Clear Your Schedule – ACC 2015, Week 12

By Brian Wilmer -

Two weeks.

That’s all that remains in many things — this ACC season, Frank Beamer’s (regular season, anyway) career at Virginia Tech, and perhaps Mike London’s tenure at Virginia. (A beaten-down fan base can hope, can’t they?) We have some great games this week, some…well, not-so-great games, and the final time a legend leads his team onto a field that should someday bear his name.

We’ll break down the eight games involving ACC teams in this space in a matter of seconds…but first, it’s trivia time — twice!

ACC Trivia, Week 12 (answer at the end of the column): Which Pro Bowl receiver participated in the NCAA basketball tournament for one of the schools in this week’s column, and for which school did he play?

ACC Bonus Trivia, Week 12 (answer at the end of the column): One Virginia Tech victory makes the Hokies bowl-eligible for the 23rd consecutive season. Whom did the Hokies play to start their streak, in which bowl did they appear, and who quarterbacked the Hokies in that game?

Keyword Search (all times Eastern and rankings AP)

#12 North Carolina (9-1, 6-0 ACC) at Virginia Tech (5-5, 3-3 ACC)
Noon | ESPN

  • Bet on black?: Frank Beamer’s final home game as Virginia Tech’s coach will be a black tie affair — or, should we say, black uniform affair. WDBJ 7 in Roanoke reports that the Hokies will wear black helmets to accompany their black and orange uniforms. Beamer commented to WDBJ on the attire.

“My goals for these players have been the same for decades,” Beamer said. “I want them to get a quality education, have a positive experience and mature as people in our program. This has been a very responsible group that has worked extremely hard. They haven’t asked me for one thing this season. When they approached me and asked to wear the black uniforms for our final home game, I had no problem with it. If it makes it more fun for them, I’m good with it.”

  • It means everything: There are big-time consequences for both sides in this game. A Carolina win means the Tar Heels are headed to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game. Most have already envisioned this scenario as a foregone conclusion, but a win makes it official. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is going for its 23rd-consecutive bowl appearance. For more on that string, see this week’s bonus trivia question.
  • A total 180: Virginia Tech’s sports information department notes that this game will be Frank Beamer’s 180th — and final — game leading the Hokies onto the field at Lane Stadium. Beamer’s teams have won 136 of the 179 games they have played in Lane Stadium, and the Hokies won eight games in his three years as a player in Blacksburg.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: The game almost feels secondary, at this point. Thanks, Coach. You are Virginia Tech football, and will always be.

Georgia Tech (3-7, 1-6 ACC) at Miami (6-4, 3-3 ACC)
12:30pm | ACC Network

  • Righting the ship: Georgia Tech comes into this one looking to reverse two recent unfavorable courses. The Yellow Jackets went a month and a half without a victory earlier this year, before defeating Florida State on the wild final play described as the Miracle on Techwood. Tech has also fallen in five of their last six games against Miami. Last year’s 28-17 win by Paul Johnson’s troops snapped a streak of five in a row by “The U”.
  • Which is a bigger problem?: Miami has quite the conundrum, when it comes to figuring out which statistic is more damaging. The Hurricanes not only struggle to run the ball, as evidenced by their 115th ranking in rushing offense (123.2 yards per game), but they also struggle to stop the run. Miami is 105th in rushing defense, surrendering 202.7 yards per game. The ‘Canes have rushed for greater than 146 yards against just one FBS opponent (Florida Atlantic). Miami has allowed four teams to rush for greater than 200 yards, including Clemson’s 416 in the final game before Al Golden was terminated.
  • No passing zone: Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya leads the ACC in passing yards per game (273.1). Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets have allowed a total equal to or greater than that number…once. Clemson threw for 336 yards against Georgia Tech. In fact, Ramblin’ Wreck opponents have thrown for 210 yards or fewer in six of their last seven games.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: Miami looks to bounce back after a throttling by North Carolina. Georgia Tech looks to close out a lost season on a high note.

