Each Monday morning (or sometimes Tuesday), we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 2 of the ACC football season:
1. The ACC Looks Ready to Contend: Three matchups between the perceived upper crust of the ACC and the perceived upper crust of the SEC have yielded two wins (over Georgia and Florida, respectively) for the former. It’s no national championship, of course, but it’s those types of victories that completely change the narrative for the ACC and barring some typical #goacc upsets (please, no), we may be set up for a very fun finish in 2013. With three potential title contenders all hovering around the top 10-15 spots in the rankings, this is exactly what the league needed to show it’s a new era. Moments like this one also do their part.
2. Boston College and Maryland on the rebound?: Over the past couple seasons, Boston College and Maryland’s respective struggles have been well chronicled and ridiculed, but both programs suddenly appear to be on the mend. The Terps and Eagles are both 2-0 to start the season, and while Maryland has won with a high-powered offense, BC has done it with a formidable defense. We’ll see if the trends hold, but for right now, things are looking up for both programs.
3. Syracuse, Virginia, NC State Experiencing Quarterback Troubles: While each team has experienced different results (0-2, 1-1, 2-0), they all do face very similar issues at the quarterback position. Syracuse’s Drew Allen has proven himself to be turnover-prone and unable to make quick reads. David Watford of Virginia has also been plagued by turnovers — though he’s also been up against two of the nation’s best defenses. Since jumping into the starting job part of the way into game one, State’s Pete Thomas has done very little to prove he deserves the position long-term, especially after struggling against an FCS team like Richmond. Expect all three situations to be watched very closely over the coming couple weeks.
4. Duke Can Persevere Through Injuries: What sets aside this Duke program most of all from previous editions is depth, which was all too apparent in Saturday’s too-close-for-comfort victory over Memphis. Rather than collapsing following QB Anthony Boone‘s injury, the team rallied around backup Brandon Connette, who ultimately delivered them to victory. Connette’s no spring chicken, having seen extended action at passer and tailback through his career, but to have him go out and deliver a winning performance (198 passing yards and two scores) was a very positive sign that Duke’s relevance is here to stay.
5. Clemson Avoids Disaster With Super Sub, Cole Stoudt: The majority of ACC and Clemson fans alike held their collective breath when news broke that Tajh Boyd had taken a very hard hit and was taken out of the game. The star quarterback was ultimately fine, but that doesn’t remove us from the thoughts of what could have happened in his absence. Rather than fold, though, the team rallied around backup Cole Stoudt, who put in an impressive performance in relief, going 19-for-20, for 143 yards and 3 TDs. Even if he doesn’t have to see the field much more this season, it’s good to see the Tigers are in very capable hands once Boyd departs following this year.