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Weekly Fever Review #5: The ACC Still Not Progressing Quickly Enough

 As we head into October, we've learned quite a few things about this current college football season.

SEC - This conference remains on top, not only for our Footprint, but also nationally.  There are still 3 SEC teams in the top 5, and there are two teams (Florida and Alabama) that seem to be headed towards another collision in Atlanta for the right to play for a BCS title.

This weekend features some typically great SEC games.  Alabama travels to Ole Miss in a game that was supposed to decide the SEC West before the Rebels stumbled against South Carolina.  It may still, but Ole Miss just hasn't looked like the team that started the season in the top 5.  QB Jevon Snead hasn't found any consistency for all of his talent.  

The expected big game of the day has Florida traveling to LSU in a top 5 clash of the titans.  This game was circled over the summer as perhaps the Gators only possible loss bowl the SEC Championship.  LSU's lack of any dominating wins have many doubting them, but they find ways to win regardless.  It should be an interesting night in Baton Rouge - especially for those looking to see if Tebow will play.

The rest of the SEC is fighting for credibility as Auburn visits Arkansas and Georgia goes to Tennessee.  The losers of these two games will be answering questions from fans from Sunday morning to the kick off of the 2010 season.

Lurking under the radar is South Carolina who can keep their slim dreams of an SEC East title alive if they can keep winning starting this week against Kentucky.

ACC - Oh what a week for the ACC.  Despite Miami's fine showing against Oklahoma and Virginia Tech's solid season so far, the conference's turmoil has boiled over in Tallahassee.  Former perennial national title contender, Bobby Bowden, looks like his time at FSU is finally nearing an end.  The public statement by an FSU booster brought Bowden's future to ESPN and the front pages of every Florida newspaper.  

It is clear that Bowden's personal desires to coach as long as he wants now appears to be in direct opposition to FSU's interests.  Stories of factions within the coaching staff (Bowden loyalists vs Jimbo Fisher supporters) have left many understanding that this all must end soon.  Unfortunately, it also must end badly for Bowden who can't seem to walk away graciously.

Realistically, Bowden should have retired the moment that the NCAA vacated multiple wins making it impossible for him to ever catch up to Joe Paterno.  He might not have liked to have gone out under that cloud, but at least he could have had the entire 2009 season to be honored.  Instead, he has now divided FSU fans and led them to their worst start since 1976 and their worst start ever in ACC play (0-2).

The larger problem for the ACC is that the Coastal Division has all the solid teams (Virginia Tech, Miami, and Georgia Tech) while the Atlantic Division is filled with disappointments like FSU, UNC, and Clemson.  It's no wonder that the ACC lost a top flight bowl tie in with the Gator Bowl.  These bowls are afraid of getting Boston College who keeps rising to the top of the Atlantic due to the incompetence of the other teams.

Clemson is really a story of its own.  We wrote about the status of college football in the state of South Carolina in the off season.  Both Steve Spurrier and Dabo Swinney would be under the microscope.  Neither would get much wiggle room from a rapidly impatient fan base.

While Spurrier has the Gamecocks off to a solid start, Swinney's Clemson team looks a lot like Tommy Bowden's Clemson teams of the past - losing games they should win like last Saturday against Maryland.  Swinney was quoted after last week's loss saying "there's a real fine line between winning and losing," which is ridiculously obvious.  Of course, it's a fine line, Dabo, but when you are on the wrong side of it more often than not - you get fired.  Coaches are paid the big bucks to make sure that they are on the right side of that "fine line."

We'll give Butch Davis and UNC a pass until he can get some playmakers into Chapel Hill, but Clemson and FSU should already have enough talent to win.  Both have shown that they can compete with the best in 2009, but both suffer from wild inconsistencies that lead to dumb losses.

It's getting a little old to say wait until next year for the ACC, but unless Virginia Tech runs the table and Alabama does as well, that again appears to be the war cry for 2009.

Big 12 - This conference is Texas's to lose.  They appear to have a major edge on every team in the Big 12 South including rival Oklahoma who sits with two crushing losses already.

The real story is whether the North can match the South's power.  Nebraska, Kansas, and Mizzou hope to show that they are on the upswing.  The only loss between those three is Nebraska's close loss to Virginia Tech. 

Nebraska and Mizzou play tonight in what should be a good one.

Big East - For once, the Big East is setting up to be interesting for us.  Unfortunately, nothing of interest happens this weekend.  Next Thursday, Cincinnati goes to Tampa to play USF for the title of who can stay a BCS buster.  It is not out of the realm of possibility that either of these teams, if undefeated, could be playing in the BCS title game in January. 

(In the meantime, here's a shot of a billboard in Tampa.  I'm sure this didn't sit well with FSU fans.)

Conference USA - Ugh!  Other than the ACC, C-USA took the biggest hit of the weekend as undefeated and top 15 Houston fell to a bad UTEP team.  This is particularly sad considering that Houston visits Mississippi State on Saturday which could have given them another feather in their cap.

C-USA seems to suffer from the same problem as all of our non-established conferences - they can't seem to build enough intensity into their own conference games to prevent them from losing to teams that they shouldn't.  It happens way too often in the Big East as well.

Sun Belt - MTSU is the Sun Belt's version of Houston.  They lost a chance at a magical season by getting pummeled by Troy on Tuesday.  This ever-evolving conference still has a long way to go to become credible. 



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