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.
4. Boston College, Pitt still don’t appear ready: BC and Pitt both had shots against perceived subpar competition this weekend, and instead of asserting themselves and grabbing wins, both fell on their faces. Against Navy, Pitt’s offensive struggles finally caught up to them. And vs. North Carolina, BC looked utterly hapless in stopping the Tar Heels’ attack. These teams’ seasons are not over by any means, but dropping games like this are not going to help their respective cases to get to the postseason.
5. Virginia Tech’s offensive struggles return in full force: We were pretty sure Tech’s issues on offense were over and done with, and then this weekend’s disaster against Duke happened. Logan Thomas was awful passing the ball, throwing four interceptions, while the team simply couldn’t get the ball into the endzone. Of course, field goal kicking was also a problem once again, but when you lose a game 13-10, the ultimate onus has to be on the offense. If this team can’t score point, it doesn’t matter how well the defense is playing and it’ll be the undoing of this team as the season progresses.