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The ACC Still Has a Chance to Recover
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #399, September 18, 2009
The ACC is off to another bad start in non-conference play. The conference is 11-7 in non-conference games, but that's not very impressive when you look at some of the wins and the losses.
The ACC's 11 non-conference wins have come against six 1-AA teams, one Sun Belt team, one MAC team, one Conference USA team, one Independent, and one PAC-10 team. Wake Forest's come from behind 24-17 win over Stanford last week is the ACC's only victory against a fellow BCS conference team, and Stanford isn't exactly a football power.
The seven losses came against a Mountain West team, a PAC-10 team, a Big 12 team, two SEC teams and two 1-AA teams. That's right, Duke and Virginia were knocked off by two 1-AA teams in week two.
The ACC is 6-2 against 1-AA teams this year, but they are very close to being 4-4. Maryland beat James Madison in overtime last Saturday, while Florida State scored the winning touchdown against Jacksonville State with under one minute left. How embarrassing would it have been to have two 1-AA losses in two straight weeks? That would have hurt.
ACC teams will have some chances to redeem themselves this week. Of course, they also have a chance to fall deeper into the hole.
Virginia Tech has a chance to knock off a ranked team, and UNC gets a respectable East Carolina team at home. A Virginia win at Southern Miss would be nice, though it's very unlikely.
Unfortunately, more harm can be done this weekend than good. Duke will probably lose at Kansas, and Middle Tennessee has a great shot to upset Maryland. Virginia is more than a two touchdown underdog at Southern Miss, and even UNC is vulnerable at home against ECU.
And yes, Virginia Tech will probably get challenged by Nebraska at home. The Hokies appear to have more talent than the Cornhuskers, but Nebraska is good enough to win the football game if things break the right way for them.
The ACC will have it's opportunity to get some big wins the rest of the season. Here's a look at their big non-conference games the rest of the way. "Big" is defined as being against a team from another BCS conference, or a ranked team.
The ACC doesn't have many more chances for any headline wins, but Miami does play Oklahoma, BC plays Notre Dame, FSU plays Florida and Georgia Tech plays Georgia. If ACC teams can steal a couple of those wins, it could help conference credibility.
It's also important for ACC teams to win the games they should win. No more losses to 1-AA teams, and beat teams like Vanderbilt, Indiana and Mississippi State.
The Hokies had their chance to help the conference earlier in the season by beating Alabama, and they failed. They'll have another chance on Saturday, this time against Nebraska.
Cornhole Tailgate Toss
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