Posted on: November 7, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: November 7, 2010 9:45 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
1. Yes, Bowers is the type of the player that can alter a game - In the second half against N.C. State, Clemson's defensive line pinned their ears back and came after Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson like a pack of wild dogs. They were led by defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, who took jumped ahead as the nation's sack leader with his 11th and 12th sack on the season. Bowers commanded much of the offensive line's attention, and the Tigers were able to force Wilson to throw several balls away, especially down the stretch. The Tigers offense tried desperately to give away Saturday's matchup with the Wolfpack, but the defense refused to let Clemson's division title hopes fizzle away completely.
2. ACC Atlantic is a game of Yahtzee! - After last week's upset of Florida State, the Atlantic Division race got flipped upside down with N.C. State, Maryland, and the Seminoles all carrying one-loss conference records into Week 10. None of the three teams were able to establish a lead on the division race on Saturday, all losing their conference contests. Now with the division leaders all having two conference losses, Clemson is back in the mix to return to the ACC Championship Game. The good news is that each team, for the most part, will get to prove their worth on the field in the final weeks of the season. Florida State faces Clemson and Maryland, N.C. State faces Maryland, Wake Forest, and North Carolina, and Clemson also travels to Winston-Salem to face the Demon Deacons. As of right now, I'm giving the edge to Florida State. The Seminoles look like they could easily handle the Terrapins, and with the schedule left that seems to be the opponent that could decide things in the division. Which of course means that Ralph Friedgen's crew COULD win the division, but the "eye-test," the "ear test," and "conventional wisdom" in general says that the Terrapins are likely not going to be competing for a BCS bowl berth in December.
3. North Carolina simply refuses to die - After the Tar Heels' 37-35 upset of Florida State on Saturday, North Carolina head coach Butch Davis appeared choked up as he spoke about the resiliency of this year's squad. After missing as many as 15 players due to suspensions and investigations, and six of those players being deemed ineligible for the year, North Carolina finds themselves bowl eligible for the third straight year under Butch Davis. Neither injuries nor suspensions have kept the Tar Heels from finding ways to win, with the entire squad buying into the "next man up" mentality. When Davis was forced to work his way down to the fourth string running back, sophomore Hunter Furr delivered three crucial rushes for 27 yards to help set up Casey Barth's game-winning field goal. There is a lot of ground between the Tar Heels and the division-leading Hokies, but Virginia Tech will be in Chapel Hill next week to try and lock up a spot in the ACC Championship Game. After seeing the product the Tar Heels put on the field in Tallahassee, that task could be more difficult than previously expected.
Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's always one of the first factoids cited whenever the ACC 's lack of strength is a topic of discussion, even ahead of "Wake Forest won the league championship within the past decade": the ACC has never earned an at-large bid to the Bowl Championship Series . 12 years, 12 whiffs, 12 missed paychecks worth millions of dollars and 12 missed opportunities to grab some kind of foothold of respect within the sport.
The talking points in the immediate wake of N.C. State 's dramatic 28-24 win over Florida State last night were that the Wolfpack had stolen away control of the ACC Atlantic and that Russell Wilson 's sudden return to form means they just might keep it. But what shouldn't be missed is that the loss all but guarantees the ACC will go yet another season without an at-large BCS bid.
That's because the Seminoles were the conference's only halfway viable candidate. Virginia Tech has taken two losses already, one to FCS James Madison in the season's biggest upset to-date. Neither Maryland nor the Wolfpack have the kind of cachet to pull in TV ratings over similar programs from other conferences (not to mention their pair of losses each). Miami was embarrassed in defeats to Ohio State and the 'Noles. Etc.
After their early-season thumping at Oklahoma , you wouldn't have said the Seminoles were a favorite to land a BCS at-large berth, but as long as they kept winning, they would be in the mix. They still have name-brand recognition dating back to the Bobby Bowden glory days. They play an exciting brand of balanced offensive football led by a high-profile star in Christian Ponder . Most importantly, they had just the one loss and the remaining schedule (home against North Carolina and Clemson , at Maryland , home to Florida in what could be a key ACC-SEC triumph) to make the leap into the BCS top 10, even the top 5. If the 'Noles ran the table but lost in the ACC title game to, say, the Hokies, they would have received a long look from bowls like the Sugar and Fiesta .
