ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 4

Looks Like a Terrapin Could Be Climbing Into Heisman Contention (and Not the One You'd Think)

Looks Like a Terrapin (Not the One You Think) Could Be Climbing Into Heisman Contention

No losses among the ACC‘s top teams yet, which means all of these players stay in the actual Heisman hunt for the time being. We’re still just a few games in, though. Plenty of season left to play, and plenty of players that might even be flying under the radar right now. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (491 total yards, six total TD, 0 INT, 60.4% completion) (Last: 1)

Boyd’s still leading, and is likely to be as long as Clemson’s undefeated. With his first test in a few weeks coming this Thursday against NC State though, we’ll see what happens next. His last trip down to Raleigh did not go well at all, so all eyes will be on how he responds this time around. Put up the type of stats he did in the opener, and we’re right back on track in the national Heisman race.

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (1,037 total yards, 10 TD, 1 INT, 70.5% completion) (Last: 2)

So Teddy Bridgewater is mortal? After throwing just one touchdown pass versus Kentucky, it does seem that way. If he’d kept up his pace from the first two games, he’d probably be atop this list. So is this the end of his scorched-earth sprint over the Cardinals’ schedule? Hardly. Kentucky, despite their overall weakness, is still one of the best opponents on the Cards’ schedule. Take a look. Bridgewater’s numbers are going to be just fine this year.

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (603 total yards, seven total TD, 1 INT, 88.9% completion) (Last: 3)

Even in a limited amount of playing time, Winston still knows how to continue growing his sort-of legend. Despite completing just 15 passes, he still managed 215 yards and two scores. He ended up tossing an interception, but beyond that, there’s still very little negative to say about the redshirt freshman’s game. Tougher tests await, though for right now, Winston can just continue to rack up yardage and touchdowns against FSU’s tune-up opponents. The fact that the numbers still stand out next to the Seminoles’ 377 rushing yards against Nevada says an awful lot of good about his game.

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ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 4

On the Arm of Vad Lee, Georgia Tech May Actually be a Contender in the Coastal Division

On the Arm of Vad Lee, Georgia Tech May Actually be a Contender in this Year’s Coastal Division

Three weeks in, and the ACC is not the most beleaguered major conference in the land (high, Big Ten!). It’s an accomplishment — if not on the field, than from a PR standpoint — and as the league’s top teams remain unbeaten this week, things only continue to get better. As always, the poll includes all 14 current ACC members, plus future member Louisville. Feel like I’m totally right or completely off-base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

ACC Football Power Rankings 2013 (Week 4)

1. Clemson Tigers (2-0) (0-0) (Last: 1): No game last week means the Tigers will have plenty of time to prepare themselves for a trip down to Raleigh this Thursday. Last time they visited NC State, Clemson was dealt a crushing 37-13 defeat, but that was a different squad. A different (read: worse) defense, and a very green Tajh Boyd at quarterback. This Tigers team is arguably the best one in 30 years. We’ll get to the preview later in the week, but with an extra five days to prepare, Clemson should remain the top team in these rankings without much issue.

2. Florida State Seminoles (2-0) (1-0) (Last: 2): Nevada looked as if they were keeping things close with Florida State for at least a little while on Saturday. And then they weren’t. We’re not exactly sure what the Seminoles’ defense is going to look like against better competition, but for right now, that’s fine. The offense is on another level through two games and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. Whether on the ground or through the air, the ‘Noles know how to score, which makes them incredibly dangerous.

3. Louisville Cardinals (3-0) (0-0) (Last: 3): Teddy Bridgewater slowed down a bit against Kentucky (just one touchdown), but that’s understandable. There’s simply no way he could continue the video game pace he was on through the first two contests. Lucky him, the rushing attack showed up in a big way and gave this team a little bit of hope too. One-man shows don’t win. So if Louisville’s going to actually contend for a title, it’ll need efforts like Saturday’s, just as much as blowouts like their first couple games.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (2-0) (0-0) (Last: 4): Another team with the benefit of an early bye. The ‘Canes are looking good so far, though the defense won’t truly be tested until October. And that’s a bit nerve-wracking considering how disastrous that unit was in 2012. In the meantime, at least the offense looks competent. Miami’s already proven it knows how to win a couple different types of games — blowouts and slugfests — which should suit them well as the season continues. Best of all, that same offense doesn’t look as if it was rise and fall with Duke Johnson. If nothing else, that may be the biggest gift of all from the first few weeks.

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ACC Football 2013 Week 3 Lessons: Is This the Best Virginia Tech Defense Frank Beamer’s Ever Had?

