You might look at the weekend’s ACC results and see even more cause for pessimism. Florida State, once a marquee program, fell to 0-3 in the conference. N.C. State, a preseason favorite to win the Atlantic Division, fell to 0-2 in the ACC after a home loss to lowly Duke. Six weeks into the season, ACC schools (Miami and North Carolina) are still playing Football Championship Subdivision patsies (Florida A&M and Georgia Southern).
But we prefer to see the positive. Consider:
Saturday was one of the greatest offensive shows in conference history. Not long ago (before last season, basically), the ACC was seen as a punchless league dominated by defense. Saturday’s games may have killed off that perception. In every game involving ACC teams, the winner scored at least 40 points. Fittingly, the day ended with Georgia Tech outlasting Florida State, 49-44.
Even Virginia broke 40 points. Running back Mikell Simpson’s four touchdowns drove the Cavaliers to a 47-7 win over Indiana.
Three ACC teams are still relevant nationally. Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia Tech, the ACC’s last one-loss teams, all held serve. Every week these three avoid stumbling against lesser competition moves the conference closer to securing two BCS bids for the first time.
We may be watching one of the finest collections of ACC quarterbacks ever. Four conference passers are among the top 25 nationally in quarterback rating. While Miami’s Jacory Harris has gotten most of the attention, Lewis, Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor, Skinner and Wilson have all been outstanding.
Four ACC quarterbacks accounted for at least four touchdowns. Duke’s Thaddeus Lewis and FSU’s Christian Ponder threw five touchdowns apiece (Lewis added a rushing TD). Wake Forest’s Riley Skinner threw four touchdowns. Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt threw for one touchdown and ran for three more.
Game of the Week
Georgia Tech 49, Florida State 44. The Jackets and Seminoles matched scores for most of three quarters. Tech took control midway through the fourth, when a Nesbitt touchdown run made the score 49-38. This one was over when an FSU two-point try failed with 4:14 remaining. The Seminoles didn’t see the ball again.
Player of the Week
Thaddeus Lewis, Duke. Lewis was a revelation this week, completing 80 percent of his 50 attempts for 459 yards and five touchdowns. He added a sixth touchdown on the ground. Lewis, who led Duke to its first conference road win since 2003, is quietly putting together an impressive career record. Lewis is climbing the conference’s all-time leaders list: 12th in career passing yards, tied for sixth in touchdown passes and 13th in total offense. At his current pace, Lewis could easily wind up in the top three in each category.
Team on the Rise
Wake Forest. The Deacons drilled Maryland, 42-32. The win gives Wake the tiebreaker over the only other one-loss team in the Atlantic Division. Going forward, Maryland has the better schedule of the two; of the ACC’s power trio (VT, GT, Miami), the Terps play only Virginia Tech. Wake still has to host Miami and play at Georgia Tech.
Team on the Decline
N.C. State. After opening the season as a potential conference title contender, the Wolfpack has dropped consecutive conference games. State went limp after halftime against Duke, failing to score an offensive touchdown and turning the ball over four times in the fourth quarter.