By E. Marcel Pourtout, Editor
Music to listen to: The Stone (live) by Dave Matthews Band
General thoughts on ACC football
-Something is off about Florida State. The Seminoles are still undefeated and have control of their own destiny to win a conference title and gain an appearance in the playoffs. However, we’ve seen weaknesses in Florida State this season.
Statistically Florida State is giving up 20 points per contest but that statistic is misleading. The Seminoles allowed 12 points to Citadel and three points to slowly Wake Forest. The defensive unit gave up 41 points to North Carolina State and 31 to Oklahoma State. Those aren’t disastrous numbers but below the standards set last season.
Offensively, there’s been a lack of continuity. Jameis Winston’s inconsistency when he’s on or off the field have garnered the most attention but the struggles to run the ball have been the base of Florida State’s concerns. The offense has averaged only 138 yards per contest, which is 95th in the nation. Winston is a special talent but doesn’t have the ability to carry the offense completely with his arm.
The Seminoles will be the favorite for every game on its schedule but may potentially lose one game due to the issues listed above.
-Virginia at Duke being the ACC game of the week both positive and negative. We’ve been supporters of David Cutcliffe since he was at Ole Miss.
BTW, many want to associate the revival of the Ole Miss program with current head coach Hugh Freeze and the current roster which is understandable. However, let’s not forget that Cutcliffe had five consecutive winning seasons in Oxford, including a Cotton Bowl win. He had a three-win season in 2004 and was fired in one of the most idiotic decisions an athletic department has ever made.
The point is that Cutcliffe is one of the top-20 coaches in college football and has proven it once again by leading Duke to five wins and contention for another Coastal Division title.
The Blue Devils will host a revitalized Virginia team that currently sits in first place. Mike London has gone from potential coaching casualty to probable coach of the year in the conference. This is a prime example of an athletic department making a good hire and sticking with him through a rough patch like the Cavs have experienced the past year.
The only negative is from a national branding perspective. Higher profile programs such as Virginia Tech and Miami lie in obscurity this year which doesn’t help the perception that the ACC overall is weak. Its positive that a program like Duke or Virginia can move up and contend for a conference title but when its at the expense of underachieving power programs, there’s a negativity with that as well.
-The Bobby Petrino/Todd Grantham partnership has worked out so far in Louisville. From the outside, Petrino and Grantham joining forces looked like a clash of personalities. In fact, stories emerged from the preseason that the two weren’t on speaking terms.
Grantham’s defense has become one of the best in the entire nation, sitting first in total defense, rushing defense and third in scoring defense. Petrino’s offense hasn’t been overwhelming but averaging a respectable 31 points a game. That combination has led to the Cardinals having a 5-2 record and the best threat to beat Florida State this season.
-Deshaun Watson will be a star for Clemson. Hated to see the freshman quarterback break his hand against NC State last week. He’s going to be a special talent.
-What is the state of the Miami program? We know all about “The U” and the legendary coaches, players and teams that have emerged from that program the last 30 years. When I started following college football in the early 1990’s, Miami was revered. The Hurricanes in 2014 are an average ACC team. Not an average national team sitting outside of a top-25 ranking, an average conference team.
Are the problems in coaching? I think Al Golden is a solid coach but he’s been underwhelming in Miami. Is the problem talent? I don’t see much NFL-caliber talent on the roster right now outside of Duke Johnson at running back. Once again, I’m not talking about talent making the Pro Bowl and eventually becoming a Hall of Famer. I’m discussing making an NFL roster-caliber talent.
The recruiting base is there for the Hurricanes to make some noise nationally but it isn’t happening. Until then, the state of the program is in flux
Look at this week’s games:
Thursday, October 16 Series Record Last Meeting
Virginia Tech (4-2) at Pitt (3-3) Virginia Tech (8-5-0) Virginia Tech, 19-9, 2013
Saturday, October 18 Series Record Last Meeting
Syracuse (2-4) at Wake Forest (2-4) Syracuse (2-1-0) Syracuse, 13-0, 2013
Virginia (4-2) at Duke (5-1) Virginia (33-32-0) Duke, 35-22, 2013
Clemson (4-2) at Boston College (4-2) Clemson (12-9-2) Clemson, 24-14, 2013
NC State (4-3) at Louisville (5-2) Louisville (3-1-0) NC State, 31-24, 2011
Georgia Tech (5-1) at North Carolina (2-4) Georgia Tech (28-18-3) Georgia Tech, 28-20, 2013
Notre Dame (6-0) at Florida State (6-0) Florida State (5-2-0) Florida State, 18-14, 2011