Sunday, November 6, 2011
What we learned in the ACC: Week 10
By Heather Dinich
As far as the conference race goes, this wasn’t a week of revelations. There were still plenty of things we can take away from Week 10:
Coach Mike London, in his second season, has Virginia eligible for a bowl game for the first time since 2007.
Virginia is bowl eligible for the first time since 2007: With the 31-13 win at Maryland, the Cavaliers are bound for the postseason in Mike London’s second season. At 6-3, it’s probably safe to say the team exceeded the expectations of many outside the program. The Hoos have won four of their past five games, the lone loss coming at home to NC State. More importantly, Virginia remains in contention for the Coastal Division title, as it would win the head-to-head tiebreaker against Georgia Tech and still has to play rival Virginia Tech in the season finale. First, though, the Hoos have to get past Duke, and that hasn’t been easy in recent years.
Florida State is bowl eligible for the 30th consecutive season: It’s the nation’s longest active bowl streak. Nebraska holds the all-time record at 35. The Seminoles beat Boston College soundly, and continue to look more and more like a complete, dominant team each week. Granted, some of that has to do with the level of competition FSU has played, but there’s no denying the dramatic improvement the team has made over each of the past four wins. Their biggest challenge remaining on the schedule is this weekend against Miami.
Tom O’Brien still owns North Carolina: It wasn’t just that the Wolfpack won this game for the fifth straight season, it was how good they looked in the process. It was the first time NC State shut out its in-state rival since 1960, and the defense played its best game of the season. It was a critical win for the Pack’s postseason hopes, and should be a huge boost for the job security of O’Brien. UNC interim coach Everett Withers, though, didn’t do anything to build his case as the Tar Heels’ next head coach. It doesn’t seem to matter who is coaching UNC, though. Final score: O’Brien 5, UNC 0.
The ACC needs its ranked teams on the field every week: Every game and every conference was in the shadow of the pseudo-national championship game between LSU and Alabama, but the ACC was on the backburner even moreso with Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Clemson all enjoying bye weeks. Only three of the teams that played have winning records in league play, and three of the five games were won by a margin of at least 18 points. The best game was arguably Wake Forest’s impressive effort against Notre Dame.
Maryland and Boston College have officially played themselves out of postseason eligibility: Forget the ACC race, forget any shot at a bowl game. These guys are playing for pride, their seniors, and 2012 at this point, as both programs have run out of opportunities to reach the six-win mark after their respective losses. For BC, the loss to FSU stopped a streak of 12 straight bowl games. For Maryland, it’s a disappointing start to first-year coach Randy Edsall’s career, as he inherited a nine-win bowl team that has now lost five straight. Duke was pounded by Miami, but as of right now, in looking at the conference standings, BC and Maryland have officially replaced Duke and Virginia as the bottom-feeders in the ACC.