ACC: What we learned in Week 4

September, 26, 2010
9/26/10
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Not a bad week in the ACC, not at all. Here’s a look at what we learned in Week 4:

The ACC is better than the Big East. If there was any doubt after the league’s 1-1 start with a win over Cincinnati and loss to West Virginia, the ACC erased it this week with wins at Pitt and at Rutgers. Both North Carolina and Miami made enough mistakes that could have cost them the game, but Rutgers and Pitt weren’t able to do anything about it.

[+] EnlargeIrving
Brian Utesch/US PresswireNC State is 13-5 when linebacker Nate Irving is in the starting lineup.
NC State is one of the best teams in the ACC. The Wolfpack proved it by knocking off defending ACC champ Georgia Tech on its home field. NC State is the only undefeated team remaining in the ACC and should be ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. There are only two other teams pushing the Pack for the top spot in the conference, and that’s Miami and Clemson. Florida State has also turned the corner since its loss at Oklahoma, but the other teams have played better on the road against better competition.

North Carolina’s not done yet. A loss at Rutgers would have put a serious dent in the Tar Heels’ bowl hopes, and could have snowballed into a disastrous season, but this team has never quit. Instead, it has been on the verge of breaking through in losses to LSU and Georgia Tech. This time, the team overcame injuries to Johnny White and linebacker Quan Sturdivant. There might be a lack of playmakers on defense, but there’s no shortage of leadership, and quarterback T.J. Yates and linebacker Bruce Carter made sure losing wasn’t an option this past weekend.

BC’s offense is still in need of a quarterback. In two games against Virginia Tech, Dave Shinskie has completed 12 of 37 passes for 134 yards, no touchdowns, four INTs, and one lost fumble. He was benched on Saturday in favor of Mike Marscovetra. The Eagles had three turnovers and were held to just 39 yards of total offense in the second half and couldn’t cross midfield. Yes, a lot of credit goes to Virginia Tech’s defense, but the Eagles won’t be a contender in the Atlantic Division unless there’s improvement at quarterback.

Georgia Tech doesn’t look like defending ACC champs. Not with that defense. It’s not Al Groh’s fault. It doesn’t matter if the Jackets are running a 3-4, a 4-3 or how you line up in your backyard. Georgia Tech is missing Derrick Morgan and is need of a big-time playmaker. The Jackets got beat one-on-one and allowed 45 points and 527 yards. It’s the first time since 2007 that Georgia Tech has lost two September games. Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt is one of the most talented players in the ACC, but he can’t do it by himself.

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