doron makes an unbelievable play, drives down the baseline, gets the reverse layup and the foul. Shockingly, she misses her free throw.

6:12 pm: 58-53, UNC. How does UNC leave a 3-point shooter that wide open? That’s the double-edged sword of halfcourt traps, I guess.

6:13 pm: 61-53, UNC. What? Jessica Breland just hit a three! She now has 13 points, and I did not expect a performance like this from her at all.

6:15 pm: 62-55, UNC. Langhorne and Harper, each with four fouls, come in for Maryland.

6:16 pm: 64-55, UNC. Latta gets an easy layup after faking out two players to extend the UNC lead to 9.

6:18 pm: 66-57, UNC. Toliver finally gets a basket in the second half, but Latoya Pringle answers.

6:19 pm: 66-60, UNC. Kristi Toliver, who had previously been a non-factor, hits her second straight shot, this time a three. Why she wasn’t doing this before, or why she’s only doing it now, I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

6:23 pm: 66-62, UNC, 3:46 left. Maryalnd scores from the free throw line, steal the inbound pass, and suddenly have all the momentum.

6:24 pm: 66-65, UNC, 3:35 left. Doron receives a kickout pass, drains the three, and the deficit is cut to one.

6:26 pm: 67-65, UNC, 2:51 left. UNC commits another turnover (the 43rd total turnover of the game), but Maryland travels, unable to take advantage of the opportunity to tie or take the lead.

6:29 pm: 67-65, UNC, 2:12 left. A huge scrum (during which Maryland should have been called for a foul on Larkins) ends in a bloody nose for Doron, but UNC turns the ball over again.

6:31 pm: 67-67, 1:56 left. Toliver steps on the line, but Maryland clearly has the momentum.

6:32 pm: 71-67, UNC, 1:00 left. UNC gets two huge baskets, the first by Larkins in the paint, and the second an easy layup by Latta off a great rebound and pass by Alex Miller.

6:34 pm: 71-67, UNC, :51 left. Doron is back in the game, but Maryland is forced to take their final timeout.

6:35 pm: 73-67, UNC, :32 left. Shay Doron is left open for a three, but Latoya Pringle comes out of nowhere to block the shot. Latta hits two free throws to extend the lead to 6.

6:38 pm: 75-69, UNC, :15 left. Barring a complete meltdown at the free throw line and Maryland making it rain threes, this game is over.

6:41 pm: The game ends: UNC wins, 78-72. This game is big for the Tar Heels, because it not only means that they go to the ACC championship game against NC State, but Duke’s loss makes it that much easier for them to win the ACC and sew up a #1 seed in the tournament. Then again, We were a #1 seed last year and Maryland was a #2 seed, and look what happened. So I guess that doesn’t mean much. But this win is still very good for the Heels’ confidence knowing after their last three losses that they still are very capable of winning the national championship