As Miami enters its bye-week, the ACC as a whole has offered the usual favorites with a side of surprises, so let’s check them out.
Miami: The Canes have a 4-3 overall record with their win over Cincinnati on Saturday, but are stuck with a 1-2 conference record, and their ACC slate from here on out doesn’t get any easier, although there are two winnable games coming up.
Miami has historically had trouble in Blacksburg when they play Virginia Tech, but next Thursday they go to the Appalachians in search of glory against a downtrodden Hokie squad.
Nothing has gone right for Tech ever since their week two upset at Ohio State; they choked against Georgia Tech and lost to upstart East Carolina (looking back now, that isn’t much of a surprise.) Michael Brewer’s had a so-so time filling the shoes of Logan Thomas, and although he’s about 100 yards off Thomas’s senior pace, he’s tied with Wake Forest’s John Wofford with 11 interceptions.
Then, North Carolina comes to town on Nov. 1 for homecoming. Don’t mistake their 2-4 record for total mediocrity. Although they’d rather forget a home loss to Virginia Tech, sandwiched around that loss were defeats at the hands of East Carolina, Clemson and Notre Dame – not exactly an easy slate.
Carolina’s always been tough for Miami, and while I don’t see that changing, I could see Miami pulling out a 38-34 win.
Surprises: Nothing’s been a bigger surprise in the ACC than Virginia. Although a 4-2 record doesn’t seem like anything special, those two losses were to ranked UCLA and Brigham Young University.
They upset Louisville in week three, and really have a very winnable schedule down the stretch, except for the Florida State game, meaning Virginia could easily be a nine or 10-win team. They control the ACC Coastal right now at 2-0 coming into a matchup against Duke on Saturday.
What’s gotten them there has been the defense – three Cavaliers are in the ACC top 10 in sacks.
Boston College’s Tyler Murphy has also been a breath of fresh air for the program. Although the Eagles aren’t exactly smelling the oranges anytime soon, the quarterback transfer from Florida has probably been one of their greatest all-around players in recent memory with 761 passing yards and 711 rushing yards, making him good enough to be the team’s rushing leader.
Disappointments: As fans know, Miami’s been a huge disappointment at 4-3 for the talent that they have.
It’s a stretch to call Louisville a disappointment, as the ACC newcomers have only lost to upstart Virginia and Clemson.
They could be the team that upsets Florida State on Oct. 30. Louisville has been much more accustomed to playing on some Thursdays, being former Big East members, than Florida State is, and the game’s in Louisville.
The Cardinals wrap up the season in Notre Dame and then home against the SEC’s biggest surprise, Kentucky, who is currently only one win away from being bowl-eligible and are in contention to take a bad SEC East.