Here we thought it was going to be a relatively quiet bye weekend Saturday with routine things happening, and nothing much in the way of status changing. Pitt was going to kill Miami. UVA was supposed to handle Louisville by at least 4, and Duke was a cinch against an exhausted beat up and disappointed Tar Heel team.
Miami Lights the Chaos Bomb’s Fuse
Well, as we were sitting in the Hokie House, nearly empty on a drizzly cool bye day, finishing up some early dinner checking the Yahoo sports feed for the wraps of the early games I saw something really intriguing . Pitt was being challenged hard by Miami. Pitt’s offense and Bobby Pickett had been pretty much shut down by the ‘Canes. The Miami offense with N’Kosi Perry behind center was nearly dreadful, but Pickett wasn’t doing much, either. So, Miami put in Jarren Williams, and completely touchdownless Pitt couldn’t stop a 32 yard touchdown pass with 1:10 left on the clock in the 4th quarter. Miami tried for 2, but it hardly mattered, because Pitt hadn’t completed a drive all day, and the game finally came to a lurching halt with the score left at Miami 16, and Pitt 12. That makes their respective records: Pitt 5-3 and 2-2 in the ACC. Miami is still sub .500 in the ACC on the season at 2-3, but it’s now hit .500 over all at 4-4.
Hoos Lose! Hoos Lose!
That was sweet enough of a treat, but something wonderful happened in Louisville, KY later after we got home from dinner. It seems that Louisville gathered up a bit of Atlantic pride, and dished a nasty conference blow to the Coastal Division leading Hoos. It seems someone figured out that Bryce Perkins is 85% of UVA’s talent, and nearly 100% of its offense. Louisville kept up some real pressure on Perkins, and limited his effectiveness to 2 touchdowns in the 1st half. There being two halves to football and Louisville being reminded of that fact, tied the score in the 3rd 14-14, and the pulled ahead with two touchdowns in the 4th quarter. That limited the denizens of Hooville to a limited number of tries to grab a tie. Perkins nearly personally drove the ball for a late touchdown, followed by an onside kick recovery, but it was all too little too late, needing a full touchdown to tie, UVA just ran out of clock and field. The game went to the home underdog Cardinals, and even more ACC chaos, plus a smile from every Hokie, was well earned. The Hoos still, sadly, lead the Coastal division with an overall 5-3 record and a 3-2 ACC tally. Louisville still doesn’t have a prayer against Clemson, but is sitting in 3rd place in the Atlantic with the exact same record.
Duke Comes Up Short with Carolina
Any UVA loss is always a good thing, but at this point, to make things more interesting Virginia Tech really needed to get another booster shot from a Coastal match-up. Call on a North Carolina old Tobacco Road grudge match to make this an amazingly interesting evening. The standings are going to change and look really weird, now, because Carolina held off a hard Duke charge to the Carolina 2 yard line with nearly no time left on the clock. Duke had a chance to tie with a field goal, thus putting the Heels into another overtime situation, but David Cutcliffe’s mild trickeration of a halfback option pass by Deon Jackson was intercepted by Carolina’s former QB turned DB Chazz Surrat earning the Blue Devils a painful kick in the shins. Now for the really odd stuff. Duke is now 2-3 in the conference, 4-4 overall, and now one spot behind us in the ACC Coastal Standings. Carolina is 4-4 overall, but sporing a 3-2 ACC record. This means that the Heels are second in the division, but we are 1 bye week and one game week behind - but in third place just ahead of Pitt.
Getting A Little Handle on Tech’s Status
It’s going to take two weeks before we get a chance to see where we are going to stand in the Division. We have only 4 ACC games with a .500 record in the Conference. Next week we travel to South Bend to play our biggest non-conference game this season. We’ll be previewing the Notre Dame Game, later, but for now the ACC will have to wait until Wake Forest comes to Lane Stadium in what what will be a key game for us. Wake is 2nd in the Atlantic but unlikely to come close to catching Clemson. It does have a Tier 2 bowl at stake by potentially claiming the #2 ranked team in the entire ACC, so they have something serious to play for. The Demon Deacons are good this season, and are coming to Lane with memories of old beatings, and old home embarrassments for us.
Tech is not going to have the luxury of looking ahead, though. The Golden Domers are heavily favored, and are going to be tough to beat. They aren’t the 2016 Irish that were struggling. They are ranked in the Top 10, and we haven’t been well known for knocking off Top 10 teams. Again, that’s for later this week.
For right now, Virginia Tech is sitting in the #3 position in the ACC Coastal Standings. Wake is tough, Georgia Tech is definitely beatable for a change, and so is Pitt. If the Hokies can play the kind of all out win at all costs football that they played last Saturday night for the remainder of the season, we might be playing the Hoos for the Coastal the day after Thanksgiving.
That would be seriously cool. (A reminder, first, the Cavaliers are 4-0 at home this year.) Announcers and press guys traditionally don’t mention the possibility of a no-hitter when it becomes obvious that the pitcher is headed in that direction in the middle innings. Some of them nearly pop a vein in the head trying to avoid the obvious. It’s kind of like one of those announcer jinx things. So we’ll just lay out the facts and leave it a Justin Fuente’s;