What we learned in the ACC: Week 10

November, 7, 2010
11/07/10
9:15
AM ET
Here’s a look at the lessons learned in Week 10:

[+] EnlargeTom O'Brien
AP Photo/Mary Ann ChastainThe loss by Tom O'Brien and NC State at Clemson jumbles the race in the Atlantic Division.
Nobody wants to win the Atlantic Division. NC State, Florida State and Maryland all lost, leaving the Atlantic Division up for grabs. All three teams have two conference losses each, but NC State and Florida State were ranked in the BCS standings and favored to win their respective games. Clemson isn’t out of it yet, thanks to the upset of NC State, but the Tigers tried their best to give it away.

The Coastal Division remains Virginia Tech’s to lose. The Hokies have been the most consistent team in the ACC since losing to James Madison on Sept. 11. Georgia Tech’s hopes at defending its ACC title took a huge hit with the Thursday night loss to the Hokies, but UNC and Miami kept things interesting with their respective wins.

Backup quarterbacks are capable of winning. Even in the loss, Georgia Tech backup Tevin Washington played his heart out with starter Joshua Nesbitt out with a broken arm. Miami’s Stephen Morris, filling in for Jacory Harris, led the Canes to a comeback win against the Terps, and Duke couldn’t have won without backup Brandon Connette. Both Washington and Morris had costly turnovers, but mistakes are to be expected. Their efforts were impressive.

Wake Forest is heading in the direction of the 2009 Terps. Nobody – not even Duke or Virginia – has fewer losses than the 2-7 Deacs. With the loss to Boston College, Wake Forest becomes the ACC’s first team that cannot become bowl eligible. It’s one of the worst teams in the Jim Grobe era, and it’s shaping up to look like this year’s version of 2009 Maryland, which finished 2-10.

Mistakes can be overcome – only in the ACC. Only in the ACC can Clemson win despite fumbling five times, losing two of them, throwing an interception, having a touchdown called back on a holding penalty, and missing two short field goals. Only in the ACC can Miami win despite 10 penalties for 100 yards, two interceptions and two missed extra-point attempts. Only in the ACC can Duke win despite allowing Virginia 643 total yards. Only in the ACC is there a winner in a game with seven turnovers, six interceptions and no touchdown passes (congrats, BC).

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