Tag:Tevin Washington
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:18 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Georgia Tech at Miami

Posted by Chip Patterson

GEORGIA TECH WILL WIN IF: They can limit the mistakes that have plagued them thus far in conference play. From misreading the defense on option plays to missing receivers in open space, quarterback Tevin Washington has taken a step back after his hot start. The Yellow Jackets are getting no help with penalties along the offensive line and errors in special teams. The defense also needs to bounce back after being dominated by Virginia's big offensive line in the loss on Saturday. Miami boasts a thick bunch themselves, and if they can't slow Lamar Miller and the rushing attack they might find themselves needing to score fast. This is a must-win game for the Yellow Jackets if they plan on competing for the ACC title, and a big road victory over the Hurricanes could be the spark they need to get back on track.

MIAMI WILL WIN IF: They can get Lamar Miller rolling on offense. North Carolina shut down the star running back last week, holding Miller to just 29 yards on 16 carries. It was Miller's first game under 100 yards and dropped him to tenth nationally in rushing. Virginia delivered a blueprint on how to wear down the Georgia Tech defense with the rushing game, and now the Hurricanes just need to follow suit. Keeping the ball out of the hands of the Yellow Jackets offense keeps the defense fresh for their possessions against that frustrating option attack. Additionally, when Virginia got the lead they were able to milk the clock and give Georgia Tech no chance of climbing back into the game. If Al Golden can get his team to follow the formula, the Hurricanes can make another big step to turning their season around.

X-FACTOR: Sean Spence. Arguably two of the most important positions defending Georgia Tech's offense will be the defensive end, and linebacker Sean Spence. Since his arrival to the lineup following his one-game suspension Spence has been a hawk on the field, flying to the ball and making plays when his teammates have been caught out of position. With North Carolina driving after recovering an onsides kick, it was Spence who delivered the game saving sack for the Hurricanes. He will need more game-changing plays like that to keep the Yellow Jackets' drives short. 3rd down needs to be Spence Down if Miami is going to pull the upset.

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Posted on: October 16, 2011 6:25 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 7

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

8/8. Clemson

 Those who have been claiming this could be a special year for Clemson football received some great support from the Tigers' come-from-behind performance.  Entering as a touchdown favorite over their division rivals at Maryland, Clemson sputtered and found themselves facing an 18-point deficit.  Only one other time in program history (1992 against Virginia) has a Clemson team come back from an 18+ point deficit to win.  Saturday's game was the perfect example of the type of loss that has frustrated Clemson fans for the last two decades.  A talented roster with conference title hopes shows up flat and gets stunned in a game they should win.  That script was shredded by Sammy Watkins' school-record 345 all-purpose yards, keeping this new group of young Tigers undefeated and in the Top 10. 


16/14. Virginia Tech

After turning the corner against Miami, the Hokies continued to improve their offensive execution against a relentless Wake Forest defense.  After falling behind 14-0 early, Logan Thomas battled Virginia Tech back into the game and pulled away late with a 38-17 victory.  Thomas and star running back David Wilson combined for 524 all-purpose yards of offense, gashing an undersized Demon Deacons squad and controlling the pace of the game deep into the final quarter.  As usual, Frank Beamers squad has bounced back from an early loss and is playing some of their best ball in the conference season.  With Georgia Tech's loss, the Hokies are back in the race to defend their ACC Coastal Division crown.

20/19. Georgia Tech

Last week the Yellow Jackets got their first scare, and failure to improve on the offensive mistakes led to their first loss a week later.  Georgia Tech has slowly regressed as the season has progressed, and now Paul Johnson needs to find a way to re-focus this team.  Injuries on defense left Georgia Tech vulnerable to a physical Virginia rushing attack, and the Cavaliers exposed a uncharacterstic lack of physicality along the Tech offensive line.  Georgia Tech's fast start will give them one more chace in the eyes of the voters, but another performance like Saturday's loss to Virginia could drop them from their brief stay in the polls.

Others receiving votes: Wake Forest continues to collect some momentum from voters, even in their losing effort to Virginia Tech.  Despite suffering a loss at the hands of Miami, North Carolina still saw some action from the coaching poll voters.  The coaches/SIDs also showed some respect to Mike London and Virginia, who received a few votes in their poll.

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Posted on: October 15, 2011 6:46 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 6:51 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Virginia 24, No. 12 Georgia Tech 21

Posted by Chip Patterson

VIRGINIA WON. With one week to prepare, Virginia's defense played their best game at the right time to lead the Cavaliers to the 24-21 upset over the No. 12 Georgia Tech. The Homecoming crowd was on their feet all afternoon as Georgia Tech's offense was held to converting only 6 of 14 third downs and just 296 total yard of offense - well below their average of 553.5.

HOW VIRIGNIA WON: The Cavaliers dominated the Yellow Jackets in the trenches on both sides of the ball, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage and causing all kinds of problems for Al Groh's defense. Perry Jones and Kevin Parks combined for 235 yards rushing on 35 attempts, and Virginia nearly out gained Georgia Tech in team rushing yards. The defensive line was able to get penetration and frustrate Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington, forcing him to miss pitch opportunities and rush passes in his few attempts. Washington completed four of his eight pass attempts, but two of them were caught by Virginia receivers.

WHEN VIRGINIA WON: Georgia Tech took over midway through the fourth quarter with great field position and an opportunity to march down the field for a game-tying or game-winning score. Three unsuccessful Tevin Washington rush attempts later, Sean Poole punted away the last possession the Yellow Jackets offense would see. Virginia pounded the ball with Parks and Jones, picking up seven first downs and burning the clock down to 0:00. Secon-year head coach Mike London looked to the crowd with his hands in the air, and the students charged the field to celebrate the Cavs' biggest win of the season.

WHAT VIRGINIA WON: Rejuvenation. Headed into their off week, the Cavaliers had not put together a complete performance yet this season. From the fast 14-point start to pounding the ball late in the fourth quarter to milk the clock, the Cavaliers can use this game to turn around their season. This surge in confidence could come in handy as the Cavaliers will have a chance to face N.C. State next week back in front of the home crowd.

WHAT GEORGIA TECH LOST: The driver's seat in the ACC Coastal Division. With Virginia Tech turning things around in Blacksburg and Miami picking up the win in Chapel Hill, the Yellow Jackets are no longer the cream of the crop in the division. They probably would have liked a game or two lead headed into their next three conference games - facing Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech on a Thursday night in Atlanta.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Virginia has been working a two-quarterback system and Georgia Tech is definitely a rush-first team, but both teams struggled mightily moving the ball through the air. The three quarterbacks' combined numbers were 11 for 27, with one touchdown and three interceptions. Any talk of Georgia Tech finding a passing game (including mentions from this writer) is clearly crazy.

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Posted on: October 14, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 3:40 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 7

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom. 

This week we're offering a menu that is a bit low on carbs. It's not that we don't have plenty of interesting choices to offer you this weekend, but there isn't exactly a must-have on the list. Which I suppose is a good thing considering all the big meals we've all been ingesting the last few weeks and the pounds they've packed on, we could all afford to eat a bit more salad this weekend.

BREAKFAST

#23 Michigan State vs. #11 Michigan - ESPN 12pm ET

This game has it all: rivalry, firepower, and consequence. Michigan State is looking to continue its reign in this series, having won the last 3 in the series. Michigan will need to get Heisman candidate Denard Robinson rolling and light up the scoreboard; that hasn't been much of a problem for UM this year. At stake is probably the best shot at challenging Nebraska for the Legends Division crown; the loser, meanwhile, will need a lot of help in the race. - Adam Jacobi

#21 Texas A&M vs. #20 Baylor - FX 12pm ET

Robert Griffin is appointment television no matter who Baylor is playing, but considering that Texas A&M is statistically the worst passing defense in the country, this one could be really fun. Of course, Texas A&M isn't exactly a slouch either, as Ryan Tannehill, Cyrus Gray and Christine Michael have done a good job of covering up that secondary's mistakes on offense. This one could be a pretty nice shootout to start your day with. - Tom Fornelli

Mississippi State vs. #15 South Carolina - SEC Network 12:21pm ET

Is Connor Shaw for real or not? The Gamecocks' now-unquestioned starting quarterback looked the part against Kentucky, but a veteran Bulldog secondary playing at home in Starkville is a much tougher test. And if Tyler Russell's breakout second half against UAB was more than illusion, State could have put some of their offensive woes behind them as well. Whichever quarterback proves last week's performance wasn't a fluke should come away with the victory. - Jerry Hinnen

LUNCH

Tennessee vs. #1 LSU - CBS 3:30pm ET

For the second week in a row, the Tiger defense gets to face a backup quarterback making his first start of the season. The Vols' Matt Simms has a lot of advantages Florida's Jacoby Brissett didn't, though: he'll be at home; he's a senior who started eight games for Tennessee in 2010; and he saw the LSU defense up close and personal playing against them last year. Too bad the Vols don't have the running game to keep the Tigers from teeing off on Simms all the same. - JH

#22 Texas vs. #6 Oklahoma State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET

Did you know that Mack Brown's Texas teams have never lost a game following the Red River Shootout? That record is likely going to be in serious jeopardy with the Oklahoma State offense coming to town, but if the Longhorns can manage to keep Brandon Weeden in check and pull off a win, it'd be a very large step in returning the program to where it once stood. Or you should watch just to see if Oklahoma State can finally hit the century mark. - TF

Virginia vs. #12 Georgia Tech - ESPNU 3:30pm ET

The last time Virginia took the field, they needed overtime to steal a 21-20 victory over Idaho.  With an off week to get healthy and prepare for the Yellow Jackets' option attack, the Cavs defense will try to live up to their 311.8 yards allowed per game (ranked third in the ACC).  Tech coach Paul Johnson criticized the decision making of quarterback Tevin Washington in last week's 21-16 win over Maryland, and cited a lack of "continuity" as a reason for their uncharacteristically low score.  Look for Georgia Tech to try and use this game to get their methodical attack back on track. It might be more than a young Virginia defense can handle, even with a week to prepare. - Chip Patterson

#16 Illinois vs. Ohio State - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET

The Illini look to continue their tear through a stunned and unsuspecting slate of opponents and run their record to 7-0. In Illinois' way is mighty Ohio State, who's got the talent to win the battle up front on both sides of the ball. If OSU doesn't have Braxton Miller at 100% after last week's ankle injury, though, can the vaunted Buckeye rushing attack pick up the slack and turn drives into touchdowns? - AJ

DINNER

Maryland vs. #8 Clemson - ESPNU 6:30pm ET

Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd wasn't wearing hip pads for "swag reasons."  Now he has to shed his hip fashion style in order to protect his strained hip against Maryland.  Boyd may have been carted off the field last week against Boston College, but he'll be lining up under center on Saturday night in Byrd Stadium.  Maryland, on the other hand, won't make a decision regarding their starting quarterback until game time.  Starter Danny O'Brien was benched in the 21-16 loss to Georgia Tech in favor of freshman C.J. Brown, who ran for 124 yards in just one half of action against the Yellow Jackets.  But Brown struggled throwing the ball, so it will be interesting to see what head coach Randy Edsall decides to do.  The last time Maryland played a primetime game at home, they wrapped themselves in the state flag and pulled out a victory.  Tune in to see what fashion statement they make this week. - CP 

#24 Auburn vs. Florida - ESPN 7pm ET

In a matchup of teams with passing games that will be lucky to reach "mediocre" -- the Gators thanks to John Brantley's injury, the Tigers due to Barrett Trotter's ongoing struggles -- the winner should prove to be whichever team can get their pair of star tailbacks on track. With Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey on one side and Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb on the other, backfield head-to-heads don't get a whole lot better than this. - JH

Washington State vs. #7 Stanford - FX 7:30pm ET

The Cardinal have the country's best quarterback in Andrew Luck and the conference's toughest defense (just 10.6 points per game allowed) so this should be a relatively easy road trip for the Cardinal. Head coach David Shaw will likely want to establish the running game this week after tilting heavily in favor of the pass last week against Colorado. The question probably isn't if Stanford will win, but by how much. Washington State showed they've got some fight in them last week before coming up short against UCLA. - Bryan Fischer

Kansas vs. #3 Oklahoma - ESPN 2 9:15pm ET

This is a pretty late start for a game that's being played in Kansas, but I have to believe it's some kind of strategy. Maybe the Jayhawks are hoping that by starting the game later, nobody will be watching the Sooners offense destroy a Kansas defense that has been shredded by everybody it's faced this season. This one likely won't be competitive for very long, but who knows? - TF

LATE NIGHT SNACK

#9 Oregon vs. #18 Arizona State - ESPN 10:15pm ET

They're still the conference king until knocked off their perch but Arizona State will present a stiff test for Oregon this weekend. The Ducks are not as good as they were last year on defense and will be missing star running back LaMichael James but Kenjon Barner and freshman DeAnthony Thomas are able replacements for him on offense. The atmosphere at Autzen at night should be a big advantage but expect a tough Sun Devils defense to force a few turnovers and make things interesting. - BF
Posted on: October 10, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 1:26 pm
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 6

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

8/8. Clemson

Clemson got their first big scare of the season on Saturday, with Tajh Boyd leaving the game after falling awkwardly thanks to a hit from Boston College defensive end Max Holloway.  Backup quarterback Cole Stoudt was able to enter the game and help the Tigers hold on to the win, and the good news is Boyd is expected to not miss much, if any, playing opportunities.  The sophomore quarterback is a breakout star in Clemson's new offense, and having him in the game is key to the unit operating at full potential.  If Boyd is able to compete at 100% after straining his hip, the Tigers' will be in a position to continue their quest for an ACC Atlantic Division title.

12/12. Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets looked shakier than usual against Maryland, but held on to a three score lead in the fourth quarter to win 21-16.  Paul Johnson was cricital of his team's offense after the game, citing a lack of "continuity" as a reason for their struggles.  The team looked out of rhythm, but leading the Coastal Division and sitting at 6-0 does wonders for maintaining your status in the polls.  Georgia Tech will get healthier defensively heading into this week's game against Virginia, and we have all seen the potential of that offense when things are clicking.

19/17. Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech bounced back from their disappointing loss to Clemson in the conference opener with a trilling 38-35 shootout victory over Miami.  For one game, the story of the Hokies' offense was not running back David Wilson.  Tyrod Taylor was on the Hokie sideline, and with his mentor watching sedshirt sophomore Logan Thomas put together the most memorable game of his young career.  Thomas completed 23 fo 25 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns.  Most importantly, on 4th and 1 Thomas took the ball in his hands with intentions to dive for a first down with less than a minute remaining.  When he looked ahead after faking the handoff to Wilson, there was a giant gap and Thomas ran 19 yards for the winning touchdown.  "Enter Sandman" blared through Lane Stadium, and Virginia Tech was back on track.   



Others receiving votes:
North Carolina
and Wake Forest both received some attention from the voters this week after picking up victories this weekend.  The Tar Heels escaped with an ugly 14-7 victory over Louisville to improve to 5-1, while the Demon Deacons make their first splash near the Top 25 after knocking off Florida State 35-30.  The Seminoles, ranked No. 23 last week and as high as No. 5 earlier in the season, did not receive any votes in either poll. 

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Posted on: October 8, 2011 3:46 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 3:46 pm
 

QUICK HITS: No. 13 Georgia Tech 21, Maryland 16

Posted by Adam Jacobi and Chip Patterson 

GEORGIA TECH WON. The numbers were not as impressive, and the on-field product did not flash as much as expected, but No. 13 Georgia Tech survived 21-16 in an ugly conference showdown to improve to 6-0.

HOW GEORGIA TECH WON: Georgia Tech entered the fourth quarter with a 21-3 lead after completely shutting down Maryland's offense for most of the game. When backup quarterback C.J. Brown took over, he introduced a new ground threat to the Maryland offense. The Yellow Jackets looked unprepared for the zone read attack of Brown and running back Davin Meggett, who finished the game combining for 210 yards on 27 carries.

WHEN GEORGIA TECH WON: Georgia Tech saw the Terps charge back into this game late, but a failed 4th down conversion with 2:31 remaining put the game away for the Yellow Jackets.

WHAT GEORGIA TECH WON: This is the third straight contest Georgia Tech has allowed their opponent back into the game. Georgia Tech has won something to be concerned about. The Yellow Jackets are still arguably the best team in the Coastal Division, but they are certainly not invincible. Late pushes by N.C. State and Maryland have shown the conference weaknesses in the Georgia Tech attack.

WHAT MARYLAND LOST: What Maryland won was a quarterback controversy. The 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year Danny O'Brien has struggled to find a rhythm in the last couple weeks, and head coach Randy Edsall decided it was time for a chance. C.J. Brown did not get a ton going through the air, but his 124 rushing yards definitely made a case for his use in the future. Whether Edsall decides to use two quarterbacks, or try out Brown as the full-time starter; Maryland will likely spend this week considering the immediate future of their offensive backfield.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Midway through the third quarter, Maryland ran a double pass trick play where wideout Tony Logan hit Kevin Dorsey on a 34-yard pass. That one play was enough for Logan -- again, a wide receiver -- to lead the Terrapins in passing yardage until backup quarterback CJ Brown found Dorsey for a first down with 3:43 left in the game. Danny O'Brien was 1-6 for 17 yards before being benched, and Brown proved to be a much bigger threat on the ground than through the air. Brown finished as the game's leading rusher, with 124 yards and a touchdown.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 2:26 am
 

ACC poll reactions, Week 5

Posted by Chip Patterson

This week's polls have been released. Here's how the ACC fared, from the top of the polls to the bottom, and what it means.

(AP/Coaches)

8/8. Clemson

No surprise here to see Dabo Swinney's squad getting a bump into the top 10 after knocking off their third straight ranked opponent.  The most impressive takeaway from Saturday's 23-3 win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg was the complete effort in all aspects of the game.  Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins, and the rest of the Tigers offense was well covered heading into the game, but a dominating performance by defensive end Andre Branch and the Clemson defense stole the show.  In a matter of weeks the Tigers have become the ACC frontrunners, now they just have to avoid the predicted letdown.

13/13. Georgia Tech

The Yellow Jackets also see a boost in the rankings after improving to 5-0 on the weekend.  Georgia Tech once again held off a relentless ACC opponent in the 45-35 win at N.C. State.  Twice the Yellow Jackets scored in three touchdown bursts, and twice the Wolfpack climbed back into the game. Georgia Tech leads the nation in rushing offense averaging 378.2 yards per game, while their total offense ranks second in the nation behind Case Keenum-led Houston.  Up next will be a visit from Maryland, who struggled early before taking care of Towson 28-3.

21/17. Virginia Tech

The Hokies take a predictable tumble down the polls to the edge of the top 20.  The 4-0 start always seemed to have an asterik in many people's mind due to the level of competition in the Hokies' opening games.  But no one wants to give up on a Frank Beamer-led squad after just one conference loss to a hot Clemson team.  Virginia Tech faces Miami this weekend, and digs right in to a challenging ACC conference schedule that should give us an idea if the defending conference champs have a shot to return to the title game.

23/22. Florida State

Florida State had the week off, and did not see much shift in the polls.

Others receiving votes:No other teams in the ACC received any attention from the media, but both North Carolina (10 points) and Duke (1 point) made appearances on the coaches' ballots.

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Posted on: October 2, 2011 12:29 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Oct. 1)



Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Clemson is a contender, Virginia Tech is a pretender - The Tigers made ACC history on Saturday, being the first team to defeat three ranked opponents in consecutive weeks. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech (well huh) have both accomplished the feat once in program history, but neither school was a member of the ACC at the time. Their win against one of the highest ranked team ended up being their most impressive, with Clemson holding Virginia Tech from the end zone at home for the first time since 1995. But as much attention as Chad Morris' offense has gotten under Tajh Boyd's direction, the Tigers had not gotten a performance like that from their defense yet this season. It all seems to be coming together for Clemson, and just at the right time. With the victory over Florida State, the Tigers are in the driver's seat for the Atlantic Division title. If they take care of business, they will find themselves back in the ACC Championship Game.

The Hokies, on the other hand, might not be back in the conference title game. The Coastal Division is much more difficult to project, but Georgia Tech has arguably replaced Virginia Tech as the frontrunner. The Yellow Jackets did allow a relentless N.C. State team to climb back into the contest twice, but you cannot expect any conference road game to be a breeze.

Frank Beamer's squad will have a chance to bounce back immediately, with a divisional showdown against Miami in Blacksburg. The Hurricanes' also have one conference loss, and some consistency issues of their own. A lot more to learn about the Coastal in the week ahead.

