On another note, State's 309th in tempo. Northwestern is 326th. Tomorrow's night game will make the Herb Sendek years look like the UNLV Runnin' Rebs of the 90s.
View the complete entry of "Look At All Those Pretty Green Numbers (KenPom.com)"
As for the rest of the conference, on paper this might be one of the best rivalry week lineups in recent memory. But on the field, these games leave a lot to be desired. I'm not sure anyone will care outside of each team's respective regions. No team is playing for bowl eligibility. Clemson and Georgia Tech are playing for nothing more than bragging rights. Only one of four NC teams is going bowling. Florida State is a three touchdown underdog to the Gators. Miami (Fla.)-South Florida isn't a rivalry game with only one game ever played between the two programs. And I'm sure Virginia Tech will take again take Virginia to the woodshed.The rest of the questions and answers follow. Warning: Dial-up users, proceed with caution...massive text-age ahead.
Nice attempt by the league's scheduling office, but much like this year's college football season, rivalry week seems to be a bit of a dud.
I think it actually hurts their performances this week. It’s a weird situation. Whoever heard of a rivalry game as a potential “trap game”? Yet in the grand scheme of things, the games in Columbia and Atlanta don’t mean nearly as much as the one in Tampa.Gobbler Country takes a differing, more succinct look at it:
Put it this way. Let’s say C.J. Spiller’s bum toe really starts acting up in the second quarter against the Gamecocks. Should Dabo Swinney rest him in the second half to make sure Spiller is ready to go the following week?
Ordinarily there’s no question about what Swinney should do. This week it’s at least debatable.
If you can't get up for a rivalry game you have no right to be in the conference title game. I vote that if they lose it should count as two ACC losses.Winfield of From The Rumble Seat introduces math into the equation (which really hurts the brain on a Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving):
If we were only considering BCS championship games, the numbers don't really indicate much. Teams that lost their regular season finale are 6-8 all time in conference title games since the first SEC title game in 1992. Teams that lost the conference title game are 25-9 coming into the title game while teams that won the title game are 26-7-1 in their last regular season contest. I'm not jinxing GT or CU by any means because 18 out of 34 BCS conference title games were played by teams that both won their last regular season games. One game, the 1993 SEC title was played between two season finale losers - UF and Bammer.Everyone seems to agree, however, that the potential for injuries is heightened in a rivalry game and that could have a big impact on the title game picture.
To answer the question, yes, if either lose their finale, they'll lose the championship game. We're basing this thought on GT's demoralization in 2006 after a terrible loss to the dogs and eventual loss to the Demon Deacons (that, and Pat Nix). Clemson and GT don't deserve to play such pathetic SEC teams to finish the season but alas they are. If either gets upset, it'll be a pretty big blow to the ACC and the respective school's psyche going into the ACCCG.
I think it's perfectly fair to shorten that to three or four years. By year four, you've got all your guys in place and there's absolutely no excuses about learning a new system. You should be hitting your stride. Industry standard should be four, and if after three years the program is still foundering and there appears to be no reason to expect any improvement in the next season, then dropping the axe is also fair.Jim Young of ACCSports.com weighs in with a broader perspective:
I still think five years is a good standard. Yes, Paul Johnson has made an immediate impact, but it also helps to make that impact when the previous coach has left you Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett … you get my point. Plus, Johnson also happened to inherit a quarterback with the physical skills to run his system. Rich Rodriguez did not, and we all know how well that’s going at Michigan.Brandon from On The B.Rink uses Clemson's situation to illustrate his point:
Speaking of RichRod, he may be the answer to that last question. Personally, I think he deserves more time. I believe his system can win. But right now, his abrasive personality isn’t helping fans of Big Blue stay patient.