But a hypothetical three -loss FSU team? With non-AQ bid snatchers like Boise State and TCU around, not to mention the likes of Ohio State, the Auburn-Alabama loser, or a Big 12 team like Nebraska or Oklahoma ? Forget it. This isn't the year, either, and every one that passes with the BCS millions going places other than the ACC makes it that much harder for the conference to break through next year.
It's fair to say the ACC powers-that-be weren't begrudging N.C. State their raucous celebration after the victory last night. But if any Wolfpack fans happened to stumble onto a sour and depressed-looking ACC official in the aftermath, here's to hoping they weren't begrudging that official his bitterness and disappointment, either.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 11:14 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
1.) Florida State is sitting in the driver's seat of the Atlantic Division - With Florida State holding off Boston College to hang on for a 24-19 win, the Seminoles increased their conference record to a league best 4-0. The field continues to look more even by the week, and the Seminoles' four conference victories gives them a significant leg up on the other teams in the Atlantic Division. The Seminoles' now get a week off to prepare for one of their biggest challenges in the division: a Thursday night showdown with N.C. State in Raleigh. A win over the Wolfpack would put Florida State in prime position to make a run at their second appearance in the ACC Championship Game.
2.) Russell Wilson does have flaws, and they can be costly - Russell Wilson has been the lifeblood of the N.C. State offense for the last three seasons, and there is no reason to blame the Wolfpack's recent losses, but Wilson's last couple outings games have been oddly interception-heavy. Wilson has thrown eight picks in the last three games, two of which have been N.C. State losses. Wilson is one of the reasons that Tom O'Brien has been able to build the Wolfpack into ACC contenders, but his performance in the last couple weeks has not lived up to hype surrounding Wilson during most likely his last season with the Pack.
3.) North Carolina is quietly charging back into the contenders conversation - With all the troubles off the field, it has been difficult for North Carolina fans to focus on a bounce back that has made the Tar Heels relevant again in the ACC. With double-digit players being held out, North Carolina dropped their first two games to LSU and Georgia Tech by six points apiece. Since then, the Tar Heels have rattled off four straight wins to move into a tie for 3rd place in the ACC Coastal. T.J. Yates has been playing some of his best football since his freshman year, throwing for eight touchdowns, 1,170 yards, and only throwing one interception so far in the 2010 season. They still have the most challenging part of their season left, but considering all the absences the Tar Heels have made impressive strides to re-enter the national conversation.
4.) Someone has to go to the Orange Bowl, but who? - Most teams are only a couple games into conference play, but with seven teams boasting one loss or less the race for the conference title is still wide open. Florida State and Virginia Tech are clearly the leaders of each division, but one slip either division could be up for grabs. As mentioned above, Florida State - N.C. State game on October 28 will go a long way to setting up the Atlantic Division. Virginia Tech still has Georgia Tech at home, and away games against Miami and North Carolina keeping them from locking up the Coastal Division. With more than half of the conference still in contention, every conference game left on the slate will carry weight in the chase for the 2010 ACC Championship.
For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: September 25, 2010 5:06 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
No longer having the luxury of quarterback Riley Skinner, Wake Forest has reverted back to an offense that relies heavily on misdirection and the occasional trick play. In order to properly defend against the Demon Deacons, it requires a disciplined and fundamentally sound approach from the entire defensive unit. Florida State's defensive prowess has not been more evident than in the first half against the Demon Deacons.
The Seminoles have held the Wake Forest offense to just 75 yards of total offense and a 0-6 third down efficiency. Florida State's offense was supposed to put on a show against the same defense that gave up 68 points to Stanford and 48 to Duke. But the Demon Deacons' offense has kept the game interesting, refusing to give up the big play to Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder.
But in order to climb back into the game, Wake Forest needs to figure out a way to move the ball. Florida State may be slowed down, but they have not been stopped. The Seminoles will continue to add to their lead until this game is out of reach if Wake Forest cannot find the end zone.
