ACC: North Carolina State Wolfpack

NC State a trap game for Florida State?

October, 24, 2013

Getty Images, AP PhotosJameis Winston (left) will try to succeed where E.J. Manuel (middle) and Christian Ponder (right) failed.

On Saturday, Florida State had arguably the best win of any team this season, routing then-No. 3 Clemson 51-14. The Seminoles are 6-0 for the first time since 1999, when they went 12-0 and won the national championship.

Coming off its win over Clemson in Death Valley, Florida State returns home to face what appears to be an easy game against a North Carolina State team that is winless in ACC play. Not so fast...

The Wolfpack have given the Seminoles trouble in recent years. The last four times an AP-ranked Florida State team played an unranked NC State team, the Wolfpack have pulled off the upset.

2012: NC State def. 3 Florida State 17-16
Florida State was 5-0 entering the game in Raleigh last season. The Seminoles jumped out to a 16-0 halftime lead, but were shut out after halftime. Mike Glennon passed for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. EJ Manuel finished with a 33.2 Total QBR, his lowest in any ACC start in his career.

2010: NC State def. 16 Florida State 28-24
Florida State entered the 2010 game 6-1, with its only loss coming at Oklahoma. The Seminoles led 21-7 at halftime, but were unable to contain Russell Wilson in the second half. Wilson had two of his career-high three rushing touchdowns after halftime. Christian Ponder, like Manuel last season, struggled in the second half, committing two turnovers and completing less than half of his passes.

2006: NC State def. 17 Florida State 24-20
Florida State had won three of its first four games when it traveled to Raleigh for a Thursday night game in 2006. Daniel Evans, making his second career start for the Wolfpack, threw three touchdowns and his Total QBR of 69.3 was his highest in any game. Drew Weatherford struggled in the fourth quarter for the Seminoles, completing 4 of 8 attempts for 32 yards with an interception on the final play.

2005: NC State def. 9 Florida State 20-15
Florida State was 7-1 when unranked NC State arrived in Tallahassee in 2005. NC State dominated this game on the ground, outrushing the Seminoles 196-43, including 179 rush yards by Andre Brown.

Weatherford had one of the worst games of his career, throwing three interceptions, two of which were on Florida State’s final two drives. He finished with a 9.3 Total QBR.

The common theme for the Seminoles in those four losses was below-average quarterback play. Their combined Total QBR was 29.7 and they had the same number of interceptions (5) as touchdown passes (5).

Quarterback play should not be an issue for the Seminoles this time around with Jameis Winston under center.

Winston is third in the nation in opponent-adjusted QBR (92.5) and is one of three FBS players who have had a Total QBR of at least 75 in all of their games this season. NC State has allowed an opponent-adjusted total QBR of 64.3 this season, the second-worst among ACC teams.

In other words: the challenge may be greater for NC State this time around.

ACC's lunchtime links

April, 1, 2010
In ACC country, these are lunchtime links. Where I am, it's breakfast. The good news is somewhere it's Happy Hour.

Eight ACC players on Butkus Award watch list

August, 24, 2009
Posted by's Heather Dinich While this list is flattering, it's also a reminder of who won't be playing for the ACC this year. NC State linebacker Nate Irving is one of the players on the Butkus Award watch list, as is BC linebacker Mike McLaughlin, whose return from a torn Achilles is still uncertain. Can the ACC repeat Butkus Award winners? Wake's Aaron Curry won it last year. The Butkus Award is presented annually to the nation's top linebacker, and the ACC certainly has a few of those worth looking at. Here are the other conference players who were recognized: Bruce Carter, UNC Kavell Conner, Clemson Daryl Sharpton, Miami Sean Spence, Miami Quan Sturdivant, UNC Dekoda Watson, FSU

On tap this weekend in the ACC

August, 21, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Just because it's not September doesn't mean there's not football being played on Saturdays. Here's a look at what's on tap this weekend in the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE: Third scrimmage on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. Closed to the public.
Storyline: After two scrimmages, the Eagles' picture at quarterback is still as clear as mud. Dave Shinskie is in the lead but has yet to lock up the job. The defense has played well, though, and that's sure to be a trademark of Frank Spaziani-coached teams.

