This week's roundtable hosts: Georgia Tech blog From the Rumble Seat.
The theme: we suck. Not "we" as in Maryland - no, we're awesome, comparatively - but "we" as in the ACC.
1. Enough with the MVP's and the National Title Talk... What ACC teams are going to be bowl eligible by November? Who will be left out in the cold?
I'm assuming this means the end of November? If so, I'm saying Virginia Tech, Florida State, Miami, Boston College, Clemson, and Georgia Tech.
Oh, and Maryland. Yeah, I went there. Yeah, I'm a blind homer.
No other ACC team is bowl-eligible in my view.
And if this meant the start of November...uh? I don't know if a single team will be bowl-eligible. Miami might have the best shot.
2. What team performance (or lack thereof) this weekend shocked you the most? What individual's performance impressed/depressed you the most?
Virginia Tech's, of course. Even after the Boise loss, I was sold on Tech being an ACC contender and maybe winning another BCS bowl. Teams that lose to James Madison rarely do that. They could come back, definitely, but they now need to prove that they're a legitimate conference contender.
As far as individuals: it's a dogfight between Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder. Harris' stage was bigger, but Ponder's performance was just unbelievable, in a bad way. Considering the "CP7 for Heisman" hype, he really screwed the pooch on this one. 11-28 for 113 yards and two interceptions: I don't even need to say anything else, and I won't.
3. The ACC is fifth out of the Big 6 conferences in terms of out of conference winning percentage. Is this a function of a difficult out of conference schedule or are we legitimately the 2nd worst conference in the BCS?
Well, the OOC schedule plays into why it's now obvious, but the ACC really is the 2nd worst conference in the BCS. All three premier teams in the conference lost in their showcase national TV games, and if they scheduled easier games instead then the winning percentage would receive a boost and the fact that we suck wouldn't be as obvious. But for the most part, the ACC's schedules haven't been significantly different than the rest of the nation's, except for those three games.
JMU isn't a tough opponent; neither is a Kansas team that just lost to N.D. State 6-3. Those losses have damaged the perception, and percentages, just as much.
But it's also true; the only conferences Maryland could beat out would be the Pac-10, Big 12, and Big East. They're actually better than the last one. But Oregon is a legitimate title contender, as are Texas, Oklahoma, and maybe even Nebraska. Oregon State, Washington, and Arizona are solid secondary teams; same for Kansas State, Texas A&M, Missouri. and maybe Baylor. The ACC doesn't have a top-level team to counter the Big 12 or the Pac-10, and they really don't even have either conference's depth, either.
4. James Madison's victory was the 13th I-AA victory over an ACC squad since 1984 (out of 160 total games). It was also the 5th I-AA victory over a I-A opponent in 2010. Is it really worth scheduling I-AA opponents to start the season, particularly I-AA juggernauts like App. State, James Madison, or Villanova?
To part one, yes. To part two, no. Play Morgan State, like Maryland did, or Presbyterian College, like Wake or Clemson. In the minds of the media and public at-large, you'll get no serious boost by starting the season with James Madison when compared to Morgan State. It doesn't matter that one's awesome (relatively) and the other sucks. How many of the average CFB sportswriters, especially not in the DMV area, know that?
Hell, how many of you knew that before two years ago?
Don't schedule the powerhouses, because the risk of losing is real and the reward of winning is minimal. But schedule tune-ups against lesser opponents, because there's no risk and you get a virtual pre-season game.
5. Have your expectations for the 2010 season or your team's place in the ACC changed after Week 2's round of games?
Yes, and by a decent amount. I thought Maryland would lose to Navy and beat Morgan comfortably, but by around 25 points. Instead, the Terps won both and beat Morgan by 58. If the first two games are any indication, Maryland's better than I thought.
I already thought Maryland would be pushing for 4th place in the Atlantic and a bowl bid, and I thought the ACC was on the rise, for crissakes. Maryland could win this thing.
Okay, no they couldn't, but a 2007-like season, when Maryland inexplicably won 9 games and was in the picture late in the season, is possible. They might only win 7 games and be "in the picture" to week 7, but compared to my expectations that's basically 2007.
6. What's a bigger mismatch: You vs. Ralph Friedgen in a competitive eating matchup or the Iron Dukes versus Nick Saban on Saturday?
As the resident Maryland blogger, I already know Ralph's eating habits and secrets in competitive eating, particularly hotdogs (hint: he doesn't dip the bun in water, he just slides the entire thing down his gullet at once, not even chewing). I'm not sure I can replicate it, but I can try. Besides, he's gained most of that weight over, like, 60 years. He's a slow eater, like most turtles.
Duke on Bama? I'll take my chances with Fridge every day of the week.