Florida State Seminoles: Frank Beamer

ACC's lunchtime links

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
12:00
PM ET
ACC tournament is up for grabs!

ACC's lunch links

February, 13, 2014
Feb 13
12:00
PM ET
Hope all our friends in the South are safe today.

ACC lunchtime links

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
12:00
PM ET
It's HD's turn to do the links this week. For those of you who have been following the blog since its inception, you might remember it has been an annual tradition of mine to start the links each day with one of my favorite Christmas movie quotes. You guess what the movie is. If you don't know, get a clue.

Here we go with one of my all-time favorite lines, censored of course ...

"Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny [bleep] Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white [bleep!] down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of [bleep!] this side of the nuthouse." - Clark W. Griswold

ACC Saturday setup: Week 14

November, 30, 2013
11/30/13
7:00
AM ET
Here's one final look at what's on tap on the final regular-season weekend in the ACC. All times are ET.

Florida State (11-0) at Florida (4-7), noon, ESPN

What's at stake: A win would move Florida State to 12-0 for the first time since finishing the 1999 national championship season with a 12-0 mark. A loss would ruin any shot at a national championship.

Statistically speaking: Coach Jimbo Fisher is looking to improve his record to 7-1 against in-state rivals Florida and Miami.

Quotable: "What we have to do is worry about playing well this weekend in Gainesville and if we do that, then the outcomes come. When you’re asked about it and you’re 18-22 years old, they can create distractions. It’s how much you believe in the system we have and what’s going on and can you compartmentalize all the other things and the questions that are going on about that. It is very tough. If it wasn’t tough, people would do it all the time." --- Fisher

No. 24 Duke (9-2, 5-2) at North Carolina (6-5, 4-3), noon, ESPN2

What's at stake: If Duke wins, the Blue Devils clinch a spot in the ACC championship game opposite Florida State, their first 10-win season and their first outright Coastal Division title.

Statistically speaking: Duke and Georgia Tech are the only teams in the nation that have converted 100 percent of their goal-to-go opportunities into touchdowns. The Blue Devils have converted all 22 of their chances, headlined by Brandon Connette’s 13 rushing scores.

Quotable: "You start out 1-5 then every one of them is more important. Each time you’re successful, the game becomes more important and a bigger game. They know where it’s at right now. I can assure you I’m not going to have to do anything to create more motivation for our guys. They’re going to be prepared and they’re going to be excited to play." -- North Carolina coach Larry Fedora

Wake Forest (4-7) at Vanderbilt (7-4), 12:21 p.m., GamePlan

What's at stake: The Deacs are trying to avoid their worst season since going 3-9 in 2010. A win would break a two-game losing streak in the series.

Statistically speaking: Wake Forest nose guard Nikita Whitlock has recorded a tackle for loss in 10 of 11 games this season. On the year, he has nine sacks (tied for No. 5 in the ACC) and 17 tackles for loss (third in the ACC). Both totals are team highs.

Quotable: "I think the thing that stands out with most of our seniors is that they've kind of maxed out what they can do. We may see a couple of guys that could have played better or could of had better careers, but most of these guys in the senior class really tried every year to be the best they could be and that's what you feel good about. I think these guys are a pretty close group and they care about each other and they've just tried as much as possible to be the best players they can be in our program." -- Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe

Maryland (6-5, 2-5) at NC State (3-8, 0-7), 12:30 p.m., GamePlan

What's at stake: The Terps surely want to win their final conference game ever, while NC State is hoping to avoid its first winless season in ACC play since 1959.

Statistically speaking: The games in this series are generally close. Of the last 13 contests between them, 11 have been decided by 10 points or fewer. Five of those 13 games have been decided by four or less points and 10 by less than 10 points.

Quotable: "As hard as it’s been we’ve grown very close as a team and these guys want to see our seniors finish the season the way they want to finish it. Playing at home, playing an ACC team at home and playing in our last game with these guys is enough of a reason for these guys to want to play well." -- NC State coach Dave Doeren

Georgia (7-4) at Georgia Tech (7-4), 3:30 p.m., ABC

What's at stake: Georgia Tech has an opportunity to beat the Bulldogs for the first time since 2008 and just the second time since 2000.

Statistically speaking: Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Wisconsin are the only teams in the nation to rank in the top 10 nationally in both rushing offense and rushing defense. The Jackets rank fourth in rush offense, 10th in rush defense.

Quotable: "I never had a chance to coach against him, but Herschel Walker. He's a big guy who runs through people and is fast. I mean he's a good player and he's going to be a good player for a long time if he doesn't get hurt. He's not only going to be good at Georgia, he's going to be a heck of an NFL running back too. He's got all the tools that they look for. He's good at running the football and is big and physical. He's a good receiver coming out of the backfield. He can do a lot of things." -- Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson on what player compares to Georgia running back Todd Gurley

Boston College (7-4, 4-3) at Syracuse (5-6, 3-4), 3:30 p.m, GamePlan

What's at stake: The Orange must win out to become bowl eligible for the second straight season. As for BC, running back Andre Williams is now in the Heisman race. Another 200-yard performance will certainly help the cause.

Statistically speaking: The most recent meeting between these teams came at the Carrier Dome in 2010, with Boston College winning 16-7. Williams, then a backup freshman, filled in for injured starter Montel Harris and rushed for 185 yards on a school-record 42 carries to lead the Eagles.

Quotable: “We always knew at Syracuse that we were going to come into this game at the end of the year and it was going to be a really rough, physical, black-and-blue game. We prided ourselves at that time on being a physical team, and I know BC did, and we just knew that it was going to be one of those games at the end where it was going to be a real fistfight. Everyone was jacked about it and everybody couldn’t wait to get to that game. It was targeted, it was red letter game. I learned that when I went to Syracuse my first year as an assistant coach. It was quickly explained to me how important the BC-Syracuse game was, and I never lost that. I have a unique perspective on it obviously and I have a great appreciation for it.” -- Boston College coach Steve Addazio

Virginia Tech (7-4, 4-3) at Virginia (2-9, 0-7), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU

What's at stake: Virginia Tech should know before this game starts whether it still has a shot at making the ACC championship game. The Hokies need Duke to lose to North Carolina, and then have to go out and beat the Hoos.

Statistically speaking: The Hokies have actually fared better on the road than at home over the last 11 seasons against the Cavaliers. In the five games at Scott Stadium since 2002, the Hokies have averaged 37.2 points per game. In six games at Lane Stadium since 2002, Virginia Tech has averaged just 18.7 points per game.

