What we learned in the ACC: Week 9

November, 1, 2009
11/01/09
1:09
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

Before we get into November, here’s a look at what the last week in October revealed in the ACC:

1. Georgia Tech stands alone. After Virginia Tech’s loss to North Carolina on Thursday night, there is a new, undisputed heavyweight in the Coastal Division -- and the entire ACC for that matter. Georgia Tech should be the ACC’s lone representative in the top 15 of the BCS standings later today, and after USC’s loss to Oregon, the Yellow Jackets made a case for being the nation’s best one-loss team. With its eight wins, Georgia Tech has been the most consistent team the conference has to offer this year, and there’s no reason the Jackets shouldn’t win their final three games against Wake Forest, Duke and Georgia.

2. North Carolina and FSU aren’t done yet. UNC’s offense showed dramatic improvement in the win over Virginia Tech, and once again, Florida State showed a gritty come-from-behind effort to keep itself in the running for the Atlantic Division standings. Both programs could go out as winners in November and extend their season with a bowl game -- scenarios that seemed unlikely just a week or two ago.

3. Duke is the best it’s been in over a decade. It’s official. Duke fans thought last year was big with four wins and one ACC victory. Well, this year they should be ecstatic with three straight conference wins for the first time since 1994. It's also the first time Duke has earned three road wins since 1994, and the first time they've beaten two ACC opponents on the road since 1999. They need two more wins to become bowl eligible, but that’s still asking a lot from these Devils considering a road trip to rival UNC looms, along with Georgia Tech, at Miami and Wake Forest. As of right now, though, Duke is a contender for the Coastal Division, and with one loss, controls its own destiny. A win over North Carolina on Saturday would set up an elimination game on Nov. 14 against Georgia Tech.

4. Boston College is going to a bowl game -- again. It didn’t matter that Montel Harris was the only running back with any significant experience left on the roster after the transfer of Josh Haden this past week. Heck, Harris lined up in the Wildcat a few times in the win over Central Michigan. Frank Spaziani should be a front-runner for the ACC’s coach of the year as the Eagles head into the bye week with a 6-3 record, including a perfect 6-0 at home this year.

5. Miami is learning how to make a comeback. The Canes have trailed at the half four times this year -- against Virginia Tech, against Oklahoma, against Clemson and on Saturday against Wake Forest. This is still a young football team, and learning how to get out of a hole is part of the maturation process. They were able to overcome a deficit against Oklahoma, but weren’t able to seal the deal last weekend against Clemson. Not only did the Canes rebound from last weekend’s loss, but under the poise and leadership of quarterback Jacory Harris, they were able to overcome a six-point deficit at Wake Forest with a fourth-quarter comeback.

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