ACC Football 2012 Week 10 Lessons: After Defeating Virginia Tech, Miami Controls Its Own Destiny

Miami Looks Poised to Take Care of Business Down the Stretch and Get to the ACC Championship Game

Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 10 of ACC football action:

1. Miami controls the Coastal Division: Following Miami’s big win over Virginia Tech last Thursday night, the ‘Canes can only be stopped by their own failure to execute now. Despite their reputation, Miami does actually play defense, though their strength comes from patience. Make the necessary plays, and then let the opponent pressure themselves into mistakes. And then there’s the running game. As long as Duke Johnson‘s able to get going, the Hurricanes have remained competitive. As the season finishes out, they’ll need to show more dedication to getting both Johnson and Mike James a sufficient number of carries.

2. Virginia Tech barely has a pulse: Stemming from the previous point, Virginia Tech also proved themselves incapable of playing a complete game. In nearly every contest this year, the Hokies have appeared M.I.A. for a large stretch of time, with Thursday being no different. And we’ve harped on it over and over, but: Logan Thomas can’t do this by himself. Sure, he also has some flaws that have been exposed by a young O-line, but with little help on the offensive side of the ball, he’s feeling the pressure to win games on his own – something that obviously isn’t working.

3. NC State, Virginia moving in opposite directions?: Prior to Saturday’s game between the two teams, the Woflpack appeared to be trending upward while the Hoos looked dead in the water. Now, following a 33-6 drubbing by UVa, maybe things are the other way around. The Cavaliers looked aggressive on defense, forcing turnovers and holding a dynamic Woflpack offense to just six point. State, on the other hand, found themselves shredded by the running game and off-balance against a solid pass-rush. Tom O’Brien has to fix things immediately, after three tough weeks.

4. Syracuse still can’t get past Syracuse: The story of Syracuse’s season will focus on their own inability to cut down on costly errors and mistakes, and execute when called upon. Of course, the Orange have faced some stiff competition this year, but they’ve also had a chance to beat every team they’ve faced. However, as we’ve seen over and over again, Syracuse simply defeats themselves. Now, at 4-5, they’re staring an improbable task — bowl eligibility — in the face, and bets are on them folding under the pressure.

5. Clemson‘s offense has never been better: The Tigers have failed to score 37 points or more just once this season. They’ve put up 42 or more in four of their last five, and are currently seventh in the nation in points-per-game, tallying 42.7 per contest. Tajh Boyd will leave campus owning every passing record the school’s ever had, despite the fact that his current numbers (30 total TD) are largely overlooked by national press. And offensive coordinator Chad Morris wants more out of them. Anyone who’d pass such an entertaining team up for a BCS berth is delusional.

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2 thoughts on “ACC Football 2012 Week 10 Lessons: After Defeating Virginia Tech, Miami Controls Its Own Destiny

  1. Three years after moving the championship game out of Florida, the ACC might finally get its FSU-Miami matchup.

    Boise State’s loss is good for the conference’s hope for 2 BCS bids, but I think it depends on what the Rose Bowl does. If Oregon is in the national title game, a second Pac-12 team is probably heading to Pasadena, leaving Clemson out in the cold. But now I’m hearing buzz about Notre Dame to the Rose Bowl instead, and the other bowls don’t share the Rose’s sentimental tie to the Pac-12. I would love a Clemson-Georgia Sugar Bowl, reviving the fiercest rivalry of the ’80s (5-5-1) and previewing the home-and-home series beginning next year.

    • I was reading a piece from the BCS Guru yesterday, saying how Clemson’s the last option for an at-large bid after last season’s Orange Bowl debacle, but I just don’t see how that matters. If Oregon State gets to two losses (likely), there’s no way they’re a better option than Clemson. And you’re right, if the Rose Bowl elects to go with Notre Dame, I can’t really see the Beavers getting selected either. Also, because of how late their likely loss to the Ducks would happen, they may not be able to rebound back into the top 14 (dependent on human polls and how much they drop). There’s also the Stanford factor, and if the Cardinal can beat Oregon, it’s highly likely we see both Stanford and Oregon selected. What worries me the most is the Big 12, though. If Oklahoma wins out (and ND and K-State do so as well), their only losses would be to undefeated teams — making them a sure pick. Texas has a shot, too, but that would require them to beat the Wildcats.

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