Dr. Saturday: ACC Championship Roulette & NC State [Updated 11am]

I LOVE Dr. Saturday.  Just love ‘him’.  If you aren’t familiar, Dr. Saturday is the incomparable Yahoo Sports College Football Blog that is required reading for any college football fan.

With this much respect for the Doctor…imagine how much I love it when NC State is the focus of attention!?

In this entry from Wednesday, Dr. Saturday took a look at NC State’s chances of winning its first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship since 1979 and gave us all a positive view from an outside, impartial perspective:

NCSU was generally picked to finish at or near the bottom of the Atlantic Division, made an immediate impression by ambushing Georgia Tech in Atlanta a couple weeks back, 41-28, to move to 4-0. Last week, they charged out to a 17-0 lead against another big favorite, Virginia Tech, and still led with two minutes to play in the fourth quarter before letting another upset slip away.

But with a competitive split against two of the reigning conference heavies already in the bag, the Pack may not have a tougher game left on the docket.


Not surprisingly, the Pack are pacing the league in total offense and scoring, against one of the tougher schedules: In the last three weeks, they’ve faced the defending Big East champion, the defending ACC champion and the preseason ACC favorite, and hung at least 30 points on all of them, on 508 yards per game. Last week, they joined eventual national champions LSU in 2007 and Alabama in 2009 as the only attacks to put up 500 yards on a Bud Foster-coached defense since Virginia Tech moved to the ACC in 2004. It’s an explosive group.


The odds are better of getting into the ACC Championship Game: N.C. State played as well as any team in the Atlantic Division through the first month and clearly has the firepower to hang with anyone in the entire conference. The upset at Georgia Tech could go a long way in the standings, if the preseason assumptions about the dominance of the top half of the Coastal Division hold true against the other Atlantic contenders.

If they make it to Charlotte, though, the Pack’s shot at actually bringing back the championship against a more talented, veteran Virginia Tech, Miami or even Georgia Tech outfit with more big-game experience are much longer. If they’re good enough to get there, though, they’re good enough to win, and right now they look as good as anyone in the Atlantic Division

FWIW…I think NC State and the ACC needs Miami to win out in as impression of a fashion as possible.

Despite the loss to Ohio State, I think the presence of a perceived, very strong national power who would be Top 10 ranked creates some major value for the conference.

If State were to represent the Atlantic in the ACC Title game, then losing to an 11-1 Top 10 Miami team would be looked at very fondly. BEATING such a team would serve to elevate us much higher than if the representative of the Coastal was 9-3.

Virginia Tech has already screwed the pooch for everyone with the Boise and JMU loss.

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30 Responses to Dr. Saturday: ACC Championship Roulette & NC State [Updated 11am]

  1. NCStatePride 10/08/2010 at 10:30 AM #

    I agree. I think we are definitely good enough to make it to the game and possibly to win it. I do take issue with Dr. Saturday’s evaluation of post-VT NC State. The team, as a whole was still good, but his commentary is discounting exactly how the VT game was lost… another symptom of a commentator being one person unable to watch every D-1A game that exists. I can’t say for sure, but it seems as if he only looked at the box scores and post-game stats to conclude “NC State lead up to two minutes before the end of the game before losing the chance for an upset.” In reality, it was “NC State still lead with two minutes left in game play, but their defense and offense stopped producing short of finishing their opponent off” which is much more accurate, IMHO.

    Still, I hope VT does show it is a very good and very talented team and make the loss look much less obnoxious. I still think if we were to meet VT tomorrow to play, all things being what they are, the chances would still not be any better for VT. They were playing well and it was still a stalemate until we “gave it up”. I am really optimistic about NCSU’s chances of getting to Charlotte at the end of the season and tenatively optimistic about bringing home the championship.

  2. tvp1 10/08/2010 at 10:44 AM #

    BC game is the most important game of the season.

    Win and a bowl is almost assured, and we still control our own destiny for a division title.

    Lose and the good feelings from the strong start evaporate, the division title hopes are history, and we’ll be hard pressed to even hit .500 in the ACC.

  3. GoldenChain 10/08/2010 at 10:51 AM #

    I think we have a better chance against VT if we meet them again. This game against a reeling BC is just what we need. They have a poor offense and can’t put near the pressure that VT put on RW.

    ….BTW did anyone see UCF smash UAB Wednesday night?