Quotable: "Well I think both of us compete very, very hard against each other. You try to have success against their program. I don’t think what has happened in the past makes a lot of difference, I think what happens this Saturday makes all the difference. Every year it’s a new year, different teams, different people and what happens this Saturday is what is really important for us." -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer

No. 6 Clemson (10-1) at No. 10 South Carolina (9-2), 7 p.m., ESPN2

What's at stake: South Carolina has an opportunity to extend its winning streak in the series to a school-record five games. BCS hopes are on the line for both teams as well.

Statistically speaking: This is the third straight season Clemson and South Carolina have both been ranked in the AP top 20 entering the game. This series is one of just four nationally where that has been the case. The others are LSU-Florida, LSU-Alabama and Oregon-Stanford.

Quotable: "They are what you would expect when you look at a top-10 football team. They are a top-10 football team because they have a bunch of great players. They play hard and play tough and play with a lot of confidence. Our focus is on trying to finish and it has been. We want to have the best finish that we possibly can and, obviously, winning this game is huge part of that." -- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney

ACC Saturday setup: Week 12

November, 16, 2013
11/16/13
7:00
AM ET
Here is one more look at what awaits us today in the ACC:

NC State (3-6, 0-6) at Boston College (5-4, 2-3), 12:30 ET, GamePlan/ESPN3. #NCSTvsBC

What's at stake: It's Senior Day for the Eagles, who not only can triple their win total from a season ago, but clinch bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. The Wolfpack will need to win out over these last three weeks to achieve that, but they can start by winning league game No. 1 under first-year coach Dave Doeren. They are off to their worst start in ACC play since 1959, when they also went 0-6. They still play East Carolina and Maryland, so who knows what could happen if they go into Alumni Stadium and escape with the victory?

Statistically speaking: Boston College is one of three teams (Georgia Tech and Duke) to score a touchdown on all its drives that had a goal-to-go situations this season (7-for-7).

Quotable: "Well, what means the world to us is our seniors really want to leave a legacy of bringing the program back. This is a great group of seniors. A group of guys that are totally bought in, totally committed to the program, to our staff, really playing some of their best football right now. This is very, very important to them. So I want to see that so badly for them. They want to leave that legacy." -- BC coach Steve Addazio on potential bowl eligibility

North Carolina (4-5, 3-3) at Pittsburgh (5-4, 2-3), 12:30 ET, GamePlan/ESPN3. #UNCvsPITT

What's at stake: The Tar Heels are going for their fourth straight win after a 1-5 start and it would put them in great position to get a bowl berth. They have turned the offense over to Marquise Williams since Bryn Renner's season ended with a shoulder injury. The new QB has not disappointed, as he accounted for touchdowns passing, running and receiving last week. Pitt hopes it turned a corner with its upset over Notre Dame last week. The Panthers can clinch bowl eligibility themselves with another win, which would make them 2-for-2 under coach Paul Chryst in reaching the postseason.

Statistically speaking: Despite this being the Panthers' first season in ACC play, they actually played the Tar Heels just four years ago, winning the Meineke Car Care Bowl by a 19-17 margin on a late field goal.

Quotable: "He's a one-man wrecking crew. The guy is all over the place. Paul and his staff have done a great job with him. They'll have him lined up at the left tackle. He's played at right tackle. He's played at the right end, left end. They move him all over the place. They put him in position to make plays. And the guy comes through. For a big guy like that he's quick as a cat now. He can move. He's like a skilled athlete but in a big body. And he's just got a knack and he plays hard. What a great player." -- UNC coach Larry Fedora on Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald

Maryland (5-4, 1-4) at Virginia Tech (7-3, 4-2), 12:30 ET, GamePlan/ESPN3. #MDvsVT

What's at stake: More bowl-eligibility scenarios? Sure. The Terrapins have been in this position the last three weeks, but losses to Wake Forest, Clemson and Syracuse have kept them from clinching. It's Senior Day, meanwhile, for the Hokies, who will look to get a similar performance from Logan Thomas to last week's, and who will be using a place-kicker in Eric Kristensen who made the team in September tryouts. The Hokies need to continue winning and hope that Duke loses if they want to clinch the Coastal Division.

Statistically speaking: Virginia Tech is 30-5 in the ACC in the month of November since 2004, including 28-5 in ACC games.

Quotable: "You know, I'm proud of the football team and coaches. We had two tough losses. Both teams that beat us played great, but it was tough losses. Then going to Miami and trying to beat a team that I think is really, really good. They were ranked last week. To go in there and play as good a football game as we did when our backs were definitely against the wall, then to play the way we did, you know, it's just you have real pride in your football team that they came back like that. But now it's week to week, and we've got to come back and get ready to play this week. If we don't play well this week, Maryland is very capable, and what happened last week doesn't make very much difference at all." — Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer on bouncing back from a two-game losing streak

Syracuse (5-4, 3-2) at No. 2 Florida State (9-0, 7-0), ABC/ESPN2. #CUSEvsFSU

What's at stake: Yes, bowl eligibility factors in this game, too, this time for the Orange in Year 1 in the ACC and under coach Scott Shafer. He helped pull of an upset of similar proportions six years ago as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, which went into USC and came away with a win despite being 40-plus point underdogs. The Seminoles, meanwhile, look to close out ACC play in style. They have already won the Atlantic Division, but a victory today will clinch the program's eighth unbeaten ACC regular season since joining the league in 1992 (and its first since 2000). It will get FSU one step closer to the national title game.

Statistically speaking: Florida State's offense is leading the FBS in points per drive (3.75) and scoring percentage (60.2), defined as the percentage of drives that end in either a touchdown or a field goal. Among all FBS teams over the last 10 seasons, that scoring percentage is tied for the highest.

Quotable: "I think I always felt like stats are for losers. But your stats are better, so that's a good thing. But I think more than anything the physicality, I think they're playing top brand of defensive football. And tackling well. And we need to do that. More than anything, it's that physicality, that's probably the part that I'm most pleased with. They're playing with great attitude and effort and then finishing with tough, hard nosed, physical style tackling, and I think I've seen that from our kids really the whole season. But it's becoming more consistent the last couple of games." -- Syracuse coach Scott Shafer on his team's defensive turnaround in the last two weeks

No. 23 Miami (7-2, 3-2) at Duke (7-2, 3-2), ESPNU/WatchESPN. #MIAvsDUKE

What's at stake: Major Coastal Division implications, for one. If the Hurricanes can snap their two-game winning streak and come away with a win, they will need to win out and have someone beat Virginia Tech in order to win the division. As for the Blue Devils, they got some big help Thursday night from Clemson, which beat Georgia Tech, giving Duke complete control of its own destiny in the Coastal. Win out, and Duke gets its shot at the Seminoles in the ACC title game.

