Monday, October 13, 2008

ACC Roundtable No. 1: Midseason Checkup

Some of the more and less reputable ACC blogs (this one definitely being in the latter) have decided to come together to do a roundtable discussion on ACC football at the midway point of the season. There will be more discussions to come, but this is the first one and it's hosted by the guys over at BC Interruption. Click here for the original post and to get links to the other responses.

Q: We are about halfway through the season with the heart of the ACC football schedule upon us. Let's take a temperature check. Who ya got in the ACC Championship game? Has this changed at all from the teams you penciled in at the beginning of the season as part of your preseason predictions?

I'll stick with the two teams I picked at the beginning of the season: Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

The Hokies were a homer pick to begin with, but at this point, the selection has a little more merit. The Hokies already have the tiebreaker over their two strongest competitors in the Coastal, GT and UNC. The Hokies would have to lose two of their final six conference games and one of the other two teams would have to win out in order to claim the division from them.

While I think the Hokies will in fact go 4-2 over their last six games, I don't think neither the Jackets nor Heels will win out. One is guaranteed another loss because they still have to play each other and odds are the winner will still drop another league game. I think the Hokies will advance to Tampa with a 6-2 conference record.

The same can be applied to Wake Forest, who has already dispatched of Florida State and Clemson. Improving BC and Jekyll and Hyde Maryland could still play spoiler and win the Atlantic, but for now I'll stay with Wake. They have the third-best defense in the conference behind GT and BC and have a clutch offense that knows how to win close games.

Q: We've only played a few ACC games yet we've already seen some upsets of possible Championship game participants - notably Maryland over Clemson, Georgia Tech over Boston College, and Virginia over Maryland. Looking at the remaining ACC schedule, pick one league game for each of your ACC Championship game participants where they could be upset.

The key word there is upset. I don't think losing on the road to either BC or FSU could be considered an upset for the Hokies. They have yet to dominate against any opponent, no matter how terrible, and both of those road trips have been problematic for Tech. The upset could come at Miami on Nov. 13. Whenever the Hokies travel to Miami, the game is close. And I think the Canes will continue to improve leading up to that game.

I think the Deacs could slip two days later in Raleigh against NC State. The Wolfpack are another team that continues to improve. And once they start getting some more players healthy, they will be even more formidable. Plus, the game will be in Carter-Finley Stadium, where the Pack has at least put up a fight so far this year. I like NC State's quarterback, Russell Wilson. By the time the Wake game rolls around, he will be capable of leading NC State to a win in that game.

Q: Last one, the first BCS standings come out on October 19. While it is unlikely that an ACC team will play its way back into the National Title game conversation and a second at-large berth seems equally unlikely, at least we have the Orange Bowl! Is this the year the league puts an end to their 1-9 BCS skid? Why or why not?

I think the ACC will get a BCS Bowl win this year because the opponent will be either a BCS-buster or a team from the Big Least. The Orange Bowl lucked out last year by getting a team from the Big 12. However, the Orange had the first selection from the at-large pool last season. This year, it picks last. That means the ACC's opponent in the Orange will be less formidable than in previous years. It will probably be the Big East champion and the Big East is terrible. The only problem would come if South Florida wins the conference, goes to the Orange and turns it into a home game.


Winfield said...

If Pitt goes Orange, ACC rolls. Yeah Miami is what we have as yalls "upset alert" since you lucked out in playing us early ;-)

Brian said...

Roundtable 1 summary