DUKE: Scrimmage at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Open to public.
Storyline: David Cutcliffe is still looking for consistency after Swine flu-like symptoms swept through the team and knocked out anywhere from two to five players for each practice. They're close to having everybody back now, so the Blue Devils should be able to develop some continuity.

FLORIDA STATE: Scrimmage on Saturday. Closed to media and public.
Storyline: Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews is still looking for more of everything -- including toughness -- from a young group that has at least a dozen freshmen or sophomores.

MARYLAND: Scrimmage at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Not open to general public.
Storyline: The Terps are still looking for improvement on the offensive line, and hope to see more from the running game. They'll try to solidify the first and second teamers and set the depth chart so they can break into scout teams soon and give the offense some different defensive looks.

MIAMI: Scrimmage on Saturday. Closed to the public.
Storyline: The Canes are still trying to build depth across the board and will take a close look at their second- and third-string players, particularly at backup quarterback, where freshman A.J. Highsmith has kept the competition interesting.

NORTH CAROLINA: Scrimmage on Saturday. No stats.
Storyline: Same as it's been all summer -- the Tar Heels are still looking for improvement from their receivers and trying to rebuild their offensive line. Because of the lack of bodies on the offensive line, the Heels have been so limited this will be their first scrimmage.

NC STATE: Situational scrimmage on Sunday. No stats. Closed to the public and media.
Storyline: The Pack is trying to replace four players in the secondary, and while frontrunners have emerged, it's still a group loaded with youth and inexperience. This will be more of a dress-rehearsal with an emphasis on situations like third downs and two-minute drills.

VIRGINIA: Scrimmage on Saturday. Closed. No stats.
Storyline: This will be the scrimmage that will help coach Al Groh and his staff really start to decide the starting lineup, as they'll review the film on Sunday and try to make some decisions.

VIRGINIA TECH: Scrimmage on Saturday. Practice will be from 2-4:15 in Lane Stadium (scrimmage will probably start around 2:30). Fans can sit on the west side only and aren't allowed to video tape.
Storyline: First, the Hokies need to keep the rest of their running backs healthy after injuries to Darren Evans and Josh Oglesby. The Hokies still aren't set on their starting receivers, and probably won't know until after next Wednesday, but this is another good audition.

ACC mailblog

August, 21, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Thanks for the questions, everyone, here's your weekly Mailblog:

Evan in Atlanta, Ga. writes: Hey Heather, do you know what games you'll be visiting this season? Like to see you come to Atlanta for homecoming, because if I remember right you've been good luck when you show up (weren't you at the FSU and Miami game last year?).

HD: Yep. Every Georgia Tech game I was at last year they won -- except for one. The Virginia Tech game. Which games I go to depends on how the season unfolds, so I don't know until the week of where I'm headed. It's more fun that way (and much tougher to get a hotel room). But I'm sure at some point I'll see the Jackets. Last year, I saw 11 of the 12 teams play live, only missing NC State. I'm making up for that this year by starting out in Raleigh on Thursday night. Speaking of that game ...

Matt in Lynchburg, Va., writes: Hey HD, the ACC plays 7 against the SEC this season...and the first one is NC State vs. South Carolina. How do they match up? Seems like a win would be a big first step for the Pack.

HD: That's going to be a close game because the teams are so similar, starting with how thin they are in the secondary. Here's a mini scouting report on South Carolina: There's nobody remotely ready to play quarterback behind Stephen Garcia, and they don't have any proven big-time threats at receiver or running back. Still there's a lot of good young talent in the program. They'll be strong at linebacker, good at defensive end. They'll look like an SEC defense, but will have to start one or two true freshmen in the secondary. Like NC State, they can't afford for anyone to get hurt. They were terrible at pass protecting last year, gave up a lot of sacks, and didn't run the ball well. Their defense will have to be the rock for them.

