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ACC Narrowly Misses Big Wins
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #451 September 24, 2010

The ACC has taken a beating in non-conference matchups with teams from BCS leagues this season. The conference is 2-9 against such teams, and 2-10 if you count Virginia Tech's loss to Boise State, who will likely play in a BCS Game.

Here's a quick rundown of each game.

ACC vs. the BCS (And Boise)
Game Result
LSU vs. UNC L, 30-24
Boise State vs. VT L, 33-30
Kansas vs. GT L, 28-25
Oklahoma vs. FSU L, 47-14
Ohio State vs. Miami L, 36-24
USC vs. UVA L, 17-14
Cincinnati vs. NC State W, 30-19
WVU vs. Maryland L, 31-17
Alabama vs. Duke L, 62-13
Auburn vs. Clemson L, 27-24
Stanford vs. Wake L, 68-24
Pitt vs. Miami W, 31-3

A few of those games were blowouts: Oklahoma vs. FSU, Wake Forest vs. Stanford and Alabama vs. Duke. However, with the exception of Oklahoma vs. FSU, they were expected to be routs. Many of the other games have been very close, with ACC teams seemingly finding a different way to lose each week.

It goes all the way back to the first week of the season. Despite being down to basically their second string defense and third string running back against LSU, North Carolina outgained the Tigers 436 to 313. Quarterback T.J. Yates threw for over 400 yards. However, the game ended at the LSU six yard line when Yates' fourth down pass fell incomplete in the end zone. With a chance to win, the Tar Heels didn't get it done.

Two days later, Virginia Tech took on Boise State in Washington, DC in one of the biggest games of the season. The Hokies spotted the Broncos 17 points in the first quarter, rallied to take the lead, and then spent the final few minutes of the game handing it back to them. Tech had every chance to win the game, but they failed.

While the conference was losing high profile games, another ACC team was busy getting upset by one of the worst BCS conference teams in the country. Georgia Tech traveled west to face a Kansas team who lost 6-3 to 1-AA North Dakota State in week one. The Jayhawks upset the Yellow Jackets 28-25, with GT holding the ball in Kansas territory late in the game and failing to score.

Another high profile matchup for the ACC was Miami visiting Ohio State. This was a showcase game for the Canes and Jacory Harris. The Canes played well, but Jacory Harris didn't. Despite the Miami defense holding Terrelle Pryor to less than 50% through the air, Harris threw four interceptions to hand Ohio State the game. Thanks to the turnovers, Ohio State had a 19 yard touchdown drive and a 14 yard touchdown drive, as well as several other short drives that led to field goals. Ohio State won the game 36-24, but it was a very even game, except for the interceptions by Harris.

Perhaps the most disappointing loss for the ACC was Clemson's loss at Auburn. The Tigers went on the road last Saturday night and jumped out to a 17-0 lead just before halftime. They promptly blew the lead in the second half, and found themselves trailing 24-17. Clemson tied the game to force overtime, where they missed a game-winning touchdown pass and then the game-tying field goal. They had every opportunity to come away with a big road win, but they found a way to lose.

The ACC has had plenty of opportunities this season, but except for a couple of Thursday night home games against overmatched Big East teams, they have failed every single time. They've had plenty of opportunities to win, but so far they haven't been a clutch conference.

Will that ever change? The ACC is still a much improved conference this year. They just have failed miserably in big situations. College football is cyclical, so hopefully things will begin to turn around next season.



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