Statistically speaking: Duke snapped a 47-game losing streak against ranked opponents two games ago at Virginia Tech. The last time Duke won consecutive games against ranked opponents came in 1989 under Steve Spurrier.

Quotable: "I think it's huge. The thing that we've done is we've put ourselves in position to be playing in a big game in November, and we've done that two years in a row. You hope lessons learned and opportunities are coming your way that you take advantage of it. But we had a great home crowd a week ago with North Carolina State here, and we're certainly looking forward to the same with Miami coming to town." -- Duke coach David Cutcliffe on the stakes this weekend

ACC Saturday setup: Week 11

November, 9, 2013
11/09/13
7:00
AM ET
Here's one last quick look at what's going on in the ACC this week:

No. 2 Florida State (8-0, 6-0) at Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4), noon, ABC. #FSUvsWAKE

What's at stake: Plenty for both teams. A win gets the Noles into the ACC championship game and keeps their national championship hopes alive. Wake Forest is nearing must-win territory for bowl eligibility. A loss means the Deacs have to beat Duke (6-2) and Vanderbilt (4-4) to get back to a bowl game. The last time Florida State visited Winston-Salem, Wake Forest won. But both coaches insist things are different this time around. Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe said this Florida State team is the best he has faced in 13 years with the Deacs.

Statistically speaking: According to ESPN Stats & Information, Jameis Winston completes an AQ-high 71.9 percent of his passes on plays in which he is pressured (knockdown or hurried). The AQ average for a quarterback when pressured is 35.8 percent.

Quotable: "You know the situations and the media hype you get. But like we tell them, the only thing you can control is how you play this week. What's important for us is to continue to play well, reach our goals in the games of getting better each week, learning to prepare each week and getting better as a team." -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.

Virginia (2-7, 0-5) at North Carolina (3-5, 2-3), 12:30 p.m., ESPN3. #UVAvsUNC

What's at stake: Plenty on the line for the Tar Heels, who are fighting for a bowl berth. Another win would give them three straight after a 1-5 start to the season. A bowl game does not look all that bleak right now, even with Bryn Renner out for the season with a shoulder injury. The Hoos are the only team left on the schedule with a losing record, so getting a win here is critical for bowl hopes. A loss means the Tar Heels have to win at Pittsburgh, then beat Old Dominion and Duke. That is doable, but certainly a win against Virginia gives a tad more margin for error.

Statistically speaking: Virginia safety Anthony Harris is quietly putting together one of the best seasons in the ACC. Harris has six interceptions on the season, tied for second in the nation. Those six interceptions are two more than the entire UVa team had in 2012. They also are the most by a UVa safety since Shernard Newby had five in 2001.

Quotable: "This team has become mature enough to understand the pitfalls of a lack of focus or worrying about what else is going on out there. Now you’ve got people who want to pat you on the back. If you do, you better watch out. Better just stay the course, keep doing what we’re doing, focusing on one game, and let’s try to be 1-0." -- North Carolina coach Larry Fedora.

Syracuse (4-4, 2-2) at Maryland (5-3, 1-3), 3:30 p.m., ESPN3. #CUSEvsMD

What's at stake: Let's stick with the bowl theme. The Terps become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010 with a win; the Orange inch closer to bowl eligibility for the second straight year with a win. One area to watch with both teams is the running game. The Terps have hit a bit of a dip in their last two losses, rushing for a combined 121 yards. Syracuse, meanwhile, has over 180 yards total rushing in three of four ACC games this year and is facing an injury-depleted Maryland D that gave up 247 yards rushing to Clemson.

Statistically speaking: Talk about extremes with the Syracuse defense. Twice this season, the Orange have shut opponents out, the first time that has happened since 1997. But on the flip side, they have also given up 48 or more points three times this season.

Quotable: "He's a really good leader and he's a guy that knows the offense, understands it and has experience. So that means a lot to us, and like I said hopefully he can continue to stay healthy." -- Maryland coach Randy Edsall on C.J. Brown.

Boston College (4-4) at New Mexico State (1-8), 3:30 p.m., ESPN3. #BCvsNMSU

What's at stake: Plenty for Boston College. The turnaround in Year 1 under coach Steve Addazio has been impressive. Now the goal he set for his team when the season started is there for the taking -- bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. Having to travel to Las Cruces, N.M., in the middle of November is not an ideal situation, especially after such an emotional win over Virginia Tech. BC also has been a different team on the road this year, scoring an average of 10.3 points in three losses, so Addazio has to find a way to keep his players focused against a much weaker opponent.

Statistically speaking: Receiver Alex Amidon needs 54 yards to break the school record for career receiving yards. Current BC graduate assistant coach Rich Gunnell set the mark of 2,459 yards from 2006-09.

Quotable: "There's a tremendous amount of focus right now with our seniors and everybody in this program about just centering in on trying to get win number five, and I think our kids understand, I certainly hope they understand that it's all hands on deck with us. When we win, it's because we are just scratching and clawing, and we're not turning it over, and we don't have a lot of penalties, and we have that kind of team concept. And that's hard to do week in and week out." -- BC coach Steve Addazio.

NC State (3-5, 0-5) at Duke (6-2, 2-2), 4 p.m., ESPNU. #NCSTvsDUKE

What's at stake: Duke needs to win to stay in the race for the ACC championship game. NC State needs a win to keep its bowl eligibility hopes alive, with games against Boston College, East Carolina and Maryland ahead. The Wolfpack are off to their worst start in ACC play since going 0-6 in 1959. Duke, meanwhile, is off to a 6-2 start for the second straight year, but the Blue Devils hope to avoid the same type of losing streak that dampened the end to the 2012 season. NC State has won 11 of the past 12 meetings, but Duke won the last one in 2009. This is the last meeting between the schools until 2020.

Statistically speaking: In ACC play this season, Duke is 0-2 at home and 2-0 on the road. Duke joins Clemson and Florida State as the only two teams in the league without a loss away from home.

Quotable: "We've been in four of the games we've lost in the fourth quarter, whether it was tied and we were down by a touchdown or less, we know we're close, and we're just going to keep grinding and fighting and find a way to win those close games as we fight down the stretch." -- NC State coach Dave Doeren.

Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2) at No. 11 Miami (7-1, 3-1), 7 p.m., ESPN. #VTvsMIA

What's at stake: Simply put, the Coastal Division. Virginia Tech needs a win to stay alive and end a two-game losing streak. Miami needs a win to stay in the driver's seat. Virginia Tech remains stingy on defense, ranking in the top 10 in total defense (No. 3), passing defense (No. 1), rushing defense (No. 9) and scoring defense (No. 8). The problem has been the eight turnovers in the last two losses. Miami, meanwhile, must win this game without two of its best offensive playmakers -- running back Duke Johnson and receiver Phillip Dorsett.

