ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 3 (Part One)

Virginia’s Michael Rocco Must Deliver a More Consistent Performance in Order to Defeat Georgia Tech on Saturday

As excited as we are about yesterday’s big Notre Dame-related news, it is nice to get back to discussing on-the-field happenings again. Non-conference play is still in full swing, so we’ll be splitting these previews up into two articles for yet another week. And if you’re curious about when and where these games are televised this Saturday, please consult our handy viewing schedule, too.

Game of the Week

Virginia Cavaliers (2-0) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1) (0-1): Virginia comes into this matchup still undefeated after a very close (lucky) call with Penn State last week. Given the proficiency of Tech’s rushing attack, chances are they won’t experience the same good fortune down in Atlanta. The Hoos rank pretty well in run defense this season, but those stats are likely to lie based on their competition. Their big keys will be Michael Rocco passing the ball more more efficiently, and not allowing the Yellow Jackets to control the line of scrimmage. Virginia can’t score a ton of points, so they must capitalize on their chances in the red zone in order to win. Georgia Tech, conversely, needs to play their game and guide the tempo early. If they make UVa play catch-up, there’s little opportunity for a comeback. Prediction: Georgia Tech 30, Virginia 22

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

Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (2-0) at Miami Hurricanes (1-1) (1-0): The ‘Canes defense is obviously struggling, so what better way to boost their confidence than to knock around an FCS squad like Bethune-Cookman? On the offensive end, Duke Johnson also had a rough outing last week, and could also use some time here to get back the mojo we saw in week one. Stephen Morris, while shockingly accurate, could also take some time to deliver crisper, harder-thrown balls (and maybe some touchdowns to pad the resume — he only has one scoring pass in two games). Don’t expect the starters to be pulled all that early here with Miami trying to erase last week’s result from folks’ memories. Prediction: Miami 59, BCU 13

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Maryland 36, Temple 27: Terps Hold On For the Victory After Owls’ Big Rally

In His Second Start for Maryland, Perry Hills Looked Much More In Control as He Guided the Terps to a Win

Last year, Temple came to College Park and embarrassed Maryland at home. This year, the Terrapins went to Philadelphia, and while it wasn’t a blowout, the Terps did walk away with a win.

Looking at just the first half, it seemed as if Maryland was going to return the favor of delivering an embarrassing loss to the home team. After a sloppy first quarter which saw three fumbles between the two teams and one field goal per team, Maryland scored 23 points in the second (three TDs and a safety) and finished the half with a big 26-3 advantage.

Temple made some adjustments early in the second half, and they paid off; the Owls scored two touchdowns in the third quarter. Maryland managed to get a field goal in the third, but by the middle of the fourth, their lead was down to just two points (29-27). Thankfully, the Terps got back on track, and had an 11-play, four-plus minute drive that forced Temple to burn all of its timeouts and ended in a Maryland touchdown. The score put Maryland up by nine, which turned out to be the final margin after the defense stopped Temple from gaining a first down.

For Maryland, the results were mixed, but there was more good than bad …

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ACC Football 2012 Power Rankings: Week Two

If Clemson’s Andre Ellington Continues Running the Way He Did on Saturday, the Tigers Could Win the ACC Once Again

After months of arbitrary offseason shuffling, we finally have some actual games to base these rankings off of. All 14 ACC squads were in action last week, and while many performed admirably, several manged to disappoint as well. Check out the list below, and weigh in down in the comments if you disagree.

1. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 1): The Seminoles did a commendable job pummeling Murray State on Saturday. And that defense — just as impressive as they’ve ever been. Unfortunately, however, the big win came with a steep price. Star defensive end Brandon Jenkins injured his foot, and is now out for the remainder of the season. We won’t know how much the loss affects FSU this week, but once the real slate starts, it’ll be all too apparent.

2. Clemson Tigers (LW: 2): Everything about Saturday’s win over Auburn was exceptional. Andre Ellington‘s ground game. Tajh Boyd‘s ability to make plays work through the air and on the ground. The offensive line’s maturity right in front of our eyes. And of course, the defense quickly showing they’d learned a thing or two from new coordinator Brent Venables.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels (LW: 6): Everyone worried about how Giovani Bernard would fit into Larry Fedora’s offense. After the 62-0 drubbing they handed Elon, I think he’ll fit in just fine. Three TDs on just 12 touches will do that sort of thing. Obviously there’s more difficult opponents out there, but the big win appears to be an appetizer for what’s in store for this offense.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 3): Another slow start for the Hokies, though this year, they manage to win the opener. If Virginia Tech gave the game ball to anyone on Monday night, it should’ve been handed right over to their opponent’s QB. Aside from their late drive for the game-tying field goal, the offense appeared listless and the O-line issues are real.

