Winfield Tufts (what, no Esquire?) of "From The Rumble Seat," Georgia Tech's representative of the SB Nation, is hosting this week's ACC Roundtable. Master Tufts unloaded on us with seven questions this week so he's going to make us work for the pageviews.
His questions and my answers follow.
His questions and my answers follow.
1. Alright fellas, this is your turn to apologize to the Boston College Eagles who went to Hell and back and have now arrived as the 3rd team for the ACC (and only team in the Atlantic) to be bowl eligible. You know you were snickering in the preseason. Also, give a high five to Mark Herzlich for finishing his last treatment of chemo.
I will most definitely give Frank Spaziani and the folks at BC their due for keeping the ship afloat with nothing more than bubble gum, duct tape and spit. Like Dean Smith, I keep waiting for them to die but they just...won't...DIE. Kudos to them. And yes, Mark Herzlich deserves a big high five, some hugs and a gift basket of fruit for completing his cancer treatment. With any luck he'll be back on the field next season terrorizing the rest of the Atlantic and proving me wrong for a fourth year in a row.
2. An Orange Bowl victory over a Boise/TCU or an Orange Bowl victory over a Penn State/Cincy team - which means more for the conference? Is there even a difference?
I guess I'll rank the potential victories in order of most important to least:
1. Boise St.
3. Penn St.
Boise St. and TCU were a toss up for the top spot. Both are highly ranked and media darlings. I went with Boise St. over TCU just because they have built more of a name over the last few years (beating OK on the last play of the game was a huge boost for their program) than has TCU, but to play spoiler to either of these teams would be huge.
I put Penn St. third because they're a traditional power and pretty highly ranked, but playing an ACC team in the Orange Bowl is a downgrade for them based on where they were projected to start the season. Penn St. making the Orange Bowl would almost be like a consolation BCS berth.
I put Cincy fourth because they don't have either the name or the track record to qualify as a "bump" for the league. Until Cincy wins a BCS bowl they're still a lesser commodity without tradition. Further, they lost to the ACC last season in the Orange Bowl. I don't see the ACC getting any brownie points for beating the same team in the same bowl in back-to-back years.
But let's hold our horses on Cincy even MAKING the Orange Bowl...they've still got Pitt sitting there at 4-0 in the league. If both teams make it through the rest of the conference slate undefeated, Pitt hosts Cincy on Dec. 5th for all the Big East marbles. And with Cincy quarterback Tony Pike nursing a bum arm, we could be asking if the ACC would get a boost defeating the Big East champion whose one loss came at the hands of one of the worst ACC teams (yeah, that would be N.C. State).
3. Enough with the CJ Spillers, the Christian Ponders, and the Jacory Harrises. We wanna talk defense. Who is the defensive POTY thus far in the ACC?
I think Vince Oghobaase from Duke deserves some serious consideration here. I know the higher profile teams like Virginia Techs and Miamis have rosters loaded with speed and nastiness, but Duke's won three games in a row in conference due in large part to the play of their defense. Yeah, Duke can score some points and Thad Lewis is a great quarterback and David Cutcliffe coached the Manning brothers (if only I had a nickel for everytime that's been said locally), but ever since the second half of the State game where Duke's defense shut down an offense that just posted 500+ yards and 42 points in Tallahassee, Duke has played very solid defensively. Oghobaase is 15th in the league in tackles for loss (Jason Worilds at VT is 21st), which is pretty solid for a defensive tackle. I'm a believer in winning the battles up front, and Vince has been getting it done of late. If we want to crown Duke as the surprise team thus far this season, he -- and the rest of the defense behind him -- deserves a great deal of credit. You can't win with just offense...lord knows State's tried.
4. Recently, Bird compared the Atlantic to the Big 12 North. Is this a fair comparison? The Coastal is currently 8-2 against the Atlantic. There are still 8 interdivision games left. Can the Atlantic redeem itself this season?
I can live with that comparison (kudos to Bill Snyder, by the way, returning to KSU and getting them to the top of the Big 12 North scrap heap for the time being in just one season). To answer the second question, a flat "No" should suffice.
5. Tailgating is essential to all things football. In Atlanta, the tailgating game of choice is cornhole. What is your game of choice to pass the time?
As the N.C. State representative, I feel obligated to speak out on the issue of tailgating restrictions, specifically those placed on our fanbase by the school's administration. For those unaware, a tragic shooting occurred in one of the parking lots adjacent to the stadium involving two persons who never had tickets nor planned on attending the game. In response, our administration instituted a four-hour tailgating restriction, a knee-jerk reaction if there ever was one given that it didn't address the core issue -- folks without tickets with no intention of going to the game showing up just to party. The way it should've been addressed is increased security patrolling the lots. But no, the administration took the easy, cheaper way out by punishing ALL game-goers by limiting the tailgating time. This response, of course, does NOTHING to limit binge drinking BEFORE folks hit the parking lots, nor does it improve the security presence in the parking lots.
The limiting of tailgating time as a response to incidents of drunken rowdiness seems to be a growing trend at schools and pro sports alike, given it was recently addressed in this column by Rick Reilly. Like most decisions made by administrators these days -- particularly here at dysfunctional N.C. State -- the easy way out is preferred to actually WORKING the problem to find a solution that benefits the greater good. (*middle finger to State's administration*)
But yeah, cornhole rocks (when we have time to play it).
6. Let's cut to the chase. There are two kinds of people: sheep and sharks. Sharks are winners and they don't look back 'cause they don't have necks. Necks are for sheep. Is your team full of sharks or is your team full of sheep?
What about swimming sheep with kickass fangs and their necks in traction? Nevermind. We're sheep, particularly on the defensive side. I direct you to this post by fellow State blogger Steven who hosted a clip of a State defender PULLING UP on a ballcarrier to AVOID making a tackle. That's as sheepish as it gets.
7. Create a cocktail in the spirit of your school and explain it to us. Non-edible ingredients are allowed and encouraged.
I gotta go with the Bloody Mary. They're red and nine times out of 10, they look like shit, taste like shit and smell like shit...but that 10th time, boy, everything comes together perfectly and it's the best tasting shit you've ever had. (41-10!)