Evan King in Okeechobee, Fla. writes: Do you think FSU could be a 2010 BCS contender with all the young talent on this years team?

HD: Yes, but only if the intangibles are there -- staff continuity, no off-field distractions, no me-first, no NFL attitudes, and the work ethic to maximize their talent and potential.

CJ Fitz in College Park, Md., writes: Hey HD, heard you were in the area. Great post on Tate, any chance you can give me a little bit more of an insider on the team... how the o-line did in your opinion and how the defense is coming along under coach brown?

HD: Yes, I was, CJ, and while I'd like to say I saw anything worth reporting, the practice was closed to the media. Having talked to the players and coaches, though, the o-line is still a work in progress and a concern, and the defense is definitely ahead of the offense at this point. I think the hire of Don Brown will be an upgrade, and the scheme will baffle some ACC offenses.

Bob K in Atlanta writes: Heather, who is the most under-rated player in the ACC? Obviously someone who didn't make your top 30 list.

HD: Well, my first instinct is to say Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, because from a national perspective, he doesn't get the credit he deserves. He was, however, on my Top 30 list. So, I'll go with Chris DeGeare, an offensive lineman at Wake Forest. He was academically ineligible last year, but should be the anchor of that line this fall. You could also look at BC's roster for some underrated players. Safety Wes Davis, or receiver Rich Gunnell come to mind.

Anthony Burke in Orlando, Fla. writes: What is the likelihood that the ACC will be represented in the National Title? I have it that it will be Florida vs. someone from the ACC and Florida getting upset. I am a Miami fan and I believe they will comeout of September and October smelling like Rose's because they are a better team than last year. The toughest team they will play will be Georgia Tech and they can win that game. I believe that The U is back, and I think this team will prove me right, because they have reminenses of the young canes team back in 2000. Go Canes

HD: This year? I'd say pretty slim. Why? Because I don't think Virginia Tech is going to beat Alabama, and I don't think they'll escape the ACC undefeated. And right now, the way everything is set up, the Hokies are the ACC's best hope -- even without Darren Evans. Now, if your Canes start off 4-0, then Florida better look out.

Video: Previewing the ACC

August, 19, 2009

Ivan Maisel and Heather Dinich preview the 2009 ACC season.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 19, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Mmm. Links.

Miami defensive end Adewale Ojomo had surgery Tuesday morning for a broken jaw and could miss the season opener. Was he sucker punched? There seem to be conflicting reports.

Tim Tebow? Pshh. He ain't got nothin' on Charlie Ward.

There's an overall attitude change at Florida State, and the players' are the ones calling the meeting for it.

Steven Friday is a guy who will come in handy on Saturdays for the Hokies this year.

Georgia Tech safety Cooper Taylor's versatility makes him the perfect wolf.

When UNC coach Butch Davis talks about turnovers, the team listens. It's a proven formula for winning.

BC freshman defensive tackle Dillon Quinn is learning as fast as he can, so he can help the Eagles at one of the spots they need it most -- up front. The ideal situation would be to redshirt Quinn, but the staff might not have that luxury.

NC State will be without third-string tight end Mario Carter for at least the season opener after knee surgery. The Pack is about mid-way through its summer camp, and still looking for answers at a few positions.

Virginia has one important rule for its receivers: If you don't block, you don't play. Lesson learned for Raynard Horne.

Wake Forest joined the ACC injury club on Tuesday when receiver Terence Davis went down with a torn ACL. That could provide a way to get Skylar Jones on the field.

Aside from Jacoby Ford, Clemson's receivers have been an inconsistent group.

Five things to watch in the ACC

August, 19, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Here are five things that will play a role in the ACC's conference race this fall:

1. Virginia Tech's backfield. How the Hokies recover from the season-ending injury to star tailback Darren Evans will go a long way in determining their fate on the national stage, and it starts in the season opener against Alabama. They've got reasons for hope in Josh Oglesby, David Wilson and Ryan Williams, but for the most part, their talent is unproven. Until Tyrod Taylor and the receivers show the passing game is a dependable option, it's going to be up to the young backs to make the difference.

