ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 1 (Part 2)

Jerome Smith and the Syracuse Run Game Hold the Key to Beating Penn State on Saturday

Jerome Smith and the Syracuse Run Game Hold the Key to Beating Penn State on Saturday

Welcome to part two of this week’s previews and predictions! Here’s part one if you missed it.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at NC State Wolfpack: With coach Sonny Dykes now off to California, it’s likely the Bulldogs’ torrid offensive pace from last year leaves with him. That also means that State’s very young secondary, which is replacing three of four starters from 2012, gets a bit of a break too. This won’t necessarily be a cakewalk for this young Wolfpack team — we still don’t know what type of pistol elements are already implemented into this offense, nor do we know how the running game will look (my guess is mediocre). But they should be able to score a home win to start the year without a ton of difficulty, and build some positive momentum for this very green group. Prediction: NC State 37, Louisiana Tech 21

Penn State Nittany Lions v. Syracuse Orange (MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ): Neither team has revealed who their quarterback will be, but in Syracuse’s case, they’ve got the better options to choose from in Drew Allen (likely the pick) and Terrel Hunt. But regardless of who’s throwing the ball, this game is very likely to be decided in the trenches. Penn State’s rushing defense was very strong last year and SU figures to have one of this year’s top rushing attacks in the ACC. If either team starts getting in behind the line, that will be the difference-maker in what should be a hard-fought battle between the former rivals. Prediction: Syracuse 20, Penn State 17

BYU Cougars at Virginia Cavaliers: This game is perceived to be pretty close (current line’s at +1 for UVa), but I have a feeling we’re looking at a much different outcome. With a young quarterback in David Watford, the Hoos are likely to spend the opening portions of the contest finding their way on offense, which should also open up the BYU defense for some critical opportunities. The Cougars only allowed 14 points per game last season, and as long as Kyle Van Noy‘s in the fold, they’re likely to hold teams to a similar number this year as well. Despite the cross-country trip, BYU makes short work of Virginia. Prediction: BYU 36, Virginia 17

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College Football 2012 Offensive Scoring Efficiency Ratings

Oregon's Offense Was High-Powered in 2012, But Was It Efficient?

Oregon’s Offense Was High-Powered in 2012, But Did It Score More Efficiently Than Others?

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been tossing around an idea: what does scoring efficiency look like for every college football team, and does that also correlate to victories? Admittedly, it’s not overly complicated, but nonetheless, certainly took a good deal of number crunching (aka, simple math) to come up with some figures. Additionally, while putting this all together, I thought it would be interesting to see if teams that ran or passed the ball more saw a higher scoring efficiency rate, higher win total or both.

You can feel free to peruse the full data set for all 124 FBS schools here (color-coded for conference affiliation) in this handy Google doc. Included are the total offensive plays run during the 2012 season, total points scored, the efficiency rating (we’ll discuss below), run percentage, pass percentage and total victories.

The crux of this exercise is the scoring efficiency metric, which is actually a pretty simple points-scored-per-play figure. Basically, we’re assuming that efficiency is scoring more points in less plays, while inefficiency is scoring less points in more plays. With that definition in mind, the top 10 most efficient scoring offenses were as follows:

SCHOOL PLAYS POINTS EFF.
Oregon 1059 645 0.609065156
Alabama 898 542 0.603563474
Kansas State 841 505 0.600475624
Louisiana Tech 1054 618 0.586337761
Oklahoma State 1014 594 0.585798817
Florida State 941 550 0.584484591
Georgia 924 529 0.572510823
Texas A&M 1025 578 0.563902439
North Carolina 898 487 0.542316258
Baylor 1072 578 0.539179104

Not a whole lot of surprise here. Some of the nation’s most highly regarded offenses (Oregon, Texas A&M, Baylor, Louisiana Tech) are all present, though admittedly, I’m a bit surprised to see Florida State and Georgia. While I wouldn’t exactly call Alabama an offensive machine, the have a knack for brutal efficiency in every aspect of the game, so it should not come as a shock to see them listed right under the Ducks’ attack, despite running 150 less plays in one more game than Oregon. Also of note, every one of these teams tallied at least eight wins last season, and six had 11 or more. In fact, when looking at the full, sorted efficiency list, the first 25 schools all had at least seven wins on the season, with the first losing team being no. 26, Tennessee (AIR IT OUT, TYLER BRAY!)

And what about the least efficient scoring teams in the country? Your bottom 10:

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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #60-51

Virginia/Georgia Tech is One of Many Great Matchups in this Selection of Games

Virginia/Georgia Tech is One of Many Great Matchups in this Selection of Games

The 2013 ACC football schedule has officially been released, meaning we finally have some clarity as to whom the conference’s 14 teams will face-off with from week-to-week next season. So with that in mind, we thought it would be an entertaining undertaking to rank all 112 ACC football games for 2013 because, well… it’s the offseason.

Today, we take a quick glance at numbers 60 through 51; with a nice mix of in-conference and out-of-conference games, all of which manage to carry their own measure of intrigue.

