Sunday, October 2, 2011
What we learned in the ACC: Week 5
By Heather Dinich
Each weekend reveals more. Virginia Tech might not have wanted to open this week's lesson book. Here’s a look at what we learned in the ACC in Week 5:
1. Virginia Tech’s offense has more problems than the staff seems to want to publicly admit. Both coach Frank Beamer and quarterbacks coach Mike O’Cain downplayed the Hokies’ inept performance on offense following their 23-3 loss to Clemson. They spoke of missed opportunities and turnovers, but in the end seemed to think it’s nothing that can’t be fixed in time for the Miami game or anything serious enough to keep Virginia Tech from contending for the Coastal Division title. The eyeball test, though, disagrees. The Hokies are in a bind in third-and-long situations, and defenses aren’t going to respect the passing game until that changes. There were also signs of problems up front, as Logan Thomas was sacked four times and Clemson’s defensive line had the upper hand. There were signs of this against East Carolina, but Saturday's game proved only more difficult against better competition.
Tajh Boyd and Clemson made a statement with their road win on Saturday.
2. Clemson is as good on the road against ranked opponents as it is at home. The Tigers answered a big question as doubt continued to follow them to Blacksburg. After starting off 4-0 at home, Clemson proved it can also beat ranked competition on the road. Lane Stadium is arguably the toughest venue in the ACC, especially at night, and Clemson left no doubt it was the better team. Quarterback Tajh Boyd stayed poised, made good decisions, and managed the offense well.
3. Georgia Tech stands alone in the Coastal Division. With its win over NC State, Georgia Tech is 2-0 in the ACC and in sole possession of first place in the Coastal Division. The Jackets are off to their first 5-0 start since 1990, and their first 2-0 start in conference play under coach Paul Johnson. Virginia Tech’s loss to Clemson has opened the door for Georgia Tech to reassert itself as the best team in the division.
4. Wake Forest has quietly become one of the ACC’s better teams. There are only two teams in the ACC’s Atlantic Division with 2-0 records: Clemson and Wake Forest. Granted, the Deacs’ toughest competition has yet to come, and Wake Forest’s running game has yet to hit its stride, but quarterback Tanner Price has put his team in position for a dark horse run at the division title. At the very least, Wake’s chances of reaching the postseason look much better.
5. The ACC is top-heavy right now. Virginia has nothing to brag about in its overtime win against Idaho. Maryland had an uninspiring performance at home against Towson. For about 22 minutes, Miami’s game against Bethune-Cookman was much closer than the final score indicated. Yes, the league was able to rebound from last week’s poor performances against nonconference opponents, but it was hardly in convincing fashion. Clemson and Georgia Tech have distanced themselves as the top teams in the league.