Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
3-point stance: Surprises in the ACC

By Ivan Maisel

1. Penn State coach Joe Paterno does not want to address at his weekly Tuesday news conference the scandal that has engulfed his beloved university, not to protect himself, but because it will shift the spotlight even farther away from his overlooked No. 12 Nittany Lions. Roll your eyes until they fall out of your head, but that is how he thinks. Surely he knows that the assembled media will ask him anyway. The guess here is that the adjectives “cantankerous” and “crusty” will apply.

2. Bored with the status quo? Here’s why: the top seven in this week’s BCS standings all started out in the top nine in the AP preseason poll. The only ones to disappear from that first poll are No. 6 Florida State (6-3) and No. 8 Texas A&M (5-4). If you’re looking for the happiest surprises of the season, look to the ACC, where Wake Forest (5-4, 4-2) and Virginia (6-3, 4-2) control whether they will win the Atlantic and Coastal divisions, respectively.

3. When Houston Nutt leapt from Arkansas to Ole Miss four years ago, I thought of a rebound romance. His tenure with the Razorbacks ended in acrimony and Nutt may have been served by sitting out a year to refresh and recharge. When he led the Rebels to consecutive Cotton Bowls in his first two seasons, I put the thought out of my mind. It turns out my first instinct was right. Now Nutt and athletic director Pete Boone, who ran off Nutt’s predecessor, the estimable David Cutcliffe, are both out of a job.