#60: Boston College Eagles at North Carolina Tar Heels (Saturday, October 26)

#59: Clemson Tigers at Syracuse Orange (Saturday, October 5)

#58: NC State Wolfpack at Boston College Eagles (Saturday, November 16)

#57: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at NC State Wolfpack (Saturday, August 31)

#56: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Vanderbilt Commodores (Saturday, November 30)

#55: Syracuse Orange at NC State Wolfpack (Saturday, October 12)

#54: BYU Cougars at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday, August 31)

#53: Pittsburgh Panthers at Duke Blue Devils (Saturday, September 21)

#52: Virginia Cavaliers at Pittsburgh Panthers (Saturday, September 28)

#51: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Virginia Cavaliers (Saturday, October 26)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • The 10 games appear on eight different dates
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent leagues: C-USA (1), Independent (1), SEC (1)
  • Breakdown of non-conference opponent home states: Louisiana (1), Tennessee (1), Utah (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: one public, two private

Previously: #112-101, #100-91, #90-81, #80-71, #70-61

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Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2012: Week 12

Oregon May Not Be No. 1 in the BCS Rankings Right Now, But They Come Out On Top In Our Playoff Scenarios

Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years feature actually has some outside guidelines to follow: four teams, two semifinal spots and then a championship game. We currently have no clue how teams will be determined, how polls will be released, or who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. We’ll also fill in the major bowl games also slated to be part of the playoff structure. Additionally, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below, too. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Sugar Bowl (semifinal): #1 Kansas State vs. #4 Alabama

Rose Bowl (semifinal): #2 Oregon vs. #3 Notre Dame

National Championship: #2 Oregon over #4 Alabama

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Texas A&M

Cotton Bowl: Georgia vs. Nebraska

Fiesta Bowl: LSU vs. Louisville

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Florida vs. Clemson

While Alabama’s fallen from the top spot, I’m still tempted to believe they’re among the two best teams in the nation, which is how they get to a championship game matchup with Oregon. With a similar attack to that of Texas A&M (who just felled ‘Bama last weekend), I have the Ducks beating the Tide for the title.

In the major bowl games, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M and Clemson were handed at-large bids (skipping over South Carolina to avoid any SEC vs. SEC games), with Florida State (ACC), Nebraska (B1G) and Louisville (“Group of Five”) receiving automatic bids.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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ACC Football 2012 Week 11 Lessons: Florida State Very Lucky, Yet Still in Control

Florida State Was All Smiles Last Week, But the ‘Noles Weren’t Too Far Away From a Loss Either

Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 11 of ACC football action:

1. Florida State still in the Atlantic driver’s seat… barely: While we’re happy to commend the Seminoles for pulling out their last-minute victory over Virginia Tech last Thursday, we must look at the other side of the coin, too. Despite their talent on both sides of the ball, FSU could’ve very well lost their second game to a double-digit underdog this year. And much of it is due to Jimbo Fisher’s overly-conservative play-calling, along with some luck that could have easily gone the other way. The late safety could’ve instead been a touchdown for Tech. EJ Manuel‘s late strike to Rashad Greene — had the Hokies taken proper pursuit angles, maybe they never see the end zone. Or Logan Thomas‘s deep ball to Demitri Knowles on the final drive may have been part of a game-winning drive, instead of an INT. So, yes, Florida State won. But they have work to do.

2. Does anyone want to win the Coastal division?: After this past weekend’s action, it sure doesn’t look like it. Virginia Tech just couldn’t seem to hang on against FSU on Thursday. Miami took its commanding lead and squandered it in a 41-40 upset to Virginia. And North Carolina — while ineligible to play for the league championship this season — gave up its shot at possessing the division’s best record by losing a barnburner to Georgia Tech, a team suddenly very much alive in the race again. No one in the division will have a record better than 8-4, and the champion very well may finish 7-5. Ugh.

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25: Week 12

Texas A&M Shook Up the Polls in a Big Way This Weekend, Upsetting No. 1 Alabama

As is customary, we’ll be bringing you a new take on the top 25 teams in the country each Monday during the regular season. And just when you thought you knew what would happen this season, the no. 1 team goes down, and… well, now we’re actually left with a pretty clear picture of who will be in the title game (should those teams win out). Disagree at all? Feel free to share that with us below (respectfully, of course).

Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25 (Week 12)

1. Oregon Ducks (10-0) (LW: 2) (First-place votes: 3)

2. Kansas State Wildcats (10-0) (LW: 3) (2)

3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-0) (LW: 4) (1)

4. Alabama Crimson Tide (9-1) (LW: 1)

5. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0) (LW: 5)

6. Florida State Seminoles (9-1) (LW: 6)

7. Florida Gators (9-1) (LW: 8)

8. LSU Tigers (8-2) (LW: 9)

9. Texas A&M Aggies (8-2) (LW: 15)

10. Georgia Bulldogs (9-1) (LW: 7)

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Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2012: Week 11

The BCS Computers Are Coming Around On the Ducks, and So is Our Hypothetical Playoff

Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years feature actually has some outside guidelines to follow: four teams, two semifinal spots and then a championship game. We currently have no clue how teams will be determined, how polls will be released, or who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. Also, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Top Eight Seeds (in order): Alabama, Kansas StateOregon, Notre Dame, Georgia, FloridaLSU, South Carolina

Semifinal 1: #1 Alabama vs. #4 Notre Dame

Semifinal 2: #2 Kansas State vs. #3 Oregon

National Championship Game: Alabama over Oregon

Thus far this year, there’s a top four, and then everyone else. That may change, but with the evidence we’ve amassed through nine games, these are your best teams and a playoff would be the perfect way to decide which of them is best. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait on that in real life, but here, we get to “watch” it play out. I’m more and more convinced each week that Oregon and Alabama would be the most fun you’ll ever have watching a National Championship Game, while ND vs. Alabama could be the most insufferable of all possibilities. Unless LSU creeps back into the top four, it’s hard to visualize another team punching ‘Bama in the mouth quite like the Tigers did last Saturday night.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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