Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2013: Week 8

Following a Convincing Victory over Washington, it Gets Even Tougher to Pick Against the Ducks

Following a Convincing Victory over Washington, it Gets Even Tougher to Pick Against the Ducks

The dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (immediately following the 2014 season), so this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-another-year 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 a large majority of the individuals who will ultimately decide who’s in and who’s out.

So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (projected by BCSGuru), 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…

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

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

National Championship: #2 Oregon over #1 Alabama

Orange Bowl: Miami vs. Ohio State

Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs. Stanford

Fiesta BowlTexas A&M vs. UCLA

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Louisville vs. LSU

Last week’s upset-riddled Saturday shakes up a lot of what this playoff has looked like up to this point, with two (!!) ACC teams occupying the top four spots, yet both exiting in the semi-finals. In the top money bowls, Miami becomes ACC team no. 3 to enter the conversation, while Baylor also moves into one of the major slots to face a fading Stanford team. No, I’m still not sold on Alabama, which is why they’re losing to Oregon here.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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ACC Football 2013 Previews & Predictions: Week 4 (Part 2)

Stefon Diggs and the Maryland Terrapins Aim to Get to 4-0 This Weekend

Wide Receiver Stefon Diggs and the Maryland Terrapins Aim to Get to 4-0 This Weekend

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

Pittsburgh Panthers (1-1) (0-1) at Duke Blue Devils (2-1) (0-1): Duke’s loss to Georgia Tech last week certainly changed their outlook a bit for this year, especially with Brandon Connette playing quarterback for the foreseeable future. This will be an odd look for a David Cutcliffe-coached team now: relying on the defense to win them games and give the offense a chance. Pittsburgh has similar issues on offense, as questions still linger about Tom Savage‘s abilities. But the defense should be able to outdo Duke’s own improved group in a slugfest. Aaron Donald is just too tough to stop and should be able to generate a ton of pressure on Connette and force him into some ill-advised throws or unnecessary contact. Prediction: Pitt 30, Duke 21

Tulane Green Wave (2-1) at Syracuse Orange (1-2) (0-0): The Orange have a whole new starting quarterback in Terrel Hunt, and with that, a whole new hope for this season — or so it seems. If the redshirt sophomore can keep up his strong play from last week, SU’s looking at a whole new offensive attack that appears to run with a quickened pace and increased fluidity. The key for Syracuse will be to score early and to keep the heat on Tulane’s defense. Wear them down and force Green Wave QB Nick Montana to try and do too much. SU’s defense has shown a solid ability to rush the passer and force turnovers, and should be able to show that off here. Prediction: Syracuse 38, Tulane 20

West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1) at Maryland Terrapins (3-0) (0-0): Maryland hung with the ‘Neers last season, and that was a much better WVU team than this one (and a much worse Terps team too). The Terrapins have come out the gates on fire in 2013, piling up points and yardage behind C.J. Brown and Stefon Diggs. West Virginia, on the other hand, is running a stalled out offense that can’t complete drives, while leaning heavily on the defense. This will be a closer game, and will likely be decided by who wins the turnover battle. Maryland lost a big piece of that puzzle when CB Dexter McDougle went down for the year last week, but if the secondary continues to play smart and Brown doesn’t force passes, the Terps should take it. Prediction: Maryland 30, WVU 24

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ACC Football 2013 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 4

This Week's ACC Slate Starts on Thursday, With Clemson Traveling to Raleigh to Face NC State

This Week’s ACC Slate Starts on Thursday, With Clemson Traveling to Raleigh to Face NC State

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 4 TV Schedule & Spreads

Thursday, September 19

Clemson Tigers at NC State Wolfpack (+14), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday, September 21

North Carolina Tar Heels at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-6.5), noon ET, ESPN

Marshall Thundering Herd at Virginia Tech Hokies (-9), noon ET, ESPNU

Florida International Panthers at Louisville Cardinals (-42.5), noon ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Army Black Knights (+3), noon ET, CBS Sports Network

Pittsburgh Panthers at Duke Blue Devils (+4), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

Tulane Green Wave at Syracuse Orange (-14.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3/College Gameplan

West Virginia Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins (-6), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

VMI Keydets at Virginia Cavaliers (-42), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at Florida State Seminoles (-40.5), 6 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

Savannah State Tigers at Miami Hurricanes (-59), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN 3

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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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Ranking the Best ACC Football Matchups of 2013: #100-91

Pitt's One of Several ACC Schools That Scheduled A Few Less-Than-Stellar Opponents

Pitt’s One of Several ACC Schools That Scheduled A Few Less-Than-Stellar Opponents

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 100 through 91; wrapping up FCS opponents, along with a smattering of terrible FBS teams. As part of the conference’s continuing PR battle, the volume of cupcake opponents actually goes a long way. In the past, teams have fallen victim to difficult slates devoid of “easy” matchups — something every school looked to avoid this year.

