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ACC Roundtable: Group Therapy Session

September 15, 2010

The ACC Roundtable (shown actual size)

The folks over at From The Rumble Seat are hosting this week’s edition, and it’s all about- -as Bird of FTRS put it- -“admitting that your team is flawed, accepting this fact, and moving forward.”

  1. Enough with the MVP’s and the National Title Talk…what ACC teams are going to be bowl eligible by November?  Who will be left out in the cold?
    No doubt it’s been a rough two weeks.  The conference lost all of its showcase games (VT/Boise, UNC/LSU) in the first week, and followed it up with some real stinkers (VT/JMU, FSU/OK, GT/KAN) in week two. As conference reputations go, the ACC is struggling just to justify its status as 6th of the six BCS conferences.

    The good news for State is they are part of a group of five undefeated conference teams.  State, Clemson, Wake Forest, BC and Maryland- -all Atlantic Division members- -all stand at 2-0, while FSU and the entire Coastal Division have at least one loss. Given that, I think State and all the other undefeated Atlantic Division teams stand a good chance to post the minimum of four more wins from here on out to reach the magic number of six needed for bowl eligibility. Given how poorly FSU played (more on that later), I’ll go so far as to say the Seminoles have a greater chance than Wake Forest of disintegrating and missing the bowl circuit.

    I think most of the schools in the Coastal are still good enough to overcome their early losses, including Virginia Tech. Frank Beamer’s too good of a coach to suddenly have a team only win five games. Duke and Virginia would be my two guesses to miss bowl season this year.

  2. What team performance (or lack thereof) this weekend shocked you the most?  What individual’s performance impressed/depressed you the most?
    I’ll start NC State-centric and work my way out. Audie Cole’s performance against UCF was incredible. Twelve tackles, a sack and a HUGE interception really helped to stymie what the Knights were trying to do on offense. Not too shabby for a converted quarterback.

    From the conference perspective, you have to really be disappointed by the efforts of Virginia Tech and Florida State.  As strange as it sounds, I can almost understand the VT loss more than I can the degree to which Oklahoma dominated FSU. James Madison is one of the premier FCS schools and has the capability to sneak up on a team suffering from the hangover of a huge loss. The Hokies would probably win that game 99 times out of 100, but I get an inspired, well-coached FCS team sneaking up on anyone not paying attention.

    The way Florida State looked defensively against Oklahoma was shockingly embarrassing, however. I didn’t expect FSU to overpower OK, and I thought they only stood about a 50/50 chance to win going in. But the amount of piss-poor tackling I saw in that game, particularly from Greg Reid, made it look like the Seminoles hadn’t received one day’s worth of defensive coaching during the entire spring and fall. I’m not talking scheme or guys being out of position…I’m talking poor technique- -not wrapping up, over-pursuing the ballcarrier, not shedding blocks. They got absolutely worked over, and the game was decided before halftime- -this, from a team that’s supposedly loaded with homegrown talent.

  3. The ACC is fifth out of the Big Six conferences in terms of out of conference winning percentage.  Is this a function of a difficult out-of-conference schedule or are we legitimately the 2nd worst conference in the BCS?
    Well, I suppose it’s more the latter than the former, but it’s not black-and-white. Unlike the SEC, whose members RARELY schedule up (ACC/SEC kickoff games at the Georgia Dome withstanding), the ACC has in the very least made attempts in recent years to add some solid competition in their schedules across the board, likely due in part hoping to improve our conference’s reputation.

    But you have to close the deal, and for so long the ACC has rarely been able to close the deal in our prime OOC matchups. I think the ACC is a solid league top-to-bottom, but not being able to score any marquee wins makes us look bad. Compound that with some rough losses that give haters an opening to hate, and viola, we’re a national pundit punching bag.

  4. James Madison’s victory was the 13th I-AA victory over an ACC squad since 1984 (out of 160 total games).  It was also the 5th I-AA victory over a I-A opponent in 2010.  Is it really worth scheduling I-AA opponents to start the season particularly I-AA juggernauts like App. State, James Madison, or Villanova?
    It really isn’t, in my opinion. If you’re trying to schedule a guaranteed W, SCHEDULE A GUARANTEED W. Because outside of the FCS honks (Darren Gant, where are you?), no one views a FCS team on your schedule as anything other than a guaranteed win, regardless of how many FCS titles they may have won. It’s not really fair to great FCS coaches like Jerry Moore at Appalachian who have built a premier program but now there’s no one who will play them, but thems the breaks for beating Michigan in the Big House. FCS opponents should be selected by BCS teams based almost exclusively on a team’s ability to manhandle them with their second teamers.
  5. Have your expectations for the 2010 season or your team’s place in the ACC changed after Week 2’s round of games?
    Yeah. It’s tough not to after seeing the way State came out firing on the road against a good team on the ground and on defense. If you’d told me State would be up three scores in the second half by virtue of running the ball well and a dominant defensive performance, I’d have called you crazy. After all, those were State’s two big question marks heading into the year. The script for State this year was supposed to be airing the ball out and scoring 45 on teams, not grinding the ball using big boy trench warfare football.

    Given my State fanhood, I’m ALWAYS ready for that other shoe to drop. But if the running game can perform at a similar level and improve its pass protection, continue to attack teams on defense and avoid that annual vicious injury bug, I think State has a chance to have a surprisingly good year. A record of 7-5 now seems within reach, and if State pounds Cincinnati tomorrow, eight or maybe even nine wins might be within reach.

    The wheels have fallen off before though, so five wins is still in play, also.

  6. What’s a bigger mismatch: You vs. Ralph Friedgen in a competitive eating matchup or the Iron Dukes versus Nick Saban on Saturday? Didn’t Ralph have that lapband surgery done? If so, those are mitigating circumstances…

    However, assuming Ralph’s gastric capacity is still being measured in cubic inches, I would have to take the eating contest. Yeah, yeah, Duke is the obvious pick, but ask yourself this (assuming we all feel David Cutcliffe is the best coach Duke has had since Spurrier): Is the talent gap between Duke and Alabama any greater than that of Virginia Tech and JMU? Or Michigan and App State? They’re comparable. ‘Bama’s got pro talent two-deep at nearly every position, but Cutcliffe has recruited some talent at the skill positions (QB, RB, WR) and stands a puncher’s chance in their own house. If Duke jumps on ‘Bama for a quick score off a turnover or due to blown coverage, those kids on the ‘Bama sidelines could tighten up REAL quick, imagining the shame of destroying their national title hopes in a loss to DUKE. If Cut has his boys feeling it and playing loose when ‘Bama goes into turtle mode….who knows?

    Pulling off both would require a miracle, but remember that JMU’s coach said his chances against VT in Blacksburg were “comical.” Never say never.

    Except when eating against The Fridge.

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