  4. baxter 10/08/2010 at 10:53 AM #

    I don’t like the conclusion that the defense has been exposed because it let up 200 plus yards against GT and then the 300 plus against VT. Fact is, they broke off 2? long runs that really blew that stat up.

    Facing Tyrod is not easy, but I dont think its fair to conclude the remaining teams on the schedule have the skill to emulate the prowess of Taylor. Maybe Ponder, but he isn’t as quick, and I just don’t buy the Kyle Parker hype.

  5. packplantpath 10/08/2010 at 10:53 AM #

    “Lose and the good feelings from the strong start evaporate,”

    I agre, I think the good will would be gone, at least from me. I can handle losing to VT. They are a good (not great) team that had better players where it counts on the line. It stinks the way it went down, but it was pretty predictable if you know Beamer’s teams and had seen how we played the first 4 games.

    BC? If we lose that one, this team has given up. We absolutely must win this game for any hope of a decent season to remain.

  6. baxter 10/08/2010 at 10:54 AM #

    I contend we are probably the only offense that can hang up enough points on a in sync VT squad in Charlotte, but I guess we’ll need to see how the Coastal shapes up in ACC play before we say see you in Charlotte VT.

  7. baxter 10/08/2010 at 10:59 AM #

    PPP, I dont think if we lose Saturday this team has given up because of one loss to someone other than VT. Saturday could be a tough matchup, but you never know how that ball can roll on Saturdays, and we still need all the luck to succeed with our limited depths around the squad. Now if we get blown up like last year, I might agree with you, but I think it really would be subjective to how we lost.

  8. Alpha Wolf 10/08/2010 at 11:41 AM #

    One game at a time, and by no means is BC in the bag.

    For one thing, Spaziani knows Dana Bible like the back of his hand. For another, they have a strong running game.

    I know we SHOULD win, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves quite yet. There’s still a long and rocky road to Charlotte, and I ain’t talking about the Tire Bowl!

  9. NCStatePride 10/08/2010 at 11:58 AM #

    ^That actually makes me feel better concerning the “strong run game”. Hell, all I heard about GT before that game was “we have to watch out for their strong run game.” I’d actually much rather face a running team than a passing team, ATM.

  10. graywolf 10/08/2010 at 12:26 PM #

    There is a lot of football left to be played before we go strutting any feathers. Let’s wait and see how we respond Sat after a VT loss then we can look to ECU and every other game……….one at a time.

    If we win the division and go to Charlotte then we strut our feathers.

  11. ppack3 10/08/2010 at 12:36 PM #

    Alpha, FWIW, Spaz probably knows some of Bible’s tendencies. But Bible never ran this Spread Flex type of Offense at BC. He never had a mobile QB at BC. And, Offense is really only a third of the equation. I don’t mean to downplay your statement, I just think that saying that Spaz know Bible’s Offense like the back of his hand, might be stretching a bit. Am I off base about that?

    To that end, wouldn’t it be an accurate statement to say that Bible probably knows Spaz’s Defense better than Spaz knows Bible’s Offense?

    I agree with NCStatePride. I would rather us face a conventional running Offense than the multi-dimensional offense with a mobile QB, etc. Having said that, we still have to be extremely aggressive and take the right lines with our blitz packages and we have to tackle! If we don’t do the little things right, we won’t beat many people.

  12. bradleyb123 10/08/2010 at 12:51 PM #

    As much as I like this kind of thing, and want to believe our hardest games are behind us, the Holes, the Noles, and the Tigers are still going to be VERY difficult games to win. UNX may be back to full strength by then (but maybe without a head coach?), and VA Tech showed how our offense is mortal when a D-line is able to put heat on Wilson. UNX has a better D than Va Tech.

    They’re all winnable games, but the Techs aren’t tops in the league. Our toughest games are not behind us, IMO.

  13. PackisRolling 10/08/2010 at 1:23 PM #

    no way i’m getting my hopes up about this team until they win their next two. If they are at 6-1 after ECU then I’ll be ready to believe again.

  14. baxter 10/08/2010 at 1:34 PM #

    How is it one loss for a team most people thought would be 6 and 6 stops you from believing in the team? Are you not going to believe in the team if they go 9-3 for example and lose two more times?

  15. ppack3 10/08/2010 at 1:39 PM #

    ^ I did the math on this one. He’s not going to believe until we finish 18-3.

    Sorry, PackisRolling, I couldn’t help myself.