Posted on: September 18, 2010 11:30 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Here's the weather outlook for all of today's important matchups. Will the heat affect teams' gameplans in the southeast? All times are Eastern.
No. 12 Arkansas at Georgia, 12:00, Athens, GA: Lower 80s, clear, hot
Maryland at No. 21 West Virginia, 12:00, Morgantown, WV: Upper 60s, clear
No. 8 Nebraska at Washington, 3:30, Seattle, WA: Mid 60s, cloudy, scattered showers
No. 18 USC at Minnesota, 3:30, Minneapolis, MN: Mid 50s, partly cloudy
No. 10 Florida at Tennessee, 3:30, Knoxville, TN: Mid 80s, clear, hot
Clemson at No. 16 Auburn, 7:00, Auburn, AL: Mid 80s, cloudy, slight chance of showers
No. 6 Texas at Texas Tech, 8:00, Lubbock, TX: Mid 80s, partly cloudy, windy
No. 9 Iowa at No. 24 Arizona, 10:30, Tucson, AZ: Lower 90s, breezy, hot
No. 23 Houston at UCLA, 10:30, Pasadena, CA: Upper 60s, clear
Wake Forest at No. 19 Stanford, 11:15, Palo Alto, CA: Lower 60s, clear
Posted on: September 11, 2010 6:17 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
While most of the ACC is struggling in non-conference showdowns, Wake Forest and Duke put on an offensive display in Winston-Salem. Not much defense in the Demon Deacons' 54-48 victory over the Blue Devils. It was the first time in Wake Forest history posted 50+ points in back-to-back games, and the combined total ended up being the second highest in ACC history.
Wake Forest backup quarterback Tanner Price threw for three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the way for the Demon Deacons. Duke head coach David Cutcliffe certainly gave quarterback Sean Renfree the green light to air it out, as the sophomore aired it out 44 times, connecting 28 times for 358 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Renfree connected with Connor Vernon for a 51 yard touchdown with just under two minutes remaining to bring the Blue Devils within six points, but Will Snyderwine's onsides kick attempt was recovered by Wake Forest. The Blue Devils stayed within two scores, but never led, as Wake Forest seems to be answering the concerns of life after Riley Skinner. Things don't get easier for either team, with Wake Forest traveling to Stanford next weekend and Duke hosting the defending national champions in Durham.
Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:32 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
- UCLA will start the banged-up Kevin Prince at quarterback on Saturday night against No. 25 Stanford. Even though he looked rusty in the Bruins' 31-22 loss against Kansas State, but Prince is convinced he will be able to perform up to par come game time. "I can make all the throws I need to make," said Prince, who injured his right shoulder in the Kansas State game. "If I didn't feel comfortable with that, then I wouldn't feel comfortable playing." Prince has been splitting time in practice with Richard Brehaut, being kept on what head coach Rick Neuheisel is referring to as "a pitch count."
- Former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach was never afraid to speak his mind when he was leading the Red Raiders, and now he will have the opportunity to broadcast his thoughts to satellite radio customers all over the world. Scary thought, right? Mike Leach will co-host a three-hour show on weekdays on the newly launched Sirius XM college sports station. From 12-3 p.m. ET you can hear Leach and Jack Arute on Sirius XM's College Football Playbook. In other broadcast news, Leach will make his television broadcast booth debut for CBS College Sports this weekend when Central Florida hosts North Carolina State.
- Wake Forest return man Devon Brown was disappointed to see a flag on the field after returning the opening kick for a touchdown in the Demon Deacons' opener against Presbyterian College on Thursday. Not as disappointed as Marcus Dean Hobson of Greensboro, N.C.. In a new promotion by the Wake Forest radio network, Hobson would have won a $20,000 car had the play not been called back for an illegal block. In the "North Point Chrysler Jeep Dodge Run Back For A Ride" contest, if Wake Forest returns the opening kick of either half for a touchdown, a randomly selected contestant will win a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Wake Forest ended up winning the game 53-13. Hobson? Well he certainly didn't drive off in a new ride.
For more breaking news and analysis follow us on Twitter @CBSSportsNCAAF or Subscribe to our RSS Feed