Statistically speaking: While Miami has one of the best rush offenses in the ACC, Virginia Tech has one of the worst. The Hokies are averaging 3.2 yards per carry, on pace to be their lowest in the last 10 seasons. The Hokies have four rushes that gained 20 yards or more, tied for seventh fewest in the FBS.

Quotable: "I think this Miami team is really, really good. If you look at them defensively, they’re maybe the best defensive team we’ve played and we’ve played Alabama." -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.

No. 23 Notre Dame (7-2) at Pitt (4-4, 2-3), 8 p.m., ABC. #NDvsPITT

What's at stake: This is almost a must-win situation for the Panthers, who are trying to become bowl eligible for the sixth straight season. After the Irish, Pitt faces an improving North Carolina, has to travel to Syracuse (where it lost last season) and then closes against No. 11 Miami. The Panthers have played Notre Dame tough, though players have said the triple-overtime loss a season ago is in the past. What Pitt needs to do is find its run game and fast. The offensive line play has deteriorated as the season has gone on, hampering both the run and quarterback Tom Savage. Pitt has given up a league-high 29 sacks, tied for No. 116 in the nation.

Statistically speaking: Pitt is on pace for its worst rushing offense since 2005. Right now, the Panthers are averaging 122.5 rush yards per game. In 2005, Pitt averaged 116.8 rush yards per game.

Quotable: "We haven't been real good running the football. You know, we're certainly working on it, and there are different reasons that have contributed to it. But we need to -- hopefully we can get that squared away because we're a better team if we can do a better job of running the football." -- Pitt coach Paul Chryst.

ACC Saturday setup: Week 10

November, 2, 2013
11/02/13
7:00
AM ET
Here’s one last quick look at what’s going on in the ACC this week:

Virginia Tech (6-2) at Boston College (3-4) (ABC/ESPN2 12 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: The Hokies’ hopes of staying in the ACC’s Coastal Division race. Last week’s loss to Duke put Virginia Tech behind Miami, and the Hokies still have to play the Canes. They have no more margin for error, though, if they want to get back to Charlotte. Three of the Hokies’ final four games are on the road, starting today.

Statistically speaking: Nine of the Hokies’ nation-leading 17 interceptions have been contributed by true freshmen.

Quotable: “Now do you come back stronger than ever, mentally tougher than ever, or do you give into it? I think in everyday life people go through that struggle. We as a football team, that's what we'll find out this week.” -- Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer

North Carolina (2-5) at NC State (3-4) (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: In-state pride, recruiting turf wars, bragging rights and bowl hopes. North Carolina has to win four of its last five games to become bowl eligible. NC State has to win three of its last five, but the Pack is still looking for its first conference win. UNC is also looking for its first road win in the series since 2005. The Tar Heels snapped a five-game losing streak to their rival last year. The Wolfpack will play four of their final five regular-season games within a 23-mile radius of Carter-Finley Stadium.

Statistically speaking: UNC TE Eric Ebron has 599 receiving yards this year, just 26 yards shy of matching his own school record for single-season receiving yards by a tight end of 625, set in 2012. Ebron is also just five catches behind his school-record tight end reception mark of 40 from a season ago.

Quotable: “All Of These Wolfpack Fans Are In For RUDE AWAKENING Come Saturday! #BeatState #BADLY” -- Ebron, via Twitter

Wake Forest (4-4) at Syracuse (3-4) (RSN, 12:30 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: The Deacs’ bowl hopes. With Florida State and road trip to Vanderbilt on the schedule, Wake’s best hopes at becoming bowl eligible will come today against Syracuse and on Nov. 23 against Duke. For Syracuse, the Orange are looking for their second league win of the season. Cuse has to take advantage of these winnable home games (Wake Forest, Pittsburgh and Boston College). There’s still time for Cuse to get to six wins, but they’ve got some pride on the line right now.

Statistically speaking: Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price has accounted for 62 career touchdowns, just three shy of Riley Skinner’s school record of 65 (60 passing, 4 rushing, 1 receiving) which he set from 2006- 09. Price has thrown 51 touchdown passes, run for 10 touchdowns and was on the receiving end of a pass in the win over Maryland on Oct. 26.

Quotable: “Our guys, really for three games now, have played really, really hard, and we were able to get NC State and we were able to get Maryland and then had a great chance to get Miami and didn't get it done. We've got a team that any time you've got a team that really plays their hearts out and comes up short, your biggest worry as a coach is being able to get them back up again.” -- Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe

Clemson (7-1) at Virginia (2-6) (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: Clemson’s BCS hopes and Virginia’s bowl hopes. With the loss to Florida State, Clemson simply can’t lose again if it wants to salvage the season with a BCS bowl game. If the Tigers win out, there’s a good chance they can either earn a bid to the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl, depending on how the rest of the ACC and top 10 shakes out. Virginia, meanwhile, has to win out just to become bowl eligible.

Statistically speaking: Sammy Watkins has an AQ-high 516 yards after the catch this season. Watkins had a season-high 109 yards after the catch against Maryland last week. Virginia has scored 13 points off turnovers this season, tied for the sixth fewest in the nation.

Quotable: “But I think their future is very bright, and they're just a few plays away. Nobody wants to hear that, but I think with a little patience this team is going to step up and be one of the surprise teams in the next year or so.” -- Dabo Swinney on Virginia

Pitt (4-3) at Georgia Tech (5-3) (ESPNU, 7 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: The Jackets can become bowl eligible today, and earn the program’s 700th win -- the latter being a milestone Syracuse and Virginia have already reached this season. The good news for the Jackets is that last Saturday’s win assured the program of finishing .500 or better in ACC play for the 19th straight season. Pitt, playing its second straight road game, is trying to bounce back from last week’s surprising loss to Navy. The Panthers still have plenty of time to reach the six-win mark, but they’ve also got two ranked opponents remaining in Notre Dame and Miami.

Statistically speaking: Pitt receiver Devin Street became Pitt’s all-time leader in career receptions last week with 179. He surpassed Latef Grim who tallied 178 career catches from 1998-2000. He now has 186 career catches. Street now has 2,692 career receiving yards and is approaching the all-time record which is held by Antonio Bryant (3,061).