2. Health of starting quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor. Josh Nesbitt. Chris Turner. Jacory Harris. Christian Ponder. Russell Wilson. Riley Skinner. They're all backed up by players who have yet to take a collegiate snap. NC State's situation should improve with Mike Glennon, and expectations are high for E.J. Manuel at FSU, but some teams -- like Maryland and Wake Forest -- would experience a significant drop-off if their starter went down.

3. Georgia Tech's defensive line. It's the biggest question the Jackets are facing this fall, as they have to replace three of their four starters up front who combined for 87 career starts. Those within the program seem confident the previous backup experience of the new starters will help make for a smooth transition. With a league-high 19 starters returning, it's the only unknown for these Coastal Division contenders.

4. Coach/coordinator changes. The entire package at Clemson is worth watching, as Dabo Swinney was promoted from wide receivers coach and Billy Napier, at 30 years old, is now the offensive coordinator. At Boston College, first-year coach Frank Spaziani has his hands full, and introduced first-year offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill to a team that lacks a starting quarterback. At Maryland, Don Brown's defense is sure to throw several ACC offenses off-kilter, and there's a buzz around Miami's offense that has been lacking now that Mark Whipple has arrived. And the Canes will have their third defensive coordinator in as many seasons with John Lovett. Virginia will unveil a spread offense under first-year coordinator Gregg Brandon.

5. New faces at receiver. The ACC has something it's been missing, and that's quarterbacks with experience. Problem is, many of them don't know who they're going to be throwing to. Virginia lost all of its top receivers, and so did NC State. Maryland said farewell to Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Clemson to Aaron Kelly. Duke lost Eron Riley and Wake lost D.J. Boldin. The list goes on. Beyond Clemson's Jacoby Ford and Georgia Tech's Demaryius Thomas, the ACC is lacking many proven receivers. Several schools -- like Miami -- have a long list to choose from, but who will separate himself?

ACC superlatives

August, 19, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Today is the ACC preview day on's college football page, and I've got a few additional preseason awards to hand out:

1. Offensive player of the year: C.J. Spiller, Clemson. Spiller can become the first player in school history with at least 2,000 rushing yards, 1,000 receiving yards, and 1,000 kickoff return yards. Sounds like the most versatile, accomplished back in the ACC to me.

2. Defensive player of the year: Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech. He's the ACC's leading returner in sacks with eight and tackles for loss with 18.5. He can rush the passer, stop the run and block kicks. And that's WITH an injured shoulder.

3. Newcomer of the year: Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker. He's never played in a college football game before, but was the named the starter Monday for his consistency and rocket arm. The redshirt freshman is already a standout baseball player.

4. Comeback player of the year: Miami linebacker Colin McCarthy. He started the first four games in 2008 before injuring his shoulder during a practice in late September. He underwent season-ending surgery and also missed spring practice. His return will be key to a defense that ranked last in the ACC in rushing defense (151.8 yards per game).

5. Freshman of the year: David Wilson, running back, Virginia Tech. Anyone who does eight backflips in a row has some serious skills. As long as he stays healthy, Wilson is the real deal, and he'll have the opportunity to show it.

6. Most exciting player: Russell Wilson, NC State. His ability to keep plays alive and scramble and improvise makes Wilson one of the most exciting players in the conference to watch. Unless, of course, you're watching from a defender's perspective.

7. Coach of the Year: Frank Spaziani, Boston College. He doesn't have a quarterback. He's lost his top leader and two best linebackers. And he's got to replace two NFL defensive tackles. If Spaz has BC anywhere near contention for an ACC title, he should be crowned king of Chestnut Hill.

8. Game of the Year: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, Oct. 17 in Atlanta. This game will more than likely determine the Coastal Division winner, and it if it's as close as it was last year -- a 20-17 Virginia Tech win -- it should be a great game.

