Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 3 of ACC football action:
1. Pitt‘s season has been resuscitated: There’s no doubt the Panthers heard the talk about their season being dead in the water (guilty!) and were glad to prove everyone wrong. For a full 60 minutes, it was very easy to forget those first two losses, and instead, see the team we all expected to begin with: fantastic running game, sound defense. Ray Graham looked a lot like his old self, while Rushel Shell is sure to give the rest of the ACC nightmares while imagining him in Pitt’s backfield for the next four seasons.
2. Virginia Tech‘s offense is a major concern: We questioned this unit’s effectiveness in the offseason, and that was before D.J. Coles was lost for the year. Now, with an iffy offensive line, unproven receivers and a very green running game, there’s a lot of concern surrounding how they’ll be able to score points. QB Logan Thomas looked shaky against Pitt, and will need to take full ownership of his role if this team hopes to continue winning ball games.
3. Coastal Division confusion: Georgia Tech was its most impressive team this weekend, but they’ve already lost to Virginia Tech. Miami is 1-0, but there’s uncertainty on defense. North Carolina is ineligible. Virginia was just waxed by the Yellow Jackets. This group has lacked the strength of the Atlantic since the league split into divisions, but 2012 may set a new bar for parity.
4. Florida State is back: Running through two FCS opponents? That’s what you were supposed to do anyway. But the way the Seminoles looked against in-conference foe Wake Forest on Saturday? Unreal. They’ve got enormous amounts of speed on both sides of the ball, and enough depth that Brandon Jenkins‘s loss may not matter as much as we thought. No team has scored a touchdown against them yet, either, by the way. They’ll prove their worth on the national stage Saturday, as College Gameday heads to Tallahassee.
5. Duke Johnson is the real deal: Amidst a lot of distractions on and off the field, the Miami Hurricanes have also been gifted with an emerging star in running back Duke Johnson. In his third game, he scored four times, to bring his season total to six, while also padding his ACC-leading all-purpose yardage total (which now stands at 643… 200 yards more than the nearest player). Should the ‘Canes be spared hefty sanctions and bowl bans by the NCAA, Johnson could be their path back to prominence.