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What we learned: Week 1

8/31/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Wow. It was a tough day at the office for a few ACC coaches this weekend. League commissioner John Swofford had to be cringing inside as Virginia got pushed around by USC, Clemson got tossed aside by Alabama and Virginia Tech was stunned by East Carolina. And don't forget what a disaster NC State turned into against South Carolina.

There's a reason Jim Grobe was at the top of my list this summer.

Here's a look at what we learned about the ACC in Week 1:

1. This is not going to be the year the league boosts its reputation on the national level. Not after that humbling start. If James Davis and C.J. Spiller can be held to zero yards in Game 1, and Aaron Kelly doesn't catch a pass until late in the first half, other coaches will figure out how to stop them, too.

2. Wake Forest is the most complete team in the league. With Riley Skinner on offense, a veteran defense and Sam Swank leading the way on special teams -- not to mention an outstanding coaching staff -- these guys should be the one team the ACC can count on this year to win consistently.

3. Duke coach David Cutcliffe has already made an impact. Cutcliffe "had butterflies" for the season opener not because it was his debut and return to the sidelines as a head coach, but because he knew how hard these guys worked in the offseason and that they deserved to win. He genuinely cares about these players and the future of the program and the players sense his commitment and responded in Game 1. Don't be surprised when they do it again.

4. The Coastal Division is WAY open. We know how much work the Hokies have to do, and the fact that UNC almost blew it against McNeese State isn't exactly reason to crown Butch Davis king of the Coastal. Miami and Georgia Tech did what they were supposed to do, and Virginia? Good luck this year, Cavs.

5. Yes, Paul Johnson's offense will work. Here's the difference between PJ and RichRod. One can't seem to figure out how to use "his offense" with the players he inherited and the other, Johnson, knows how to adapt and win football games with what he has. If the Yellow Jackets have to throw it to win, so be it. If the triple option is the best option, they'll run with it.