Around The ACC

Sept. 16, 2010

By Wes Durham
Sting Daily

In the 1979 NCAA Basketball Tournament, both Duke and North Carolina lost in a double-header at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh (N.C.) to St. Johnn’s and Penn, respectively. That Penn team featured Bob Weinhauer as head coach. Long time Tech fans might remember that name because Weinhauer took Penn to the Final Four in Salt Lake City that year, where it lost to Michigan State in the semifinals. Everybody remembers the Bird-Magic finals that year of course, but the Quakers were the darlings of the tournament in 1979.

Why should Tech fans remember Weinhauer? Because Weinhauer was the “hot choice” to replace Dwane Morrison as head coach, when Tech ultimately hired Bobby Cremins a couple years later.

At any rate, Penn and St. John’s dealt Carolina and Duke stunning losses that day within a four-hour span in the same building. Eventually it became known as “Black Sunday”.

Well, last week in ACC football, within a six-hour span, each of the league’s “Top 25” teams playing non-conference games lost. Therefore, it was the football parallel to that Sunday in 1979. The conference is not proud of it, but let’s face it, it was not good for anybody in the loop.

Time for the recovery, the bounce back or even the rehab of the ACC’s football image. There are seven non-conference games on the slate this week (Georgia Tech-North Carolina is the only conference game). General thinking is that the league needs a 5-2 or 6-1 mark by early Sunday morning to show that it’s a factor in the national scope.

Add in the second conference game of the year at 12 noon in Chapel Hill, and we have ourselves a nice third week of the season.

No more delay, on with our breakdown…

Maryland at West Virginia, 12 noon, ESPNU
After wins over Navy and Morgan State, we are getting ready to find out how good the Terps are. At the same, we are going to see where West Virginia fits too. The Mountaineers have beaten Coastal Carolina at home, then staged a furious comeback to win at Marshall last Friday night. WVU quarterback Geno Smith engineered two drives of 90+ yards last week in the win over the Herd.

Maryland has already matched their win total of a year ago. Danny O’Brien had three touchdown passes in the win over Morgan State, but the Terps are still #116 nationally in passing offense after two weeks. WVU is 14th nationally in scoring defense.

East Carolina at Virginia Tech, 1:30 p.m., ESPN3.com
Guess which team is 2-0 and guess which team is 0-2? ECU has been reborn with a “Hail Mary” winner against Tulsa and an impressive 49-27 win over Memphis. The Hokies’ storyline has been well discussed. Safe to say that a loss to the Pirates and it’s going to get very interesting in Blacksburg.

The last time Virginia Tech saw ECU signal-caller Dominique Davis, he was taking snaps for BC in the ’08 ACC title game. Davis is in the nation’s top 10 in total offense with 333 yards per game.

Alabama at Duke, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Extra seats have been brought in to Wallace Wade Stadium to help serve the high demand for the largest non-conference game on the East Campus since the ’42 Rose Bowl. The Blue Devils lost a shootout at Wake last weekend, 54-48. Alabama popped Penn State, 24-3, and it wasn’t that close.

The Tide gets Mark Ingram back to run the ball and Marcell Dareus to stop the run. To confuse the matter a little, there will also be 20 other guys in crimson helmets playing with them.

It’s an incredible stage for the Blue Devils, but the only guy who knows what it takes to win the game is their head coach. David Cutcliffe has beaten a #1 in his career as an assistant and as head coach at Ole Miss. He needs to channel his best Peyton or Eli in Sean Renfree, the Duke quarterback, for an upset bid.

BYU at Florida State, 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
Part of the ACC’s rehabilitation from “Black Saturday” will be the next three games, starting with BYU’s visit to Doak Campbell Stadium at Bobby Bowden Field. Last year in Provo, Christian Ponder lit up the Cougars on the way to a 54-28 win. That’s the type of game FSU needs on Saturday.

BYU beat Washington, but then lost to Air Force. The Cougars are 117th nationally in rushing defense. Seems to me that FSU might try to line up and run the ball in order to give Ponder plenty of room with the passing game.

FSU’s biggest concern might be that it is 110th nationally in pass defense. The `Noles gave up 380 yards passing last Saturday to Landry Jones of Oklahoma in their loss at Norman.

If FSU is going to win, that can’t happen this Saturday.

Clemson at Auburn, 7 p.m., ESPN
Clemson has done the easy part. The Tigers have won easily against North Texas and Presbyterian. Now comes the “heavy lifting”, at Auburn.

“Aubie” is 8th nationally running the ball, with wins over Arkansas State and Mississippi State. Rookie Michael Dyer is the back of the future, who might be ready today for Gene Chizik.

Clemson needs QB Kyle Parker to be strong with the ball and manage the game. Auburn has been stout against the run to date. So Parker’s biggest plays need to be 3rd down conversions, where Clemson is just 4-19 (21%) to date.

Wake Forest at Stanford, 11:15 p.m., ESPNU
The Demon Deacons travel to Northern California to meet the Cardinal in a “late night snack” out West. Wake is 4-0 all time against the Pac-10, including last year’s 24-17 win over Stanford in Winston-Salem. This also starts a stretch for Wake that has Stanford, at Florida State and Georgia Tech in consecutive weeks.

Rookie Tanner Price took control at quarterback last week against Duke, but the Deacons have been running the ball (322 yards per game). Now they must slow down Stanford’s Andrew Luck, who led the Cardinal to a 35-0 win at UCLA last Saturday night.

This is Wake’s first ever-game in the state of California, and just its second in the pacific time zone.

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