Syracuse (3-7, 1-5 ACC) at NC State (6-4, 2-4 ACC)
12:30 pm | ACC Network

  • Off-course Orange: Syracuse will take the field in Raleigh looking to snap a six-game road losing streak in their final game of the year away from the Carrier Dome. The Orange last won on the road by taking down Wake Forest 30-7 last season. Syracuse has won just four true road games in Scott Shafer’s nearly three seasons at the helm. One of those wins, however, was a 24-10 victory at NC State in 2013.
  • Better Dayes: NC State’s leading rusher, Matt Dayes, is out for the year with an injury. This turns over the keys to the Wolfpack rushing game — according to the two-deep, anyway — to sophomore running back Dakwa Nichols. Nichols has carried just eight times for 31 yards in the Wolfpack’s last two contests. NC State ran 31 times for 79 yards in last week’s loss to Florida State.
  • #IRONWOLF: NC State will be debuting what they refer to as their “#IRONWOLF” uniforms this weekend, as a part of Military Appreciation Day.  Clemson will also have a Military Appreciation Day this weekend.  (Author’s note: To all who read this who serve, have served, have family members who served, whatever, thank you. Your service will never be forgotten here.) SBNation’s Backing the Pack has more on the uniforms.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: A tough season for the Orange looks to only get tougher. NC State will look to sharpen themselves for North Carolina next week.

#8 (FCS) Chattanooga (8-2, 6-1 SoCon) at #16 Florida State (8-2, 6-2 ACC)
3:00pm | RSN

Program guide: Chattanooga has already won the Southern Conference title for the third consecutive year. With that distinction, they have also claimed an automatic bid in the FCS playoffs. This game will wrap the Mocs’ regular season, a year in which they enjoyed a seven-game winning streak sandwiched around losses to Jacksonville State and Mercer. The schools have played twice (1984 and 2008), with the Seminoles winning by a combined margin of 83-7.

QB Jacob Huesman (146-216, 1651 yards, 7 TD, 8 INT; 182 carries, 997 yards, 10 TD)
WR C.J. Board (33 receptions, 413 yards, 2 TD)
LB Nakevion Leslie (72 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 3.5 sacks)

Print that, tweet that, whatever: Chattanooga is one of the best teams at the FCS level and will compete against Florida State, but the Seminoles should handily win.

Duke (6-4, 3-3 ACC) at Virginia (3-7, 2-4 ACC)
3:30pm | ESPN3

  • High five: Only five quarterbacks in Power Five schools find themselves atop their schools’ leaderboard in both rushing and passing yards. Two of those are in the ACC. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson joins Duke’s Thomas Sirk in claiming this distinction. Sirk has 113 carries for 555 yards and five scores (wow, five’s a pretty popular number in this note, no?) to go along with his 1979 passing yards. That passing yardage total is good for — wait for it — fifth in the ACC. (Sirk has also thrown five interceptions, if you really want to stretch the correlation of fives.)
  • Speaking of common numbers: Virginia and Duke have played 66 times, with each side winning 33. A Virginia win would give the Cavaliers 23 wins in the last — say it with me — 33 games between the two. That success has been a bit slowed of late, however; UVa has lost six of the last seven, including four of five under Mike London.
  • I (don’t) love the 80s: UVa finds themselves ranked 80th or lower nationally in six statistical categories. The ‘Hoos are in that position in total defense (80th), passing defense (88th), total offense (95th), scoring offense (96th), scoring defense (97th), rushing offense (109th) and turnover margin (tied for 115th). The only such ranking Duke “enjoys” is in turnover margin, where they rank 88th.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: Just like his cross-state counterpart, one has to think Mike London is on his — much less enjoyable, granted — farewell tour.

Wake Forest (3-7, 1-5 ACC) at #1 Clemson (10-0, 7-0 ACC)
3:30 pm | ESPN2

  • Shooting for seven hundred: A victory against the Demon Deacons would give Clemson 700 victories in program history. The Tigers have won 699 of their 1199 all-time games.
  • Winning against Wake: Nearly nine percent of those all-time victories for the Tigers have come against Wake Forest (62). Only South Carolina (66) has fallen to Clemson more than the Deacs. Wake last claimed a victory in the series on October 9, 2008, defeating the Tigers 12-7 at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem.
  • And the young shall lead them: Of the three Deacs in the top 25 receivers in the ACC, one is a freshman and one a sophomore. Freshman Cortez Lewis ranks 17th, hauling in 38 passes for 498 yards and two scores. Sophomore tight end Cam Serigne has 40 grabs for 421 yards and three touchdowns. Fellow freshman Tabari Hines also has 29 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: No matter the score of this game, save your tweets and funny memes about Clemsoning. Please. For the love of the internet.

