Moving On


Syracuse Otto the Orange Blog Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician

It’s been an exciting two-plus years around these parts. A blog that started with the ACC’s move to expand with Syracuse and Pittsburgh continued to grow with the hopes and fears of conference realignment. There was a steep learning curve for me as a Syracuse fan, but this seemed like the best way to go about the transition — writing about a conference that my school wasn’t even part of just yet. It was easy to take a bird’s eye-view of the ACC from afar, while my team finished out its time in the Big East.

This Fall, the time had finally come. We were in the ACC. And I quickly discovered it wasn’t as easy to take that objective viewpoint anymore. Biases are natural, and mine were quickly becoming apparent while covering the league’s 14 teams. It’s not a bad thing. It just hammered home a point that everyone’s sort of known all along: at the end of the day, I’m a Syracuse fan.

To avoid making this long and drawn out and overly introspective, we’re moving on from this location. Or better put — I am moving on from this location, to a place where my egregious use of the “regal we” makes a little more sense. Going forward, I’ll be covering all aspects of the ACC (football, basketball and more) from a Syracuse perspective over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. Since I already wrote plenty over there, this isn’t an enormous transition. I’m simply writing more now. From the ACC’s weekly lessons, to previews and predictions, power rankings, et al, you’ll find those posts as part of the larger Syracuse coverage there.

If you’re not an SB Nation commenter already, I’d highly recommend signing up to join the conversation at TNIAAM or any one of the other excellent ACC blogs in the network. And for those looking for my content there, please consult the blog link here.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported this site in any way possible over the past two years. Hopefully you continue to read my increased work over at TNIAAM. Many of you — be it in the comments or on Twitter — have been huge influences on my growth and development as a writer, and for that, I thank you all.


ACC Football Daily Links — Tajh Boyd, Clemson Struggling With Incosistency and Injury in Recent Weeks

Clemson Football ACC 2013 Tajh Boyd Injury Incosistency Shaken Florida State Loss

Monday through Friday each week, we compile the best links on ACC football from around the web.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ups-and-Downs: Tajh Boyd’s Battling Through Injury, Inconsistency on the Field (Orange and White)

Tajh Boyd’s final stat-line versus Maryland last Saturday was just about as solid as any in his career. It just didn’t feel like it. With a touchdown via both throw and run, he posted a 27th career multi-score game. The senior signal-caller accounted for a 15th 300-yard passing game (304), and much of that thanks to a 16th contest with a 68 or better completion percentage (68.3)…

FSU Domination Goes Beyond Final Score (ESPN’s ACC Blog)

Earlier today, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher discussed how voters should judge the Seminoles’ blowout of North Carolina State last Saturday. In the 49-17 win, Fisher sat his starters for nearly all of the second half after Florida State ran up a 42-0 halftime lead. Asked after the game if he’d missed a chance to earn some style points in the eyes of voters, Fisher said he refused to coach based on the polls…

Next Man Up: Randy Edsall and Maryland Plow Forward Despite Adversity (Testudo Times)

It just didn’t seem possible. Not after what happened last season. This team paid their dues, time after time (after time, after time). After being forced to start a linebacker at quarterback last season, Maryland is again facing a situation where injuries are eroding away the momentum of a fast start…

Young Players Stepping Up in Blue Devils’ Secondary (Winston-Salem Journal)

Duke didn’t employ a typical recipe for success in the 13-10 upset win at No. 16 Virginia Tech. Even the defense, which carried the team, did it the hard way. Cornerback Ross Cockrell — four-year starter, two-year captain, first team all-ACC performer — pulled down a Logan Thomas interception in the end zone with four minutes left before halftime. And that was his last impact on the game…

Hurricanes Ignore Underdog Talk (Tallahassee Democrat)

If the Miami Hurricanes execute head coach Al Golden’s game plan Saturday as meticulously as they followed his lead on Monday, No. 3 Florida State might be in for a major challenge.Despite being ranked No. 7 in the BCS standings and No. 6 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, undefeated Miami is a 21-point underdog to rival FSU…

Has the NCAA Found the Ed O’Bannon Lawsuit’s Fatal Flaw? (SB Nation)

