ACC Football 2012 Week 9 Lessons: Giovani Bernard Shows He’s One of Best Players in the Country

Is Giovani Bernard the ACC’s Best Player? After Saturday’s Huge Effort, It’s a Plausible Theory

Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 9 of ACC football action:

1. Giovani Bernard is unstoppable: Or at least that was the perception of the North Carolina running back as he carried his team to a huge victory on Saturday. After jumping out to a big lead over NC State, the Heels faltered badly and needed a lift. Cue Bernard, who racked up 304 all-purpose yards on the day, with three scores. The most important, however, was a phenomenal 74-yard punt return TD with just 13 seconds left on the clock. The score broke a 35-35 tie and handed UNC their first win over the Wolfpack since 2006. Bernard is obviously a game-changer, and yet still travels predominantly under the radar to national pundits.

2. Florida State‘s back in the National Championship picture: Everyone knows the old college football adage: if you’re going to lose, lose early. So was FSU’s upset defeat in early October early enough? Now at seventh in the Coaches Poll and ninth in the BCS, the Seminoles are refocusing on their original goal of contending for a National Championship. Obviously, they’ll need some help on the way, but if they win out — and continue beating teams as impressively as they did this weekend — there’s still hope a title game berth is in the cards.

3. Clemson looks poised to avoid last year’s disappointing finish: The Tigers were ready to set the world on fire this past Thursday night, running through Wake Forest‘s defense with their best performance of the year. This Clemson team remembers the disappointment of last year, and is determined not to repeat it. If they win out, Clemson finds themselves in the thick of the BCS conversation, and could very well earn themselves a trip to a major bowl game even without winning the division.

4. Maryland is cursed: I’m not even sure what to say anymore, Terps. I just feel bad for you guys. Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse for Maryland and its quarterback situation, the team lost its fourth (and last) scholarship passer to a season-ending injury. The Angry Maryland Quarterback-Hating God shows no mercy, and after claiming Caleb Rowe, Terrapins fans pray it leaves true-freshman linebacker Shawn Petty alone. Petty played quarterback in high school, and while he’ll surely be a bit rusty, this is the best they’ve got.

5. Duke‘s STILL not ready: We go through this seemingly every week. Duke wins a game. Duke “has a chance” against next major opponent. Duke gets obliterated. It’s happened three times, and I hope we’ve all learned our lessons by now. The Blue Devils are a great story, and a worthy bowl team. That said, they’ve still got a ways to go before they can be considered “ready” for the big stage, and we need to keep that in perspective. Baby steps, people.

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4 thoughts on “ACC Football 2012 Week 9 Lessons: Giovani Bernard Shows He’s One of Best Players in the Country

    • I kind of want to do some research to see if this has ever happened to a team before, but I’m unsure where to begin. There isn’t an injury almanac for college football, is there?

  1. If Clemson can make it out of Durham unscathed, the Tigers finish out the year with 3 straight games in Death Valley where Dabo Swinney is 14-2. The defense is looking a little better, the offense has so far avoided its mid-season slump from last year, and South Carolina suddenly looks very beatable without Lattimore. An 11-1 Clemson team would be in a pretty good spot for the BCS. I know bowl projections are silly at this point, but unless Boise State sneaks into the BCS to take up the last spot, I think Clemson gets the nod over a second Pac-12 or Big Ten team.

    • I definitely think it’s worth discussing the possibilities for Clemson. Their big issue will likely be Boise State, though. All they have to do is finish in the top 16 if they’re ranked higher than a BCS conference champion (which will almost assuredly be the case when comparing them to the B1G champ). So with three spots already locked up (SEC at-large, ND and Boise), that leaves one to split between the Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC. If USC wins the Pac-12, that spot goes to Oregon. Stanford and OSU are still very much in the conversation, too, though an 11-1 Clemson team would get the nod over those two, I’d think. Unfortunately, a two-loss Oklahoma squad may pass up the Tigers, as would WVU, potentially.

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