Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Top Week 6 storylines in the ACC
By Andrea Adelson
Here are the top storylines to watch in the ACC heading into Week 6.
1. Miami's offense vs. Notre Dame's defense. The Hurricanes racked up 1,260 combined yards of offense in their past two games, but Notre Dame is not NC State or Georgia Tech. Let's take a quick look at the NCAA rankings to verify: Notre Dame is No. 15 in the nation in total defense; NC State is No. 64, and Georgia Tech is No. 69. Notre Dame is giving up an average of 291.3 yards a game, and holding teams to nine points a game, ranking No. 3 in scoring defense. Purdue is the only team that has scored more than 10 points on the Irish, reaching 17 in Week 2. The last two Irish opponents -- Michigan State and Michigan -- scored a total of nine points. They absolutely shut down Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, forcing one mistake after another. There is no two ways about it -- Miami is going to have a much tougher time running at will, passing at will and scoring at will.
2. Is it Rocco or Sims? Virginia coach Mike London has not made any announcement on his starting quarterback for Saturday's crucial Coastal Division matchup against Duke but he has hinted he is ready to make a change. On the depth chart released Monday, London had an "or" next to Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims. Then on his local radio show Monday night, he said Sims would get first-team reps if his injured leg allows. Rocco has underperformed this season, throwing six touchdown passes to eight interceptions -- the only starting quarterback in the league with more interceptions than TDs. He ranks No. 9 in the ACC in pass efficiency, right behind true freshman Perry Hills at Maryland. Sims has given Virginia a spark when he's played and has five touchdown passes to zero interceptions. This is as close to a must-win game for the Hoos this early in the season -- Virginia is 0-1 in the Coastal; Duke is 1-0 and favored to win. Virginia can't risk falling further behind.
3. Any D in Death Valley? Georgia Tech travels to play No. 15 Clemson in a game featuring two defenses that rank in the bottom half of the ACC. Clemson has scored 35-plus points in four games this year; Georgia Tech has hit that mark in three games. Clemson has given up more than 100 yards rushing in four games this year; Georgia Tech averages 329.4 yard per game. Clemson can run and pass with skilled playmakers -- Georgia Tech gave up 264 yards rushing to Middle Tennessee and 436 yards passing to Miami. So will this end up being a shootout or what? Recent history indicates no. Recent history also indicates that Georgia Tech has owned the series, winning five of the last six meetings. That includes last season, when Georgia Tech pulled the 31-17 upset on the unbeaten Tigers. The only Clemson win in the last six games came in 2010, in Death Valley. The game this weekend is in Death Valley.