Just as a Friday ruling in the O’Bannon case opened the door to a crucial victory for the players, a motion filed Monday by the NCAA threatens to close it for good. Friday’s ruling: The players’ antitrust claim can proceed: At its heart, the players’ claim against the NCAA is based in antitrust law. The Sherman Antitrust Act is a 123-year-old piece of legislation that prohibits “restraints of trade”…

Offensive Implosion Destroyed Hokies’ Balance (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

For three straight football games, the formula produced wins. Take a dominating defense and combine it with an offense that was doing just enough to get by, subtract any major errors, and the result had Virginia Tech undefeated in Atlantic Coast Conference play and back in the national rankings. But Saturday, the Hokies’ two most unstable variables, senior QB Logan Thomas and senior kicker Cody Journell, threw the equation off…

Today’s Featured Music Clip:


ACC Football 2013 Week 9 Lessons: Are the Duke Blue Devils For Real?

Anthony Boone's Duke Team Pulled a Major Upset and Suddenly Looks to be  Factor in the Coastal Race

Anthony Boone’ & Duke Pulled a Major Upset, Suddenly Looks to be Factor in the Coastal Race

Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 9 of the ACC football season:

1. Duke Blue Devils are a real football program: Up until this weekend, we thought of Duke as a solid offensive team taking advantage of a very manageable schedule. But after defeating Virginia Tech, that narrative’s shifted completely. The Blue Devils are bowl-eligible for the second time in as many years (first time in program history for that) and now own their first win over a ranked team in nearly 50 seasons. But there’s still more work to be done. Last season’s 6-7 record fell short of the ultimate goal — a winning record — and that provides plenty of motivation for the rest of 2013. Based on what we saw from this team on Saturday, I’d say the Devils are well on their way to upping the ante going forward. Bowl games are now the norm, and they’re looking for much much more.

2. Miami wins again, but still looking shaky: Yet another game, yet another Miami comeback. At some point, we know the luck’s going to end though, and that’s the bigger issue here. The ‘Canes have not faced much in terms of challenges lately, so that leaves them with something to prove once again. Luckily (or unluckily) they’ve got Florida State up next — and on Gameday. Can they shake the recent issues of last-minute wins, or score a signature victory over the ‘Noles? Based on what we’ve seen lately, an upset here is starting to seem less and less likely.

3. North Carolina‘s not done yet: The Heels are starting to make their way out of the 1-5 hole, as they picked up a big win over Boston College this past weekend. From what we’ve seen in recent weeks, there’s a real possibility they’ve figured things out, at least enough to get to six wins. Their remaining schedule features just two teams with records above .500 and even then, both (Pittsburgh and Duke) could prove to be winnable. Should be an interesting run to the finish.

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ACC Football Daily Links — Keys to Miami Pulling Off a Huge Upset vs. Florida State

ACC Football Miami Florida State Hurricanes Seminoles UPset 2013 Top 10 College Gameday ACC

Monday through Friday each week, we compile the best links on ACC football from around the web.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mission Possible: Keys to Beating FSU (State of the U)

The Florida State Seminoles have looked unworldly through 7 games this season. QB Jameis Winston is on a short list of Heisman frontrunners.  Kelvin Benjamin looks like a poor man’s Calvin Johnson.  Fellow WR Rashad Green plays with the speed and savvy of a young Donald Driver.  And Nick O’Leary has developed into a very reliable red zone target…

The Evolution of the Florida State Offensive Line (Tomahawk Nation)

The Florida State offense is incredibly electric this year. Many factors are contributing this, the improved play from the wide receivers, and obviously the play of redshirt freshman phenomenon Jameis Winston, but the offensive line should not be overlooked for their stellar play so far this season. The pass blocking is what has been vastly improved this year…

Urgent Tar Heels Begin the Process of Digging Themselves Out of Their Hole (Wilmington Star-News)

There were no fiery speeches. No players only team meetings. No challenges to anybody’s manhood. All it took was a quick glance at the ACC standings and a little basic math for the members of the North Carolina football team to understand just how deep a hole they’d dug for themselves after Thursday’s heartbreaking loss to Miami…

Watford’s Career Game Not Enough (Streaking the Lawn)

With a QB controversy brewing, David Watford and Steve Fairchild conspired to end the discussion by ensuring that Watford would have a career day throwing the ball. Watford set UVA records in both pass attempts and completions, throwing 61 passes, and completing 43 of them, for 376 yards. It was the 4th highest passing game in Virginia history…