Louisville (6-4, 5-2 ACC) at Pitt (7-3, 5-1 ACC)
3:45pm | ESPNews

  • Stayin’ alive: The Panthers could still qualify for a chance to go face Clemson for the ACC title in Charlotte — barely. This would require the highly unlikely events of Pitt defeating Louisville and Miami, combined with UNC losing to both Virginia Tech and NC State. This should about cover it.
  • Breaking the deadlock: The final whistle in this game will snap two ties. Louisville and Pittsburgh are tied at eight wins apiece in their series history. Each team has secured five wins against the other in Pittsburgh. In a tie that can no longer be broken, the schools won four games apiece against each other as Big East teams.
  • Hard eight: A Pitt victory would give the Panthers eight wins for the first time in a season for the first time since 2010. The Panthers required a bowl victory to get to eight wins that year. The last Pitt team to win eight games within the confines of a regular season was the 2009 Panthers, who went 9-3 and defeated North Carolina in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Pittsburgh also defeated Louisville that year, winning 35-10 at Louisville.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: The Cardinals have won four in a row and six of seven. The Panthers broke a two-game losing streak by hammering Duke. This should be fun.

Boston College (3-7, 0-7 ACC) vs. #5 Notre Dame (9-1)
7:30pm | NBCSN

  • The Shamrock Series continues: Fenway Park will see football for the first time in 47 years Saturday night as Notre Dame and BC face off in the shadow of the Green Monster. A photoset and time-lapse video of the field preparations were released earlier this week, showing the trip from the Red Sox’ home to a home — albeit temporary — for the latest installment in a storied series between these two schools.
  • Offensive struggles: After outscoring two FCS opponents 100-3 to start the season, the Eagles’ offense has fallen on hard times. BC is ranked 120th or lower in every major offensive statistical category, except for rushing offense (153.2 yards per game, 90th). BC’s 376.5 yards of total offense per game is overshadowed by their mere 228.3 yards per game against ACC foes. The Eagles last eclipsed the 300-yard mark of total offense in a game nearly two months ago, notching 305 against Duke on October 3rd.
  • Taking the reins: Upon Frank Beamer’s retirement, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly will take over a considerably important distinction. Kelly is second in wins by an active FBS coach, holding a 225-78-2 all-time coaching record. Beamer is the leader by a considerable margin, with a record of 277-142-4. The coach in third place, Texas State’s Dennis Franchione, was rumored to have been asked to resign as the Bobcats’ leader following this season, though this has yet to be substantiated.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: When these teams take the field, it will have been 56 days since BC last won a game. That streak appears likely to continue.

Trivia answer: I asked earlier: Which Pro Bowl receiver participated in the NCAA basketball tournament for one of the schools in this week’s column, and for which school did he play?

Six-time Pro Bowler Terrell Owens played in the 1995 NCAA tournament for Chattanooga. His Mocs were a 15 seed, but lost 100-71 to UConn in their first game. Owens took one shot in that game. T.O. averaged just shy of two points per game in 16 contests as a Moc hoopster.

Bonus trivia answer: I asked earlier: One Virginia Tech victory makes the Hokies bowl-eligible for the 23rd consecutive season. Whom did the Hokies play to start their streak, in which bowl did they appear, and who quarterbacked the Hokies in that game?

The Hokies defeated Indiana 45-20 in the 1993 Independence Bowl. Maurice DeShazo (Bassett, Virginia) quarterbacked the Hokies that day, going 19-for-33 for 193 yards with two scores and two picks. DeShazo was named the Offensive MVP of the bowl. The Hokie passer completed 397-of-744 passes for 5720 yards in his career in Blacksburg, notching 47 touchdowns against 31 interceptions. He never played in the NFL.

Comment (1)

Really good piece.I am of the mind set that Carolina beats Tech at Blacksburg,and cements a spot in the championship game.
Of the rest of the games,Pitt and Louisville could be the best of the lot.