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Friday, September 3, 2010
Nickel package: LSU owns the ACC

By Brad Edwards

1. LSU enters Saturday's matchup with North Carolina on an 18-game winning streak vs the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers have beaten eight different ACC foes during this streak, including four wins over UNC, and haven't lost to an ACC team since falling to Maryland in 1955. This is the longest winning streak any team has had against the conference since it began play in 1953.

2. Virginia Tech enters its game against No. 3 Boise State with an all-time record of 1-25 vs teams ranked in the top five of the AP poll (beat No. 2 Miami in 2003). Even worse, the Hokies are 0-21 in such games away from Blacksburg, VA. This game, of course, is being played in Landover, MD at FedEx Field.

3. One of the interesting subplots to Monday's Boise State-Virginia Tech game is the high-scoring BSU offense, which returns all but one starter from 2009, against the Tech defense, which has to replace six starters. Both units, however, have shown the ability to excel regardless of experience. Over the last decade (2000-09), Boise State was the nation's top scoring team (41.4 points per game), while Virginia Tech was the nation's second-best scoring defense (16.3 points per game allowed). Only Ohio State (15.2 points per game allowed) was better than the Hokies at keeping opponents off the scoreboard during the last 10 years.

4. Mike Riley's success at Oregon State has been one of the great college football stories of the last few decades, but his teams have been notoriously slow starters. In his nine seasons as the Beavers head coach (two terms with a four-year gap in between), his teams are 1-12 in pre-October games away from home. The lone win came last year, beating UNLV with a field goal in the closing seconds. In fairness to Riley, he's faced a lot of big-time opponents in those games, just as he will this September. Oregon State plays TCU in Arlington, TX on Saturday and travels to Boise State three weeks later.

5. Alabama is the fifth defending champion in the last nine years to be ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll. It's natural to think that such a team is just being placed there by default by voters who are afraid to go out on a limb, but recent history has shown this to be a high-percentage selection. The previous four defending champs to start the season No. 1 all won at least their first 12 games of that season.