ACC Bowl Projections, Week 9: Duke (!) is Bowl Eligible, Fight Hunger Bowl Likely Out (BC Interruption)

If at the beginning of the season I were to tell you that the Duke Blue Devils would become the fifth ACC program to become bowl eligible, you’d still be laughing at me a good two months later. While I had the Blue Devils in the ACC’s bowl lineup last week, I don’t think there were many (any?) that predicted Duke would be bowl eligible through the first 9 weeks of the season…

Tech Has to Bounce Back Quickly (Richmond Times Dispatch)

Antone Exum knows a loss like Saturday’s, to lightly regarded Duke, in which Virginia Tech’s offense squandered another strong outing from the defense, could be the kind of tipping point that sends a football season south. But Exum, the senior cornerback and former Deep Run High School star, doesn’t expect that to happen to Virginia Tech in its quest for Atlantic Coast Conference title…

Soaking in the Victory’s Glow (Durham Herald-Sun)

David Cutcliffe is just fine with his team taking a little time to savor something special. Cutcliffe’s Blue Devils posted an historic win on Saturday, winning at then No. 16 Virginia Tech 13-10 to post the program’s first win over a ranked team since 1994 and the first road win over a ranked team since 1971…

Today’s Featured Music Clip:

Atlantic Coast Convos 2013 College Football Top 25 Rankings: Week 10

Alabama, Like Oregon & Florida State, Looked Great in This Weekend's Win

Alabama, Like Oregon & Florida State, Looked Great in This Weekend’s Win

Sure, the upsets seemed to cool down this weekend, but changes all around in the top 25 just the same. As much as we all seem settled in these teams playing in the season’s top postseason games, we also can’t forget the fact that November also usually sees some seismic shifts. Missouri (and others) will tell you that one loss alters the course of a season, so given that, we’ll obviously keep watching to see what happens next.

Completely disagree with the way in which these teams are ordered? Believe that you’re better at ranking teams that have yet to play a game? Share your thoughts/gripes/manifestos in the comments.

Atlantic Coast Convos 2013 Top 25 (Week 10)

1. Florida State Seminoles (7-0) (Last: 1)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) (Last: 2)

3. Oregon Ducks (8-0) (Last: 3)

4. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) (Last: 4)

5. Stanford Cardinal (7-1) (Last: 6)

6. Baylor Bears (7-0) (Last: 8)

7. Miami Hurricanes (7-0) (Last: 7)

8. Clemson Tigers (7-1) (Last: 10)

9. Auburn Tigers (7-1) (Last: 14)

10. Missouri Tigers (7-1) (Last: 5)

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ACC Football Daily Links — Is This the Greatest Football Season in Conference History?

Florida State Seminoles Clemson 2013 ACC Football Greatest Season in Conference History

Monday through Friday each week, we compile the best links on ACC football from around the web.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Greatest ACC Football Season Ever (WRALSports)

Cart. Horse. Now that we have the proverbial saying out of the way, let’s get down to talking about the best football season in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference – at least so far. Yes, Florida State has won a pair of national championships with the ACC logo on the back of their helmet but largely, the Seminoles were flying solo in those seasons…

Looking for a Milestone Win (Duke Basketball Report (Duke Basketball Report)

No one suspected that Clemson’s visit to Duke on Sept. 30, 1989, was going to be a pivotal game in Blue Devil football history. Duke was 1-3 after taking a 49-28 whipping at Virginia and was given almost no chance against unbeaten and No. 7 ranked Clemson – a program that had pretty much dominated the ACC (and Duke) in the 1980s…

Boston College Football Schedule: Which Program Completes the 2014 Schedule? (BC Interruption)

Back in August, we learned that the Connecticut Huskies would replace Boston College as Army’s opponent for its 2014 home game at Yankee Stadium. Presumably, BC asked out of this game in an effort to get back to playing seven home games a season. The cancellation of the Yankee Stadium game leaves an opening on the Eagles’ 2014 schedule…

Virginia Tech Bracing for Potent Duke Offense (Winston-Salem Journal)

Torrian Gray, the defensive-backs coach at Virginia Tech, has a nickname for Duke’s offense. “Cutcliffe’s attack,” Gray said, referring to Coach David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils, who the Hokies will face on Saturday. “I really like what he does. He’s going to attack us and we’re going to have to play the ball when it’s in the air. That’s what makes it fun”…