9. Surprise team of the year: Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons still have the winningest quarterback in school history, a standout defensive line, and one of the best coaches in the conference to work with. Those three factors will help overcome the losses on defense.

10. Team that will disappoint: Virginia Tech. The Hokies are supposed to be the ACC's best chance at a national title contender this fall, and with a loss to Alabama without injured star running back Darren Evans, the entire big picture would change for the Hokies and the conference.

Nine ACC players named to Bronko Nagurski watch list

August, 18, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

The ACC was well-represented with nine players and more than half its schools on the list of 62 candidates for the Bronko Nagurski Award, given to the nation's best defensive player.

Players may be added or removed during the season. After the first four games of the season, the FWAA will revise the list and at that time school sports information directors may submit names for players not on the list to the FWAA and their conference's FWAA All-America Committee representative.

Each week during the 2009 season, the FWAA will choose a Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. If the selected player is not on the watch list, he automatically will be added. The FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club will announce five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy on Nov. 18 or 19. For the entire release, click here.

Here are the ACC's representatives:

  • Morgan Burnett, safety, Georgia Tech
  • Kam Chancellor, safety, Virginia Tech
  • Ras-I Dowling, cornerback, Virginia
  • Vince Oghobaase, defensive tackle, Duke
  • Boo Robinson, nose guard, Wake Forest
  • Quan Sturdivant, linebacker, North Carolina
  • Deunta Williams, safety, North Carolina
  • Alex Wujciak, linebacker, Maryland
  • Willie Young, defensive end, NC State

Records to be broken in the ACC

August, 18, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Records were made to be broken, and the ACC has a few worth keeping an eye on this fall. I surveyed each school's sports information director and the ACC to find out what records were in danger of being broken this fall. Here are the results:


1. Former FSU quarterback Drew Weatherford's mark for most consecutive passes without an interception (270). NC State's Russell Wilson currently stands at 249.

2. Virginia's Matt Schaub had a career completion percentage record of .670. Wake's Riley Skinner is a shade better at .673 and could finish the year with the record.

3. C.J. Spiller stands a good chance of breaking the conference career mark for all-purpose yardage (rushing, receiving, kickoff and punt returns). Spiller currently has 4,908 all-purpose yards and needs 921 yards for the record. Leon Johnson of North Carolina holds the record with 5,828 yards. Spiller had 1,770 yards this past season.



Spiller has 87 career receptions and needs 19 to break the record for running backs of 105 by Travis Zachery (1998-01). He has 917 career reception yards and needs 141 to break Zachery's record of 1,057. He also has 1,297 career kickoff return yards and needs 256 to break Derrick Hamilton's record of 1,552.

Crezdon Butler has 196 career interception return yards and needs 80 to break Rex Varn's standard of 275 set between 1976-79.


Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis is 2,879 passing yards, 314 attempts, 227 completions and eight touchdowns away from Duke's career records held by Ben Bennett.


Torrey Smith has a chance at the school's career kickoff return yards mark. He had the ACC single-season record with 1,089 last year. The school mark is 1,520 career yards by Keeta Covington (1983-86).

Quarterback Chris Turner can get to No. 2 on most of the career lists, but would have a struggle getting past Scott Milanovich. He needs 2,827 for the career passing yards mark.

Javarris James is currently eighth all-time in rushing attempts. With 73 attempts this season, he would move into sole possession of third place behind Ottis Anderson (691) and James Jackson (541).

Both James (1,670) and Graig Cooper (1,523) have a chance to move into the all-time top 10 in rushing yards (Alonzo Highsmith is currently 10th with 1,914 career yards). If Cooper runs for more than 1,000 yards this season, he would rank in the top 4 in UM history.

UM's Current Top 5 Career Rushing Leaders
1. Ottis Anderson 3,331
2. Edgerrin James 2,960
3. James Jackson 2,953
4. Clinton Portis 2,523
5. Danyell Ferguson 2,214

Jason Fox has started 36 games in his career. He could tie William Joseph for a UM-record 50 career starts if the Canes play in the ACC Championship game and a bowl game and Fox starts all 14 games. (Ed Reed is second on the list with 48 career starts).