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ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 1 (Part One)

Can Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech Avoid an Early Upset Against Georgia Tech?

It’s here! After nearly eight excruciating months of realignment nonsense, smatterings of recruiting updates, spring practice injuries and arrests, the 2012 college football season is finally here! As per usual around these parts, I’ll be offering up my previews and predictions for each week’s ACC games in a format very much resembling the post you see below. Agree with my choices? Tell me all about it. Or are you wondering with disgust how I could possibly pick against your favorite squad and their mediocre collection of former three-star recruits? Feel free to voice your dissenting opinion in the comments section below as well.

At least for this week: Good luck this season, everyone! And hope you all have a fantastic Labor Day/College Football Kickoff weekend!

Game of the Week

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Virginia Tech Hokies: This Labor Day matchup has a ton of implications for the first week of the season, giving the winner a nice inside track to take home the Coastal division title. With a full offseason to prepare, though, will the VPI defense (one of the nation’s best) be too prepared for the Wreck’s triple-option to succeed? Or will the Georgia Tech defensive line catch an inexperienced Hokies O-line sleeping in their first game? I’m tempted to believe that Logan Thomas is the real deal, regardless of who’s blocking for him. Plus, if Tevin Washington still hasn’t figured out how to throw the ball, it could be far too predictable a gameplan for the league’s second-best rushing D to sniff out. Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Georgia Tech 20

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

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Maryland QB C.J. Brown Tears ACL, Will Miss 2012 Season


Maryland Starting Quarterback C.J. Brown’s Injury Spells Doom for the Terrapins This Season

Maryland has seen its worst case scenario for 2012 come true. Its only QB with college experience, starting quarterback C.J. Brown, has been lost for the season due to injury.

Brown tore his ACL in a non-contact drill on Tuesday afternoon, and will miss the entire 2012 season. The other two quarterbacks that were behind him on the depth chart are both true freshman. Former starting QB Danny O’Brien was lost in the spring when he transferred to Wisconsin. Brown and O’Brien had split QB duties last year, but because of O’Brien’s departure, Brown was the unquestioned starter heading into camp. Now that he is sidelined, one of the true freshmen will be expected to start.

This is a serious blow for the Terps. While Brown may not have been as good a passer as O’Brien, he was extremely good with his feet. Even splitting time with O’Brien last year, Brown was able to set a Maryland rushing record for quarterbacks with 574 yards and had started five games. His teammates had also voted him to be one of the captains for the 2012 season, and he appeared to be quite ready to be one of the new leaders of the team. He had put on muscle in the off-season, worked on his accuracy, and was one of the fastest players on the entire team during drills.

With Brown out for the season, the expectations for the Terps will drop. Despite the 2-10 season from a year ago, there were signs that things were looking up. A new turf field had been installed, a good recruiting class was coming in (and a good one for 2013 is in progress), and the chaos of last season had been put behind them. Now that they will not have an experienced quarterback leading the team, it will be a much tougher road ahead. Continue reading

ACC 2012 Scheduling Outlook: Maryland Terrapins

With a Tough Schedule In Front of Them, Maryland and Head Coach Randy Edsall Are Staring Down a Real Challenge in 2012

With all of the insanity going on over in the Big East and elsewhere, we wanted to give a breakdown of each of the ACC‘s schedules — how the teams stack up, and some thoughts on overall difficulty. If these change at all, we’ll also be sure to update them on a rolling basis. All information is up-to-date as of publishing, based on the latest from

Today’s breakdown: Maryland Terrapins

For 2012, Maryland’s out-of-conference schedule does them no favors. And with players apparently leaving the program in droves, things may get worse before they get better. The Terrapins split their non-conference foes, two at home and two away, but arguably, their two toughest games are on the road. In September, they’ll revisit two painful losses from 2011, traveling to Temple and West Virginia. While Temple’s likely headed to the Big East next season, West Virginia may start their first season in the Big 12 as a top-10 team. Their other non-ACC tilts — Connecticut and William & Mary — are both manageable home games for the Terrapins that could go a long way toward them achieving respectability this year.

Similar to their non-conference schedule, Maryland’s ACC slate is its also a monster of its own. Obviously, when you’re the worst team in the league, every matchup presents a challenge, but both their home and away foes would challenge most in the conference. At home, all four opponents played in the 2011 postseason, most notably league-favorite Florida State and a rising NC State team. On the road, the Terps must travel to Clemson (the defending ACC champs), Virginia and North Carolina — all of whom also made bowl games last year as well. As we’ve stated before, coach Randy Edsall’s in for a rough second year on the job, and between the events of this week and an upcoming schedule that’s anything but easy, he’ll be lucky to make it out of 2012 with his position as head coach intact.

Previously: Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech