Posted by Chip Patterson
1. Yes, Bowers is the type of the player that can alter a game - In the second half against N.C. State, Clemson's defensive line pinned their ears back and came after Wolfpack quarterback Russell Wilson like a pack of wild dogs. They were led by defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, who took jumped ahead as the nation's sack leader with his 11th and 12th sack on the season. Bowers commanded much of the offensive line's attention, and the Tigers were able to force Wilson to throw several balls away, especially down the stretch. The Tigers offense tried desperately to give away Saturday's matchup with the Wolfpack, but the defense refused to let Clemson's division title hopes fizzle away completely.
2. ACC Atlantic is a game of Yahtzee! - After last week's upset of Florida State, the Atlantic Division race got flipped upside down with N.C. State, Maryland, and the Seminoles all carrying one-loss conference records into Week 10. None of the three teams were able to establish a lead on the division race on Saturday, all losing their conference contests. Now with the division leaders all having two conference losses, Clemson is back in the mix to return to the ACC Championship Game. The good news is that each team, for the most part, will get to prove their worth on the field in the final weeks of the season. Florida State faces Clemson and Maryland, N.C. State faces Maryland, Wake Forest, and North Carolina, and Clemson also travels to Winston-Salem to face the Demon Deacons. As of right now, I'm giving the edge to Florida State. The Seminoles look like they could easily handle the Terrapins, and with the schedule left that seems to be the opponent that could decide things in the division. Which of course means that Ralph Friedgen's crew COULD win the division, but the "eye-test," the "ear test," and "conventional wisdom" in general says that the Terrapins are likely not going to be competing for a BCS bowl berth in December.
3. North Carolina simply refuses to die - After the Tar Heels' 37-35 upset of Florida State on Saturday, North Carolina head coach Butch Davis appeared choked up as he spoke about the resiliency of this year's squad. After missing as many as 15 players due to suspensions and investigations, and six of those players being deemed ineligible for the year, North Carolina finds themselves bowl eligible for the third straight year under Butch Davis. Neither injuries nor suspensions have kept the Tar Heels from finding ways to win, with the entire squad buying into the "next man up" mentality. When Davis was forced to work his way down to the fourth string running back, sophomore Hunter Furr delivered three crucial rushes for 27 yards to help set up Casey Barth's game-winning field goal. There is a lot of ground between the Tar Heels and the division-leading Hokies, but Virginia Tech will be in Chapel Hill next week to try and lock up a spot in the ACC Championship Game. After seeing the product the Tar Heels put on the field in Tallahassee, that task could be more difficult than previously expected.