Clear Your Schedule – ACC 2014, Week 9

By Brian Wilmer -

[kuh n-fyoo-zhuh n]
the act of confusing.
the state of being confused.
disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos:
The army retreated in confusion.
lack of clearness or distinctness:
a confusion in his mind between right and wrong.
perplexity; bewilderment:
The more difficult questions left us in complete confusion.


Well, we had a decent idea of who might end up in Charlotte.  One weekend later, and everything ends with a question mark instead of a period or exclamation mark again.  In fact, instead of a definitive statement, the ACC Coastal is now the center of comedy.  We could continue on with more about Florida State, but let’s just go on to the Three Big Things from last weekend.

  1. #OperationACCCoastalChaos:  The Coastal Division is so enshrouded in parity, mediocrity, or whatever you want to call it that the division has inspired the must-read Patrick Stevens to coin a new term.  Patrick’s quest for “Operation ACC Coastal Chaos” envisions a scenario where seven teams could finish with a 4-4 record and create — to be kind — a car fire of tiebreakers to determine who goes to Charlotte.  Virginia did their part with a completely miserable effort against Duke last week, while North Carolina created further upheaval by clipping Georgia Tech.
  2. What the heck is a pick play?:  Florida State claimed a victory over Notre Dame — which is all that really matters in the grand scheme of things — but a highly polarizing “pick” play was called as offensive pass interference on the ostensibly game-winning touchdown play to Corey Robinson.  That call drew a lot of heat (or praise, depending on where your fandom rests), but know this:  Notre Dame statistically won that game.  Florida State rushed for 50 yards.  Tarean Folston and Everett Golson (whom Gene Deckerhoff maddeningly continued to call “Golston”) gashed the Seminole ‘D’.  However, the Seminoles claimed the edge in the one place it matters:  on the scoreboard.
  3. ‘Cuse controversy?:  While starting Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt recuperates from an injury, freshman A.J. Long continues to stake his claim to the job.  Long completed 22-of-32 passes last week — granted, against Wake Forest — for 171 yards, adding a red-zone touchdown carry.  Long is 38-for-59 for 338 yards in two games, throwing for two touchdowns and two picks.

There are few games on the docket this weekend, but there is lots of potential for great storylines.  We’ll see what happens this week to become the Three Big Things for the conference next week, but for now, it’s trivia time!

ACC Trivia, Week 9 (answer at the end of the column):  North Carolina and Virginia renew “pleasantries” this weekend in The South’s Oldest Rivalry.  Which is the only currently-active rivalry to have played a greater amount of games in its history than UNC and UVa’s 118?

Keyword Search (all times Eastern and rankings AP)

Miami (4-3, 1-2, ACC) at Virginia Tech (4-3, 1-2 ACC)
8:00pm (Thursday) | ESPN

  • 49ers:  The two teams will play on ESPN’s Thursday night football package for the 49th combined time.  Virginia Tech has won 20 of their 28 Thursday contests after falling to Pittsburgh last week, while Miami has won 17 of 20.  The Hurricanes have won eight of ten games away from Miami on the penultimate day of the work week.
  • Follow the leader:  It’s not just one of the better tracks in Eric B. and Rakim’s extensive catalog; it’s what Virginia Tech gets to do this week.  After surrendering 85 yards and two touchdowns to ACC rushing leader James Conner (959 yards this season) last week, they will face Miami’s Duke Johnson (787 yards, good for second in the conference) this week.  Johnson averages just over 6.7 yards per carry for his career in Coral Gables, and 7.15 yards per carry in 2014.
  • Donuts are bad for you:  (No, not the food kind.  I’d never say that.)  Virginia Tech has scored in 250 consecutive games, which the Hokie sports information department identifies as the fifth-longest active streak in the FBS.  Meanwhile, Miami’s defense has not recorded a shutout since blanking the Rattlers of Florida A&M 45-0 in a September 2, 2010 tilt.

Print that, tweet that, whatever:  These two struggling schools will tee it up, with the loser likely eliminated from the ACC race, and maybe from their coach.

North Carolina (3-4, 1-2 ACC) at Virginia (4-3, 2-1 ACC)
12:30pm | ACC Network

  • Not-so-fantastic four:  Four is a somewhat frustrating number for the Cavaliers against Larry Fedora and the Tar Heels of late.  Fedora has won all four games he has coached against the ‘Hoos (two at Southern Miss and two at Carolina).  The Tar Heels, meanwhile, have four consecutive wins against the Cavaliers.  Virginia’s last defeat of the Heels was a 16-3 decision in 2009.  After last week’s decision, UVa is 1-8 against Carolina and Duke in this decade.
  • You can’t score…but we can’t stop you:  Virginia’s sports information department mentions that the Cavaliers are only averaging 15.1 points per game against Carolina over their last nine meetings, and just 14.3 per game since 2008.  Mike London’s team ranks tenth in the ACC in scoring offense (29 points per game), while North Carolina ranks last in the ACC — and next-to-last nationally — allowing 43.3 points per game.
  • A notable year:  Virginia first played North Carolina on October 22, 1892.  Among other things that happened in 1892:
    • Immigrants begin to make their way to Ellis Island
    • James Naismith’s basketball rules make their first printed appearance
    • General Electric is formed
    • Thomas Edison patents the two-way telegraph
    • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is published
    • Grover Cleveland is elected to his second term as President

Print that, tweet that, whatever:  Speaking of struggling teams, here are two more.  UVa’s schedule (at GT and FSU, vs. MIA, at VT) means they may not win again.

