ACC Football 2012 Midseason Recap: Atlantic Division

NC State’s Upset of FSU Steals the Headlines, But There’s Plenty More to Talk About From the ACC’s First Half

At the midway point in the 2012 season, little is decided in the ACC. Neither division has a clear frontrunner, no team is assured a trip to the postseason and no team has clinched a bowl spot either. Nonetheless, it’s been an entertaining season within the conference — something we’ll try to highlight here. Along with evaluations for each team, we’ll be providing additional predictions for the second half as well.

Below is the Atlantic division midseason evaluation. Also be sure to check out the Coastal division recap too, which is now live.

Boston College Eagles (1-5) (0-3): Doug Martin’s ability to revive the Boston College offensive attack is all that saves this team from an utter abyss (and even that statement’s pushing it) in Frank Spaziani’s lame-duck final season at the helm. Despite the leaps and bounds by which Chase Rettig has grown, it just doesn’t matter when your defense plays this terribly as a whole. On the bright side, the Eagles hopefully get one more season of Martin coaching Rettig and breakout receiver Alex Amidon under a different head coach in 2013. It would take a miracle for this squad to win six games at this point.

Clemson Tigers (5-1) (2-1): Clemson’s offense has been a sight to behold this season, putting up 41.3 points per game (11th in the country). Unfortunately, the defense has seen little improvement with Brent Venables’ arrival, allowing over 27 points over six games. Thus far, they’ve had little problem just running opponents off the field, but November dates against NC State and South Carolina loom large as potential stumbling blocks to end the year. With a better, fitter Tajh Boyd on the field, there’s hope they’ll avoid the same late stumbles from last season. The emergence of DeAndre Hopkins also helps, as we’re still unsure how Sammy Watkins will finish out the season. Orange Bowl’s the goal, but short of that, another BCS game wouldn’t be out of the question if they win out.

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ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week Five

Duke Johnson and the Miami Hurricanes Look to Extend Their Surprising Start with Another ACC Win

Byes aplenty this week, as the ACC has just 10 teams in action amidst what ends up being a fairly dull slate of games nationwide, somehow. In fact, the guys over at Shutdown Fullback will tell you it’s downright awful (like Ibis-on-a-jet-ski-plus-explosions awful). Still, we trek on and highlight the best of ACC action, in the hopes that it surpasses the pure boredom that will be College Gameday this week (OSU-MSU). The B1G: Where they can’t field a postseason-eligible team that could finish in the top 15.

Game of the Week

NC State Wolfpack (3-1) (0-0) at Miami Hurricanes (3-1) (2-0): Both of these teams have fared poorly in their big non-conference tests thus far. For the Wolfpack, they were run off the field by Tennessee to open the season and Miami was embarrassed by Kansas State in week two. Since those losses, however, both teams appear rejuvenated, relying on some unexpected skill players to show them the way, in freshmen Duke Johnson (Miami) and Shadrach Thornton (NC State). If the ‘Canes can generate an efficient rushing attack with Johnson and veteran back Mike James, they’ll have a shot against the Pack. But, given how porous the Miami defense is, Thornton and senior QB Mike Glennon may be all NC State needs to win their first conference game of the year. Prediction: NC State 24, Miami 21

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

Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (2-1) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (2-2) (1-2): Middle Tennessee State allows over four yards per carry, which is going to be a bit of a problem against Georgia Tech’s triple-option. Despite their loss to Miami last week, the Wreck still ran for 287 yards; no small number, and they’re likely to equal or surpass that figure this week. So the Blue Raiders obviously have an uphill battle ahead. The only saving grace may be their own respective ability to move the ball on the ground — but it’s also against some pitiful competition. Tech’s looking to bounce back after their disappointing result on Saturday, and will definitely do so. Prediction: Georgia Tech 45, MTSU 17

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Florida State vs. Notre Dame in the BCS Championship: Could the ACC’s Dream Scenario Happen?

Both Sitting at 4-0, Could Florida State and Notre Dame Meet for the National Championship?

There exists a dream scenario for the ACC — an ideal ending to the season, where Florida State meets Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game – in the Orange Bowl, no less!

Could it happen? Currently Florida State and Notre Dame are #4 and #11, respectively. For them to play each other in the BCS national championship game they would have to be #1 and #2. So the questions are who’s ahead of them, and what would have to happen for these two teams to climb that high?

Florida State

The Seminoles are already #4, so they only need to move up two spots. Two of those teams are Alabama and LSU, who play each other, thus guaranteeing a loss to one of them. Could FSU possibly jump them both?

Alabama plays consecutive road games at Missouri, then Tennessee. If Missouri is able to at least work them hard enough, it’s certainly possible for the Volunteers to finish the job  and give the Crimson Tide its first loss of the season. Alabama then has to travel to LSU — another possible loss. Two losses would certainly be enough to knock Alabama out of the national championship game. Even one loss should be enough to allow an undefeated FSU team to pass them.

Between the top two SEC teams, LSU appears to have the tougher conference schedule. In addition to the SEC West teams, the Tigers must travel to Florida and also host South Carolina (note: to make it even more difficult, those games are back-to-back). So a loss outside of the ‘Bama game is certainly possible for the Bayou Bengals. Furthermore, if Florida beats LSU, that would be ideal because Florida States plays the Gators and could not only take them down but also hurt LSU’s strength of schedule at the same time.

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ACC vs. The World (Week 4)

Wake Forest’s Tanner Price played well against Army in Week 4

Week 4: 9 games (6-3)

Continuing the trend from last week, the ACC posted a winning out-of-conference record, but failed to win in games against foes from the other major FBS conferences. Luckily, the league grabbed the nation’s attention this week with a great game between two quality top-10 teams, and produced a legitimate national title contender in Florida State. That game may have distracted casual viewers from the continuing parity elsewhere in the ACC.

vs. Big Ten (0-1): Syracuse continued to underachieve and fell to Minnesota on the road.

vs. Big 12 (0-2): Maryland played West Virginia tough, and lost by a respectable 31-21 margin.

Highlight: NC State is quietly making a comeback from their week 1 disappointment against Tennessee, and handily beat the Citadel this week, 52-14.

Lowlight: Virginia continued its slide and could not get going in their loss to TCU

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25: Week Three

USC Maintains Its Top Spot in Our Poll, Though It Was Not Without a Fight This Week

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. With some big upsets this week, you’ll notice quite the shake-up from top to bottom. Disagree at all? Feel free to share that with us below (respectfully, of course).

Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25 (Week Three)

1. USC Trojans (2-0) (LW: 1) (First-place votes: 3)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (2-0) (LW: 2) (1)

3. LSU Tigers (2-0) (LW: 4)

4. Oregon Ducks (2-0) (LW: 3)

5. Florida State Seminoles (2-0) (LW: 5)

6. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0) (LW: 8)

7. Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) (LW: 6)

8. Michigan State Spartans (2-0) (LW: 12)

9. West Virginia Mountaineers (1-0) (LW: 7)

10. South Carolina Gamecocks (2-0) (LW: 9)

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ACC vs. The World

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Georgia Tech backup QB Vad Lee hit WR Jared Green with a long touchdown pass as GT unveiled cool new uniforms again and racked up 721 yards on offense

It’s the ACC vs. The World, or at least the world of college football.  As one of the major FBS football conferences, it is important for the ACC to see how it stacks up against the competition. The public perception of conference strength influences everything from pride to money for TV deals and more. So let’s take a look to see how the ACC (including Pitt and Syracuse of course) has fared against other conferences so far this year.

Week 1: 10 games (7-3)

vs. Big 10 (0-1) Syracuse lost a close game to Northwestern 42-41, but QB Ryan Nassib showed that the Orange are dangerous on offense.

vs. SEC (1-1)

Highlight- Clemson beat a quality SEC foe in Auburn at a neutral site (The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.). QB Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington had the Clemson offense rolling.

Lowlight(s)- Pitt lost to Youngstown St. NC State faced a tough test in Tennessee, but did not show up on game night and live up to lofty preseason expectations.

Week 2: 12 games (8-4)

vs. Big East (2-1) NC State bounced back to grab a win over UConn, and Maryland got the win over Temple. But Pitt found themselves embarrassed by former/current conference-mate Cincinnati on Thursday night.

vs. Big 10 (1-0): Virginia was outplayed by Penn State for virtually the entire afternoon, yet found a way to score a big victory nonetheless.

vs. Big 12 (0-1): Miami looked horrible against Kansas State, as QB Collin Klein had a field day against the ‘Canes. However, Miami was saved from being the lowlight of the week.

vs. Pac-12 (0-2) Syracuse lost, but played a respectable game against the number two-ranked USC Trojans.

Highlight- UVA’s victory over Penn State in Charlottesville, Va. Cavaliers QB Michael Rocco connected with Jake McGee late in the 4th quarter to grab the lead for good.

Lowlight- Pitt…again

ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 2 (Part One)

Miami’s Duke Johnson Surprised Everyone In His Debut; Can He Sneak Up on Kansas State This Week?

After just a few days off, we’re previewing ACC football action once again as week two begins with a Thursday night matchup of Big East teams. Week one wasn’t exactly the best scenario for the conference — 9-5, including the two intra-conference games — but not the worst result either, all things considered. Still, it’s only one game, and we still have plenty more to learn about every squad. Picks for this week’s matchups are below. Agree/disagree? Share your opinions down in the comments.

Game of the Week

Miami Hurricanes (1-0) (1-0) at Kansas State Wildcats (1-0): What a difference a week makes. Things looked to be in complete disarray in Miami prior to kickoff last week. One monster debut by Duke Johnson later, we’re still unsure about the ‘Canes, but once again, they bring plenty of intrigue. Miami’s defense struggled to stop BC quarterback Chase Rettig last week, and will meet an even bigger test with K-State QB Collin Klein on Saturday. If they can keep the dual-threat passer in check, they’ve got a shot. Otherwise, things could come crashing back to earth very quickly in Coral Gables. Prediction: Kansas St. 33, Miami 26

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

Pittsburgh Panthers (0-1) at Cincinnati Bearcats (0-0): Cincinnati had the week of to start the year, and by the looks of last Saturday’s effort, so did Pittsburgh. After a startling loss, the Panthers are hoping to rebound quickly and save their season from spiraling. The Bearcats, on the other hand, want to start off their year on the right foot as they try and replace a ton of lost talent from the 2011 edition. With suspended players returning, Pitt will field a much better team than they did previously. However, that defense proved they’re not stopping the run anytime soon, letting Youngstown State rack up 204 yards on the ground. That’ll be an issue against Cincy QB Munchie Legaux, whose ability to tuck and run with the ball may just torture them all night. Prediction: Cincinnati 36, Pitt 24

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