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ACC Faces Another Tough Weekend
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #450 September 17, 2010 Last week didn't turn out well for the ACC. Despite many people (me including) believing that the conference would be better this year, September 11 proved otherwise. This league still has a ways to go.
Kansas upset Georgia Tech 28-25. Ohio State beat Miami 36-24 thanks to four Jacory Harris interceptions. Oklahoma blew out Florida State 47-17. To top it off, James Madison upset Virginia Tech 21-16 in Blacksburg.
Last weekend's games damaged the ACC's reputation even further, though NC State got this weekend off to a good start with a 30-19 victory over Cincinnati on Thursday night. There will be some other big non-conference games on Saturday, with Maryland playing at West Virginia, Virginia Tech hosting East Carolina, Duke hosting Alabama, Clemson traveling to Auburn, Wake Forest playing at Stanford and Florida State hosting BYU.
Duke doesn't stand much of a chance against Alabama, but the ACC will have an opportunity to compete in the rest of those non-conference games.
Maryland is at WVU, but the Mountaineers have been less than impressive so far this season. They should have lost to Marshall last weekend on the road, but a critical fumble inside the five yard line gave WVU hope and they took advantage. Maryland is 2-0, and they'll head to Morgantown with improved quarterback play, healthy running backs and some confidence.
Virginia Tech should beat East Carolina in Lane Stadium, but who really knows what will happen in that game? The Pirates have a very bad defense, but offensively they are averaging 50 points per game. Will the Hokies come out ready to hit somebody, or will they be down on themselves after losing the first two games?
Florida State beat BYU 54-28 last season. The Noles' offense should be able to put up plenty of points again, but the FSU defense didn't look strong in last week's trip to Oklahoma.
Clemson at Auburn could be the most entertaining game of the day, with one of the SEC's high-profile teams going up against arguably the most SEC-like of all the ACC schools. Both teams are 2-0, and this game could come down to whose quarterback plays the best: Auburn's Cameron Newton or Clemson's Kyle Parker. With a big road win, the Tigers could find themselves ranked in the Top 25 next week.
The late night game will be Wake Forest traveling to Stanford. The Demon Deacons won this matchup last year, but this year Stanford is the heavy favorite. The Cardinal is ranked #19 in the country, but the Wake offense has rolled through Presbyterian and Duke to average over 50 points and 500 yards per game.
Though this weekend's opponents aren't high-profile teams like Ohio State, Oklahoma or even Boise State, ACC schools do match up against four Top 25 teams. Splitting those games would be a step in the right direction, and certainly a lot better than last weekend's results.
Unfortunately, of all those games against ranked opponents, only Duke is at home. Duke beating Alabama would be about as big of an upset as James Madison beating Virginia Tech. The weekend will come down to Maryland, Clemson and Wake Forest going on the road and beating Top 25 opponents, which is asking quite a bit.
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