Posted on: October 31, 2010 8:55 pm

Second neck injury forces BC's Wes Davis to quit

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Boston College may have ended a losing streak yesterday with a 16-10 win over Clemson, but if the Golden Eagles want to make a bowl game push, they'll have to continue doing so without one of their leading defenders. 

As the Boston Herald reported today, the neck injury that hospitalized Wes Davis last week in a loss to Maryland has ended his football career ... by choice. Here's how:

BC coach Frank Spaziani said this afternoon that Wes Davis [...] who suffered a neck trauma in BC's 24-21 loss to Maryland last week, was calling an end to his football career.

Davis was taken off the field in a stretcher and spent the night at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. He was released the next day.

Davis who suffered a major neck injury which required surgery three years ago, talked to his doctors and his family and decided that it was time to move on with his life without football.

It's surprising that this doesn't happen more often, honestly; it certainly does at lower levels of college ball, where a torn ACL is often enough to convince a player to give the sport up. But at D-I, it's certainly unusual to see a voluntary decision like this. Perhaps it's the seductive nature of NFL fame and money or a sense of obligation to teammates that players don't leave the game early more often. Or perhaps it's the advances made in orthopedic medicine that make most serious injuries more impermanent than they'd have been even 10-20 years ago.

But neck issues are a whole separate matter from "regular" injuries, of course, and most of the metrics that go into these types of decisions are completely different considering the ramifications of spinal injury. Hence what we have here. Fare thee well, Mr. Davis.

Posted on: October 31, 2010 6:52 pm

Clemson's bad weekend worse as Ellington out

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

This was already a flatly terrible weekend for Clemson , who were held scoreless for the final three quarters on the road Saturday at Boston College and lost 16-10 . The win snapped a five-game BC losing streak and handed the Eagles their first ACC win of the season; it also snapped a modest two-game streak for the Tigers and dropped them to 2-3 in conference play. With three different teams (N.C. State , Florida State , and Maryland ) all sitting on one loss at the top of the ACC Atlantic, Clemson's hopes of an ACC championship are all but kaput already, and the Clemson natives who'd hoped upset losses like this one left with former coach Tommy Bowden are getting restless .

Today's news, unfortunately for Dabo Swinney , is not going to make yesterday's loss any easier to take :

Andre Ellington has only been Clemson's most consistent, most explosive offensive threat this year, leading the team with 642 yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, and a 6.3 yards-per-carry average that ranks ninth in the country for running backs with more than 100 carries. Quarterback Kyle Parker has never looked shakier than he did against Boston College -- when he averaged a miserable 4.5 yards for each of his 39 attempts and threw a pair of back-breaking interceptions, one a hopeless duck into a crowd of Eagles to ruin a promising fourth-quarter drive -- but Swinner won't have any choice but to lean on him more heavily until Ellington returns.

Jamie Harper (418 rushing yards, 5.23 yards) isn't a bad fallback at tailback, but he hasn't yet been able to reproduce what Ellington has brought to the table. With three of Clemson's final three opponents (N.C. State, Florida State, and South Carolina ) currently ranked, Parker will have to take a major step forward to get his offense moving again, and if doesn't, the 4-4 Tigers could find themselves bowl-ineligible for the first time since 1997.

Posted on: October 30, 2010 9:35 pm

What I learned from the ACC (Oct. 30)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Well, there goes the Atlantic Division - Florida State jumped out with a quick four wins in conference play to take the lead in the Atlantic Division.  But after Thursday night's loss to division rival N.C. State, the race has become a toss up between the Seminoles, Wolfpack, and Maryland.  Each with only one loss, each team will enter every game from here out with a must-win attitude.  As we saw today with the Clemson Tigers, one loss can create a serious setback in the race for that coveted spot in the ACC Championship Game.  N.C. State has conquered their arguably most formidable opponent, but now have difficult road games against Clemson, Maryland, and in-state rival North Carolina ahead.  Maryland has the chance to play spoiler in this scenario, facing the Wolfpack at home on the last Saturday of the regular season.  The Terrapins have yet to play any truly difficult opponents, but a 3-1 conference record still has them in the ACC Title discussion regardless of who the three teams were.  Florida State also has North Carolina, Clemson, and Maryland ahead.  After Saturday, I believe the division winner will be either the Seminoles or Wolfpack, and it will be determined by who survives that three-team gauntlet.   