2. Georgia Tech is still very impressive, but not unstoppable - With N.C. State missing their leading rusher and severely depleted on defense, the Yellow Jackets were predicted to roll over the Wolfpack in Raleigh. But after jumping out to a quick 21-0 lead, N.C. State's defense clamped down on quarterback Tevin Washington. Middle linebacker Audie Cole directed the defense as they filled the gaps and cut the Georgia Tech lead to one touchdown in the third quarter. Georgia Tech then scored three more touchdowns in under three minutes of game time in the fourth quarter, which was followed by three more touchdowns from N.C. State. The entire period was sloppy on both sides, but the first comeback might provide some helpful insight for the rest of the conference.

3. Giovani Bernard is the real deal. North Carolina has not been known as a program that produces star running backs recently, but they may have one with redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard. Bernard continued his impressive rookie campaign in North Carolina's 35-20 win at East Carolina, picking up 146 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. Bernard's numbers on the season rank among the nation's best for freshmen, but they are already good enough to earn him a spot in program history. On Saturday Bernard became the first North Carolina running back to rush for 100+ yards since Pro Bowler Natrone Means did it in 1992. His seven touchdowns on the season already match the count for last year's team leader, Johnny White - now with the Buffalo Bills.

4. Florida State and Virginia Tech should not overlook Wake Forest. Nowhere close to putting either team on "upset alert," but Wake Forest has continued their play that is significantly improved from 2010. Both Florida State and Virginia Tech will travel to Winston-Salem to face Jim Grobe's squad at home in the next two weeks. Few teams returned more starters than the Demon Deacons, and some assumed that would lead to similar results. But Grobe has once again lived up his "player development" reputation, taking basically the same lineup that went 1-7 in ACC play and already doubling that win count in 2011. Hitting the meat of their schedule at 3-1, the Deacons will need to find four more victories on the schedule in order to return to the postseason for the first time since 2008.

Wake Forest's success has been due to noticeable improvement on both sides of the ball. The defense, particularly the back seven, is communicating better and swarming to the ball in space. Tanner Price finally is leading an offensive scheme that fits the personnel with Josh Harris, Chris Givens, and Michael Campanaro all emerging as dynamic playmakers. The one weakness Wake Forest has displayed has been the inability to hold a lead late in the game. It cost them the season opening win at Syracuse, and nearly got them in trouble against N.C. State and Saturday at Boston College. But as far as the visits from the Seminoles and Hokies go, I wouldn't imagine a quick Deacs lead would be in the cards anyway.

5. Miami has consistency issues. Miami's consistency issues aren't just game-to-game, they seem to be half-to-half and even quarter-to-quarter at times this season. The dominant performance against Ohio State is sandwiched between frustrating losses to Maryland and Kansas State, while the first 22 minutes of Saturday's matchup with Bethune-Cookman was vastly different to the 45-3 blowout in the final 30+ minutes of play.

You could put some of the blame on the shifting personnel or distractions from the NCAA investigation. You could look at the new coaching staff, as they try to implement a new culture on a roster that is loaded with talented upperclassmen. But whatever the issues are, the Hurricanes need to get them straightened out quickly. The ACC Coastal is now wide open, and despite the rocky 2-2 start the Canes can still salvage their season with strong conference play.

Unfortunately for Al Golden's staff, those tests are coming now. Miami travels to Virginia Tech and North Carolina in the next two weeks before hosting Georgia Tech on October 22 in the comfy confines of Sun Life Stadium. In the next month Miami's season will be defined. The time to tighten up is now.

6. Duke to bowl game? Three straight wins is a start. Okay, maybe a bit of a stretch there. But the Blue Devils have won three straight games since starting the season 0-2. Most importantly, those three victories have all been against FBS opponents. Duke has nothing but conference games left, so three wins is the magic number to make David Cutcliffe's squad bowl eligible for the first time since 1994. Virginia is winnable, but on the road. Wake Forest is looking less winnable, but will be played at home. Steal both of those and one upset victory against Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech or North Carolina and the Blue Devils are golden. Doesn't sound probable, but they've at least go the momentum to make it seem possible.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com