Each Monday morning, we compile our top five takeaways from the weekend’s action. Here’s what we got out of Week 12 of ACC football action:
1. Conference realignment never stops: With Maryland and Rutgers headed to the Big Ten, the wheels are turning once again, and no one’s really sure what the next steps are. We thought it was over after Notre Dame joined the ACC. And then again when the playoff system was hashed out. Instead, any number of things can happen now — from the Big East ceasing to exist, to the Big 12 getting aggressive or even the ACC imploding. As an ACC blog, we’re obviously on edge until there’s some indication of what’s next, but even then, realignment will always be there to ambush fans and conferences alike.
2. Someone hand Tajh Boyd an award… any award: The Clemson quarterback has lit the league on fire all season, but Saturday’s performance may have taken the cake. Rewriting the school and conference record books, the junior accounted for 529 total yards and EIGHT scores. I don’t care whose defense you’re facing; those are impressive figures. But yet, Boyd has heard very little chatter in terms of any individual awards. He has over 3,500 total yards and 41 touchdowns on the season, with two games to go. You can’t tell me he’s not deserving of some sort of recognition.
3. Georgia Tech‘s season is reborn: Winning versus Duke on Saturday, coupled with Miami‘s announcement today that they’ll be imposing yet another postseason ban, means the Yellow Jackets are headed to the ACC Championship Game. And regardless of the circumstances around the division title, it counts, and can be considered a huge mark of resilience for this team. Sitting at 3-5 around Halloween, all looked lost in Atlanta. Instead, the squad is one big upset from ending the regular season at 7-5, and could still wind up in the Orange Bowl.
4. Duke’s happy ending is a .500 season: For all the fanfare about Duke’s first six-win season in 18 years, 2012 could still very well end in disappointment for the Blue Devils. Since knocking off North Carolina to get to 6-2, they’ve been trounced in three straight games, losing any shot at a division title this past Saturday. So while we still commend David Cutcliffe and his program for ending the streak of futility, they could very much notch another losing season, should they lose to Miami and in their upcoming bowl game.
5. Rivalry week still reeks of opportunity: For all the negative above — and there’s plenty — the ACC still has a golden opportunity to end the 2012 regular season on a high note. Four teams have matchups with SEC foes to end the year, and there’s plenty riding on each one. For Florida State and Georgia Tech, wins over Florida and Georgia, respectively, mean both grab momentum and top-five wins for their resumes heading into the ACC Championship Game. Should Clemson beat cross-state rival South Carolina, it virtually guarantees the Tigers a slot in the Sugar Bowl. And if Wake Forest can defeat Vanderbilt, the Deacons will find themselves bowl-eligible once again.