Thanks to Detrick Bonner and Others, Virginia Tech's Defense is Reaching New Heights

Thanks to Detrick Bonner and Others, Virginia Tech’s Defense is Reaching New Heights

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 3 of the ACC football season:

1. Is this Virginia Tech‘s best defense yet?: Through three games, it just might be. The Hokies have not allowed more than 206 yards in any contest so far, and have already forced seven turnovers on defense (tied for 11th-best in the country). Obviously, the offense has presented its fair share of troubles for this team, but thus far, it’s had a minimal effect. Their stellar secondary stops passes in their tracks, while the Hokies’ sack rate is already way up. The two go hand in hand of course, and as long as that type of pressure continues, so should the turnovers, keeping them in every game for the rest of the year.

2. Florida State continues to roll: In a much different way than the first game, obviously, but FSU still looked absolutely dominant in a 62-7 victory over Nevada on Saturday. Jameis Winston was extremely accurate once again, though he didn’t need to carry the offense at all and only put up 214 yards through the air. He was supported heavily be the ‘Noles run game this time around, with a whopping 377 yards and six scores on the ground in total (including one by Winston himself). The redshirt freshman is still on fire though, with eight total scores versus just five incomplete passes, and shows no signs of slowing down.

3. Syracuse now has a full blown quarterback controversy: There were calls for Drew Allen to be replaced after struggling for the first two games, and when he came out the gate sputtering once again against Wagner, it seemed like the final straw. After being replaced by backup Terrel Hunt, the Orange proceeded to rack up points in droves, piling 54 on the Seahawks while Hunt completed 17 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, it’s a weak opponent, but Hunt has shown more in very limited action this season than Allen has in over two full games. No comment on who’s starting next weekend, but this is now a full-blown controversy at SU.

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 3

Vad Lee Leads Georgia Tech to Durham to Face Coastal Rival Duke

QB Vad Lee Leads Georgia Tech to Durham to Face Coastal Division Rival Duke This Saturday

Another week, another big ACC win this season. Might as well continue riding the wave of good vibes and hope the conference’s top teams continue winning — Clemson is ranked third in the country at this point, you know. Just like normal, we’re running down the list of every ACC (plus Louisville) game and predicting outcomes that will almost undoubtedly be wrong. Have some picks of your own? Predict away in the comments!

Game of the Week

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-0) (0-0) at Duke Blue Devils (2-0) (0-0): Georgia Tech looked phenomenal in game one, while Duke’s getting used to life without starting quarterback Anthony Boone. The Blue Devils’ defense has shown improvement through two games, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to put a stop to Tech’s revitalized offensive attack. Vad Lee was incredibly efficient to start the year and with a more versatile attack (still centered on the triple-option, of course), Tech is looking to top 2012’s 7-7 finish. This one will be close for as long as Duke backup Brandon Connette keeps it that way, but eventually, he’s going to be forced into a mistake by the Wreck defense. Once he does, it’s all over from there. Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, Duke 26

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

Louisville Cardinals (2-0) at Kentucky Wildcats (1-1): Louisville’s started the year on a tear, and that’s not about to change against the cross-state Wildcats. Kentucky’s played pretty solid pass defense against its two opponents thus far (just 147 yards allowed per game), but then again, neither had much of a passing game to speak of either. Despite Mark Stoops’s specialty with the secondary, his UK team just isn’t up to snuff at this point, leaving plenty of opportunities for Teddy Bridgewater to continue padding his impressive numbers. Kentucky should be able to put up some points, but for the Cards, this will be treated like a track meet if necessary. They have no intentions of losing this contest with so much on the line. Prediction: Louisville 41, Kentucky 23

Virginia Tech Hokies (1-1) (0-0) at East Carolina Pirates (2-0): What would normally be an easy non-conference matchup turns into a pretty harrowing contest for Virginia Tech this Saturday against East Carolina. Not only is the game on the road, but ECU is extremely proficient at the main thing Tech isn’t: scoring points, with an average of 41.5 in two contests so far. With offensive production mostly out of the question, that’ll leave it up to the Hokies defense to try and create scoring opportunities similar to what they did against Western Carolina last week. The Pirates also have their own penchant for forcing turnovers (four this year), and if Tech falls behind early, it could spell doom for them. It’ll be close, but count on Frank Beamer’s defense to find a way at the end. Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, ECU 27

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ACC Football 2013 Heisman Watch: Week 3

Despite Only Playing a Portion of Last Saturday's Game, Tajh Boyd Still Leads ACC's Heisman Hopefuls

Despite Only Playing in Part of Saturday’s Game, Tajh Boyd Still Leads ACC’s Heisman Hopefuls

No losses among the ACC‘s top teams yet, which means all of these players stay in the actual Heisman hunt for the time being. We’re still just a couple games in, though. Plenty of season left to play, and plenty of players that might even be flying under the radar right now. Have other nominees? Submit your ballots below.