Georgia Tech (5-2, 2-2 ACC) at Pitt (4-3, 2-1 ACC)
3:30pm | ESPNU

  • How did that happen?:  The Yellow Jackets recorded 611 yards of total offense against North Carolina last week — and lost.  The output vaulted Georgia Tech into the top spot in total offense in the conference, averaging 463.3 yards per game.  Paul Johnson’s offense recorded 600 yards in a game for the first time since piling 712 on FCS Presbyterian in a 59-3 victory on September 8, 2012.
  • There’s no “D” in Pittsburgh…officially, anyway:  The Panther defense has been suffocating this season, allowing just shy of 281 yards per game.  That total is good for second-best in the ACC and fourth in the FBS.  That total increases slightly against ACC competition, as Boston College, Virginia and Virginia Tech have combined to average just over 304 yards against Pitt.  Georgia Tech, meanwhile, averages 460 yards of total offense against ACC competition in four outings this year.
  • Stealing a win in the Steel City:  Much like Pitt’s undefeated record against Virginia Tech in the home of Primanti Brothers, Eat ‘n Park and the confluence, the Panthers own a similarly unblemished home record against the Jackets.  Of course, those three victories occurred in 1918, 1919 and 1920.

Tweet that, print that, whatever:  Two run-first offenses do battle in this one.  They’re also numbers four (Pitt) and six (Tech) in the ACC in time of possession.

Boston College (4-3, 1-2 ACC) at Wake Forest (2-5, 0-3 ACC)
3:30pm | RSN

  • Calling history nerds:  This series actually dates back to the 1940s, and our friends over at Stadium Journey will appreciate this note.  The venues in which these teams have played include a current baseball facility (Fenway Park) and a former baseball facility (Braves Field in Boston).  Mostly demolished in 1953, Braves Field hosted six of the first eight games the teams played in Boston.
  • You take the good, you take the bad:  The good news from Wake’s 30-7 loss to Syracuse last week? The Deacs notched their third-highest rushing total of the season last week.  The bad? That total was 71 yards.  57 of those yards were gained by redshirt freshman Dezmond Wortham, who was making his first start as a Deac.  Wake is still last in the ACC and the nation in rushing, averaging 36.71 rushing yards per game.
  • You’re grounded:  Fans of the passing game will want to steer clear of this contest.  The Eagles rank 120th in the FBS in passing offense (130 yards per game), while the Demon Deacons rank 113th (170 yards per game).  BC has not thrown for 200 yards in a game this season, with their high on the year a 173-yard effort against UMass to begin the season.  Wake, meanwhile, threw for greater than 200 yards in three consecutive games, but has thrown for just 185 yards combined in the last two games.

Print that, tweet that, whatever:  Barring something miraculous, BC moves one step closer to another bowl game.  Not much else to say.

Syracuse (3-4, 1-2 ACC) at #21 Clemson (5-2, 4-1 ACC)
7:00pm | ESPNU

  • Slim Pickens (County):  The Orange have never visited the largest city in South Carolina’s Pickens County, and these teams have played just twice in their history.  Clemson thumped ‘Cuse in western New York last year, 49-14, while Syracuse claimed a shutout victory in the 1996 Gator Bowl.
  • Solid Orange:  Despite the attention over Clemson’s injuries on the offensive side of the ball — with running back Adam Choice now added to that list — Brent Venables’ defense is locking down opponents.  The Tigers are a top-20 unit in every major defensive category, including ranking fifth in total defense (just shy of 283 yards per game).  Clemson has held three consecutive opponents to 264 yards or fewer.
  • A gift for the seniors:  Scott Shafer’s rebuild job in Syracuse could get another boost on Saturday, if his charges can leave the Memorial Stadium turf with a win.  The last Syracuse victory against a top-25 team outside the Carrier Dome happened in 2010, as the Orange won the Ben Schwartzwalder Trophy by beating West Virginia 19-14 in Morgantown on October 23rd of that year.  Syracuse picked Geno Smith three times that afternoon, holding the powerful Mountaineer offense to just 284 total yards.

Print that, tweet that, whatever:  Shafer has gotten two respectable efforts from A.J. Long, but Death Valley is a different animal.  Clemson’s looking at another slugfest.

Trivia answer:  I asked earlier:  North Carolina and Virginia renew “pleasantries” this weekend in The South’s Oldest Rivalry.  Which is the only currently-active rivalry to have played a greater amount of games in its history than UNC and UVa’s 118?

The Minnesota-Wisconsin battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe renews itself for the 124th time on November 29th.  Wisconsin will try to draw within two games of Minnesota all-time when the teams tee it up at Camp Randall Stadium.

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  1. jerry wilmer
    October 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Really good recap of upcoming games.While none of these are barn burner games,the Coastal is up for grabs,so each week someone has a chance to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.Personally,I am hoping for another Tech loss tonight.
    Great job,as usual!