Look at Clemson, possibly Bowden could have done what Dabo did this season with how inconsistent the Atlantic has been–but Swinney brought a whole new mentality to Clemson football and they are going to Tampa now. The five years theory really should depend upon the talent level he is left with–I don’t know how you gauge that though, but in some cases, it is clear. Sticking with the Clemson example, there is no way that Dabo gets 5 years if he went 6-6 four years in a row. Ultimately, there is no fairness in college coaching these days–you either win or your gone. I would say it is down to 3 years now for the standard and even that is kinda shaky.And Willy Mac follows up with the Clemson perspective:
I think it depends on the situation, but three to five should be the given norm. Agreeing to this only fuels the beast that is the “What have you done for me lately attitude.” It’s a disgusting outlook on the game. Again, I said it depends on the situation. If Dabo had come in and laid two stank seasons in a row, I wouldn’t even want to give him a third. Especially if we lost to Carolina or did not so great in recruiting. In the end, five years still is and should be the industry standard. Hell, we gave our last coach twice that.Winfield of From The Rumble Seat with the view of a school benefiting from the rapid success of a recent hire:
We gave Chan six years to show some marked improvement. He got some helluva good recruits but couldn't achieve the GT fanbase's collective goals: beat Georgie and win the ACC every once in a while. All in all, he is remembered for 6 failures against Georgie and big time flops against quality ACC teams. When he had time to scheme, he was a great coach. In games where there was no external motivation, his teams played like crap (ala Duke and UNC games).Bottom line: There seems to be no real "standard." Coaching hiring, firing and the validity of a coach's seat temperature all differ on a case-by-case basis.
It's all relative. Some coaches need time to rebuild programs like Wannstedt at Pitt while others can build instantly because of their unique offenses and the personnel they inherited (Paul Johnson).
Willy from Block-C offers his version of "reality:"
Since BC doesn't have a rivalry game this week, I'll focus on the other ACC rivalries and what can be done to improve the visibility of these games:
- Florida-Florida State - send ESPN College Gameday to campus to create buzz for a game that features a 21 point underdog (check)
- Georgia Tech-Georgia - the Rambling Wreck runs over the next Uga. Too soon?
- Clemson-South Carolina - more above .500 seasons for South Carolina in the SEC
- NC State-North Carolina - these two teams play in a very rare college football doubleheader - in the final regular season game and the ACC Championship (try to hold back your laughter)
- Wake Forest-Duke - disband both school's basketball programs citing budget shortfalls
- Virginia-Virginia Tech - UVa hires Bud Foster as HC
- Miami-South Florida - play more games against one another
Honestly, as a traditionalist I have to say ours is the best. Now as a realist, I have to say ours is the best. In the nation. Just because more schools have more fans that will disagree a la a Texas or a Michigan, doesn’t mean I’m not right. And for those that nay say, let me ask you this: Has your rivalry ever reached the point of on field fisticuffs? Hell, one year way back in the day when Clemson lost Big Thursday down in Columbia our Cadets started taking shit over and forcefully held Cola with rifles until our professors went down there and calmed things down.The folks in Virginia weigh in.
Not very high. The combination of basically almost never having both teams be good at the same time and not having anything tangible to play for (i.e., Michigan/Ohio State lore is founded on the Rose Bowl as the every-year prize) combined to make the Virginia instate rivalry not too important in national eyes. And yes, "win more" would be a huge plus. But I think the right step has already been taken, and in 2007, it came to fruition, with the winner earning the ACCCG berth and the game on national TV. With the two teams in the same division, there's a good chance each year that the outcome of the game will have some kind of effect on the division title. That'll slowly but surely increase visibility.CGB:
The Commonwealth Cup would become more than just a blip on the national radar if Virginia was more relevant and won the game once in a while. A rivalry loses its luster when one team continually shows up, gets slaughtered and is eaten up.And Gobbler Country with a very solid idea:
I said this in the summer. The Hokies and Hoos need a better trophy. The Commonwealth Cup is stupid, should be replaced with something awesome and I think it should be a giant bust of George Washington. He was the father of our country and from Virginia, so he's a perfect choice. I want to see Virginia Tech seniors carry ol' George above their heads and I want to hear our fans chanting "we want head" as the second tick away on a Hokie victory. Other than winning, I think that's the best step to improving the visibility of our rivalry.To follow up on Gobbler's point, I think the State/Carolina game needs a trophy, as well. In fact I tackled this proposition last season and, well, it's barbecue-themed. I may in fact be somewhat obsessed with barbecue.
Eastern style? Lexington style? Hell if I know. I'll go with Brother Jimmy's style (the one on the Upper East Side, not the one near the Garden). Which type of barbecue is that?College Game Balls:
Fuck barbecue, in Virginia we’re all about ham. But, if you’re putting a gun to my head, which if I read between the lines you are, I’m slow smoking my meats over a combination of charcoal and maple chips slathered in my homemade (Sweet Baby Ray’s) honey barbecue sauce.From Old Virginia:
Alright, look, man. I might have gone to school in the South but I was born and raised in the North. And besides that, Virginia isn't really the barbecuing epicenter of the world anyway. You want barbecue debates, go to Alabama or something. It's not that we don't like barbecue, but damn if we don't find it a bit silly that you care that damn much. We don't really expect you to know the right way to order a coney dog or care which of the two rival establishments you get it from (and if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about or who these establishments are then you get the point), and we don't want to be pulled into a knock-down, drag-out fight over who has too much vinegar in their sauce.On The B.Rink:
This is quite an awesome question. BBQ is so different from one part of the country to another. My parents grew up in Upstate NY and BBQ to them was chicken in a special vinegar-based sauce(good stuff too). In Memphis where I once lived, it was all about Gridley’s. In South Carolina now, there is a BBQ place on every corner seemingly that is not occupied by a church. My favorite now is the pork BBQ with a tomato-based sauce at Ole Country Smokehouse in Anderson, SC as mustard-based is gross(though they offer this also).From The Rumble Seat:
Winfield wants a mustard base and Dane licks his chops when he hears "Mrs. Griffin's Barbecue sauce". Bird is a communist and doesn't like pork so he doesn't understand.
Because I don't live in the Commonwealth, I really can't give you a good answer for Virginny. But here in the 405 we are fortunate enough to have the best BBQ sauce I've ever experienced, Head Country. So even when you run into the occasional restaurant that has no idea how to cook a pig, you're still good to go if you have a bottle of Head Country. The best way to tell people who know BBQ vs. those who don't is ribs. If they like beef ribs, they aren't to be trusted and you're best to distance yourself from them. If they like pork ribs, they're good people. Virginia Tech = pork ribs. france = beef ribs.Jim Young, ACCSports.com:
You’re putting me in an impossible position here. Whatever answer I give will earn me angry emails from whichever barbecue constituency I ignore.And finally, Block-C's Willy Mac with the best answer of them all:
It’s very similar to the questions about job openings that coaches get this time of year.
So allow me to use a little coachspeak in my answer.
“I’m extremely happy with my current style of barbecue. As of right now I have absolutely no reason to consider other styles. I look forward to many, many years of eating the style of barbecue that I prefer.”
I don’t know where Chili stands on this issue, but as a man with an underground pig pit that I built myself in my backyard, I’ve found that three things are most important when talking about barbecue: BBQ is smoked pork, anything other meat doesn’t qualify; Never trust a BBQ joint that doesn’t serve both pulled and chopped pork; a sweeter sauce or mustard-based sauce are best for serving company. Personally, I love the Cheerwine sauce from Smokin’ Stokes off Augusta Road here in Greenville for any application on any meat. I’ve found through personal experience though that if you cook your pig with time and care, the people eating the pig shouldn’t need too much sauce. You need a nice seasoning and salt application to begin with. The next important part is consistency in temperature and the type of wood you use to smoke the beast. Lastly, when you flip the pig lather it with a whole jar of honey on the tenderloins, butts, and any other portion you deem necessary.There you have it. God bless you if you made it this far. Even if the games don't have much riding on them, it should be a good final weekend of ACC football.
I’ll be graduating this December, but this may not be the last Carolina-State game you see me in. I finally got approved for that sixth year, which I talked a little bit about last week. I think it’s great that I got the sixth year. It’s a great opportunity and a blessing to get more time. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity.
I’ll make the decision over the next couple of weeks; not too long after the Carolina game. I’ve got to talk to my dad, whose opinion I respect as much as anyone’s, coach [Tom] O’Brien, the rest of the coaching staff and a lot of other people. I want to come back, but I also want to figure out what’s best for my future.
I just want to say thanks for following the column, and thanks to all the fans who supported me and my comeback. I’m really thankful that everyone stuck through the year, even though I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. I’ve had a blast playing here. I’m not sure what my future holds, but I’m want to thank everyone for being a part of Wolfpack Nation – we do it all for you.
We’ll see you at the game, one last time.
NC State offensive coordinator Dana Bible had been diagnosed with cancer, coach Tom O'Brien just said at his weekly Monday press conference.
O'Brien said he found out on Friday, and it was a very difficult day in Blacksburg on Saturday. Bible will undergo treatment for the next 30 days, and O'Brien will hire a temporary replacement to help the Pack get through this weekend's game against North Carolina. Bible coached the quarterbacks and wide receivers, too. He and O'Brien have coached together for 11 years.
"Prayers will be welcome, and they’re definitely needed," O'Brien said.
O'Brien is still in the middle of his press conference. I'll have much more on this in a bit.
|KenPom.com's Scouting Report on Akron|
|Adj. Efficiency:||121.8 ||107.0 ||99.2|
|Adj. Tempo:||69.9 ||69.8|
|Effective FG%:||47.0 ||54.6 ||48.5|
|Turnover %:||13.1 ||17.5 ||21.4|
|Off. Reb. %:||43.3 ||35.9 ||33.4|
|FTA/FGA:||37.9 ||59.3 ||38.2|
It's a team that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year (23-13) with four starters and 13 letterwinners returning. They lost to Gonzaga in the 1st round, but pretty much led the entire way.So it looks like State will have their hands full this afternoon. Vegas seems to think so, too. They've got State with only a slight edge as a 1.5-point favorite. Basically it's a pick 'em. This may be a better test than expected to see if the new look, re-energized, We're-all-for-one-and-one-for-all-f**k-those-losers-from-last-year-that-are-gone-now Wolfpack can win the hustle stats: snagging rebounds and loose balls while dictating increased tempo.
They are the preseason favorite to win the MAC again and have been selected as the #8 "Mid Major" in the nation.
They also added a top 50 recruit.
They are extremely solid and very, very well coached. They're usually an extremely disciplined team. I would say that State needs to play well. If not, I could totally seeing Akron winning. They certainly won't be intimidated by facing an ACC school.
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.
Sir, if I may say so, that's the epitome of "badass." Well done.
The last time High Point's Dewey Corn missed an NC State football game, his young neighbor, Johnny Evans, kicked an 81-yard punt that helped the Wolfpack beat Penn State, 15-14, in Beaver Stadium.
That was on Nov. 8, 1975, and he hasn't missed a play since.
The 86-year-old Corn has witnessed 209 victories, 185 defeats and five ties during the 35-year streak. He's been to 18 bowl games, including six trips to Atlanta for the Peach Bowl and a lone trip to Tucson, Ariz., for the long-defunct Copper Bowl, where he met Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.
Saturday's NC State-Clemson matchup at Carter-Finley Stadium will be Corn's 400th consecutive Wolfpack football game, a remarkable streak that spans the careers of seven head coaches, 17 All-America players and a half dozen NC State chancellors.
The North Carolina State University team of Kevin Beverley and Ben Dziwulski captured the FLW Collegiate Fishing Northern Regional Championship on Lake Norman Sunday. The pair caught their limit of six bass, which weighed in at a total 9 pounds, 6 ounces.
The tourney was hosted by the Town of Davidson and Davidson College, and weigh-in was on the Davidson Village Green Sunday afternoon.
Winning the Northern Regional Championship earned the Wolfpack team a $25,000 check for their school, a Ranger bass fishing boat, and a trip to the national championships in April in Knoxville.
“I won’t mention names, but we’ve had players who have been more about themselves, would rather score 30 points than N.C. State win the game,” Mays said. “We also had players trying to get other players to turn against the coach and get them on their page instead of Coach’s page. When you’ve got individuals like that, you can’t win.LOL, no, no he didn't.
“Now, with the young guys and the veterans that we have, we’re all on the same page with each other, and I feel like we can be a lot different.”
Official Basketball Box Score
St. Paul's College vs NC State
11/05/09 7 pm at Raleigh, N.C. (Reynolds Coliseum)
VISITORS: St. Paul's College 0-0
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
00 Lassiter, Roger..... * 1-6 0-1 0-0 4 1 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 27
01 Leseur, George...... * 2-12 1-8 0-0 0 2 2 3 5 2 4 0 2 34
03 Williams, Kedrick... * 5-20 3-8 1-4 0 4 4 2 14 1 2 0 2 30
05 Rasoull, Ibn-Saeed.. * 3-14 0-2 4-6 1 4 5 4 10 0 5 0 0 34
15 McBeth, Quinton..... * 2-5 0-0 1-2 5 0 5 2 5 1 0 0 2 22
10 Johnson, Kwame...... 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 1 0 0 3 22
11 Church, Andrew...... 0-3 0-1 2-2 1 0 1 2 2 1 1 0 0 9
12 Davis, Jason........ 0-2 0-0 0-1 2 2 4 2 0 0 1 0 1 10
20 Reed, Johnny........ 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 11
42 Totten, Kendrell.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
TEAM................ 5 5
Totals.............. 15-68 4-21 8-15 19 15 34 16 42 7 14 0 10 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-34 26.5% 2nd Half: 6-34 17.6% Game: 22.1% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-8 12.5% 2nd Half: 3-13 23.1% Game: 19.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 3-4 75.0% 2nd Half: 5-11 45.5% Game: 53.3% 2
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
10 Gonzalez, Javier.... * 2-3 1-2 0-1 0 5 5 2 5 6 3 0 4 17
15 Wood, Scott......... * 4-4 4-4 0-0 1 1 2 0 12 0 0 0 1 22
21 Williams, C.J....... * 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 4 5 1 0 0 15
23 Smith, Tracy........ * 9-11 0-0 3-3 2 2 4 2 21 0 0 3 1 21
31 Horner, Dennis...... * 2-10 0-6 3-4 1 3 4 1 7 2 1 1 0 23
04 Kufuor, Enrico...... 0-1 0-1 2-2 0 5 5 0 2 0 3 0 1 8
05 Painter, DeShawn.... 4-6 0-1 0-1 1 5 6 2 8 1 1 0 1 20
12 Degand, Farnold..... 2-3 0-1 2-2 1 5 6 3 6 4 1 0 0 17
14 Vandenberg, Jordan.. 3-5 0-0 0-0 1 4 5 1 6 3 5 1 0 13
22 Davis, Josh......... 1-3 0-0 1-2 2 1 3 0 3 1 1 0 0 9
24 Mays, Julius........ 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 3 1 0 0 1 23
30 Thomas, Johnny...... 2-3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 1 3 0 0 9
40 Obi-Gwacham, Kaycee. 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 3 3 1 3 0 0 1 0 3
TEAM................ 1 3 4
Totals.............. 33-56 7-20 11-15 11 39 50 13 84 24 19 6 9 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-27 55.6% 2nd Half: 18-29 62.1% Game: 58.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 6-12 50.0% 2nd Half: 1-8 12.5% Game: 35.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 8-10 80.0% 2nd Half: 3-5 60.0% Game: 73.3% 1
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!)