Happy Halloween in the ACC

October, 31, 2011
10/31/11
11:00
AM ET
Boo. Welcome to the scariest conference in all of college football, where weekly upsets are a coach’s worst nightmare, and staying alive in the conference race is a house of horrors. In celebration of Halloween, the bloggers are taking you on a little haunted tour of the ghosts that have haunted each conference this season. Here’s a look at your ghoulish ACC:

Scary movie (Worst loss of the season): NC State at Cincinnati. In a nationally televised Thursday night game, NC State was embarrassed by the Big East. Cincinnati had six sacks, NC State had three turnovers and the Wolfpack lost 44-14. Nobody but Cincinnati would want to watch this game again.

[+] EnlargeAl Golden
Robert Mayer/US PresswireWith scandal, suspension and nail-biting losses, it's been a cursed first season for Miami coach Al Golden.
Cursed: First-year Miami coach Al Golden. How else do you explain walking into the nightmare that was the biggest recent scandal in all of college football? Numerous suspensions to starters? Or the past three losses by a touchdown or less?

Boo (boo): The biggest loss because of injury had to be BC leading rusher Montel Harris. He was the school’s all-time leading rusher and the ACC’s active leader in rushing yards and carries. He entered the season chasing a 33-year-old league record, but repeated problems with his knee sidelined him for the majority of the season.

Trick or treat: We’ll find out who is tricked in the Coastal Division and who is treated to first place in the standings during a Thursday night game with high stakes between two ranked teams in Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech on Nov. 10 in Atlanta. Historically, this game has decided the winner of the Coastal Division race, and it could do so again.

Night of the living dead: Georgia Tech. Coach Paul Johnson said not to bury his team after back-to-back losses against Virginia and Miami. He said not to get that tombstone ready just yet. He was right. The Yellow Jackets came back to life and scared the daylights outta Clemson on Saturday with an upset win that knocked the Tigers right out of the top 10 in the BCS standings.

Nightmare in Lane Stadium: This is usually the Haunted House, but on Oct. 1, Clemson made itself quite comfortable with a 23-3 victory. The loss ended Virginia Tech’s 12-game winning streak in league play. Quarterback Logan Thomas was sacked four times. A David Wilson fumble led to a Clemson score. It tied for the second-worst home loss in Lane Stadium in the past 30 seasons. It was the first time the Hokies had failed to score a touchdown at home since 1995.

Jason Voorhees: There is one team that just won’t die in the ACC, and it’s Virginia. Just when you think the Hoos are out with a 30-24 loss to Southern Miss, two weeks later they shock the ACC with an upset of then No. 12 and undefeated Georgia Tech. And then you think they’re down and out with a home loss to NC State. But they rally for a win this past weekend at Miami. Nine lives?

Graveyard: The ACC’s national title hopes have been buried. It all started with Florida State, which was deemed by some as the nation’s most disappointing team in the first half of the season. Clemson resurrected the hope with its No. 5 ranking, but after Saturday’s loss to Georgia Tech? The ACC no longer has a pulse in the top 10 of the BCS standings.

Thriller: Miami at Virginia Tech. This game was an instant classic (and further proof that Al Golden is cursed). Miami scored on four consecutive possessions in the second half, but with 56 seconds remaining on fourth-and-1, Thomas scored on a 19-yard touchdown run to seal the 38-35 win. Thomas completed 23 of 25 passes in that game.

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