Quotable: “We played really poorly against Virginia Tech. That's probably about as poorly as I've seen our football [team] play maybe since I've been here. I think you have to give them some credit for that, too, but we played horrendously.”—Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson

No. 7 Miami (7-0) at No. Florida State (7-0) (ABC, 8 p.m. ET)

What’s at stake: Everything. Florida State, tangled up in a battle with Oregon for the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings, could regain the lead over the Ducks with a convincing win over the Canes. There’s no margin for error if the Noles want to have a shot at playing for the national title. For Miami, the Canes are playing for a possible BCS bid, but they can get to the Orange Bowl by winning the Coastal Division and the ACC championship. With two undefeated top 10 teams, anything is still possible for the winner. If Miami loses, it will even the score with the Hokies and set up a showdown for the Coastal Division lead next week. And, of course, you’ve also got bragging rights, state supremacy and recruiting battles on the line.

Statistically speaking: Jameis Winston has an FBS-high 99.5 third-down Total QBR, on pace to be the highest by any player in the last 10 seasons. Stephen Morris has a 26.9 third-down Total QBR this season, 108th best out of 127 qualified FBS quarterbacks. Morris converts a first down on 30% of his third-down passing plays (sacks + pass attempts), 95th best in the FBS and seven percentage points lower than the national average.

Quotable: “It's good for both schools. It's good for the state of Florida. It's good for the ACC, and it's good for college football. I think it's good all the way around, and like I say, it's one of the great traditional rivalries in the game, and it's great to see both teams up there.” -- Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher


ACC's lunchtime links

October, 29, 2013
10/29/13
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No. 3 FSU and No. 7 Miami aren't the only teams playing this weekend ya know ...

ACC mailblog

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
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Many of you have an opinion on my decision to rank Florida State No. 1 this week in my ESPN.com Top 25 power rankings.

Let's go to the mailbag.

Vern in Atlanta writes: Andrea: I applaud you on your courage and intellect in "declaring" FSU as No. 1. Your logic is impeccable, and I could not agree more. A friend (a Duck fan) and I had exactly this discussion last week before the Clemson thrashing. I am a LONG time Seminole fan, and I posed exactly what you wrote. Again, kudos for the intellect and analytical approach. By the way - I emailed both you and Heather last week and pointed out that FSU would beat Clemson. You both took Clemson. ...

Andrea Adelson writes: Thanks, Vern. Should have been smart enough to listen to you!

[+] EnlargeClemson/FSU
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesFSU's decimation and the subsequent BCS standings certainly got the attention of Oregon fans.
Dan in Portland, Ore., writes: Andrea, I agree that Florida State had a good game against Clemson, but the comment that Oregon hasn't played anyone is skewed. Two large wins against Washington 45-24 and the team that beat South Carolina ... Tennessee lost to Oregon 59 -14. Keep in mind that Oregon plays their scout teams in the fourth quarter so their numbers can be exponentially higher.

Adelson: Hard to skew the win-loss record of all Oregon's opponents, Dan. That is simple math. You should also keep in mind Florida State plays its backups when games get out of hand, too.

Greg in Tualatin, Ore., writes: Evaluating teams is very difficult, but from a West Coast perspective there is an East Coast bias. That bias is not small. That bias ranks Eastern teams artificially high. Take Clemson for instance, while being a good team, they are not worthy of a top-five ranking. Which team is? That question is why a playoff is so badly needed and must be expanded past four teams.

Adelson: We agree on the playoff point. But it is hard for me to agree with the first part of your statement. Stanford and Oregon both started the season ranked in the top five, ahead of No. 8 Clemson. How is that East Coast bias? Clemson rose to No. 3 after beating No. 5 Georgia -- a full-strength Georgia team I might add.

me in Atlanta writes: So where exactly are you getting that FSU has the toughest strength of schedule? They are ranked 64th according to all that I have researched. Bama has played three ranked teams with two more plus the SEC champ. That's six as we sit. We have blanked two SEC teams including, one that upset LSU,and have allowed two TDs outside of the Texas A&M game. Your article was ridiculous and it's embarrassing that it's actually posted as the top story on ESPN.

Adelson: According to Jeff Sagarin, Florida State's schedule rank is slightly ahead of Alabama's. And as I mentioned in the article, I am basing my rankings on year-to-date performance and opponents played, not the schedule to come. I can't give Alabama credit for games against ranked teams when they haven't even played yet. And who says Alabama is winning all future games against said ranked teams, anyway? Also, Alabama has played only two ranked teams so far, same as Florida State. I did make an error on that in the post and it has since been corrected. Thanks to those who pointed it out.

Tim in Christianburg, Va., writes: "There's a certain way we do things here, the way Coach Beamer runs the program, we're supposed to be good character guys on and off the field," Jack Tyler said. "We think here they directly correlate." This is why Frank Beamer will be memorialized one day on VT's campus. Maybe more so that all the wins, this epitomizes Frank Beamer in a nutshell.

Adelson: Well said. The Hokies are also near the top of the ACC in the latest graduation rates released Thursday, at 77 percent.

COL (R) George Goller in Camp Stone, Afghanistan, writes: Watched the FSU/Clemson game over here at 0400 and being an FSU alum just wanted to let you know to please keep picking against us. Especially when we get down to Gainesville. Got to say you and Ms. D look about as football savvy as old Dabo and his latest comment that Clemson is as good as the Noles. Yeah, 51-14 is about equal. Take care and better luck the rest of the season.

Adelson: We just finished our second serving of humble pie. But on a more important note, thanks for your service to our country, George!

[+] EnlargeAl Golden
AP Photo/J Pat CarterWill Al Golden's name pop up for coaching vacancies come season's end?
Matt in Coral Gables, Fla., writes: Hi Andrea, As a student at UM, I am terrified that Al Golden may leave Miami for another prestigious job at Texas, USC, or Penn State (assuming Bill O'Brien goes to the NFL). I know it is only the middle of the season and my Canes are in the thick of the BCS race, but what are the chances that Golden bolts for one of those openings, after doing a marvelous job navigating the NCAA at UM over the past three years?

Adelson: I do not think it is time to start speculating on Golden's future. He just got some pretty great news this week. Let him enjoy that and the rest of the season. You should, too. Miami is off to its best start since 2004. Now is not the time to start worrying about the future. Live in the present!

