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Southern College Football - Week 3 Themes

Posted: Sep 17, 2010


After last season, we wrote how the ACC would look for improvement in 2010. Last year’s campaign was summed as follows:

“There were too many out-of-conference losses, and the regular season ended with the two Title Game teams-Georgia Tech and Clemson- losing to middle-of-the-pack SEC squads.”

Unfortunately, Week 2 saw ACC football take another beating on the field and in the arena of public perception. The most shocking result was Virginia Tech’s stunning 21-16 loss at home to FCS opponent James Madison.  A season that began with legitimate BCS title hopes is all but over by week 3.

Another surprising loss was Georgia Tech falling at Kansas 28-25. A week earlier, the Jayhawks had lost 6-3 to North Dakota State in Turner Gill’s debut in Lawrence.  Losing to mid-tier Big 12 North teams should never happen to supposed ACC contenders.

And there were the two Sunshine State schools—Miami and Florida State—who had big matchups on the road. It’s not alarming that both teams lost to powers like Ohio State and Oklahoma, but how they lost certainly is concerning. An undisciplined looking Miami team scored two special teams touchdowns but had multiple turnovers in a double-digit loss to the Buckeyes. FSU was absolutely dominated in Norman as the Sooners led 34-7 at halftime and then coasted to a blowout win over Jimbo Fisher’s squad.  Any hopes of a Christian Ponder Heisman are effectively over.

We know we aren't the only people writing about the ACC's problems.  However, we are here to repeat our solution - the ACC football-oriented schools (FSU, Miami, Clemson, and Virginia Tech) must regain the top threshold footing that each have enjoyed in the past few decades.  Who really cares if Wake or Ole Miss is better as long as FSU vs Florida isn't a mismatch?

That's why this week's Clemson-Auburn game is as big as Miami-Ohio St and Oklahoma-FSU from last week.  By all accounts, other than Auburn's home field advantage, this should be a close game.  Both Clemson and Auburn appear to be emerging teams with lots of good young talent.  

Dabo Swinney should understand the importance of this game.  It was a similar type of game in 2008 when his predecessor, Tommy Bowden, lead a favored Clemson squad into Atlanta to face Nick Saban starting his second year at Alabama.  Alabama destroyed Clemson 34-10 that night effectively ending Bowden's coaching tenure as he was dismissed mid-season.

Gene Chizik knows that Auburn's measuring stick is Nick Saban's Alabama team.  Dabo Swinney should feel the same way.  If Clemson's performance against Auburn looks anything like Clemson's loss to Alabama in 2008, Swinney should experience the same kind of heat Tommy Bowden did.

This shines a light on another of the ACC's football problems.  Other than Frank Beamer's long winning history at Virginia Tech, the ACC's best football schools are headed by coaches that at best would be (or have been) coordinators in the SEC.  That's not to say that Jimbo Fisher, Randy Shannon, and Dabo Swinney can't become top flight coaches, but the jury's definitely still out on all of them.

None of these coaches or their fans should accept 9-3 seasons any longer.


While Dabo Swinney looks to announce his arrival with a win on the Plains, his South Carolina rival has already made quite the statement with their 17-6 win over Georgia last Saturday. Steve Spurrier is known for his passing attack, but he may have found just what his offense needs in freshman running back Marcus Lattimore. The potential superstar back may force the ole Ball Coach to balance out his offense, and that fact along with a solid defense could be a winning combination in Columbia.

If Georgia loses at home against Arkansas this Saturday, the SEC East will most likely become a Gators/Gamecocks battle. We all know that South Carolina has never won the East, but this year looks to be their best shot at playing in Atlanta in December.

Speaking of this Saturday's game in Athens, the UGA-Arkansas game is going to be huge for both squads. The Hogs have been picked by many to be the second best team in the SEC West behind Alabama.  A win between the hedges could build confidence before they take on the Tide next Saturday.

The Dawgs are looking to stay relevant in 2010.  It's hard to believe that one loss in week 2 can define a season, but Georgia has struggled in the past two years.  Losing to South Carolina puts them in an SEC East hole.  They need to prove that last week was just one bad game. Coach Mark Richt does not want to start 0-2 in league play.


In other action around the Footprint, Texas visits Texas Tech--the place where they saw their National Title hopes dashed two years ago on the famous Michael Crabtree catch on the last play. Tommy Tuberville will have his Raiders ready to go on defense, but the Tech offense must get going if they want to upset the Longhorns in Lubbock once again.

Florida will head to Knoxville for Derek Dooley’s first SEC game. The Gators have struggled to find an offensive rhythm in 2010. Fans have blamed everything from offensive coordinator Steve Addazio to bad snaps to bad receivers for the slow start. UF will look for improvement against an undermanned Vols group, who will try to keep the Gators from making big plays and keep it close until the 4th quarter.

Enjoy another great weekend of Southern college football!


related tags

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Tribal Fever,

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