Saturday, November 22, 2008

ACC Division Races on My Mind

The ACC is a little clearer now with Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech striving for the Coastal while FSU and Boston College still have a shot at the Atlantic. If Virginia Tech beats Virginia, then the Hokies return to the ACC Championship Game. If they lose then Georgia Tech will go in Paul Johnson's first year. Maryland and Boston College will meet in Chesnut Hill this weekend. If BC wins, they go to Tampa. If Maryland wins, then FSU will go by virtue of their win this past Saturday in College Park.

I picked FSU to win at Maryland. The Terps have not done very well against unranked teams and FSU was unranked coming into the game. Last week, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen said he didn't know what to think of his team. That didn't give me a whole lot of confidence in the Terrapins. At kickoff, I did get a little worried about the temperature knowing FSU had not practiced in that weather, but they handled it nicely. The Seminoles lost to Georgia Tech, but beat Virginia Tech during the regular season. They have a home date with the rival Florida Gators next week.

Looking back at the keys to the game, FSU won the rushing battle holding Maryland to under 100 yards while gaining over 170 themselves. I thought turnovers would be big and they were big for FSU who forced 4 from Maryland while committing 0. I thought karma did play a little into this game as Maryland had really struggled with unranked teams and as a favorite this season...and they did.

Following up my big win with FSU, I was really wrong about Miami. I thought they would come out and actually put a up a fight with Georgia Tech. The Canes may make the excuse of weather (they thought 57 degrees in Durham a few weeks ago was cold), but they got flat out worked by Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets had their best offensive game of the year coming off a bye. GT received two more gifts on Saturday as both UNC and Virginia were upset leaving just a VT loss needed to advance to the ACC Championship Game. The Yellow Jackets come into their game next week with rival Georgia with as much confidence as they have had in the last 8 years (GT has lost 7 straight).

Looking back at the keys to the game, GT committed only 1 turnover while getting 2 from Miami. Paul Johnson has won his last 14 games when his teams win the turnover battle. Spoiler alert here for next week as I am almost positive one key next week in the Georgia-Georgia Tech game will be turnovers. GT ended up playing without two starters and Nesbitt was hobbiling, but none of those mattered. The third key I had was about offensive line play. I think 472 yards rushing by Tech answered that.

Elsewhere around the ACC...NC State dominated rival North Carolina in Chapel Hill making Tom O'Brien 2-0 vs UNC. For all of the Pack's troubles, O'Brien has done pretty well against their rivals going 3-0 vs UNC, Wake, and Duke in 2008. Butch Davis is a great recruiter, but an average game day coach. He could get by with superior talent at Miami, but he will not have quite that level in Chapel Hill for a while and maybe never.

Clemson beat Virginia in an ugly game. Virginia is falling back to where they were in the beginning of the season having lost three straight now. Dabo Swinney is making his case to be Clemson coach, but I think the Tigers go elsewhere.

Boston College is a hard team to figure out. They don't win pretty, they don't necessarily win convincingly, but they just win. QB Chris Crane went out with an injury, but the Eagles still won on the road vs Wake Forest. BC is a win away from Tampa.

Virginia Tech won an ugly game with a lot of turnovers. The Hokies scraped by the Blue Devils and with a win next week will return to the ACC Championship Game for a third time in four years.

Last Week: 1-3 ATS, 2-2 SU
Season: 29-21-2 ATS, 34-18 SU

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