Matt Bosher is seventh all-time in consecutive PATs (40) and 10th in both field goals (18) and points scored by a kicker (94).


Skinner will need to complete 27 passes, attempt 282, throw for 1,416 yards and throw 11 touchdown passes in order to set school records. Through his first three years, Skinner has averaged 213 completions, 316 attempts, 2,200 yards and 10.3 touchdowns per season.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 18, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Virginia Tech running back Josh Oglesby always wanted to be the Hokies' No. 1 tailback, but not at the expense of his teammate, Darren Evans.

Cline Beam has been one of the surprises of Wake Forest's summer camp, and that's good, because the Deacs need a kicker.

BC's quarterback situation is still evolving.

NC State tailback Toney Baker is starting to show that explosiveness he had when he last played in 2007.

Virginia defensive line coach Chad Wilt isn't an entirely new face on the staff this fall, as he was a GA in 2004 and 2005, but now Wilt is in a position to create a "generational legacy" with the line.

Miami had a closed scrimmage on Saturday, and coach Randy Shannon spoke about it for the first time on Monday. Save for the backup quarterbacks, it sounds like it went mostly well.

Donavan Tate's deal with the Padres is reportedly worth $6.25 million. UNC knew there was a strong possibility of the quarterback choosing baseball. And for that amount of cash, who wouldn't?

FSU's recruiting class of 2007 -- or what's left of it -- isn't pretty.

Four ACC quarterbacks named to Manning Award watch list

August, 17, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Duke senior Thaddeus Lewis, Wake Forest senior Riley Skinner, NC State sophomore Russell Wilson and UNC junior T.J. Yates were among the 38 players named to the 2009 Manning Award watch list on Monday.

While the preseason watch list includes just 38 quarterbacks, every quarterback in the nation remains eligible for the honor. Additional quarterbacks may be added to the watch list after the start of the season. Ten finalists will be determined by a selected panel of national media covering college football, as well as each of the Mannings. That list will be released on Monday, Nov. 30. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 14.

The last ACC quarterback to win this award? BC's Matt Ryan, of course.

ACC's lunchtime links

August, 17, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

Another Monday, another day of links. Here we go, ACC fans ...

There wasn't too much to like from BC's quarterbacks in the first scrimmage, leaving coach Frank Spaziani still unsure of who his starter will be this fall.

BC receiver Clarence Megwa's comeback story has been put on hold, thanks to an injured right hand. The Eagles still have a leader at receiver in Rich Gunnell, who was named captain, making him the first receiver captain in 19 years.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney thinks the benefit to keeping C.J. Spiller on special teams outweighs the possibility he might get hurt.

UNC has some problems on the offensive line, and it's going to force some players to tackle more than one position.

Virginia's new offensive coordinator was used to being in the spotlight as head coach at Bowling Green. Now Gregg Brandon's role has changed, but it's just as important.

FSU's receivers could be a lot better than people expected a few months ago. Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel gives a worst case/best case scenario for each player.

The injury to Georgia Tech backup quarterback Jaybo Shaw is significant enough it could play a role in the Coastal Division race, writes Tony Barnhart.

Wake Forest might not be ready for Baylor yet, but quarterback Riley Skinner is.

Former Maryland backup quarterback Josh Portis has found a new home in California, Pa. It might not be the biggest town on the map, but it offers Portis a chance to play.

Former NC State player Edrick Smith was killed in a car crash early Sunday morning.

ACC's villains

August, 17, 2009

Posted by's Heather Dinich

They're the teams, players, coaches, officials, stadiums, cities -- whoever or whatever -- that, as my colleague Ivan Maisel puts it, "done you wrong." They're the ACC's villains, and each program has one. (Some more than others.) Question is, who do you think is your school's villain? Who are you holding your grudges against? Drop me a note in my mailbag and let me know who the bad guys are. We'll call 'em out on Tuesday.

