Pack In The Role of Spoiler This Weekend

Clemson’s coaches and players don’t want to talk about it, but they are very close to earning a trip to Tampa to play for the ACC title.  All they need to do is to beat the Wolfpack this weekend, and if Boston College loses to Virginia, the Tigers can pack their bags for the warm climes of Florida’s Gulf Coast in late autumn.

According to the AP

Wide receiver Jacoby Ford says the word Tampa hasn’t been said in the locker room this week.

Linebacker Brandon Maye says his teammates know what’s at stake and that’s why they have to take the Wolfpack’s potent offense seriously.

In other words, no one is openly talking about winning the ACC Atlantic Division, but to a man, probably every coach and player is thinking about it.   Coach Dabo Swinney told that

“That’s fine, but it’s like I told our team last night – we made this a two-horse race now coming down the backstretch, “ Swinney said. “You have to finish the line. I’ll be more interested in the rankings when it’s all said and done. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. Hopefully we can finish off the season like we want.””

That starts with a win in Carter-Finley, against a team that has had its share of struggles against ACC opponents this year.  Add to that the fact that Clemson has owned NC State lately.

Fortunately, the Wolfpack offense is firing on all cylinders at the moment, but this weekend, they will be strongly challenged to move the ball as easily as they have been lately. Wolfpack head coach Tom O’Brien said in his Monday presser that

“[Clemson]is probably the best defensive football team we’ve seen this year. They have great size in the middle. There are nine guys back that have started. Their secondary, I heard on TV, they have 34 interceptions among them. They are playing a graduate with a senior at the corners. They are lock down kind of corners They are playing great in the pass defense. That allows those guys up front to get after the quarterback. We just faced one challenge of [blitzing packages], and now we have got to hold off two great rush ends that these guys have.”

As for the State defense, O’Brien said that last week against Maryland, the Pack’s stopping unit turned in a performance that was

certainly the best we’ve played since Pittsburgh. To come right down to it, they gave up basically three points from two minutes to go in the second quarter-on.”  Later, he added a hopeful note, saying that “ if we can just continue to improve a little bit, hopefully we can get better each and every week.”

'09 Football General

17 Responses to Pack In The Role of Spoiler This Weekend

  1. RickJ 11/10/2009 at 3:11 PM #

    “All they need to do is to beat the Wolfpack this weekend, and Boston College next Saturday, after which they can pack their bags for the warm climes of Florida’s Gulf Coast in late autumn.”

    I’m sure you meant Virginia instead of Boston College. Clemson beat BC early in the year and therefore holds the tiebreaker over them. It will take a colossal collapse (losing to us & Virginia at home) or BC winning out with Clemson losing one more to keep the Tigers out of the championship game.

  2. tvp1 11/10/2009 at 3:24 PM #

    I see that 10% of the poll voters think that State will win out and make a bowl. That’s appropriate, because we probably have about a 10% chance of making that run:

    Clemson: 25% chance of winning
    VT: 25% chance of winning
    UNC: Coin flip

  3. Alpha Wolf 11/10/2009 at 3:28 PM #

    Rick, actually it’s if Clemson wins and Virginia wins this Saturday. My bad.

  4. Trout 11/10/2009 at 3:38 PM #

    I think we actually have a better shot to beat VT than Clemson.

    I put the odds like this:

    Clemson: 10%
    VT: 35%
    UNC: 50%

  5. Classof89 11/10/2009 at 4:01 PM #

    I think I agree with Trout…Clemson has something to play for, and VaT basically blew their season when they lost to UNC…

    Not saying we’re going to win either one, but if I had to bet, I think I like our chances in Blacksburg even more. Given the fan dissension lately, team may feel less pressure playing on the road…

  6. tvp1 11/10/2009 at 4:06 PM #

    That may well be the case…we are 8 point dogs to Clemson, which equates to a 23% chance of winning using the chart here:

    We’ll probably be even worse dogs to VT, but I still would give us a 1 in 4 shot of winning that one.

  7. inhoc... 11/10/2009 at 4:28 PM #

    anyone run the numbers on the probability of a 4 and 8 year from this point? ha, statistically it wouldnt seem so likely but the probability? yeah 4 and 8 would make most sense…..

  8. T-FIC 11/10/2009 at 5:07 PM #

    This will be a tough game, but it will completely come down to our defense. If we can see that improvement then we have a chance, however small a chance that might be.

    Don’t forget, with how bad we have been we could be a team that is overlooked. Then again, we might be just as bad even if they do overlook us and lose by 40. Damn it seems like we lose to Clemson every year…

  9. packalum44 11/10/2009 at 6:36 PM #

    TVP: Not to be a smart ass but based on your original assumptions, we have roughly a 3% chance of finishing undefeated. Stat 101 below:

    .25 * .25 * .50 = .03125 or 3.125%

    I hope you are right though. You are twice as optimistic as Trout:

    .10 * .35 * .50 = .0175 or 1.75%

  10. wolfpackdawg 11/10/2009 at 9:09 PM #

    Woodshed. They have our number anyway. This will be a nasty game for us imo. I hope I am wrong but they are rolling.

  11. Dogbreath 11/11/2009 at 6:57 AM #

    I have no doubt whatsoever that Clemson will score at least 10 touchdowns. This is just a terrible matchup, personnel-wise. We have no matchup for Spiller, then you throw in Ford and its lights out, big plays. Wilson will not be able to sit back in the pocket and wait for recievers to separate on the deep posts. And those DEs will keep him contained.

    Its going to be a very ugly afternoon in Carter Finley.

  12. papackman 11/11/2009 at 7:37 AM #

    Winning out????? I must not be watching the same team. Last weeks win was a fluke imo. Could have gone either way! What adjustments have been made to improve the defence and special teams? None from what I can see. We have one descent squad on the field…the offence. I’m still waiting for the coaching brillance TOB and company is supposed to bring to Raliegh. There are no more crappy teams left to play. Our season is over. BTW..I will be more than happy to eat these words!!!

  13. packalum44 11/11/2009 at 8:33 AM #

    This team is reminiscent of the 2003 season, Phillips senior year. He threw a million TDs (34 I think) but our defense was awful. Every game was a shoot out. We beat Clemson that year though, 17-15 if memory serves me correctly. Clemson didn’t have Spiller and Ford back then. Many more TDs will be scored Saturday. BTW, I disagree with TOB’s comment – I don’t think Clemson’s Defense is as good as SCs.

    Turnovers will decide this game.

  14. PackerInRussia 11/11/2009 at 8:39 AM #

    papackman, I would say that the closeness of the score was actually more flukey than the win considering Russell Wilson doesn’t give up many pick-6’s. However, one could say that it is due to their injuries, hence the fluke. I do agree with your overall point, though, that winning out and playing for a bowl are not realistic. But you’ve got to hope for something until it becomes impossible, right?

  15. blpack 11/11/2009 at 11:12 AM #

    It will take a lot of points to get it done on Saturday. Clemson has been tough at home, not as much on the road. Parker may give us a couple gifts. Spiller and Ford are liable to have big days and that is bad news for the Pack.

  16. Sam92 11/11/2009 at 3:44 PM #

    yea, ok, so everybody knows Clemson is better than us, and our defense really sucks

    but i don’t care, i’m optimistic anyway, i think we do get to play spoiler here and win a close one

  17. Alpha Wolf 11/12/2009 at 10:22 AM #

    ^ I hope you are right, Sam. It would be very pleasant to watch football the rest of the afternoon and watch the score from a State win flash up periodically.

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