Will McCameron, AKA Willy Mac of Block-C is hosting this week's edition of the ACC Roundtable. You may recall that Block-C hosted Week 4's edition of the Rountable, as well, which certainly has to violate some sort of law or code somewhere in the Roundtable Bylaws. But assuming there are no bylaws, I guess it's all good. In fact, someone stepping up to host means we don't have two off weeks in a row, so it works out.
In any event, here's their questions and my answers:
In any event, here's their questions and my answers:
1) Let's just say, not trying to jinx anything here, but let's just say the Tigers make the ACC Championship game versus Georgia Tech. Who wins, and why?
Looking at the rankings, standings and the result of the head-to-head matchup from earlier this season, all signs point to a Georgia Tech win. However, Clemson's playing their best football at the end of the season as we (sadly) can attest to. Georgia Tech's playing well, also, so you would theoretically have the two hottest teams in the conference staging a rematch for the conference title. I think the preceding week heading into the ACC Title game -- where both teams square off against their most hated rivals -- will have a large bearing on the Championship game. If one team crushes their rival and the other loses in embarrassing fashion, the team coming in on a high note could have the upper hand. If I had to pick a winner, I would pick the team that wins their rivalry game in the most convincing fashion.
2) Has the ACC taken the form that you thought it would at the beginning of the season? If not, what didn't you see coming? Disappointments? Pleasant surprises?
If by "form," you mean "who knows what the hell is going to happen, just like it was last season," then yeah, the ACC has stayed true to form. After starting hot, we saw Miami come back down to a level most folks thought they'd be at during the second half of the season. Clemson looked like poo in the first half of the year and hit their low point losing back-to-back games against TCU and Maryland, but has hit the gas since and looks like the team to beat in the Atlantic. State was a huge disappointment personally, given the offensive talent this team has. They haven't failed to score but defensively they're probably the worst team in the league. Virginia Tech's losses to Georgia Tech and Carolina turned a potential at-large BCS bid team into an also-ran and has to be considered a disappointment, as well. I think Duke could be considered a pleasant surprise with the progress they've made under David Cutcliffe.
3) If your team is not in contention for the ACCCG, what are the necessary changes your program has to make to get your team into the game next year? If there's still a shot, what do you guys need to have happen in order to find yourself in Tampa? Non-team specific writers,
pick your flavor of the week and go with it.
Bottom line, State HAS to get better defensively. I think it's completely reasonable to expect defensive coordinator Mike Archer to hit the bricks at the end of this season. Injuries and youth only explain away a portion of the woes this team faces defensively. There's just no fight, no sense that they can make a stop when they need to. They're told to line up in a way that conceeds yardage before the ball is even snapped. If I'm a defensive player, my mindset shouldn't be "Just let keep everything in front of me." It should be "I'm going to f**king knock your f**king head off and plant your lifeless body into the turf five yards behind the line of scrimmage." The defense seems to have no "killer" mentality, and without it, the defense is beaten before the ball is even snapped. I put that on the coaching staff, as it's a continuation of the results seen at Archer's last coaching stop, Kentucky, where their defenses were some of the worst in the country. State's offense is too good with Russell Wilson and Toney Baker to not have a defense that can at least hold a team to under four scores.
4) If you could point to one player as the brightest spot on your team, who would that person be? Extrapolate a little for us please.
I'm giving the nod to Toney Baker. He's the unknown, forgotten feel-good story of the league because of how bad State's looked this year. The man started the season having never played a game in nearly two years following a series of knee injuries and surgeries that would've ended the careers of lesser men. All he's done since that time is lead the team in rushing and become one of the league's best tailbacks. He's a punishing runner that shows no hesitation, nor shies away from contact. My hope is that the NCAA grants him a sixth year of eligibility and he can continue on his path toward a career at the next level. Russell Wilson has been good this season, but Baker is the bright spot.
5) Swap one player on your team for a player from your hated rival. Who you got and why?
I want UNC's Quan Sturdivant. Lord knows we need some sort of defensive presence over the middle, and Sturdivant has been all over the field this year making plays in the backfield, in pass coverage and in run support. When we lost Nate Irving to injury, we lost our defensive "quarterback" and could use a player like Sturdivant in his stead. As to who to send to Carolina...hell, take your pick from the defensive back seven. They've all been equally ineffective this season, sad to say.