Dear ACC: Don't fumble in Week 4

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
1:00
PM ET
This is the week on the ACC calendar you want to fast-forward through. It’s lame. It’s boring. And you’re going to watch it if for no other reason than to make sure the conference doesn’t fumble.

Admit it. It’s sort of like watching figure skating just to see the spills.

Will NC State pull off another shocking Atlantic Division upset of No. 3-ranked Clemson on Thursday night?

Will Wake Forest lose to Army and drop to 1-4?

Will Virginia Tech’s defense beat Marshall?

The ACC has one job to do this week: Don’t screw it up.

The league is off to a great start through three weeks with six undefeated teams (Florida State, Maryland, Clemson, NC State, Georgia Tech and Miami). The ACC has a national title contender in Clemson. It has Heisman Trophy candidates in Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston. It has a 2-2 record against the SEC, including victories over Georgia and Florida. It has three Top 25 teams, including No. 3 Clemson, No. 8 Florida State and No. 16 Miami. The ACC enters Week 4 with a 21-7 (.750) record against nonconference opponents and has faced a higher percentage of ranked nonconference teams (21.4 percent) that any of the other power five conferences.

Life is good in the ACC.

There’s no reason for that to change, considering VMI, Tulane, Bethune-Cookman and Savannah State are on the schedule. Maryland should be 4-0 after a victory against West Virginia at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday. Florida State, Clemson and Miami should also still be undefeated. NC State is the most likely undefeated team to fall first this weekend, but the Wolfpack is notorious for changing the entire BCS picture with one swift, shocking upset. Last year, Florida State was the victim. In 2011 it was Clemson. In 2010 it was Florida State. Notice a trend? Florida State, Clemson, Florida State …

With all due respect to NC State, no news would be good news for the ACC in Week 4.

The conference should have no problem fading into the background for a week (or two) as critics continue to pick apart the Big Ten, Texas continues to come unraveled in the Big 12 and everyone starts to realize that even Alabama is beatable this year. Nationally, the ACC is following the trend this week with a flavorless schedule, but there are two games with conference race implications in Pitt at Duke and North Carolina at Georgia Tech. The latter will be the headliner in the conference schedule on Saturday, but the Clemson-NC State game will have the country’s attention on Thursday in a nationally televised game on ESPN.

The ACC should hope that game doesn’t have the nation’s attention on Friday morning, too.

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