ACC Football Week 2: Mixed results at best
After a disastrous opening week of the 2021 football season, the ACC desperately needed a rebound Week 2. And after the dust had settled late last night in Tallahassee, the verdict of Week 2? This conference has an identity crisis.
A couple of solid wins for the ACC early Saturday as Virginia did as expected and even more in crushing Big Ten foe Illinois, 42-10.
Pitt went on the road to Knoxville and beat Tennessee. The rub here is the Panthers were the slight favorite. You see, Volunteer football hasn’t been good for quite a while now. So, at best, Pitt held serve for the ACC.
Things began to get a bit rocky for the conference in the second mammoth matchup of the ACC Network’s quadruple slate of games. Syracuse struggled offensively and fell to Big Ten opponent Rutgers, 17-7, in the Carrier Dome.
The ACC-Big 10 Challenge thus ended 1-1 on Saturday.
The afternoon tilts for the conference went as expected. In very pedestrian matchups, Virginia Tech beat Middle Tennessee in Lane Stadium, Clemson walloped South Carolina State in Death Valley, and Wake Forest and Georgia Tech both beat overmatched foes Norfolk State and Kennesaw State.
In the battle of Massachusetts, Boston College won at UMass, 45-28.
So far, so good, but as day turned to night, the league’s makeup began to wear off.
In Miami the Hurricanes struggled against Appalachian State. It took a late field goal by the Hurricanes to survive. Despite prevailing 25-23, it was obvious that Miami’s opening game drubbing by Alabama was no accident. Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium, the Mountaineers looked the more talented team.
North Carolina State, which some had thought might challenge Clemson for Atlantic Division supremacy, went on the road to SEC foe Mississippi State – as the favorite. As they tend to do, the Wolfpack looked confused and intimidated away from home and dropped a 24-10 decision to the Bulldogs. The final score wasn’t indicative of the beatdown by MSU. The game was 21-3 early in the fourth quarter.
Reeling, the lethal blow to ACC pride came in the final game of the day.
Florida State, just six days earlier, gave Notre Dame all the Irish could handle, fighting back from an 18-point deficit only to lose on a late Irish field goal in OT. Despite losing, the prevailing thought was perhaps FSU was about to turn the corner.
The Seminoles turned the corner alright, and ran squarely into a brick wall named Jacksonville State. FSU had a meltdown for the age’s loss.
To an FCS opponent, the first-ever such loss by the Seminoles.
A loss such that FSU coach Mike Norvell felt the necessity to offer an apology.
“I apologize to our fanbase, to our university, to all Seminoles, for the performance we had,” said Norvell.
So, two weeks into the season, the only thing we really know about the conference is that it still has a long way to go to overcome the opinion of it being a basketball conference only.
And that maybe the league should just stick to day games.
Story by Scott German