The season began with bright Saturday night lights for the Atlantic Coast Conference as a mighty and proud Clemson team lifted its orange colors over conquered Georgia from the SEC. For two weeks the ACC shone as many experts and analysts declared the ACC ranking third behind the SEC and the Big Ten, finally surpassing the Big XII in the talent and skill of their teams. And, even though last night was a sorry night for the ACC, there is still much of the season left to redeem this last performance.
Georgia Tech was a favorite going into last night’s game after a resounding comeback victory over North Carolina on Saturday. The Yellow Jackets had a home game in Atlanta against a Virginia Tech team that had been on the brink of being upset by Marshall. But the ACC being the ACC, the Yellow Jackets got tossed around for most of the game. To be fully honest, much like the San Francisco-St. Louis NFL game playing at the same time, the ACC matchup got unbelievably boring after the first half. The Hokies settled into a defense-only strategy and the Jackets were simply unable to establish a running game and didn’t have much beyond a mediocre air game—Vad Lee (for GT) completed 7 out of 24 passes (29%).
Don’t get me wrong—it is good to see once-great programs like Virginia Tech redeem rough performances against supposedly weaker programs like Marshall. There was a time—only a few years ago—when Virginia Tech was a top contended in the ACC, often ranked in the AP top 25. However, one perceived problem with the ACC is that anyone can beat anyone and upsets are expected to happen on a weekly basis. Maybe this isn’t problem. Maybe it is a sign of a well-balanced conference. However, in a world where undefeated teams get ranked higher and upsets don’t do much good for your program, the ACC is bound to be plague by them.