Here are my picks:

Current villain: Jeff Jagodzinski. He abandoned his team for a job he never got. Jagodzinski took the Eagles to back-to-back ACC title games before putting his own interests ahead of the team and got fired for interviewing with the Jets when athletic director Gene DeFilippo specifically asked him not to.
All-time villain: Notre Dame. Nothing gets the Eagles going like the "other" big-time Catholic institution. It wasn't until 1975 that the two programs started playing each other and the series is dead even at 9-9. The Eagles have won six straight in the series and seven of the last eight, but will always be considered the little brother.

Current villain: Boston College. The Eagles beat Clemson three straight years from 2005-2007, and if each time that loss kept the Tigers out of the ACC title game. Imagine how different things might be if it weren't for the Eagles.
All-time villain: City of Atlanta. The Tigers are 2-5 in the Georgia Dome, including a painful overtime loss to Auburn in the 2007 Peach Bowl, and nobody will forget the 2008 disaster against Alabama. Over the past 15 years, Clemson is 4-9 in Atlanta. The Tigers haven't scored a touchdown at Georgia Tech in either of the past two games. They lost 10-9 in '05, and 13-3 in '07, and play there again this year. Yikes. Clemson's all-time record at Tech is 13-41-2, which is a 25 percent winning percentage.

Current villain: Duke basketball. The shadow it casts is bigger than the state of North Carolina. While Duke football has mucked its way through two decades of losing, Mike Krzyzewski has led the Blue Devils to three national championships, 24 NCAA tournament bids, and 92 weeks ranked No. 1 in the country. Meanwhile, Duke football is stuck on No. 1 ACC win.
All-time villain: Steve Spurrier. He left. Spurrier has been the only coach at Duke to have a winning record since Bill Murrary's tenure from 1951-65. Overall, in the history of the program, Duke has only had five coaches with winning records who stuck around more than two seasons. Spurrier was the last, with a 20-13-1 record. Duke might not be Duke had he stayed.

Current villain: Learning specialist Brenda Monk. The woman at the heart of the online music course cheating scandal, who, according to the St. Pete Times admitted she "made a "mistake" in asking one player to key-in test answers for another. Let's face it: All of the advisors and instructors involved in the scandal could play a role in Bobby Bowden losing as many as 14 wins, and for that, we deem them villains.
All-time villain: Goalposts. Wide right, anyone? The Noles missed field goals in the waning seconds of all three Miami games in 1991, 1992 and 2000, but the 17-16 loss to the Canes in Tallahassee in 1991 was the most devastating. FSU had been ranked No. 1 all season, was 10-0, and were leading most of the game. It was the third one-point loss to Miami for Bowden, and his sixth defeat in seven years to the Canes.

Current villain: The officials in last year's Virginia Tech game. Talk to any of the Jackets and it still strikes a nerve to talk about the costly helmet-to-helmet call with the game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter. To top it off, one play later Michael Johnson was charged with a facemask. And it was. But the first call was questionable, and it sustained a Virginia Tech drive that, in retrospect, went a long way in determining the tiebreaker for the ACC Coastal Division last year.
All-time villain: Bear Bryant. Georgia Tech left the SEC in 1964, but some grudges never die. Bobby Dodd and Bryant began a long feud in 1961 after Georgia Tech's Chick Graning was running down field on punt coverage when he saw the fair catch signal and let down his guard. Alabama's Darwin Holt just kept coming, and shattered Graning's jaw with his forearm. The coaches stopped talking for years and the series was later discontinued.

Current villain: Unranked teams. The Middle Tennessee's. The Virginia's. They're the unpredictable yet predictable disasters that leave Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen baffled. Top 25 teams, though, are no problem. Bring on Cal any day. Just leave Delaware at home.
All-time villain: Penn State. It's the one school Terps fans seem to have an inferiority complex about, and it could have something to do with the Nits' 1-35-1 edge in the series. It also might have a little something to do with the fact that assistant coach Larry Johnson has made the state of Maryland his second home when it comes to recruiting, and many of the state's best players often make their way North.

