The ACC dropped two more games versus teams from other BCS conferences, but at least they were at ranked clubs from the Big 12. But the most important game delivered on the national stage.
Florida State beat Clemson in a ballyhooed matchup that put the ACC on center stage nationally, and the Seminoles finished the night a national title contender. Clemson didn’t do so bad, either, as the Tigers entertained with their gifted offensive attributes.
Here is this week’s report card:
Boston College – Did not play.
Clemson – For more than a half, the Tigers looked like one of the best teams in the nation in building a 10-point lead at Florida State. Tajh Boyd was sensational, and the rest of Clemson’s offensive skill guys and even the defense did their parts. But the Tigers were overrun the rest of the way in falling 49-37. Yet, this remains a darn good team that may not lose again. That’s its true test to see if it’s taken the next step. Grade: B.
Duke – Make that three routs for the Blue Devils through four games after a 38-14 victory over Memphis on Saturday. Duke totaled 500 yards, but its defense is the bigger story, as the Devils allowed just 152 total yards and nine first downs. Duke even turned over the ball four times without forcing one yet still cruised. The program is clearly making progress. Grade: A.
Florida State – Welcome back, at least we think FSU is back. The 28-0 second-half explosion on Clemson was right out of the Bobby Bowden 1990s handbook. The Seminoles were scary good. In all, FSU beat Clemson 49-37 while racking up 667 total yards, including nearly 300 on the ground. FSU can’t slip up, but it may have only a few opportunities to before Florida visits after Thanksgiving. Grade: A+.
Georgia Tech – As soon as the Yellow Jackets looked like the team to beat in the Coastal Division after an impressive 36-point eruption on Miami, which followed a 36-point rout of Virginia a week earlier, the bottom fell out. Miami came back to send the game to overtime and later won in the extra session, 42-36. Tech allowed Miami 609 total yards in running 18 more offensive plays. Grade: C-.
Maryland – The Terrapins may have lost 31-21 at West Virginia, but they acquitted themselves rather well. The Terps were tough on defense (WVU had a defensive touchdown) and made Geno Smith and company work for everything they got. True freshman QB Perry Hills had his best game, completing 20 of 29 pass attempts for 305 yards and three touchdowns. Randy Edsall’s team isn’t the disaster so many predicted. They can build on this. Grade: B.
Miami – Okay, here’s what we know about the Hurricanes: They are as unpredictable as any team in the ACC, and that says a lot seeing that the league can be rather schizophrenic. The same team that caved in at Kansas State two weeks ago opened with a 19-0 lead at Georgia Tech, but more impressive was how Al Golden’s team overcame a 36-19 deficit to beat the Jackets in overtime 42-36. That’s two road wins in league play for this young and obviously growing team. Grade: A. North Carolina – UNC is still a long way from finding a comfort zone with its new spread offense. It’s a simple matter of time and repetitions. The Tar Heels were solid in beating East Carolina 27-6 on Saturday. They amassed 450 yards and didn’t turn over the ball, and Bryn Renner had excellent numbers again: 27-43, 321 yards and two scores. The defense allowed just 233 yards and hasn’t surrendered a touchdown in two home games. Grade: B.
N.C. State – Slowly, N.C. State appears to be improving, as is the case just about every year under Tom O’Brien. Freshman Shadrach Thornton ran for 145 yards and scored two touchdowns in his first college game and the Wolfpack totaled 515 yards in beating The Citadel 52-14. The Bulldogs were 3-0 and coming off a rout of Appalachian State. but were no match for the Pack. Grade: A.
Virginia – Mike London has a real problem on his hands. In their last five games versus FBS teams, Virginia has been outscored 180-68, and the only win was by a point over a team that missed four field goals. TCU pounded the Cavaliers on Saturday, 27-7, in a game UVa was really never in. So much went wrong it would be use up too much space to list here. If anything, there should be a QB controversy. Grade: F. Virginia Tech – Frank Beamer’s team finally found a running game in pummeling Bowling Green 37-0. The Hokies ran for 246 yards, which is a good thing because Logan Thomas struggled throwing the ball again, competing just 11 of 26 yards with an interception. Tech needs to build on this. Grade: B.
Wake Forest – The Deacs needed a win and they got one, 49-37 over Army. It wasn’t pretty, though. The fans certainly love the points, but Wake needed to flex more BCS muscles in this game than it did. It didn’t have the decisive edge up front it should have. Michael Campanaro was awesome again caught 12 passes for 153 yards and two scores and ran for another TD as Wake racked up 517 yards. Grade: C+.