What should be a paragraph about Clemson-FSU and how that was a great game has to be shifted to the UNC collapse and the Duke-Virginia game, which turned out to be the best game for the ACC in Week 8. So, how about that Duke game! They rallied from a 22-0 hole for the victory and now sit at five wins on the year.
As for the Noles and Tigers, what a nightmare to have your marquee game turn unwatchable real early. A big round of applause for Florida State, but as a fan (and someone who didn’t want to see Clemson do the type of thing we all expect Clemson to do) it was a tough game to sit through – until you turned it off 90 seconds into the third quarter when it ballooned to 34-7.
Clemson - I said this last week in an e-mail with a fellow football junkie, “Bare with me for a second, but being of midwest stock, I can’t help but laugh when I hear people get bent out of shape about teams having close wins (like Clemson did last week against BC) because I vividly remember Ohio State’s agonizing 2002 national title. That year they beat Cincinnati by four (they ended 7-7), Wisconsin by five (they ended 8-6), Purdue by four (they ended 7-6) and finally Illinois by seven in overtime (they ended 5-7). So you’ll excuse me if I give Clemson a major pass for a sleepy performance against a – better than expected I might add – Boston College team a mere week before their FSU tilt.” Yikes, that looks bad. The sloppiness against BC was a teaser for the four turnover game against the Noles. They still have a path to win out, which would mean an 11-1 season. If FSU drops the Miami game and suffers something strange like the NC State game a year ago, Clemson could still find their way into the ACC title game. It is an extremely long shot, but 11-1 and a BCS game isn’t. There is still plenty to play for. Week eight grade: F
Duke – Teams tend to play a lot better when they have their starting quarterback. That is exactly what the Blue Devils did with Anthony Boone’s amazing return last week against Navy. He followed up that performance with a very strong half against Virginia as the Blue Devils rallied from a huge hole. Like I said, they are at five wins now and have Wake, NC State and UNC left to pick up that final victory to become bowl eligible. Week eight grade: B
Florida State - Yeah, this team seems pretty good I guess. Week eight grade: A+
Maryland - Injuries have hit critical mass now with receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long going down for the season, joining a growing list of defensive players out. C.J. Brown looked bad in his first game back from concussion, but the Terps are still 5-2 with Syracuse, NC State and BC still left to play. They may be a mash unit, but they are still fighting for a postseason berth – one I think they’ll get. Week eight grade: D-
Miami - As opposed to those awful NFL Thursday games, the NCAA Thursday night affairs have been pretty interesting. UNC’s near upset of Miami was the latest one. Obviously the story of this one came down to four turnovers by the Canes. Stephen Morris is a better quarterback than that and I expect him to look a lot better against Wake before the huge FSU game. Week eight grade: D+
Boston College - Idle
Pittsburgh - Pitt’s defense stunk something fierce against Old Dominion, while Tom Savage had another bad day. I still think this club is in good position for a bowl, far exceeding most predictions for the Panthers, but I had to drop them after the ugly game against the Monarchs. ats off to that brand new FBS program for being up to the task. Week eight grade: D+
Virginia Tech - Idle
Wake Forest - Stop the presses, Wake is on a roll. Winners of two straight and three of four, the Demon Deacons find themselves at four wins on the year. They have a tough slate ahead with Miami and FSU still to go, but between Syracuse, Duke and Vanderbilt there is an opportunity to get to a bowl. The most promising part of the last few games is that coach Grobe has dumped the attempt at installing the option and allowed the team to play to its strengths. Their best player is wideout Michael Campanaro, so pass the ball (A LOT) to him. Against Maryland, he caught 11 balls for 122 yards and a score. That’s a recipe I can get behind. Week eight grade: A
Georgia Tech - Yes, the Yellow Jackets won 56-0, but buying/holding/selling is about expectations and if you are exceeding/meeting/failing at those goals. Sitting at 3-2 in league play is not what the Jackets had in mind. They need to I need to dominate Pitt and Virginia, like they did Syracuse, and either win, or keep it close, at Clemson for for them to start working their way back up the stock report. Week eight grade: A+
North Carolina - Regardless of keeping it close, the loss dropped the Heels to 1-5 and winless in the league. The good thing is, they don’t face a ranked opponent again. The bad thing is, it is really hard to win out when you are 94th in scoring and 92nd in stopping teams from scoring. It is an awful year for this team and will plant Fedora firmly on the hot seat heading into next season. Week eight grade: C
NC State - Idle
Syracuse - Played like they were Idle. Week eight grade: F
Virginia - Forgot that football is a 60 minute game. Week eight grade: D-
Buy that kid dinner (if the NCAA allowed it)
Jameis Winston (QB, FSU) - 22/34, 444 yards, 13.1 avg, 3 TD, 1 INT, 89.4 QBR. Winston also had a rushing score and an 18 yard scamper.
Telvin Smith (LB, FSU), Lamarcus Joyner (DB, FSU), Christian Jones (LB, FSU) - The trio weren’t only th,e leading tacklers for Florida State but they also impacted the game in other ways. Smith had 11 tackles (7 solo), a TFL and broke up a pass. Jones had 8 tackles (7 solo), a sack, another TFL and a QB hit. Joyner had eight tackles, all solo, a sack, a hit on Boyd, two forced fumbles and an interception. In the immortal words of many men describing (insert favorite model here – I will go with Candice Swanepoel) “daaaaaaaaaaaaaamn!”
Miami made a ton of key special teams plays as they avoided the upset. In fact, the unit accounted for 16 of 27 points. Six of which came on a blocked field goal by Thomas Moore which was scooped up and taken back 67 yards by Ladarius Gunter.
Dunce of the Week
Virginia for two reasons. First, giving up the lead, and second, giving Mike London your support prior to said debacle against duke. Oh boy. So how do you give up a 22-0 lead? Here is the breakdown of Duke-Virginia with snide comments provided by yours truly:
Step one - A 55-second three-and-out late in the first half, which leads to your opponents first score — check.
Step two - On your first drive of the second half, boot a 33 yard punt, then allow the opposition to score thanks to nice starting field position – check.
Step three - Register a negative-ten yard drive, followed by another short punt, giving your opposition the ball at midfield – check and check.
Step four - This one takes real talent and coaching: On the first play from midfield, give up a 42 yard pass to set up an easy score, cutting the lead to 22-17 – check.
Step five - Have this gem of a drive:
-loss of 15 rush
-gain of 23
-delay of game
-punt on 4th and 17
Step six - On fourth and one give up a 47 yard touchdown pass (and the two-point conversion to go down three) – check.
Step seven - Put your first drive of the second half together, get in field goal range, take a penalty and then miss the kick. Strongly advised to follow that up with allowing the opposition to march down the field and score another touchdown – check and check.
Bonus points awarded for:
-Less than five second half first downs (check, they had four)
-Have at least one turnover (check, two if you count downs)
-Have bad special teams play (check, two 33 yard punts and a missed FG)
Ladies and gentleman, your 2013 Virginia Cavaliers. If Craig Littlepage’s word means anything, you can also see the encore of play like this in your 2014 Cavaliers!