Current villain: Georgia Tech. If the Jackets beat Miami this year, they will have beaten the Canes five straight years. Miami owns a 4-10 all-time record against Georgia Tech, and now that Paul Johnson has arrived with his triple option offense, it seems as if this series has gotten even more difficult for the Canes.
All-time villain: Terry Porter, the Big 12 official who threw the awful pass interference flag in the Fiesta Bowl that allowed Ohio State to beat the Canes for the 2002 national title. Ohio State won 31-24 in double overtime.

Current villain:
Virginia. Most recently, the Tar Heels lost 16-13 last year in a critical Coastal Division game, but the bigger picture is even worse. UNC is just 3-10 against the Wahoos since 1996, and that year, UNC was 8-1 and needed only wins against UVa and Duke to go to the Fiesta Bowl. The Heels were ahead 17-3 with 10 minutes remaining, but wound up losing 20-17 with help from a 95-yard interception return for a touchdown.
All-time villain: Bobby Bowden. The Heels have won just one game against FSU in the 16-game series, a 41-9 win in 2001. The two programs haven't played each other since 2004, but the Noles return to the schedule this fall when UNC hosts its first Thursday night game on Oct. 22. UNC has been outscored 489-184 in the series.

Current villain: The trainer's room. At times over the past two seasons it seemed like the list of injured starters was lengthier than the two-deep depth chart. Quarterback Russell Wilson, linebacker Nate Irving, and receiver Donald Bowens are only a few of the key players whose injuries couldn't be overcome in Tom O'Brien's first two seasons.
All-time villain: North Carolina. They're close. It's a rival. And the Wolfpack is trailing 29-63-6 in the series, including a 5-11 record since 1993. The two schools have played each other every year since 1953, when the ACC was formed. But the series started in 1894, and because the schools are only abo
ut 25 miles apart, it's a natural rivalry. From 1943-1964, all but one of the 18 games were played in Chapel Hill. Once the Wolfpack moved to Carter-Finely in 1966, it became a home-and-home series.

Current villain:
Frank Beamer. The Commonwealth Cup overfloweth in Beamer's favor. The end-of-the year in-state rivalry has gone in the Hokies' favor for the past decade. Virginia has lost five straight to Beamer, and only once since 1998.
All-time villain: Scott Sisson. Virginia was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school history, and the moment was fleeting. Sisson's 37-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining beat Virginia on its homecoming. Georgia Tech went on to win out and earn a share of the national title, while Virginia one just one more game all season and finished 8-4.

Current villain: Offense. The Hokies haven't fared better than 99th nationally in the past three seasons, and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring has shouldered the brunt of the criticism for it. And yes, it does make a difference. In 1999, when the Hokies played for the national title, they finished the season ninth in total offense with 451.82 yards per game.
All-time villain: Peter Warrick. The Florida State superstar had been suspended earlier during the season after he was arrested for shoplifting at Dillard's. While that decision probably cost him the Heisman, it didn't cost him the MVP of the 2000 Sugar Bowl. He caught six passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, leading all receivers in yardage and scores in a 46-29 win over the Hokies. Warrick also had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown and a two-point conversion, accounting for 20 of the Seminoles' 46 points. Warrick's 20 points were a Sugar Bowl record for most points scored by an individual player.

Current villain:
Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm. Wake Forest kept Brohm in check during the first half of the 2007 FedEx Orange Bowl, but Brohm orchestrated two game-winning drives in the fourth quarter that gave the Cardinals the 24-13 win. Brohm finished 24-for-34 and was named the game's MVP.
All-time villain: Tobacco Road. That's right, Wake has a losing record in each series against Duke, UNC and NC State. Overall, the Demon Deacons are 181-103-10 against its in-state ACC opponents. And, since you're curious, Duke leads the overall series 53-34-2.



Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12