2. Bad day to be a favorite on the road - Miami and Clemson, both favored by a touchdown or more on Saturday, slipped up on the road in conference play.  For Clemson, the loss made things awfully difficult for the 2-3 Tigers to try and catch up to the three teams in the lead with only one loss.  It is difficult to distinguish at times whether the parity in the ACC is a representation of how competitive or how poor the conference is in 2010.  Clemson and Miami were supposed to be teams that are the face of the conference on the national scene, and neither team could take care of business on Saturday.  Skeptics of the conference will point to days like Saturday to make a case for a weak ACC.  Combined the Hurricanes and Tigers losses with North Carolina squeaking by William and Mary, and they have a pretty good case.  

3. What happened to North Carolina? - The Tar Heels needed a late drive and a 67 yard Johnny White touchdown scamper to avoid dropping a costly game to FCS William and Mary.  The Tribe are one of the better teams in the Championship Series but the Tar Heels cannot afford any upsets if they plan on playing football after November.  The Tar Heels did display resolve in their comeback from the 17-7 deficit to win 21-17, but struggling against former Tar Heel backup Mike Paulus draws some concern about the supposedly "dominant" North Carolina defense.  Paulus completed 24 passes for 209 yards and threw a pair of touchdowns on a secondary that is as close to full strength as they will likely be all season.  Welcoming Deunta Williams, Da'Norris Searcy, and Kendric Burney was supposed to end the Tar Heels' woes against opposing quarterbacks.  Facing a final stretch that includes Florida State, Virginia Tech, and N.C. State, they need to try and fix the issue before facing three very potent quarterbacks. 

4. When a Jacory falls in the woods... -  

Posted on: October 30, 2010 1:02 pm
Edited on: October 30, 2010 1:56 pm

Jacory Harris leaves game after brutal hit

Posted by Chip Patterson

Miami quarterback Jacory Harris threw an interception near the beginning of the second quarter against Virginia.  That is not news.

But as he let the ball go, Harris took a DEVASTATING hit from Virginia defensive tackle John-Kevin Dolce.  Harris has been known to hang in the pocket, and it is often considered one of his strengths as a passer.  But with his eyes downfield and arm extended, Harris had no time to prepare for Dolce's brutal hit.  He laid on the ground, surrounded by the entire Miami training staff and both head coaches before walking off the field with some assistance. No word yet on his return, but judging by the hit and his woozy reaction, I'm guessing they are not going to trot a Zombie Jacory back on the field before conducting some tests.

[UPDATE, 1:56 p.m.: Harris will not return to the game, and judging by the video of the hit, it's pretty easy to see why.]

Posted on: October 29, 2010 12:00 pm

ACC doomed to go without at-large bid again

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's always one of the first factoids cited whenever the ACC 's lack of strength is a topic of discussion, even ahead of "Wake Forest won the league championship within the past decade": the ACC has never earned an at-large bid to the Bowl Championship Series . 12 years, 12 whiffs, 12 missed paychecks worth millions of dollars and 12 missed opportunities to grab some kind of foothold of respect within the sport.

The talking points in the immediate wake of N.C. State 's dramatic 28-24 win over Florida State last night were that the Wolfpack had stolen away control of the ACC Atlantic and that Russell Wilson 's sudden return to form means they just might keep it. But what shouldn't be missed is that the loss all but guarantees the ACC will go yet another season without an at-large BCS bid.

That's because the Seminoles were the conference's only halfway viable candidate. Virginia Tech has taken two losses already, one to FCS James Madison in the season's biggest upset to-date. Neither Maryland nor the Wolfpack have the kind of cachet to pull in TV ratings over similar programs from other conferences (not to mention their pair of losses each). Miami was embarrassed in defeats to Ohio State and the 'Noles. Etc.

After their early-season thumping at Oklahoma , you wouldn't have said the Seminoles were a favorite to land a BCS at-large berth, but as long as they kept winning, they would be in the mix. They still have name-brand recognition dating back to the Bobby Bowden glory days. They play an exciting brand of balanced offensive football led by a high-profile star in Christian Ponder . Most importantly, they had just the one loss and the remaining schedule (home against North Carolina and Clemson , at Maryland , home to Florida in what could be a key ACC-SEC triumph) to make the leap into the BCS top 10, even the top 5. If the 'Noles ran the table but lost in the ACC title game to, say, the Hokies, they would have received a long look from bowls like the Sugar and Fiesta .

But a hypothetical three -loss FSU team? With non-AQ bid snatchers like Boise State and TCU around, not to mention the likes of Ohio State, the Auburn-Alabama loser, or a Big 12 team like Nebraska or Oklahoma ? Forget it. This isn't the year, either, and every one that passes with the BCS millions going places other than the ACC makes it that much harder for the conference to break through next year.

It's fair to say the ACC powers-that-be weren't begrudging N.C. State their raucous celebration after the victory last night. But if any Wolfpack fans happened to stumble onto a sour and depressed-looking ACC official in the aftermath, here's to hoping they weren't begrudging that official his bitterness and disappointment, either.

Posted on: October 28, 2010 10:16 am
Edited on: October 28, 2010 10:19 am

ACC Title Hunt Update - Week 9 Preview

Posted by Chip Patterson

As the regular season winds to a close, we'll break down the conference races and let you know what scenarios are needed for your favorite team to grasp that automatic BCS berth.  In the ACC, we'll shake down each division race first then make an insanely premature prediction.  Agree? Disagree? Got any good haikus? Leave 'em all in the comments section below.

Atlantic Division

Florida State (4-0) (6-1)
N.C. State (2-1) (5-2)
Maryland (2-1) (5-2)
Clemson (2-2) (4-3)
Wake Forest (1-3) (2-5)
Boston College (0-4) (2-5)

Week 9 Preview 
Florida State dodged a near upset on their own turf to Boston College, but the Seminoles have had a week and a half to take a look at what went wrong and prepare for Thursday night's primetime showdown against N.C. State in Raleigh.  This game is usually a nail biter, with eight of the last nine contests being decided by ten points or less, but N.C. State particularly likes facing a ranked Florida State squad.  Two of the last three times Florida State has visited Carter-Finley Stadium while ranked in the Top 25 they have been knocked off by the Wolfpack, and with the division on the line Florida State can count on seeing the best out of their opponent.  The Wolfpack are looking to bounce back from a loss to in-state rival East Carolina, but has also had an extra week to tend to their wounds and prepare for Florida State.  With a win, the Seminoles could give themselves an extra game of separation from N.C. State and the Clemson, the defending division champs.

Clemson travels to Chestnut Hill to face Boston College, who is still searching for that first conference win.  But the Eagles have lost their last two division games by a combined eight points, and will be looking to get over the hump.  The Tigers, on the other hand, can not afford any more conference losses if they plan on having a shot to play for the ACC Championship again in 2010.  Maryland hosts Wake Forest, a team who's only victories have come against Presbyterian College and a 45-38 shootout at home against Duke.  Maryland has had an incredibly favorable conference draw this season, and it will likely lead to a bowl berth.  But judging by the talent on the field, the Terrapins are not quite on the same level as Florida State, N.C. State, and Clemson.  Still, with an upset of Miami next week the Terrapins could make the title hunt very interesting in the ACC.  I predict the Wolfpack to pull off the upset Thursday, but with so many tough conference games left I think even a one-loss Seminole squad will emerge from the Atlantic Division.

Atlantic Division Week 9 Winners - N.C. State, Clemson, Maryland
Atlantic Division Favorite - Florida State

Coastal Division

Virginia Tech (4-0) (6-2)
Miami (3-1) (5-2)
Georgia Tech (3-2) (5-3)
North Carolina (2-2) (4-3)
Virginia (0-3) (3-4)
Duke (0-4) (1-6)

Week 9 Preview
This weekend is a calm week in the Coastal Division, with Georgia Tech and division leader Virginia Tech both off on Saturday.  The only division matchup of the week will feature Miami traveling to Charlottesville to face Virginia.  Barring an out-of-character performance from the Cavaliers, the Hurricanes should carve up the weaker Virginia defense and have no trouble picking up their fourth conference victory.  It is imperative for the Hurricanes to avoid any slip ups down the stretch in order to set up a potential informal ACC Championship play-in game with Virginia Tech November 20 in Coral Gables.  A win over Virginia moves Miami just a half-game behind the Hokies, and even if Virginia Tech continues their undefeated ways Miami could steal the tiebreaker with a head-to-head win.  The spoiler in that scenario is Georgia Tech, who could create even more tiebreaker mayhem with wins over both teams in the coming weeks.

Duke and North Carolina both will be playing out-of-conference matchups on the Week 9 slate.  The Blue Devils travel to Annapolis to face the Naval Academy, while the Tar Heels will host William & Mary for Homecoming.  The Tar Heels are not out of the Coastal Division race, but it is going to take some help for a two-loss team to win the division.  Particularly, a two loss team who lacks the head-to-head advantage over Miami and Georgia Tech.  The Tar Heels have yet to face Virginia Tech, N.C. State, and still have to travel back to Florida to face the Seminoles.  Considering the type of year the Tar Heels have gone through, a postseason berth should feel like a success. But with all the talent that has missed time on the field, Tar Heel fans will still be asking "What if?" for years to come.

Coastal Division Week 9 Winners - Miami, North Carolina
Coastal Division Favorite - Virginia Tech

Insanely Premature ACC Championship Game Prediction - Virginia Tech 20, Florida State 14
Posted on: October 25, 2010 11:27 am

Ponder seems good to go for 'Noles

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Florida State was on a bye this week, and it seems it couldn't have come at a better time for a Seminoles team that is undefeated in ACC play and hopes to stay that way.  The week off let the team keep Christian Ponder out of practice and help him deal with the burst bursa sac in his throwing elbow that he suffered in Florida State's win over Boston College.   Ponder spent the week having the elbow drained, and returned to practice on Saturday.

Ponder practiced again on Sunday, and according to Jimbo Fisher, he looked pretty good and should be ready to go when the Seminoles take on N.C. State this Thursday night.

"He threw the ball real well," said Fisher on Sunday. "I was shocked. I thought there might be a little soreness.

"Shoot, he was slinging it. Seems good so far."

Which, obviously, is very good news for both Ponder and Florida State.  A win over North Carolina State in Raleigh on Thursday night would just about knock the Wolfpack out of contention in the Atlantic Division, and leave Maryland as the only team with a chance to beat out the Seminoles for the division.
Posted on: October 23, 2010 11:55 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2010 12:02 am

What I learned from the ACC (Oct. 23)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Miami can step up when they need to - There was a dismal attendance, they were favored by less than a touchdown, and North Carolina was on a four game winning streak, but the Miami Hurricanes still played up to the expectations of a primetime game in Sun Life Stadium.  Things looked bleak for the Hurricanes down 10-3 in the second quarter after a 76 yard Johnny White touchdown run, but 'The U' turned it on from there.  Jacory Harris and running back Damien Berry anchored a 30-0 run for Miami after the White's touchdown to put Miami ahead and away with the 33-10 victory over the Tar Heels.  Jacory Harris increased his career TD total to 50, good enough for second all-time in the Miami record books, and Berry added 109 yards on the ground to lead the Hurricanes.  The atmosphere in the stadium did not live up to the hype of the division rivalry, but Miami delivered with the first Hurricane victory over Butch Davis since he took the North Carolina job in 2007.

2. Attention College Fooball Nation: Andre Ellington is the real deal - Ellington has been piecing together one of the most dominant rushing seasons in the conference this season, and done so under the radar for the most part.  Against the Yellow Jackets, Ellington rushed 20 times for 166 yards and a pair of touchdowns and added a touchdown reception to lead the Tigers in their 27-13 victory.  Without much hype, Ellington has been one of the most efficient runners in the conference.  He is in the top five in yards per game and leads the conference in rushing touchdowns.  The 5-10 sophomore has a long way to go before the NFL becomes a legitimate discussion, but the kind of home run threat that he possesses will be a skill that is desired by many at the next level.

3. It doesn't have to pretty, just have to win - Don't look now, but Maryland is just a game away from being bowl eligible.  After the media predicted that the Terrapins would be near the bottom of the conference come seasons end, Maryland has proved the critics wrong with a 5-2 start that has them sitting tied for second place in the Atlantic Division.  Quarterback Danny O'Brien completed 26 of 29 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Terps in the 24-21 victory over Boston College.  Their wins have not always been pretty, but they have found ways to pull out a victory week after week regardless of the opponent.  Say what you will about strength of schedule, but in the ACC sometimes you just need to find six wins.  Head coach Ralph Friedgen entered the season as good as fired in the eyes of many, but has held off the critics yet again with a timely winning season.  
4. Duke's scheduling has not worked out well - On the flip side of the Maryland situation, you have Duke.  The Blue Devils entered the season with high hopes and expectations for a breakout season under David Cutcliffe.  Scheduling big-name non-conference opponents, Duke hoped to enhance their pigskin reputation by building on last year's improved season with more success and hopefully a bowl bid.  Unfortunately, the Devils are all but cooked at the midpoint of the season, having dropped six in a row since defeating Elon in the season opener.  Heads up Duke, if you want to increase your win total - schedule winnable games.

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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