TW Stone in Pensacola, Fla., writes: Hey A.A.: Doesn't is seem just a tad odd that the NCAA findings are receiving such little coverage from the media. Far less than it invested when the story broke almost three years ago. It is probably the same old news rule; if it bleeds, it leads. Certainly there was "Blood in the water" back when the nefarious midget broke his pack of lies as a story through Yahoo/Rivals.com. Now, with only three scholarships forfeited a year for the three seasons, there is little more than a passing interest in the story. Some say that the CANES Skate, others yawn; still, there is a lack of attention to the end of perhaps the most notorious bungle ever to come out of the NCAA. The lack of media may be a good thing, let it lie, stick a fork in it, it is done, insignificant punishment has very little blood in the water. There ought to be a vindicating story line or two seeing as the scholarship suspensions handed Miami by the NCAA may clearly be seen as a white flag that says "please don't sue us to kingdom come and back." We move ahead. The debacle created by a convicted liar is behind The U as we now march ahead into the Golden Era!

Adelson: TW, you might have missed the blog coverage on Tuesday. I would not characterize what we had that day as "little coverage." There were eight posts on the ACC blog alone, including three columns. "Outside the Lines" also led with the NCAA decision and featured Miami athletic director Blake James. That is pretty extensive coverage if you ask me.

ACC predictions: Week 9

October, 24, 2013
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The big miss last week was pretty gigantic in retrospect. Neither one of us picked Florida State to beat Clemson. D'oh! We can admit when we are wrong, and we were very wrong. HD also missed on two other picks, going 3-3 for the week, while AA correctly called Georgia Tech and Wake Forest wins to go to 5-1.

AA has a two-game lead on HD, with an overall record of 55-10. There won't be any separation this week. Read on to find out more.

Wake Forest (4-3, 2-2) at No. 7 Miami (6-0, 2-0), noon, ESPNU. #WAKEvsMIA. Miami is not only on distraction alert thanks to the NCAA, it also is on lookahead alert with a potential top-10 showdown against in-state rival Florida State next weekend. Miami simply cannot afford to overlook Wake Forest, which has won two straight. Though Miami leads the series 7-3, all three Wake Forest wins have come in South Florida. One of the bigger matchups to watch features Michael Campanaro against a banged-up Miami secondary. Campanaro has been his usual productive self and also threw a touchdown pass against Maryland last week. Miami gets Duke Johnson back, good news for a team that will be without Phillip Dorsett.

AA picks: Miami 35, Wake Forest 17

HD’s pick: Miami 35, Wake Forest 21

Georgia Tech (4-3, 3-2) at Virginia (2-5, 0-3), 12:30 p.m., ESPN3. #GTvsUVA. The Jackets looked unstoppable last week in a shutout win over Syracuse, while Virginia stopped itself from picking up its first ACC win, blowing a 22-point lead on Duke. The Jackets played nearly flawlessly, with zero penalties and just one turnover and might have turned a corner on offense. They have won three of the past four in the series. Given how low morale must be in Charlottesville, Georgia Tech has the edge.

AA picks: Georgia Tech 30, Virginia 17

HD’s pick: Georgia Tech 38, Virginia 17

Pitt (4-2) at Navy (3-3), 1 p.m., CBS Sports Network. Pitt beat Duke, which beat Navy pretty handily, so therefore Pitt should win this game. Right? Do not be surprised if the Midshipmen put a scare into the Panthers, who had to survive a closer game than anticipated last week against Old Dominion. Isaac Bennett had a career game with 240 yards rushing but all eyes will be on the Pitt defense and how it handles the Navy option. Pitt gets a similar test next week against Georgia Tech.

AA picks: Pitt 30, Navy 23

HD’s pick: Pitt 31, Navy 21

NC State (3-3, 0-3) at No. 2 Florida State (6-0, 4-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2. #NCSTvsFSU. Given past history, there are those who believe the Noles are on upset alert. Not so fast. The Wolfpack and Noles are vastly different teams today than they were a year ago. First and foremost, Florida State has a game-changer at quarterback who, quite frankly, seems too good to be true. NC State did a nice job getting pressure on Tajh Boyd in their matchup earlier this year, but Jameis Winston does a better job than any quarterback in the country at handling guys in his face. NC State does get Brandon Mitchell back, but the Wolfpack simply do not have the type of offense to stay in this game, averaging 12.3 points in three ACC games.

AA picks: Florida State 45, NC State 13

HD’s pick: Florida State 48, NC State 10

No. 9 Clemson (6-1, 4-1) at Maryland (5-2, 1-2), 3:30 p.m., ESPN. #CLEMvsMD. The Tigers have to be careful not to let the Florida State loss beat them twice. Players seem to realize they are still in good position to get an at-large BCS berth if they can win out. Maryland might have provided tougher competition last month, but right now, the Terps are reeling thanks to their familiar foe -- injuries. Not only are Stefon Diggs and Deon Long out for the season, but quarterback C.J. Brown's status remains up in the air because of an undisclosed injury. The defense also has been hurt because of injuries too, leaving this team too depleted to pull the upset.

AA picks: Clemson 40, Maryland 17

HD’s pick: Clemson 38, Maryland 17

Boston College (3-3, 1-2) at North Carolina (1-5, 0-3), 3:30 p.m., ESPN3. #BCvsUNC. The Eagles have done a terrific job running the ball, so you know the game plan going in will be to beat the Tar Heels with the power run game. North Carolina ranks No. 102 in the nation in rushing defense, and lost to Miami in part because it could not stop Dallas Crawford in the fourth quarter. You have to wonder how North Carolina picks itself up after such a devastating home defeat to Miami. The Tar Heels had some great moments, especially tight end Eric Ebron, but they have found ways to lose games all season.

AA picks: Boston College 27, North Carolina 24

HD’s pick: Boston College 21, UNC 17

Duke (5-2, 1-2) at No. 14 Virginia Tech (6-1, 3-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU. #DUKEvsVT. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had high praise for the way Duke coach David Cutcliffe has turned around the Blue Devils program, but Duke is still a long way from being in the upper echelon of the ACC. Last season, against a down Virginia Tech team, Duke could not hang on to a 20-0 first-quarter lead and lost. This Virginia Tech team is much better. The best matchup to watch in this one features Duke receiver Jamison Crowder against the supremely talented Virginia Tech secondary. Antone Exum is expected to make his long-awaited return. He faces a big test against Crowder.

AA picks: Virginia Tech 27, Duke 14

HD’s pick: Virginia Tech 34, Duke 21

ACC predictions: Week 6

October, 3, 2013
10/03/13
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Andrea correctly picked the Virginia Tech upset over Georgia Tech, but neither she nor Heather called the East Carolina upset over North Carolina. For the week, Andrea went 7-1 to bring her season total to 41-5. Heather went 6-2 and is now two behind at 39-7 overall.

Let's see what Week 6 has in store.

