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Atlantic Division Ripe For The Picking

October 6, 2009
N.C. State may still be a year away in terms of depth, but if State is going to make a push for the Atlantic Division title and a berth in the ACC title game, they may never get a better look at it than now.

The Washington Post examined the current state of the division after five weeks of play in this article posted this morning:

Sitting alone atop the ACC’s Atlantic Division standings this week is a Maryland team that limped into October without a division I-A victory. And alone at the bottom of the standings is the preseason favorite, a Florida State team that finds itself 0-2 in the conference for the first time ever.

The peculiar order makes sense only in the topsy-turvy world of the wackiest division in major college football. Neither a favorite nor a dark horse can be found among the Atlantic Division’s six teams that have rendered nonconference performance and preseason rankings irrelevant.

“All the media picked Clemson and Florida State as the two teams to beat, and both have two losses” in the ACC, Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen said. “If we can get a road win against Wake Forest [Saturday], it would be very big and hopefully build some momentum for us.”

State certainly didn’t do itself any favors by losing to Wake Forest this weekend. With the way things are going, it could end up being a crucial loss, as well. Should State and Wake finished tied atop the standing, of course, Wake would once again appear in the ACC title game by virtue of the tiebreaker.

There’s a lot of football yet left to be played. There’s still plenty of talent left on Clemson and Florida State’s rosters and — despite their 0-2 starts — they’ll be tough outs as the season goes on. But the Tigers and FSU are in such a hole at this point they’ll need to virtually win out to get back into the mix. That leaves the other teams with zero or only one loss — State included — with the upper hand.

Russell Wilson may entertain baseball only following this season, and while Mike Glennon has shown he can gun it, he’s still an unknown commodity, so State’s window of opportunity at the moment is as open as it gets.

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