#100: Old Dominion Monarchs at Pittsburgh Panthers (Saturday, October 19)

#99: Idaho Vandals at Florida State Seminoles (Saturday, November 23)

#98: Boston College Eagles at New Mexico State Aggies (Saturday, November 9)

#97: Richmond Spiders at NC State Wolfpack (Saturday, September 7)

#96: Florida Atlantic Owls at Miami Hurricanes (Friday, August 30)

#95: New Mexico Lobos at Pittsburgh Panthers (Saturday, September 14)

#94: Duke Blue Devils at Memphis Tigers (Saturday, September 7)

#93: Old Dominion Monarchs at Maryland Terrapins (Saturday, September 7)

#92: Villanova Wildcats at Boston College Eagles (Saturday, August 31)

#91: Tulane Green Wave at Syracuse Orange (Saturday, September 21)

Some additional notes on today’s list:

  • Old Dominion, which is in the process of upgrading to the FBS, appears on this list twice (and once yesterday as well); a result of playing as a FCS independent
  • Of the 10 opponents (nine different teams), four are from the FCS and six are from the FBS
  • The 10 games appear on eight different dates, including three on Saturday, September 7
  • Breakdown of opponent conferences: Conference USA (3), CAA (2), FBS Independent (2), FCS Independent (2), Mountain West (1)
  • Breakdown of opponent home states: Virginia (3), New Mexico (2), Florida (1), Idaho (1), Louisiana (1), Pennsylvania (1), Tennessee (1)
  • Public vs. private universities: Seven public, three private

Previously: #112-101

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Conference Realignment: Navy Joins UConn and Louisville at the Top of ACC’s Expansion List

The ACC Could Look to Add Navy, as a Bargaining Chip for Notre Dame’s Full Football Membership

With ACC expansion movement seemingly at a standstill between the “football schools” and the “basketball/academic schools,” it doesn’t look like the league is set to add UConn or Louisville any time soon. So of course, a new name — this time from the Big East‘s future ranks — has entered the fray: Navy (source: @ACCSports).

Currently slated to start playing football in the Big East for 2015, the U.S. Naval Academy delivers at least a portion of the Baltimore/Maryland market the ACC loses with Maryland‘s defection to the Big Ten in 2014. But most importantly, it adds yet another reason for Notre Dame to come on-board for all sports. The Irish and Midshipmen already play one another every year in football, and it’s a major priority for both schools to keep it going. If Navy joined the ACC, that would then give Notre Dame six games against league competition every year (if they weren’t simply worked into the rotation). The ACC only plays eight conference games. At that point, what’s really stopping the Fighting Irish from adding two more contests and just joining full-time? It’s understood that they value their independence, but do six in-conference games really fit that designation? While the league is happy with their Notre Dame partnership as-is (and the school is too, especially given their success this year), it can’t hurt to nudge them a little closer to a full membership, can it?

Additionally, what would happen to Navy? If ND finally comes on as a full member of the ACC, then no big deal to have Navy just play football, while the league adds another all-sports member (UConn or Louisville to fill the 16th spot). But if Notre Dame remains independent, things start to get unwieldy (and rather Big East-like). You’d have Notre Dame playing Olympic sports and a partial football schedule, while Navy would only play football, without Olympic sports (beyond lacrosse, they wouldn’t stand much of a chance in the ACC). Those other sports could likely remain in the Patriot League, but what if they push for full membership?

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2011 ACC Season Recap: Syracuse Orange

After a Disappointing 2011 Season, Syracuse Has A Lot of Work Ahead in 2012

Team: Syracuse Orange

W-L: 5-7 (1-1)

Postseason: N/A

Top Offensive Performer: Ryan Nassib, QB

Top Defensive Performer: Phillip Thomas, FS

Agonizing, tantalizing, exciting and disappointing — all of these adjectives likely would’ve been apt to describe Syracuse’s 2011 football season. After “returning to prominence” in 2010, it appeared that head coach Doug Marrone had permanently righted the ship. Alas, we (and I say “we” as a ‘Cuse fan myself) were duped. For all of the toughness, discipline and fundamentals Marrone was supposedly instilling, it appeared they were regularly left at the door of the Carrier Dome. From poor tackling, to an unseemly number of personal fouls come season’s end and outright poor decision-making in all three facets of the game, the 2011 made it appear as if not much had changed from the Greg Robinson era. If 2012 goes just as poorly, maybe nothing has.

As an offense, Syracuse topped 30 points in a game five separate times (unthinkable as recently as 2010) — including their 49-23 demolition of West Virginia in October. Yes, the same Mountaineers team that hung 70 points on Clemson. I was, and am, as shocked as you are. Following that glorious Friday night stunner (which I enjoyed from the appropriate confines of Las Vegas), SU would never score more than 21 points in their remaining five games. The pinpoint accuracy of quarterback Ryan Nassib vanished. The running game (spotty to begin with) might as well have been racking up negative yardage. And, unthinkably, the Orange failed to win six games after beginning their season 5-2. You can blame the Rutgers choke, but then there’s the Toledo gift to counter it. As lucky as they were in their first seven contests (four wins by a single score), they were devastatingly unlucky in the final five. It was a settling of accounts, if you will. Continue reading