No. 25 Maryland (4-0) at No. 8 Florida State (4-0, 2-0), noon, ESPN. Maryland has never won in Tallahassee. Florida State has now won eight straight conference games, the first time the Noles have accomplished that feat since the 2001-02 seasons. Those two stats alone give Florida State the edge. Still, most expect this to be a competitive game. All eyes are on dual-threat quarterbacks C.J. Brown and Jameis Winston, who rank 1-2 in the ACC in total offense and are a big reason why their teams are unbeaten. Maryland is vastly improved on defense -- ranking just ahead of Florida State. But the Terps have not played anybody as good as this FSU offense. You could say the same for the FSU D. Still, the Noles have faced better competition (3 FBS teams .500 or better; Maryland two winless FBS teams) and have more depth and speed.

AA says: Florida State 30, Maryland 21

HD says: Florida State 28, Maryland 27

Ball State (4-1) at Virginia (2-2, 0-1), noon, ESPN3. Virginia is on upset alert after its dreadful offensive performance against Pitt. Given the way Ball State scores, Virginia cannot win a shootout. It will have to rely on its stellar defense to slow down the prolific Cardinals and hope changes made to the offensive line and other positions on offense work. The good news for the Hoos is that Ball State has not been particularly adept at stopping the run, giving up about 200 yards a game. Of course, Pitt had been a sieve, too, and UVa only managed three points last week. AA says: Virginia 20, Ball State 17

HD says: Virginia is having trouble scoring on air right now, and Ball State is hot. Yes, UVa’s defense has been much-improved under coordinator Jon Tenuta, but it’s October and coach Mike London has just opened up some of his starting jobs on offense to competition. That's not a good sign. Meanwhile, Ball State is No. 10 in the country in passing offense, and averaging 40 points per game. Virginia’s defense will keep it in the game, but a costly turnover or two and the Hoos’ inability to convert on third downs will be the difference. Ball State 14, Virginia 13

North Carolina (1-3, 0-1) at Virginia Tech (4-1, 1-0), 12:30 p.m., ESPN3. Nobody has to remind Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer about what happened in this game a year ago, when the Tar Heels racked up 339 yards rushing and won 48-34. But much has changed since their last meeting. Giovani Bernard -- who had a career-high 262 yards rushing -- is gone, and the North Carolina run game has fallen off in dramatic fashion. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is vastly improved and ranks No. 4 in the nation in total defense. Given the way North Carolina has played on offense and the way Virginia Tech has played on defense this year, it is hard to give the Tar Heels much of a shot.

AA says: Virginia Tech 24, North Carolina 7

HD says: Virginia Tech 28, North Carolina 17

Army (2-3) at Boston College (2-2, 1-1), 1 p.m., ESPN3. After some uncertainty as a result of the government shutdown, BC announced Thursday morning this game would be played as scheduled. Coach Steve Addazio says preparation during the week has focused on slowing down the Army option. Army is averaging 325 yards on the ground this season, and BC has had a tough time slowing down the run. To make matters worse, the Eagles have lost starting defensive tackle Mehdi Abdesmad for the season with a torn left patellar tendon. This is going to be a ground 'n' pound type of game. If Josh Harris at Wake Forest can lead the Deacs to a win over Army, then Andre Williams can do the same for BC.

AA says: Boston College 28, Army 17

HD says: Boston College 28, Army 21

NC State (3-1, 0-1) at Wake Forest (2-3, 0-2), 3:30 p.m., ESPN3. The home team has won every game going back to 2007, but that streak is going to come to an end Saturday. Here is why. Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe conceded this week his offense still has not found its niche and the coaches are trying to figure out what works well. Never good to hear that nearly midway through the season. The Deacs have improved on defense, but their offense remains sub-par and Grobe acknowledged they need Tanner Price to play better. NC State, meanwhile, has gotten terrific production from Bryan Underwood lately and has seen Pete Thomas improve each week. Plus, its defense leads the ACC with 37 tackles for loss.

AA says: NC State 31, Wake Forest 17

HD says: NC State 28, Wake 17

No. 3 Clemson (4-0, 2-0) at Syracuse (2-2), 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2. We have heard a lot of Syracuse players speak confidently about their chances at pulling the upset this weekend. The Orange have, after all, pulled an upset or two over a ranked team at home the last several years. The plan will be the same as the one that flustered Teddy Bridgewater and Geno Smith -- put pressure on Tajh Boyd and hope that does enough to limit the skill players on the perimeter and keep the scoring down. But if the Tigers can handle the pressure, watch out. The Syracuse secondary has been a weak spot defensively this year. Terrel Hunt has played well in the last two games for Syracuse. But he has not seen anybody that compares to Vic Beasley or this Clemson defensive front yet. The Dome crowd will be loud, but ultimately Clemson will prevail in large part because it will win the matchups up front.

AA says: Clemson 30, Syracuse 20

HD says: Clemson 35, Syracuse 21

Georgia Tech (3-1, 2-1) at No. 14 Miami (4-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU. Perhaps the most surprising stat headed into this game relates to the defenses -- both teams rank in the Top 10 in the nation in total D and scoring D. Consider where both were a year ago at this time, and that is a remarkable turnaround. Though Heather projects another shootout in this one, Andrea believes this is going to be a close, low-scoring game because of said defenses. The difference here is Miami is much better on offense, and has many more reliable playmakers. Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson will make enough plays on the Jackets' defense to get the Canes to 5-0.

AA says: Miami 24, Georgia Tech 20

HD says: Miami 41, Georgia Tech 31

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
12:00
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Been saying it since the summer: Virginia Tech is a contender.

ACC's lunchtime links

September, 26, 2013
9/26/13
12:00
PM ET
Chat with AA later today at 4 p.m. ET. Send in those questions now!

Tyler Boyd leads ACC youth movement

September, 25, 2013
9/25/13
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True freshman receiver Tyler Boyd had one clear objective when he arrived at Pitt.

He wanted to make a statement.

Boyd had no intentions of redshirting. Not at all. So he went about practice to make one play after another, to impress his coaches enough to not only earn some reps in games -- but also to win a starting job.

[+] EnlargeTyler Boyd
Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News&Observer/Getty ImagesPitt receiver Tyler Boyd is one of many true freshmen who are making an impact in the ACC this season.
So far, Boyd has been one of the most impressive all-around players in the entire country, ranking No. 1 among all freshmen with an average of 195 all-purpose yards per game. But he is not unique to Pitt or to the ACC. There has been a youth movement across the league this season, featuring true freshmen starters at nearly every position on the field.

Five ACC teams have played double-digit true freshmen, tied with the SEC for the most in the nation. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe have played more true freshmen than at any point in their respective tenures. Of the 14 teams in the ACC, only four have not started a true freshman.

