Posted by Chip Patterson
1.) The Randy Shannon Era is done at Miami - Late Saturday, Miami announced that head coach Randy Shannon was fired, and the school would move forward with a coaching search immediately. While Shannon brought in several top-ranked recruiting classes, he failed to ever crack into the ACC elite in his four years at Miami. Miami fans collected money to have a banner flown over Sun Life Stadium on Saturday: 4 YEARS 0 ACC TITLES LOTS OF EXCUSES FIRE SHANNON. The only thing more depressing than the banner was the mostly-empty stadium below. Whether you believe the reports that an "emergency meeting" was called following the 23-20 overtime loss to South Florida, Saturday was undoubtedly the icing on a cake of concerns regarding the state of Miami football. Now, on to the real fun: the replacement rumors.
2.) Another year, another Coastal Division title for the Hokies - In Saturday's 37-7 win over Virginia, Virginia Tech may have cemented itself as the team of the decade in the ACC - and they have only been a member sin 2004. Virginia Tech finished the season undefeated in conference play, a feat that has not been accomplished since Florida State in 2000. Since the expansion in 2004, Virginia Tech has appeared in four of the last six ACC Championship Games as the the Coastal Division champion. Since getting virtually written off from the national scene after an 0-2 start that included a loss to James Madison, the Hokies have methodically dissected their way through their remaining schedule. A full stable of healthy running backs and a matured Tyrod Taylor have kept the Hokies productive, while the defense has held conference opponents to 14.1 points per game. Virginia Tech has improved continuously throughout the season, and now stand just one win away from their third Orange Bowl appearance in the last four years.
3.) On the day that Florida State got crowned, they looked like champions - Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State staff did not want any distractions in Doak Campbell Stadium, so they requested that the stadium staff not report the score of the Maryland-N.C. State game. After all, the Seminoles could do nothing to improve their position in the ACC Atlantic Division race, so they might as well not worry. Instead Florida State went out and dismantled their rivals from Gainesville, ending a six game losing streak to the Gators. They did it in style too, with senior Christian Ponder dicing up the Florida secondary for 221 yards and three touchdowns. When the game finished, Fisher and the Seminoles were greeted with the news of Maryland's victory. At times this season, Florida State has struggled to look like a team that wanted to compete for a league championship. But they did not look that way on Saturday, representing the conference well in the storied rivalry. Virginia Tech was one of the three opponents not on Florida State's conference schedule this year, so the Seminoles enter with a fresh slate against the conference's best team. Now we will get to see if Florida State can do what no other ACC team has done in 2010: beat Virginia Tech.
4.) Despite little to play for, Maryland did come to play - While there were concerns about how "up" Maryland would be for this game, Torrey Smith showed up. Torrey set the stage early, snagging in seven receptions in the first half. When the Terps had to have a score, trying to capitalize on a Russell Wilson interception before halftime, freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien counted on Smith in the end zone. After the Maryland defense held Russell Wilson on 4th and Goal, everyone expected the Terps to try and burn the clock. But when Torrey Smith burned his man down the field, O'Brien took a strike deep and connected for a 71 yard touchdown. Smith accentuated the score with a penalty-inducing slam dunk on the goalpost that slammed shut the Wolfpack's ACC Championship Game hopes. The Terps have been a particularly aggravating thorn in the side of N.C. State, stealing four of the last five matchups in the series. While Maryland may feel disappointed missing out on the ACC Championship Game, the win still caps off an unbelievable turnaround from the 2-10 season in 2009. Head coach Ralph Friedgen has been getting some (deserved) Coach of the Year discussion, and Smith likely just picked up a few more NFL scouts for Maryland's bowl game. All in all really impressive performance by Maryland to close the season.
5.) Boston College shows tremendous resiliency - When Boston College star running back Montel Harris underwent season-ending surgery, the Eagles lost the backbone of their newfound offensive attack. Harris averaged 127 yards per game in conference play, helping Boston College bounce back from a five game losing streak that almost crippled their season. But Boston College showed tremendous resiliency and finished the season on a five game winning streak to become bowl eligible for the 12th straight season. That same resiliency showed in the performance of backup running back Andre Williams on Saturday. Williams stepped up in Harris' absence and delivered one of the best rushing performances of the season. Head coach Frank Spaziani did not feel nervous handing the rock to Williams, and did so a whopping 42 times. But the usually tough Syracuse defense was not able to contain Williams, and freshman racked up 185 yards rushing and added a touchdown. Maybe it is the influence of linebacker Mark Herzlich, but this Boston College team simply refused to buckle in 2010.
What I learned from the ACC (Nov. 27)
Posted on: November 28, 2010 10:58 am
Edited on: November 28, 2010 11:52 am