And what a sudden and surprising first half it has been! Some of us ACC blogs have joined together for some discussion regarding the state of ACC football. More discussions will follow and will continue beyond football season. The first discussion is headed by the guys over at BC Interruption. Click here for the original post and responses from around the conference.
1. We are about halfway through the season with the heart of the ACC football schedule upon us. Let's take a temperature check. Who ya got in the ACC Championship game? Has this changed at all from the teams you penciled in at the beginning of the season as part of your preseason predictions?
As far as Georgia Tech's fortunes, we had the Jackets slated for an 8-4 season two months ago with our losses coming from VT, Clemson, a Florida school, and Georgia. It should surprise no one that our expectations have been raised a good bit. We spoke to one of our starting defensive tackles, and he said that other than playing that school from Athens, playing UNC at Chapel Hill is probably going to be our toughest game left on our schedule, which could very possibly determine the ACC Coastal Champion (provided that Virginia Tech shoots themselves in the foot sometime soon).
Dr. Saturday does a pretty good job in chronicling the ACC pole position, and we tend to agree with him. Even though we would love to see the Hokies drop a few of their last games (which all happen to be conference matches), we are going to have to go with the most indecisive comment you'll probably ever hear from us - while everyone they play will be gunning to take down VPI (and are definitely capable of doing it), there is no reason not to favor the birds in every one of their last six games. It's frustrating, as one could make the argument that the Hokies are really not "that good"; however, they hit the strongest teams of the ACC at the right time and are now reaping that reward.
Since we sissied out on the Coastal prediction, we're going to get ballsy and say that BC gets to the Championship with a recipe that's heavy on lights out defense, skin-of-your-teeth finishes, and a healthy dose of bullshit - and it starts Saturday night against Virginia Tech.
Recap - The Hokies because we're a little bit country, and the Eagles because we're a little bit rock and roll. While these are the separate picks for each division, it is plausible prediction (if Dane's 2 a.m. standings math holds) - we could see a repeat of last year, with VPI suffering a heartbreaking season loss to BC only to meet them again in the ACCCG. Predicted attendance for such a matchup - 17. No, not 17k, just 17 people.2.
2. We've only played a few ACC games yet we've already seen some upsets of possible Championship game participants - notably Maryland over Clemson, Georgia Tech over Boston College, and Virginia over Maryland. Looking at the remaining ACC schedule, pick one league game for each of your ACC Championship game participants where they could be upset.
VPI needs to watch out for Miami, as no team in the league has more to prove than the 'Canes. They are desperately trying to take that first step in their return to glory, and so far only just falling short. If BC actually does manage to come out and decide they want the Atlantic title, it's a no-brainer - the Terps are their biggest enemy. Like one of those PCP fueled antagonists on COPS who can crash through a brick wall but then get manhandled by a 115 pound lady cop, the Terps are insanely unpredictable, and as the last game on the Eagles' schedule, we would be all nerves going into it with only one ACC loss.
3. Last one, the first BCS standings come out on October 19. While it is unlikely that an ACC team will play its way back into the National Title game conversation and a second at-large berth seems equally unlikely, at least we have the Orange Bowl! Is this the year the league puts an end to their 1-9 BCS skid? Why or why not?
Since the Orange Bowl gets the last pick for its at-large bid, the ACC Champion will end up playing a Big East champ, which means that this is the year the BCS embarrassments come to an end. Out of all of the teams that we have mentioned as possible ACC Champs (VPI, BC, Wake, GT, and UNC), all are more than capable of bringing the ACC at least a little bit of glory in the post-season.
However, we'd really like to address an assumption in the question that we think isn't necessarily correct. We believe the second at-large berth isn't a ridiculous hope - from the Coastal Division, Georgia Tech and UNC both could wind up 11-1 (only one of them could, though). Heck, even a 10-2 team from the Atlantic could wind up going - remember, last year we had a 10-2 team go to the National Title. This is college football, were craziness is the norm.