  16. packplantpath 10/08/2010 at 2:05 PM #

    It’s not that I’d give up on the team, but right now, we absolutely have to win the games we should win for a hope at a special season. Lose against ECU or BC, our hopes diminish greatly and the likelihood of a great seasoning goes down dramatically. We could still have a good season. Good being 8-4. I’d be ok with that, but it certainly wouldn’t be a season where we broke out, given the competition.

    If we start 6-1, 8-4 is almost guaranteed.

    The VT loss, while tough to swallow, didn’t really hurt our ACC title game hopes. BC would for obvious reasons, and frankly a loss to ECU is just inexplicable. If we lose to BC at home, it’s very unlikely we beat Clemson or FSU.

  17. jaybird80 10/08/2010 at 2:19 PM #

    Maybe the Pack could be the 11-1 team in the ACC Conference title game instead of Miami!!! (or maybe not)


  18. Packfan28 10/08/2010 at 2:21 PM #

    It pains me to say this, but I am pulling for a tarheel win tomorrow. 2 losses for Clemson would be great. Obviously I also want Miami to win.

  19. Texpack 10/08/2010 at 2:23 PM #

    Don’t think for a moment that playing at Clemson won’t be tougher than playing VT at home. FSU could well be as good as VT. We still have to play every week if we are going to win. I don’t think we’re quite good enough to win with a sub par effort against many teams. I’m more interested in seeing how this group responds to the loss than anything else. Let’s just get through Saturday with a W and move on.

  20. tjfoose1 10/08/2010 at 3:18 PM #

    I hope we play VT again too.

    I don’t see their offense changing too much, but their defense, that is a different story… the VT defense will only keep improving. By the end of the year, it will be a completely different unit.

    Our BEST chance to beat them was early in the year. We got them a game or two too late. Not saying we won’t, or can’t, beat them, just that our best chance was early in the season.


    I should have written VT was most vulnerable early on, not that playing them early was our best chance to beat them… our improvement could always exceed the level of theirs, thus giving us a net gain, and thus, a better chance at a victory should we play them again.

    I do expect VT to win the coastal. Miami is probably their only real threat. UNC is lurking, however, but that’s dependent upon them getting more of their exiles back.

  21. NCSU84 10/08/2010 at 3:31 PM #

    As I read the comments posted here, I realize there are very few comments regarding our upcoming opponent – BC. It is as if we have overlooked the BC team. Let’s hope our team is not doing likewise.

  22. tjfoose1 10/08/2010 at 3:33 PM #

    As fans, we can afford to say “we should win”, and we should. But coulda, woulda, shoulda, doesn’t always play out that way.

    BC’s OL is a mess, with the returning talent and experience, it shouldn’t be, but it is. Unless it recovers, our defense will feast. Cue the Jules’ quote about being hungry…

    However, as stated above, their OL does have the talent and experience to turn it around. Let’s just hope they don’t suddenly come together this week. If they don’t, should be a big game for our DL.

    As far as their defense, they have one of the best set of starting LB’s in the conference. Their DL has struggled, and I don’t know too much about their DB’s.

    Bottom line, we should win, and win big. But as State fans, we all know not to hang our hat on the coulda, woulda, shoulda’s.

  23. tjfoose1 10/08/2010 at 3:57 PM #

    “Spaz probably knows some of Bible’s tendencies. But Bible never ran this Spread Flex type of Offense at BC.”

    Not a big point, but it’s more helpful to know the man, his thought processes, and his tendencies than it is a specific offense. All you need is film to learn about an offense.

  24. tjfoose1 10/08/2010 at 4:01 PM #

    “As much as I like this kind of thing, and want to believe our hardest games are behind us, the Holes, the Noles, and the Tigers are still going to be VERY difficult games to win. ”

    True. I don’t know if VT will prove to be our hardest game, but it did provide the most difficult personnel matchups for our defense.

    We can just as easily be beat by “the Holes, the Noles, and the Tigers”, but it won’t (or shouldn’t) be due to the physical reasons VT was able to pull out a victory.

  25. bradleyb123 10/08/2010 at 4:05 PM #

    Someone mentioned that we’re not saying much about BC, and they hope the team is not overlooking them, as well.

    I don’t think that is possible. They’ve whipped us three years running, and last year they beat us 52-20, and even threw a 4-yard TD pass on 4th down with just a couple of minutes left.

    You don’t forget that kind of sting.

    I think we’re hungry, talented, well-coached, and most importantly, have a chip on our shoulder. We should win this game, and big, and I think we know it. Hopefully they’ll come out fired up to prove it.

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