What we learned in the ACC: Week 1
September, 6, 2009
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
Here’s a quick look at five things we learned about the ACC in Week 1, and it wasn’t pretty:
1.The ACC isn’t ready to move up the ranks in the BCS ladder of success. Not only did the ACC lose to every major BCS conference opponent it played, it also lost to the little guys. You can’t be taken seriously when the first weekend includes losses to Richmond and William & Mary. When your best wins come against Northeastern, The Citadel, Middle Tennessee and Jacksonville State, there’s no reason to even start an argument about conference supremacy, because right now, the ACC is making the Big East look like a worldbeater.
2. Virginia Tech’s offense picked up right where it left off. And that’s pretty much pulled over and stalled in a Ford Pinto. Both Alabama and the Hokies showed why their defenses have ranked among the nation’s elite, but in the deciding fourth quarter of a 34-24 Alabama win, the difference was Alabama found its offense, and Virginia Tech looked like it did last year. Tyrod Taylor finished 9-of-20 for just 91 yards and passed for just four first downs. According to ESPN Stats and Analysis, Taylor completed 4 of 11 passes for eight yards and no first downs when he was in second and third-down situations. Alabama finished with 498 total yards compared to the Hokies’ 155.
3. Boston College thrives on proving doubters wrong. Of all the teams to come out and completely rout their opponent this week, BC might have been the least expected. They entered the season with zero collegiate snaps at quarterback, a new interior defensive line and new linebackers. And it didn’t phase them one bit in their 54-0 drubbing of Northeastern. It’s not like Dave Shinskie or Justin Tuggle declared himself the undisputed quarterback of the team, but the Eagles found plenty of offense despite not knowing who their signal caller will be.
4. Kyle Parker was the right choice as Clemson’s quarterback. Kudos to coach Dabo Swinney for making the decisive call and tough decision to start Parker over the more experienced Willy Korn. Parker finished 9 of 20 passing with 159 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Korn fumbled on his only series, leading to Chris McCoy's 68-yard return for Middle Tennessee's only score. The Tigers will still need to find some more help from the wide receiving corps (there were a few too many drops against Middle Tennessee).
5. Virginia coach Al Groh’s seat went from lukewarm to hot in one half. There were plenty of reasons to doubt Virginia’s bowl eligibility this fall -- the Cavaliers lost their top five pass catchers from a year ago, their leading rusher, three standout linebackers, and brought in a new offensive coordinator with a new offense. There were no excuses, though, to lose to William & Mary, 26-14. There are never any excuses for seven turnovers. It was the Tribe’s first win over an FBS opponent since 1998 and the first against an ACC opponent since it beat -- go figure, Virginia -- in 1986. This loss will linger over the conference like Clemson's did last year, but this one is even more embarrassing.