Around the ACC
Well, so much for the undefeated national championship season for Virginia Tech. The Hokies appeared to be hungover from the Ohio State win when an obviously very good East Carolina Pirates team jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead en route to a last-minute 28-21 upset of the Hokies. Now it's time to regroup. There is still the possibility for a very good season, beginning with Georgia Tech this weekend.
Speaking of the Yellow Jackets, they found out first hand that Georgia Southern is no ordinary Sun Belt team. Indeed, Georgia Tech needed what some consider a questionable call to pull out the victory -- but they are still undefeated.
The Pittsburgh Panthers also fell behind (by 16) but managed to come back and win the game at FIU behind another strong rushing attack. Pitt probably won't be able to get away with that against Iowa this week, however. By the way, Pittsburgh is another ACC team yet to taste defeat this season.
The Miami Hurricanes offense got on track against Arkansas State. This weekend comes the real test in Lincoln, NE versus the Cornhuskers.
Duke made short work of visiting Kansas, thus establishing themselves as the best football team at a typically basketball-first school.
Virginia managed to pull out a close win over Louisville this past weekend. The Cavalier defense continues to look strong, and they were able to put just enough offense with it to win.
UNC was idle last weekend. The Tar Heels have the honor of facing the Pirates of East Carolina this week.
What about the Atlantic Division?
Last week I wrote that Boston College did not appear to be a threat to win the Atlantic Division or to beat Virginia Tech. Well, that was before we watched the Eagles absolutely dominate both lines of scrimmage in an upset win over the visiting USC Trojans. BC did most of its damage on the ground, rushing for 452 yards while holding USC to only 20.
Florida State and Clemson were both idle last week and face each other this Saturday in Tallahassee. ESPN's Game Day will be there, and the game will be televised on ABC in prime time.
Louisville may still be a contender but now must regroup after a loss to the Wahoos in Charlottesville.
Many people assumed NC State should be on upset alert when they traveled to South Florida to play the Bulls, but instead the Wolfpack hung 49 on the home team en route to a 32-point victory.
Syracuse was also put on upset alert when the Orange faced Central Michigan, but that proved to be another false alarm as the 'Cuse defeated the Chippewas 40-3.
Wake Forest continued to have a rough year, losing at Utah State 24-36 while recording a net loss of 25 yards rushing.
The bottom line
if it weren't for the Hokies loss to East Carolina, this would have been another banner week for the ACC. However, it's still early in the season -- barely one fourth done. Virginia Tech will have plenty of time to put this loss behind them, but the road ahead won't be an easy one. Virginia and Boston College are both turning out to be tougher than we expected, and Pittsburgh continues to impress as well. And that doesn't even account for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets with their always aggravating triple option attack.
The Hokies are young at several key positions and will go through some growing pains because of that, but when the final game is played, I still expect Virginia Tech will be in the hunt for the ACC Championship and a berth in one of the top bowl games.