Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 10 of ACC football action:
1. Miami controls the Coastal Division: Following Miami’s big win over Virginia Tech last Thursday night, the ‘Canes can only be stopped by their own failure to execute now. Despite their reputation, Miami does actually play defense, though their strength comes from patience. Make the necessary plays, and then let the opponent pressure themselves into mistakes. And then there’s the running game. As long as Duke Johnson‘s able to get going, the Hurricanes have remained competitive. As the season finishes out, they’ll need to show more dedication to getting both Johnson and Mike James a sufficient number of carries.
2. Virginia Tech barely has a pulse: Stemming from the previous point, Virginia Tech also proved themselves incapable of playing a complete game. In nearly every contest this year, the Hokies have appeared M.I.A. for a large stretch of time, with Thursday being no different. And we’ve harped on it over and over, but: Logan Thomas can’t do this by himself. Sure, he also has some flaws that have been exposed by a young O-line, but with little help on the offensive side of the ball, he’s feeling the pressure to win games on his own – something that obviously isn’t working.
3. NC State, Virginia moving in opposite directions?: Prior to Saturday’s game between the two teams, the Woflpack appeared to be trending upward while the Hoos looked dead in the water. Now, following a 33-6 drubbing by UVa, maybe things are the other way around. The Cavaliers looked aggressive on defense, forcing turnovers and holding a dynamic Woflpack offense to just six point. State, on the other hand, found themselves shredded by the running game and off-balance against a solid pass-rush. Tom O’Brien has to fix things immediately, after three tough weeks.
4. Syracuse still can’t get past Syracuse: The story of Syracuse’s season will focus on their own inability to cut down on costly errors and mistakes, and execute when called upon. Of course, the Orange have faced some stiff competition this year, but they’ve also had a chance to beat every team they’ve faced. However, as we’ve seen over and over again, Syracuse simply defeats themselves. Now, at 4-5, they’re staring an improbable task — bowl eligibility — in the face, and bets are on them folding under the pressure.
5. Clemson‘s offense has never been better: The Tigers have failed to score 37 points or more just once this season. They’ve put up 42 or more in four of their last five, and are currently seventh in the nation in points-per-game, tallying 42.7 per contest. Tajh Boyd will leave campus owning every passing record the school’s ever had, despite the fact that his current numbers (30 total TD) are largely overlooked by national press. And offensive coordinator Chad Morris wants more out of them. Anyone who’d pass such an entertaining team up for a BCS berth is delusional.