Pitt’s Football Coaches Need to Improve (Cardiac Hill)

Coaching has been a hot topic this season – heck, it always is. But while I often give the coaches a lot of rope, six games into the football season, there’s been plenty of room for improvement as I see it. Looking at specific units, there has been substandard performances throughout the entire team. The defense melted down against Duke, was soft against Florida State, and had a weak performance this week against Old Dominion…

Canes Trying to Address Turnover Woes Ahead of Wake Forest (Sun Sentinel)

At first glance, the numbers don’t seem to make much sense. Through their last three games, the Miami Hurricanes have totaled 1,647 yards of offense. They’ve scored 121 points and they’ve picked up three wins, two against conference opponents that have traditionally given them headaches…

Bobby Bowden Kept Up With the Joneses (Tallahassee Democrat)

Willie Jones Jr. knows his place in Florida State football history. He won’t be inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame, like his father, Willie Sr., was in 1988. He didn’t have the privilege of being an early round NFL draft pick like his younger brother, Christian, is expected to be this April; or like Willie Sr. was when the Oakland Raiders grabbed him in the second round in 1979…

Today’s Featured Music Clip:

ACC Football Daily Links — Amidst Uproar Over Native American Imagery, Florida State & Seminoles Co-Exist

Chief Osceola Florida State Football Seminoles Nation Tallahassee Controversy Redskins

Monday through Friday each week, we compile the best links on ACC football from around the web.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Amid Rising Discord Over Indian Images, F.S.U. Has Harmony (The New York Times)

Before every kickoff at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla., a Florida State student in facial war paint and an American Indian costume steers a spotted Appaloosa to midfield. As the horse rises on its hind legs, the rider, who is not an Indian, thrusts a flaming spear into the turf to the crazed accompaniment of the crowd’s droning chant and an arm gesture called the tomahawk chop…

Unleashing the Sunshine State: How the Seminole Offense is Dominating the ACC (Football Study Hall)

Many of college football’s most famous teams and influential trends have come as a result of simply harnessing the talent and resources of a region’s high school football ranks. For many of those famous teams and trends, Florida was the harvested resource. In the 1980s that talent was unleashed by Jimmy Johnson and the U of Miami, particularly in the form of the Miami 4-3 defense which still influences the game today…

NCAA Sanctions: Punishment Was Much More Than What Meets the Eye (State of the U)

Many detractors from around the country have a perception that Miami came out of this NCAA mess unscathed. Tell that to the UM recruiters that sat in living rooms around the country and had to defend itself against the myriad of statements that Miami not be able to play football in the not-too-distant future…

With Wins Comes a Culture Change for Duke Football (Charlotte Observer)

Falling into a 22-0 hole and coming back to win 35-22? Not a problem last week for Duke, which did just that at Virginia. That’s a relatively new phenomenon for the Duke program. “That says a lot about the shift in the culture and how coach Cut (David Cutcliffe) has built this program,” senior cornerback Ross Cockrell said…

Who’s No. 2, Behind No. 2? Tigers Looking for Consistent WR Threats (Orange and White)

Watching as FSU matched its two-time All-ACC defensive back Lamarcus Joyner on 5-11, sub-200 pound Adam Humphries, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney had to wonder. What could he have done with 6-3 speedy Charone Peake at the same position? The junior had tallied eight catches for 84 yards and a score through two games to start the year before suffering a torn ACL in practice…

U. Va Receivers Fail to Catch On (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

It was a rare 2013 Virginia football preview that didn’t list wide receivers as one of the Cavaliers’ special features. Virginia got a combined 135 receptions last year from Darius Jennings, Dominique Terrell, E.J. Scott and Tim Smith, and each had at least one season of remaining eligibility. All four played Saturday in the Cavaliers’ 35-22 loss to Duke and, between them, had one catch…

Duke’s Juggling of Quarterbacks Boone, Connette Effective, But Hokies’ D a Challenge (Daily Press)

Juggling quarterbacks usually is problematic, but Duke coach David Cutcliffe, an acclaimed teacher of the position, is making it work this season. Last week’s 35-22 victory at Virginia was among the best examples. Starter Anthony Boone passed for 245 yards and a touchdown, while backup Brandon Connette rushed for a 6-yard score and completed his only pass…

Today’s Featured Music Clip: