Instead of Texting Pick’em: Week 10

November 5, 2009

As we come down to the last third of the college football season, just about every game on the ACC schedule this weekend has bowl implications. The only one that doesn’t is the game the IoT crew might be most interested in.

Jimmy and I have had a running debate over the last couple of weeks over who is the worst team in the conference — Maryland or N.C. State. (Check out our belated Power Rankings tomorrow to see how we came down on the question this time around.) Fortunately, we’ll finally get our answer on the field Saturday. While we’ve wasted quite a bit of time arguing this point, we both think the Wolfpack is going to come out on top at Carter-Finley Stadium (a.k.a. – the Un-fairgrounds).

Like the football season, we’re coming down to the end of our two-man IoT picks league. Last week, we split the two games we differed on, leaving me two back in the standings. I’ll get another chance to make up that ground Saturday.

One of the two games we’re divided on this week is Duke-North Carolina, which has some actual implications in the standings for once. Jimmy is predicting Duke’s three-game winning streak comes to an end, but I’m taking the Blue Devils to move one step closer to a bowl.

Our other head-to-head matchup is the (post-Tommy) Bowden Bowl. Florida State and Clemson have both suddenly gotten hot after disappointing starts. Jimmy likes the Seminoles and their high-scoring offense. Give me the home team that actually plays some defense.

Jimmy’s Picks (48-22) Jeremy’s Picks (46-24)
Virginia Tech
at East Carolina
Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
at Miami
Miami Miami
at N.C. State
N.C. State N.C. State
Wake Forest
at Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech Georgia Tech
at North Carolina
North Carolina Duke
Florida State
at Clemson
Florida State Clemson

Demaryius the Great

November 5, 2009

Georgia Tech WR Demaryius Thomas is running away from the rest of the ACC. (Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images North America)

Writing about Demaryius Thomas is almost tedious.

The Georgia Tech junior is so clearly the Atlantic Coast Conference’s best receiver that pondering his greatness can get a little boring. Consider: Thomas’ 823 receiving yards place him 163 ahead of his nearest competitor, Duke wideout Donovan Varner. Varner gains about 82 yards per game; Thomas could take Georgia Tech’s next two games off and Varner would possibly catch him.

Thomas is first in the ACC in receiving yards, second in receiving touchdowns, second in yards per reception. He has 12 catches of 25 or more yards, four more than North Carolina and just as many as Maryland. Look out, Virginia and Virginia Tech (13 apiece).

If there’s a definitive Demaryius stat, it’s this one: Thomas has accounted for two-thirds of Georgia Tech’s total passing yards this season. No one in the country bears as great a share of his team’s passing burden as Thomas. Only 11 receivers are responsible for as much as 40 percent of their team’s passing this year:

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J.J. Redick, rapper

November 2, 2009

J.J. learned how to build mics in his workshop class. They gave him the 2005 ACC Player of the Year Award and made it his last. (Thearen Henderson/Getty Images)

I had pretty much given up on hating J.J. Redick. After four years of on-court d-baggery as the ACC’s best-ever three-point shooter and Duke’s last big star, he’s become a totally irrelevant NBA player. Here are a few guards who played more minutes than Redick for the Orlando Magic since they drafted Redick in 2006: Keith Bogans, Carlos Arroyo, Keyon Dooling, Maurice Evans, Courtney Lee, Mickael Pietrus and Anthony Johnson. Redick’s lack of athleticism or ball-handling ability have rendered him virtually useless in the NBA. There’s no point in disliking him anymore.

Rather, there was no point in disliking him anymore. That all changed today, when news broke that Redick is working on a hip-hop album. Priceless.

Early predictions: J.J.’s effort will be less popular than Shaq’s, better than Kobe’s and gay-friendlier than Iverson’s. (Sidenote: Every time I try to be more sympathetic to AI, I remember epic gay-bash in that song and give up. Yikes.)

Hat tip Deadspin.

Week 9 Roundup: Down the stretch they come

November 1, 2009

Duke Virginia Football

Could Thaddeus Lewis and Duke really be headed to a bowl? (AP Photo/News & Observer,Ted Richardson)

As we come into the home stretch of the football season, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the ACC won’t have 10 bowl teams again. Down to the last three or four games of the season, we thought we’d use this week’s roundup to look at where each team stands with its bowl chances.

Overall records are in parentheses. Teams with an asterisk have to win seven games to become bowl eligible because they played two non-I-A teams. Perhaps not coincidentally, all three of those teams have some work to do to get to a bowl game.

With that explanation out of the way, away we go:

Atlantic Division
Boston College (6-3): Bowl eligible for the 10th consecutive season with Saturday’s win over Central Michigan. The Eagles also have a shot to play in their third straight ACC championship game if they can win a game or two on the road and get some help from someone else against Clemson.

Clemson (5-3): Bowl eligible with one more win. The bowl bid seems almost assured at this point. The bigger issue for the Tigers is whether they can get to Tampa for the ACC title game by running the table in their last three conference games, all of which are winnable.

Florida State (4-4): Has to split two of four. The Seminoles are in a much better position than they were going into their bye week. Still, they should be the underdog at Clemson next week and forget about beating Florida as long as this guy is still standing. That leaves Wake Forest and Maryland as FSU’s best path to six wins.

Wake Forest (4-5): Need to take two of three. The Demon Deacons cane up just short against Miami on Saturday, which has been the story of their season. With games left against Georgia Tech, suddenly resurgent Florida State and Duke, those last two wins could be hard to come by.

N.C. State* (3-5): Must win out. As Wolfpack fans, we’d say were ready for basketball season, but we’re not.

Maryland (2-6): Also must win out. At least Terrapin fans can look forward to watching Greivis Vasquez on the court.

Coastal Division
Georgia Tech (8-1): Orange or Chick-fil-A? That’s pretty much the only mystery left in the Yellow Jackets’ bowl picture. Tech seems all but assured of playing in the ACC championship game, so we won’t get an answer until then. Bet on the Jackets enjoying some time on South Beach instead of eating mor chikin.

Duke* (5-3): Has to split their last four. Each week, the Blue Devils’ season-opening loss to I-AA Richmond looks more like an outlier each week, but it also becomes a bigger drag on their bowl chances. With games left against Georgia Tech and Miami, Duke almost has to win against North Carolina and Wake Forest.

Miami (6-2): Bowl eligible after coming back to beat Wake Forest 28-27 on Saturday. The Hurricanes will be favored to win their last four games and crack the 10-win mark, but any shot they had an at-large BCS berth disappeared with last week’s overtime loss to Clemson.

Virginia Tech (5-3): Should become bowl eligible against East Carolina on Thursday. The key word there is “should.” The Hokies looked like a national title contender two games ago but lost to Georgia Tech and inexplicably fell to North Carolina.

North Carolina* (5-3): Must win at least twice more. Carolina and Duke are in a similar position. The Tar Heels have two games left they’re not going to be expected to win — vs. Miami and at Boston College. Next week’s game with the Blue Devils is going to go a long way toward determining both teams’ bowl fates.

Virginia (3-5): Needs to win three out of four. That’s going to be tough to do with road games against Miami and Clemson and a home date against archrival Virginia Tech.

Bottom line: Georgia Tech, Miami and Boston College will be going somewhere for the holidays, and Virginia Tech and Clemson can probably start packing before much longer. Of the rest, Florida State probably has the best shot to go to a bowl. Duke and North Carolina are likely playing an elimination game next Saturday. Wake Forest still has a shot but will need to win a game it won’t be favored in. N.C. State, Maryland and Virginia — better luck next year.

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