Tag Archives: ACC Football

Duke-Vanderbilt Set For 3 p.m. Start

Duke’s Oct. 25 game at No. 22 Vanderbilt will begin at 3 p.m. and will not be televised, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced in its weekly schedule release Monday. It will be Duke’s second straight afternoon game, as the Blue Devils play Miami at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday in Wallace Wade Stadium.

The game, which falls on Parents and Family Weekend and will likely influence the time of the men’s basketball exhibition against Virginia Union, is the first non-televised game since Duke’s Sept. 6 loss to Northwestern. The Blue Devils have been featured on ESPNU for four straight games.

–by Ben Cohen

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Duke’s Vote Disappears In Coaches’ Poll

It was fun while it lasted.

After receiving one vote in the coaches’ poll for two consecutive weeks, Duke was nowhere to be found in the “others receiving votes” section of the rankings. Apparently, the Blue Devils dropped in the eyes of our mysterious voter simply by not playing. For the record, Duke has not received a vote in the AP poll this year.

After a banner weekend, the ACC fared well in the writers’ poll. No. 17 Virginia Tech leads the pack, and, most notably, North Carolina jumped four spots to clock in at No. 18 this week after beating Notre Dame 29-24 in Chapel Hill Saturday. Wake Forest rounds out the conference representation at No. 21 after its ugly win over a no-longer-impressive Clemson squad. Florida State earned 38 votes and Georgia Tech racked up 25. In the coaches’ poll–The Chronicle uses the AP’s–Virginia Tech is No. 17, Wake Forest is No. 18 and North Carolina is No. 21. Florida State, Georgia Tech, Boston College and Miami all received votes.

First BCS poll comes out Monday night and the next polls come out next Sunday. The good news for Duke, though, is that it might reprise its role in the bottom section with the small type if it can come out and beat Miami Saturday.

–by Ben Cohen

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Idle Blue Devils Watch ACC Enjoy Saturday

Duke rested up in its second bye week of the year Saturday, but its ACC opponents managed to rack up a perfect 4-0 record Saturday–even if some games were uglier than they should have been.

Georgia Tech, the squad that manhandled the Blue Devils last week in a 27-0 win, squeaked past Gardner-Webb, 10-7, while Miami’s 20-14 win over Central Florida was not much prettier. Virginia, though, completed its three-week transformation from sullen to surging. Two weeks ago, the Cavaliers were pounded by Duke 31-3. Last week, they turned around to rout Maryland 31-0, just one week after Maryland had edged Clemson when that still meant something. This week, Virginia beat former Division-I darling East Carolina 35-20. And lastly, No. 22 North Carolina earned the admiration of most college football fans when the Tar Heels stormed back and held on to a 29-24 win over Notre Dame in Chapel Hill.

The non-conference portion of Duke’s schedule, however, didn’t fare as well. Northwestern lost to No. 23 Michigan State, surprisingly for the Wildcats’ first defeat of the season. No. 13 Vanderbilt–the fact that the Commodores are a top-15 team is an even bigger shocker than Northwestern’s fast start–showed cracks of vulnerability for the first time in a 17-14 loss to Mississippi State. Division I-AA James Madison, though, did top Richmond 38-31 on a last-second kick return for the win.

While every week in college football–especially in the ACC–is exciting, Duke had particular reason to watch the action this time (quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, for one, was down Tobacco Road to watch Notre Dame’s Armando Allen, his high school running back).

On Saturday, none of Duke’s ACC opponents played another ACC team, allowing the Blue Devils to root for their conference members wholeheartedly. And while the out-of-conference losses hurt, they don’t hinder the progress the ACC made this week. If only Clemson and Wake Forest could have put on a better (read: respectable) show Thursday night.

–by Ben Cohen

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ACC Sees Topsy-Turvy Weekend

There are the long-term surprises—Georgia Tech is 4-1! Miami has more losses than Duke! A respected columnist predicts an 11-1 record for North Carolina!—and then there are the more immediate shocks.

Virginia 31, Maryland 0 qualifies for the latter. If you had told any college football fan that Virginia, just one week after being trounded 31-3 by Duke, would turn around and shut out Maryland, one week removed from shocking preseason top-10 Clemson, the laughter would have been louder than the calls for Al Groh’s firing. Same scenario, albeit on a smaller level, with Florida State and Miami’s shootout, or the Tar Heels’ pounding of No. 24 Connecticut.

The ACC might not be a good league, but it certainly has the parity to satisfy any rabid football enthusiast, even if that same equanimity might hinder the league in the eyes of the BCS committee. The ACC has only three teams in the top 25, and none in the top 15. Yet somehow, it has, week after week, proven to produce exciting, unexpected and, in the case of Virginia-Maryland, downright flabbergasting results.

“Nobody is going to tell me they predicted that,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said of the Cavaliers’ win, although he could have been talking about the league in general. “It’s a funny game. It’s not all decided by looking at the results of one game. That’s just part of this crazy game. We will be trying to figure it out, but, again, I don’t know how you measure that.”

Indeed, it is an upside-down league. Duke’s season might be judged a failure if it doesn’t go to a bowl, North Carolina’s might be a failure if it doesn’t go to the ACC Championship and no frontrunner—Bueller? Bueller?—has yet to emerge in the Atlantic Division.

That’s why I’m circling one game to watch next weekend: Gardner Webb at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m.

Rock on, Runnin’ Bulldogs.

—by Ben Cohen

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