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Late Hits: Sept. 7

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Faceoff: Is the ACC better since expansion?

The CAA: Apparently, conferences are like report cards, the more A's, the better. The Colonial Athletic Association, gave the ACC a lesson in humility with Richmond's win at Duke and William & Mary's upset of Virginia. The lower Division I conference has more wins (two) over BCS teams than the ACC (one).

BYU: Before there was the BCS, there was BYU. The Cougars, celebrating the 25th anniversary of their national title — the last by a school outside the Bowl Championship Series cartel — knocked out Oklahoma's Heisman winner Sam Bradford and then shook up college football with a 14-13 win over the third-ranked Sooners.

Diane Lane's favorite team still has dates against Florida State and conference mates Utah and Texas Christian, but a national title bid is on the Cougs' radar.

The ACC: From Page No. 7 of the ACC football media guide: "Atlantic Coast Football: We're No. 1." The conference's futile start includes an 0-4 record against BCS conferences and two losses to the Division Formerly Known As I-AA.

The ACC's liberal interpretation of "No. 1" is right up there with Jim Carrey's hysterical comedic turn as Bob Jackson, world karate champion. "I never said I was the only world champion," as Carrey put it.

N.C. State: You can forgive Virginia Tech for losing to Alabama, and Duke, well, let's see what Richmond can do in basketball, but N.C. State?

Come on, the Wolfpack has no excuse for Thursday's 7-3 no-show against South Carolina. At some point November Tom O'Brien (6-2 at N.C. State) needs to introduce himself to September Tom O'Brien (3-7 with three losses in three openers).

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Blood really is thicker than water

Virginia coach Al Groh fired his own son, Mike, his offensive coordinator, after the Cavaliers went 5-7 in 2008.

Ostensibly, Groh sacrificed his own blood to placate his bosses and keep his job. Enter Gregg Brandon, a protege of Florida demigod Urban Meyer, as the new offensive coordinator. Brandon brought with him the spread offense, but he forgot Meyer's magic.

Brandon's debut, a 26-14 loss to William & Mary, was inauspicious to say the least. The Cavs went through three quarterbacks on Saturday. The starter, Vic Hall, threw for seven yards and fumbled three times. The backup, Jameel Sewell, threw three interceptions.

The lesson to be learned? If you're going to go down, go down with your peeps and without compromise, and certainly not at the expense of your own kid.

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Thank you, Scott Frost

Oregon's LeGarrette Blount knocked out Boise State's Byron Hout, but Oregon assistant coach Scott Frost stopped him from pulling a Ron Artest and knocking out any Boise State fans.
After the Ducks' 19-8 loss at Boise State on Thursday, Blount took matters into his own hands and punched Hout, who:

A. Taunted Blount.
B. Was stupid enough to take off his helmet.

Unsatisfied with one knockout, Blount charged toward the stands to discuss the finer points of pugilism with Boise's finest (and most sober?).

Luckily, Frost, the former Nebraska quarterback, was there to restrain an otherwise out of control Blount. If not, Artest's infamous crowd charge in Detroit would have looked like "Hands Across America" by comparison.

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Coachspeak-to-English translation

"It was a nice win for Michigan. Maybe I'll sleep two hours tonight."

— Embattled Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez after the Wolverines' 31-7 win over Western Michigan.

Translation: Two hours, max, we've got an early practice tomorrow.

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A broader perspective

Most fans and journalists consider Labor Day (i.e. Monday) as part of this past weekend's college football line-up.  So, the Miami-FSU slugfest last night was an absolute classic for 2 programs trying to regain their status as contenders in the annual national title chase. 

This game had awesome big plays by both teams on both sides of the ball (except for the periodic lapses by their defensive secondaries).  Also, it was a big-time atmosphere with exciting action from start to finish.  In short, this contest was worthy of a national TV audience and better than most major bowl games.  Certainly, it was in keeping with the traditions of these 2 long-standing rivals.

So, in response to your rhetorical question, has expansion helped ACC football... the answer is a resounding "yes".   The additions of FSU and more recently Miami, BC and VT make a better and more competitive lansdscape.  Lastly, the close losses by State and VT were unfortuante but not the end of the world for the pride of the ACC.

That was a great game. 

That was a great game.  Certianly helped wipe some of the egg off the face of the ACC, but I'm still trying to figure out if the QBs of Miami and FSU are that good, or their secondaries are that bad.  I guess we will find out as season progresses

Jacory Harris

is that good and I pimped him a few times in the summer (here) that he was the best amongst the ACC.  He, without a doubt, throws one of the most beautiful footballs in todays game. 

 cool, calm and collective.  he has what it takes to be a great QB and everyone now (officially) knows why Cannon and Smith went elsewhere just a few weeks ago.  we also almost saw UM's season go down the toilet last night as well.  they'll be holding their breath all season long down in Coral Gables.

Chris Ponder

As good as we was for most of the game, he choked at the end. No excuse for underthrowing the potential game winner to a wide open receiver.

sort of

the throw needed to be low, just not quite that low.  the football still should have been caught.

still

Championship players on championship teams make those plays when the game is on the line. Just like State's receivers are going to have to catch the ball if the Pack wants to prove JP right.

I disagree about NC State,

I disagree about NC State, of course. You're insisting that State's 4 point loss to SC is worse than Duke and Virginia's losses to 1-aa teams? C'mon, don't pile it on the Pack like that. It seems like nobody ever wants to look at State with a level head. They're either the greatest thing since sliced bread, or they're the biggest embarassment in college football. It's ridiculous. Look at it realistically...State looks to be a good team that had a C+/B- performance against another good team in week 1 and almost won. Just wait until next week. State's gonna beat up on Murray St and then the local writers are gonna name them the most improved team in the history of football.

Agreed

Great assessment.  Writers/some fans give extreme reactions while completely overlooking the fact that this is a 7-5/8-4 football team.  Should State have beaten South Carolina?  Probably.  Does the loss mean State is an embarrassment to the ACC and won't bounce back?  Absolutely not.  This a solid-to-very good football team that deserves some credit.

he has to...

pile on the pack.  If not, every UNCCH reader will question his professionalism and integrity.

How cute

Lil izzy trying to start fights as always.  Classy.  No need to get so bent out of shape.  Hockey season will come around for you and your New Yorker buddies soon enough!

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About the blogger

Joe Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997.
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