I have written previously in the space that the problem with Florida State is that it tends to not handle success well. It’s why I liked the Seminoles to not cover two Saturdays ago at South Florida. But once FSU got through that potential trap, things looked good for running the table in the regular season and reaching the BCS National Championship Game.
And then came Saturday. FSU was up 16-0 at the half against North Carolina State but somehow was shut out after intermission against a defense that was blown up a week earlier by a much-less-talented Miami club. The Wolfpack rallied for a 17-16 victory over Florida State that all but assures the ACC again won’t have a team playing for a national title. The Noles have skidded from No. 3 to No. 12 in the AP poll and down to +5000 on Sportsbook.ag to win it all. They are still -300 favorites to win the ACC and probably still will take the conference. But now FSU’s room for error over Atlantic Division foe Clemson (the only other ranked ACC team) is gone. The Noles probably take out their frustrations this Saturday as 28-point favorites at Boston College.
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It was another lousy day all around for the conference. Miami was routed, 41-3, against Notre Dame in Chicago and Boston College lost at then-winless Army. The Canes’ defense might be the worst among BCS teams. It allowed 586 yards (376 rushing) to what had been a very average Irish offense, and Notre Dame's 34 first downs were the most ever by a Canes opponent. Miami is allowing 39.6 points and 541 yards per game in its five games against FBS schools. UM already has allowed more points in six games (208) than it allowed all of 2000, 2001 or 2002.
The Hurricanes host North Carolina this week (the Heels are ineligible for ACC title game or might have been a factor there) and are six-point opening dogs. Look for a huge day from UNC back Giovani Bernard, who is from South Florida. He had a career-high 262 yards in the Heels’ win over Virginia Tech to become the first North Carolina player to run for more than 200 yards in a game since 2003.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech allowed 48 points at North Carolina in losing its second straight and third in four games. In its three losses, Virginia Tech has given up 495 yards or more. That has never happened previously under defensive coordinator Bud Foster. Virginia Tech would have to run the table in the regular season and then win a bowl game (or the ACC title game) to reach double-digit victories for the ninth straight season. I’m not so sure Tech beats Duke this week, although the Blue Devils (5-1) are 10-point road dogs. The Hokies have won 11 straight in the series. Duke, by the way, beat Virginia 42-17 on Saturday. The Cavs are now the only winless ATS team in the nation (0-5-1).
I also can’t not criticize the Big Ten again this week – for the first time ever, the conference doesn’t have a single team ranked in the Coaches’ Poll. Ohio State is clearly the class of the Big Ten and the only unbeaten but is ineligible for postseason play and also to get votes in the Coaches’ Poll (OSU is No. 8 in the AP).
The Buckeyes destroyed Nebraska on Saturday, 63-38, behind another huge game from quarterback Braxton Miller – he’s your 2013 Heisman favorite right now. Urban Meyer is nothing short of a genius as he has the OSU offense among the nation’s best in rushing and scoring a year after largely the same group finished 107th nationally in total yards. Miller broke his own school single-game quarterback rushing record with 186 yards vs. the Huskers despite finishing the first quarter with minus-9.
About the only bad news from that game was that OSU lost senior starting linebacker Etienne Sabino for up to a month with a fractured bone in his right leg. Senior starter Storm Klein now is the only upperclassmen on the two-deep depth chart at linebacker; freshman Joshua Perry will start for Sabino. Look for a letdown game this week at Indiana, which is a 17-point dog.
The Big Ten’s Leaders Division is an utter joke with both OSU and Penn State ineligible for the conference title game. It’s conceivable the winner of that division has a losing conference record. In fact, the game of the year is now probably Purdue (0-1 in Big Ten) vs. Wisconsin (1-1). That game is currently a “pick’em”. The Boilers were just trashed at home by Michigan (now the +200 Sportsbook.ag Big Ten favorite), while UW was somewhat fortunate to beat a terrible Illinois team.
On last week’s previews, I hit on Utah covering vs. Southern Cal (thank you garbage touchdown!), as well as West Virginia over Texas and Oregon over Washington (the only total I got out of the three). This week I will preview Arizona State-Colorado (what can I say, it’s a dud Thursday), South Carolina at LSU (game of week) and New Mexico at Hawaii (last kickoff of Saturday).
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