The #GoACC phenomenon reminds me of a particularly noxious methane emission. Even when we pinch our noses and believe we have successfully confined the menace to its natural habitat of football, the odor seeps through its supposed boundaries — every now and then confronting us in the places we had ordained sanctuaries. Though amusing in a wry, perverse way, farts are darn annoying when you’re in church.
Thus did this past week in ACC basketball accost the nostrils. After Duke and Virginia ceded frustrating games to high-caliber opponents last Tuesday, Maryland, Notre Dame and North Carolina suffered disconcerting home defeats to Oregon State, Indiana State and Belmont, respectively. Throw in a deceptively uneven start for Syracuse and a Boston College team currently playing defense as if it were under the tutelage of Don Nelson’s lazier secret twin, and we can see that even basketball — the sport we forecasted would regain its stature alongside soccer, lacrosse and field hockey as a conference highlight — cannot evade the stink.
Considering that drawing conclusions may count as premature and that every conference sport endures a #GoACC week every now and then, we’re devoting one last edition of power rankings to the wacky tragicomedy that is 2013 ACC Football. If we’re going to wallow in the stench anyway, we might as well do so while discussing the way “Duke controls its own destiny in the ACC Coastal” and “Virginia Tech has to cheer for Virginia this week” are real and true things.
Before we begin, a disclaimer: You know that theory that a monkey throwing darts picks winning stocks more accurately than a seasoned broker? A similar rule applies to all rankings from No. 9 to No. 4 this week.
And with that disgusting introduction behind us, let’s move on to the rankings:
Record: 2-8, 0-6 ACC
Last Week: Not a loss!
This Week: at Miami
The Cavalier offense has run 173 more plays than Florida State this year and gained 1,559 less yards; a flood of defensive injuries have relegated that unit to 13th in the ACC after a commendable start; and our fan morale makes “Dexter” fans seem satisfied by comparison. Hope is always a good thing, but I’d still queue this up for Nov. 30.
13. NC State
Record: 3-7, 0-7 ACC
Last Week: L 38-21 at Boston College
This Week: vs. East Carolina
After a six-game losing streak during which the highlight was an 8-point loss to a North Carolina squad that was 2-5 at the time, the Wolfpack finally gets to solidify its hard-earned status as the worst FBS team in North Carolina when they host 8-2 East Carolina Saturday.
12. Wake Forest
Record: 4-6, 2-5 ACC
Last Week: Bye
This Week: vs. Duke
This may be the Grobeyest of Jim Grobe seasons for Wake Forest, with a middling team with a few overachieving performances, a host of humiliations and some horrid injury luck with stud-tastic receiver Michael Campanaro breaking his collarbone. On the bright side, the Deacons’ strategy of hindering Jameis Winston’s Heisman campaign by gifting the Seminole defenses pick-sixes a few weeks ago represents a passive-aggressive ploy ideal for Florida and Will Muschamp in a couple weeks.
Record: 5-5, 3-3 ACC
Last Week: L 59-3 at No. 2 Florida State
This Week: vs. Pittsburgh
Syracuse has become the Jason Dufner of the ACC, riveting in its unwavering commitment to being unriveting. All 10 of the Orange’s games — from a season opening 23-17 defeat to Penn State featuring seven combined turnovers to last week’s insipid 59-3 loss to Florida State — have forced spectators to consider whether slouching up against a wall and falling asleep would have constituted the more appealing option. Can Syracuse complete the most uninteresting season ever, maybe capped off by a 17-6 loss in the Belk Bowl or something? Don’t tune in to find out.
Record: 5-5, 2-4 ACC
Last Week: L 34-27 vs. North Carolina
This Week: at Syracuse
Beating Notre Dame earns you a temporary exemption from snark, even if you allow a game-winning punt return touchdown with tackling attempts that would cause only the slightest discomfort to a domino. Fine, I lied.
Record: 6-4, 2-4 ACC
Last Week: W 27-24 OT at Virginia Tech
This Week: vs. Boston College
In a “lesser of evils” game for Virginia fans, Maryland stealing an overtime victory and casting Virginia Tech into the Coastal frying pan certainly counts as a win. Still, when your offensive roster is more battered than my typical meal at Popeyes, you’ll struggle to rank much higher than this.
8. Boston College
Record: 6-4, 3-3 ACC
Last Week: W 38-21 vs. Wake Forest
This Week: at Maryland
After a school record 339-yard outburst last week against Wake Forest, Boston College tailback Andre Williams lies 190 yards and two games away from becoming “Andre 2000” for the season. Let’s hope he doesn’t follow this stellar campaign up by quitting the game to pursue a failed acting career and advertise razors.
7. North Carolina
Record: 5-5, 3-3 ACC
Last Week: W 34-27 at Pittsburgh
This Week: vs. Old Dominion
It’s been an impressive, if not altogether stunning, turnaround for a North Carolina team that will eliminate Duke from ACC title game contention should it claim the Victory Bell Nov. 30. Also, Eric Ebron would play even better if he changed his name to “Ebron James.”
Record: 7-3, 3-3 ACC
Last Week: L 48-30 at Duke
This Week: vs. Virginia
The last three Duke Johnson-deprived weeks have mutilated Miami coach Al Golden’s banner season. But the Hurricanes have played uneven ball since their Oct. 5 game against Georgia Tech, when the defense lost its edge and Jacory Harris started disguising himself as Stephen Morris to play quarterback again. Even with Duke Johnson, this team was never as formidable as the 7-0 start and top-10 ranking indicated.
5. Virginia Tech
Record: 7-4, 4-3 ACC
Last Week: L 27-24 OT vs. Maryland
This Week: Bye
Speaking of defenses losing their grip, Bud Foster’s once fearsome unit has yielded at least 184 yards on the ground in two out of its last three games — and would have given up more to Miami had Duke Johnson been available. Somehow, though, the Hokies only need a win against the Mike London Bridges and a Duke loss to North Carolina to flap their way into the conference title game.
4. Georgia Tech
Record: 6-4, 5-3 ACC
Last Week: L 55-31 at No. 8 Clemson
This Week: vs. Alabama A&M
If a Paul Johnson team goes 7-5 in a forest while racking up a bunch of rushing yards, does it make a sound?
3. No. 25 Duke
Record: 8-2, 4-2 ACC
Last Week: W 48-30 vs. No. 23 Miami
This Week: at Wake Forest
On Tuesday morning, Kanye West released a video consisting of him making out with Kim Kardashian while riding a motorcycle in a tie-dye shirt, as well as scenes of galloping that I’m pretty sure were ripped from “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.” In other words, it made far more sense than the 2013 Blue Devils. An erratic and mercurial squad who trailed Virginia 22-0 a few weeks ago and whose backup quarterback, Brandon Connette, ranks second in the ACC with 12 rushing touchdowns, Duke lies two wins away from getting happily demolished by Florida State in the ACC Championship.
2. No. 7 Clemson
Record: 9-1, 7-1 ACC
Last Week: W 55-31 vs. Georgia Tech
This Week: vs. Citadel
Weird fact: thanks to Georgia’s wacky tragicomedy of a season, Clemson has defeated no teams in 2013 with a record better than 6-4. Better team though they may be, the Tigers will need to prove their mettle against a stingy South Carolina defense in two weeks.
1. No. 2 Florida State
Record: 10-0, 8-0 ACC
Last Week: W 59-3 vs. Syracuse
This Week: vs. Idaho
Reserving comment, on both the mesmeric Florida State football team, which hardly needs my advocacy, and on certain legal matters involving certain Heisman-contending quarterbacks for which we lack the requisite information to legitimately discuss.