1. Tajh Boyd, QB/Clemson (491 total yards, six total TD, 0 INT, 60.4% completion) (Last: 1)

Despite leaving Saturday’s contest very early, Boyd remains atop the list thanks to his team’s big win and their continued move up the polls. One would assume, so long as he remains healthy for the reason of the season and the Tigers don’t lose more than one game, he’ll be in contention for the long haul. Should the Tigers start running away with games and sitting Boyd by early in the third quarter though, it may end up hurting his chances in the long run. I stress may. Which brings us to…

2. Teddy Bridgewater, QB/Louisville (752 passing yards, nine TD, 1 INT, 76.7% completion) (Last: 2)

Louisville’s schedule (as discussed previously) kills Bridgewater’s hopes when put up against Boyd, so he’s making up ground with statistics. Despite demolishing their first two opponents, the Cardinals have been leaving their quarterback in for as long as acceptable (and sometimes long past that) in order to give him a greater chance of putting up monstrous numbers. It’s worked thus far, as those eye-popping stats have kept him at the top of the conversation for the time being. No, Louisville’s not in the ACC just yet, but should Bridgewater win the award, you can bet the ACC claims it for themselves (and rightfully so).

3. Jameis Winston, QB/Florida State (381 total yards, five total TD, 0 INT, 92.6% completion) (Last: 3)

Winston didn’t play at all last week, since FSU had a bye. But the magnitude of his debut remains as everyone’s trying to project what he’ll do for an encore performance. Against a Nevada team whose defense isn’t exactly stellar (allowed 58 points to UCLA), one would expect the redshirt freshman to put up some astronomical numbers. If he’s going to continue living up to and surpassing the expectations set for him, that may be the only acceptable way he can do it before long.

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ACC Football 2013 Power Rankings: Week 3

Miami Florida Gators Hurricanes Upset 2013 ACC Football SEC Stephen Morris

Miami’s Big Upset of Florida Has Them Thinking ACC Championship, and Possibly More

Two weeks into this young season and things seem awfully positive for the ACC. There’s a collective conference pride rooted not just in hilarious gestures of solidarity, but in actual on-field results. The ACC is beating the SEC on the field, and (at least from a public relations standpoint) putting to bed the rhetoric about it being a weak league. As always, the poll includes all 14 current ACC members, plus future member Louisville. Feel like I’m totally right or completely off-base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

ACC Football Power Rankings 2013 (Week 3)

1. Clemson Tigers (2-0) (0-0) (Last: 1): Even without Tajh Boyd for most of the game, Clemson was able to breeze through South Carolina State on Saturday. But the biggest win may have been what happened in Georgia. The Bulldogs beat up on South Carolina in front of a national audience and staked their claim to the SEC East crown. But if Georgia’s the best team in the SEC East, then how good is Clemson? It appears the answer is “very” and now everyone seems to be buying in on the Tigers. The team moved up to no. 3 in the AP rankings this week and even received a first-place vote.

2. Florida State Seminoles (1-0) (1-0) (Last: 2): Florida State had the week off, but it doesn’t mean the hype around Jameis Winston vanished. If anything, it just continued to grow as pundits began to wonder what he might do for an encore. Against Nevada on Saturday, he should have ample opportunity to replicate his success from Labor Day, though it does feel like we’re already entering Clowney-type territory when it comes to expectations for him. At some point, he’ll remind folks he’s a freshman quarterback and the ESPN hivemind will inevitably turn on him. But until then, FSU fans will certainly enjoy the ride.

3. Louisville Cardinals (2-0) (0-0) (Last: 3): What does Louisville have to do to make their case for a national championship? Simply put: just win. And so far, they’ve done that, winning two contests by a combined score of 93-14. Teddy Bridgewater is on an absolutely torrid pace in terms of statistics, and with the American Athletic Conference looking even worse off than people thought this season, we could be seeing something truly special from him this year.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (2-0) (0-0) (Last: 4): Is the U back? That depends on your point of view, though Saturday’s upset over Florida is certainly a nice start to that conversation. The Hurricanes weren’t perfect against the Gators, but maybe that’s what makes this victory resonate a bit more. Everyone has a tendency to celebrate a team for playing a flawless game en route to a big victory, when it’s the team that can win an ugly contest that’s probably better set up for long-term success. While the offense had its moments, the biggest plus from Saturday was the defense, which (Florida’s inept offense aside) did appear to have taken major leaps forward from last season’s disastrous effort.

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 3

Florida State and Jameis Winston Take on Nevada on Saturday as One of the ACC's Featured Games

Florida State and Jameis Winston Take on Nevada on Saturday in One of the ACC’s Featured Games

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 3 TV Schedule & Spreads

Saturday, September 14

Louisville Cardinals at Kentucky Wildcats (+14), noon ET, ESPN

Virginia Tech Hokies at East Carolina Pirates (+7.5), noon ET, Fox Sports 1

UL-Monroe Warhawks at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-3.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gamplan

New Mexico Lobos at Pittsburgh Panthers (-21.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gamplan

Boston College Eagles at USC Trojans (-14), 3 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Duke Blue Devils (+8), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Nevada Wolf Pack at Florida State Seminoles (-32.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Wagner Seahawks at Syracuse Orange (-27.5), 4 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Maryland Terrapins at Connecticut Huskies (+7), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

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