Sunday, November 28, 2010
What we learned in the ACC: Week 13
By Heather Dinich
In the final week of the regular season, the most is usually revealed:
The Randy Shannon era is over. Hours after losing in overtime to South Florida, Miami announced that Shannon was fired, and a search for a new coach would begin immediately. Shannon was 28-22 in his four seasons at Miami, the Canes never finished better than second place in the Coastal Division and have yet to win a bowl game.
Florida State snapped its streak of six consecutive losses to Florida and can now boast about its state championship.
Florida State is state/Atlantic Division champs. For the first time since 1999, FSU beat rivals Florida and Miami in the same season, and is back in the ACC title game for the first time since 2005. The Noles snapped their six-game losing streak to Florida, beating the Gators for the first time since 2003. FSU is the only ranked team in the state. The first step to returning to national prominence is owning the state, and FSU was able to do that this year. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Jimbo Fisher became the first head coach at Florida State in the past 50 years to beat Florida in his first try.
It is possible to go undefeated in the ACC. Virginia Tech is proof, as the Hokies became the first team in the ACC to finish the conference schedule undefeated since Florida State in 2000. According to ESPN’s Stats & Info, that was by far the longest drought without an undefeated team of any conference in the FBS. After their 0-2 start, the Hokies reeled off 10 straight wins for their seventh straight 10-win season. In order for the ACC to produce a national title contender, it has to have a team capable of going undefeated in conference play. Virginia Tech gave the league hope for both in the future.
Wake Forest still has a pulse. The Deacs snapped a nine-game losing streak with their win against Vanderbilt, and now have something positive to build off of heading into the offseason. Wake had the longest active losing streak in the FBS, but put a stop to it by winning the turnover battle, making plays on special teams and running the ball.
The ACC nonconference record still needs work. The ACC is no longer winless against the SEC this year, but it maxed out at two wins. The ACC entered the final weekend of the regular season 0-3 against the SEC, but improved to 2-5 thanks to Florida State and Wake Forest. Clemson lost to South Carolina and Georgia Tech lost to rival Georgia -- both for the second year in a row. And of course, Miami didn’t help the ACC with its loss to Big East foe South Florida. The ACC finished the regular season 30-18 in nonconference play, including an FCS loss to James Madison.