Posted 09/14/2010 at 11:43 PM
Last week’s college schedule had been hotly anticipated but few of the big games with national implications lived up to the hype as Ohio State comfortably beat Miami, Oklahoma blew out Florida State, and Penn State could not avoid mistakes against Alabama. The biggest loser of the weekend was clearly the ACC as the conference appears to once again be without a legitimate national title contender just two weeks into the season.
All six teams in the well regarded ACC Coastal division have losses through just two weeks of the season. The group that included four teams poised to make national noise has combined to go 4-7 with the four wins coming against a quartet of FCS teams: Florida A&M, South Carolina State, Elon, and Richmond. North Carolina and Georgia Tech have to play each other this week and Duke is hosting Alabama so the outlook is not set to improve anytime soon. Georgia Tech’s early Saturday loss at Kansas was stunning but the Yellow Jackets were spared some negative attention with some even worse efforts. 0-2 Virginia Tech will try to give the division its first FBS win of the season while hosting East Carolina this week but the Hokies, a projected top ten team by many, was stunned by FCS James Madison last week 21-16. Off-shores listed the spread for that game at around -33 and while it was a difficult spot coming off a short week and a very tough loss to Boise State it is simply an inexcusable performance for a program of that caliber. The only bright spot for the Coastal division last week was Virginia’s competitive 17-14 loss at USC. It is too early for computer rankings to be meaningful but it is worth a chuckle to visit the Sagarin ratings for the ACC and view the 1-1 Cavaliers as the ‘strongest’ team in the conference.
Things are going a bit better in the ACC Atlantic even with Florida State’s no-show performance in Norman last week. The line in that game dropped all week to close at just 6.5 but the Seminoles were blasted in a 47-17 defeat. The only hopes for a player in the national scene for ACC may be Boston College and Clemson who both remain undefeated through extremely light schedules. Clemson has the best chance to make a splash this week playing at Auburn. NC State, Wake Forest, and Maryland are also undefeated but all three, like Clemson, will be dogged this week in non-conference match-ups. The Big East takes the most heat for its automatic BCS bid but the ACC has sent several marginal champions to the Orange Bowl in recent seasons and unless things change dramatically that will be the case again this year.
This week’s college schedule lacks the high-profile star power of last week’s slate but there are a couple of key games that will have a big impact. Nebraska playing at Washington is one of the more intriguing games of the day as QB Jake Locker can establish himself nationally with a big day against a great defense. The Cornhuskers are being considered a serious threat to unseat the Big XII South dominance but this will be a key early season road test. In the Big XII Texas Tech and Texas will face off and although the implications are no where near the match-up two years ago, it will still be an interesting measuring stick for both programs. One of the last games to kick off will be one that should be closely watched as Iowa and Arizona face off. The Wildcats look like a contender in the Pac-10 and the winner could earn a solid spot in the national top ten. TCU and Boise State will also be worth watching this week. The Horned Frogs are at home and while Baylor is not the caliber of many other Big XII teams the Bears are playing well and will provide a comparison game with the likes of Oklahoma or Texas. Boise State seems to occasionally struggle on the road and going to Wyoming can be a difficult environment, particularly with a far bigger game with Oregon State on deck for the program. Best of Luck, and on to this week’s slate…