Home ACC Football: Suddenly interesting again, because of one game

ACC Football: Suddenly interesting again, because of one game


ACC NetworkA funny thing happened on the way to UVA meeting Clemson in the ACC Championship Game in December in Charlotte.

That something: North Carolina.

Now, granted, UNC (2-3, 1-1 ACC) is the ACC’s version of Jekyll and Hyde. The Tar Heels, under Mack Brown, in his first year in his second stint in Chapel Hill, have lost three straight, including a home loss to Appalachian State.

But Carolina also has wins over South Carolina and Miami.

And then, there’s the matter of that 21-20 loss to Clemson on Saturday.


Nobody wants to count moral victories, but …

Clemson needed to stuff a two-point conversion try with 1:17 to go to hold off the Heels, who held the defending national champs to 331 yards total offense.

Now the jury is back out on Clemson, who had all but had its ticket punched to Charlotte before the opening kickoff of the 2019 season last month.

Trevor Lawrence (61.8 percent completion rate, 8 TDs, 5 INTs in 2019) is suddenly a question mark, and tailback Travis Etienne has a relatively pedestrian 462 yards on the ground through five games, and considering 205 of those yards came in the 52-14 season-opening win over Georgia Tech, well …

And then, Virginia, favored to win the Coastal. The ‘Hoos outplayed Notre Dame most of the way on Saturday in South Bend, but five turnovers led to 28 Irish points in a 35-20 win.

The turnovers were the direct result of awful offensive-line play from the UVA front, which surrendered eight sacks to a Notre Dame defense that had recorded four sacks total in its first three games.

Virginia is 2-0 in ACC play, with a win on the road at defending Coastal champ Pitt, but what had looked at the beginning of the summer like a weak schedule is not at all that anymore.

There’s the game in Chapel Hill against Jekyll and Hyde, for instance, on Nov. 2.

Before that, the ‘Hoos get Duke (3-1, 1-0 ACC) on Oct. 19 in Charlottesville.

Yes, that same Duke that just stripped naked Virginia Tech, 45-10, on Friday night in Blacksburg.

We still don’t know if that one is as much about how good Duke is as it is about how bad Virginia Tech is, but Virginia fans reading this don’t need to be reminded that it has been 15 years since their favorite team has beaten the Hokies.

Clemson, the obvious Atlantic favorite coming into the season, now has much more interesting matchups upcoming with another ACC Jekyll and Hyde, Florida State (3-2, 2-1 ACC), on Oct. 12, and #20 Wake Forest (5-0, 1-0 ACC) on Nov. 16.

And don’t sleep on those Deacs, who have the guy who is inarguably the best QB in the ACC right this second, Jamie Newman (69.6 percent completion rate, 14 TDs, 3 INTs).

One game this weekend, and ACC Football is set to be fun to watch again.

Story by Chris Graham



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