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Friday, October 30, 2009
Happy Halloween, ACC fans

By Heather Dinich
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

Happy Halloween, ACC fans. Here’s a look at some of the creepy things going on around the conference this year …

Haunted House: Lane Stadium is the scariest place to play in the ACC -- especially on a Thursday night -- but the Hokies were the ones who got spooked in Thursday night's 20-17 loss to North Carolina. Are you superstitious? Maybe it was the tweak to the entrance, with punter Brent Bowden's version of Enter Sandman throwing off the karma. Or, maybe it was that UNC's offense finally showed up. Either way, the loss to the Tar Heels will haunt the Hokies for a long, long, time.

Jeff Lack/Icon SMI
Jonathan Dwyer and Georgia Tech’s triple option offense have been scary-good the past four games.
Black Cat: Georgia Tech’s triple option offense curses almost every defense in its path. And you thought it was going to be easier to defend in the second season under Paul Johnson, did you? The stats -- and the Jackets’ 7-1 record -- prove otherwise. Over the past four games, Tech has averaged 454.5 yards of total offense, 321.2 yards rushing and 38.2 points.

Cursed Team: Boston College. Former coach Jeff Jagodzinski was fired for interviewing with the Jets. Former starting quarterback Dominique Davis transferred. Linebacker Mark Herzlich was diagnosed with cancer. Linebacker Mike McLaughlin injured his Achilles. This week, backup quarterback Justin Tuggle and backup running back Josh Haden decided to transfer. Freshman running back Rolandan Finch has been out all week with a virus. And it’s not even November yet.

Scary movie: Virginia turned the ball over seven times. The Cavaliers' new spread offense didn't go anywhere. And Virginia lost to William & Mary, 26-14, in what was the Tribe's first win against an ACC team since it beat Virginia in 1986. Odds are this is some game tape that will still turn a few stomachs in Charlottesville - not to mention in the ACC offices in Greensboro.

Trick-or-Treat: The trickiest game left for Florida State and Clemson will be when they play each other next week in Death Valley, especially if FSU wins this weekend. In the Coastal Division, Georgia Tech should be in for a treat with only Wake Forest and Duke remaining to win the division.

Boo (Boo): NC State linebacker Nate Irving. The problem in Raleigh is the defense, and while one person doesn’t make an entire unit, a player like Irving can make an entire unit better. It’s hard not to wonder how much better this defense could’ve been with Irving in the lineup this year.

Graveyard: It’s time to bury Maryland’s bowl hopes and Virginia Tech and Miami’s BCS hopes. The Terps need to win their final four games to become bowl eligible, and Virginia Tech is one of them. Teams need to have nine wins and be ranked among the top 14 in the final BCS standings in order to be BCS bowl-eligible, and after losing to Clemson, No. 19 Miami’s chances seem to have died. The same can be said for Virginia Tech, which should drop after its loss to UNC.

Night of the living dead: Florida State and Clemson have both risen from the dead in the past week and have kept themselves alive in the Atlantic Division race. After starting out with the worst record in conference play since Bobby Bowden took over the program, the Noles earned what could turn out to be a season-changing win at UNC. And Clemson redeemed itself from a loss to Maryland with back-to-back conference wins, including an overtime upset at Miami. North Carolina now has new life after its upset of Virginia Tech. And, of course, Duke appears to have rejoined the land of the living after decades of losing.

Witchcraft: C.J. Spiller. He’s got the magic to make a difference down the stretch. Spiller is a game-changer, and he’s got what it takes to lead the Tigers to the Atlantic Division title and possibly their first ACC championship since 1991. It’s why he came back for his senior season. Of course, that would mean the Tigers finally shake the Clemson curse.

Jack-o-lantern – FSU athletic director Randy Spetman is the one man in the ACC who needs a light to go off in his head. It’s his decision, according to outgoing university president T.K. Wetherell, as to whether or not Bobby Bowden stays or goes. Will Spetman let the boosters and trustees make the call for him, and turn Bowden into a pumpkin after the Florida game? Or will Bowden be allowed to determine his own retirement? Either way, it’s a scary move.