Five ACC teams were ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll. After two weeks, only one remains — Miami, at No. 17.
Results from last weekend: Miami lost at Ohio State; Florida State lost at Oklahoma; Georgia Tech lost at Kansas and Virginia Tech lost to James Madison of the FCS (formerly Division I-AA). This after an opening weekend that saw half-strength North Carolina fall to LSU and Virginia Tech blow a lead against Boise State.
The fallout was swift and predictable: The ACC, which is seen as a basketball league, has again been cast as the weakest of the Big Six BCS football conferences. And it doesn’t look good when Georgia Tech, the reigning ACC champ, loses to a Kansas team that had been beaten by North Dakota State one week earlier, or when Virginia Tech, widely considered the ACC’s strongest football program, begins its season 0-2. That said …
At least ACC teams dare to go out and play non-conference games away from home. And even if the watching world doesn’t view the basketball league as worthy of full-blown BCS status, somebody from the ACC is going to play in the Orange Bowl. And that somebody could be Georgia Tech.
Four teams from the ACC Coastal Division are, or at least were, considered high-quality. The Jackets must face two of the other three on the road. The first key in-division game is Saturday at North Carolina, which still counts 12 players under suspension. (Tailback Shaun Draughn was cleared to play this week.) Win in Chapel Hill and Tech will take the first step toward defending its division title.
For the Jackets, the other big Coastal games don’t come until November: At Virginia Tech on Nov. 4 and against Miami here on Nov. 13. A split of those two could put Georgia Tech in Position A to return to the conference championship game, which will be held in Charlotte this time. (Something to note: Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech don’t have to face Florida State in the regular season; North Carolina and Miami do.)
I know. It’s a substantial leap to go from losing in Lawrence to returning to the Orange Bowl. And it’s not yet clear if Georgia Tech is all that good. What does seem clear is that nobody else in the ACC is very good, either.