Pitt stands above the rest when it comes to true freshmen contributions, as Boyd is not the only one who has put up impressive numbers. Running back James Conner ranks No. 2 in the ACC in rushing yards per game (108.7). The Panthers also feature true freshman kicker Chris Blewitt, the first time in 11 years they have started a first-year player at the position.

Overall, true freshmen have accounted for 70 percent of Pitt’s scoring output so far.

“I just knew I had a real strong opportunity to come in here and make a huge impact, especially since it’s my hometown,” Boyd said in a recent phone interview. “I wanted to have everybody on board; my family, all my friends -- I wanted to make sure everybody was around to watch me do what I had to do.”

Virginia Tech is not far behind Pitt when it comes to immediate contributions from true freshmen. Ten have played, and five have started already this season. Four have started every game -- left tackle Jonathan McLaughlin, cornerback Brandon Facyson, whip Kendall Fuller and kickoff specialist Mitchell Ludwig.

It is the first time Beamer has started a true freshman at left tackle and a true freshman at cornerback. Facyson already has three interceptions, tied for the ACC lead. Four games into the season, he also has tied the school record for interceptions by a freshman, set by DeAngelo Hall in 2001.

“It's been a great experience so far,” Facyson said in a recent phone interview. “Me and Kendall, we both had aspirations of coming in here and getting to work right away and helping the team out as much as we could. That's what we want to do is become a reliable source for the team. Even being true freshmen coming in, we didn't want the team to not believe in us so we had to come in here and really have our minds focused, and so far we've done that.”

Both the Pitt and Virginia Tech freshmen did not get eased into their college careers. The Panthers opened against No. 8 Florida State, while the Hokies opened against No. 1 Alabama. But the true freshmen were not intimidated.

Boyd had 151 all-purpose yards; the Hokies essentially shut down Alabama and top receiver Amari Cooper, holding him to four catches for 38 yards.

“I was a little bit nervous and cautious about everything,” Boyd said. “I didn’t want to mess up but my coaches and my teammates kept telling me to go out there and be calm, just relax, just stay comfortable with everything. Once I got the ball in my hand, I wanted to help my team.”

Facyson and Fuller have been able to help each other as true freshmen playing together on defense. The two are roommates, so they sometimes spend their down time in the dorm quizzing each other on formations and responsibilities.

“It’s honestly a good feeling just to have someone back there in my situation as well because you’re on the same level with them and only they truly understand the pressure,” Facyson said. “So we try to calm each other down, we try to hype each other up when it’s needed. We just want to have fun. We want to help our team out and just play for each other.”

Florida State (13), NC State (11) and Wake Forest (11) also have played double-digit freshmen. Like Pitt, NC State has gotten major contributions from true freshmen on offense. True freshmen lead the Wolfpack in both rushing (Matt Dayes, 37 carries for 143 yards) and receiving (Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 14 receptions for 201 yards).

As for Wake, the true freshmen numbers are simply astounding. Before this year, the highest number of true freshman to ever play in a season under Grobe was three. Center Cory Helms is the lone true freshman starter -- the first true freshman to start his first collegiate game since defensive tackle Marvin Mitchell in 1987.

All around, freshmen are contributing. Now that we have seen so many talented youngsters so early in their careers, the question is: How good will they become in a few years’ time?

ACC notebook: Edsall returns to UConn

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
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Here are a few quick notes off the ACC coaches call on Wednesday:

Maryland coach Randy Edsall makes his return to Connecticut on Saturday when the Terps visit his former team. Last season, Edsall had to answer questions about playing his old team when UConn traveled to College Park. The story lines continues this week because he will be returning to a place he called home for 12 years.

"I’ve got fond memories of Connecticut, fond memories of Rentschler Field and hopefully we come away with a victory," Edsall said. "Connecticut was very good to me and my family. Had a great experience there. What you’ve got to do is take everything and put it to the side and focus and concentrate on getting our team prepared. I know they’re going to be fired up, I know it’s a tough place to play having coached in that stadium so it’s got to be something we have to be ready for."

UConn beat Maryland in 2012, but the Huskies come into this season's game off a loss to FCS Towson. Maryland, meanwhile, is off to a 2-0 start and appears to be in much better shape than UConn. The Huskies have not made a bowl game since Edsall took them to the Fiesta Bowl in the 2010 season. Wonder whether the homestanding fans will cheer or boo Edsall in his return.
  • Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer had high praise for Alston Smith, who was moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard earlier this week. Smith, the son of Bruce Smith, was "exceptional" in his first day of practice with the offensive line. "He’s athletic, he’s got good feet, he’s a natural guy in there and so I was really encouraged by watching that." Beamer also added that defensive tackle Corey Marshall had a great day of practice Tuesday, his first since returning to the team to deal with personal matters. "He helped our offense get better by being very aggressive as a defensive scout team member," Beamer said.
  • There is no question Boston College coach Steve Addazio is thrilled with the progress he is seen out of his team, off to a 2-0 start with a big game at USC looming on Saturday. But he also wants to keep the quick start in perspective. "I just think we’re scrapping, we’re playing physical, we’re trying to be true to the core values we want within our program," Addazio said. "It’s nice to get that start, but understand we’re a work in progress."
  • Duke coach David Cutcliffe reiterated that he would like to get freshman quarterback Parker Boehme some playing time with starter Anthony Boone out indefinitely because of a broken collarbone. The initial plan going into the season was to try and redshirt Boehme but the injury has changed everything. Boehme will serve as the backup to Brandon Connette until Boone returns. "If something were to happen and Brandon’s out for a few plays, I wouldn’t be afraid to play Parker," Cutcliffe said. "I think he’s played well."
  • Miami beat Florida thanks to a solid defensive performance, especially from a much more physical defensive front. Coach Al Golden said a big reason his team was so effective along the line was because of its rotation. Defensive end Anthony Chickillo played 71 snaps, but everybody else stayed in the 40s. "We refused to get worn down and we rotated," Golden said. "Hopefully that rotation will get stronger." Golden says the plan during the bye is to get more inexperienced players like Ufomba Kamalu and Jelani Hamilton ready for more playing time.
  • Speaking of Miami and Florida, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher caught the end of the game last weekend after his team finished practiced. Asked for his impressions, Fisher said, "Heck of a football game, very competitive, a lot of great players on both sides. Two very good football teams," he said. "We’ll have to get a lot better before we play them." The Noles play both teams in November.
  • Despite its struggles running the option in a loss to Boston College last week, Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe says he has no plans to scrap it from the offensive game plan. "Nobody played real well," Grobe said. "We didn’t block well, didn’t run well. It was not anything to do with the run game. The offense, in general, just did not play very well."

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