NGSC Sports

Final Weekend in the Atlantic Coast Conference

By John Doucette

As the conference gears up for the final weekend of league play, let’s take a look at where the ACC stands as it relates to bowl eligibility. There are ten teams that as of now can look forward to playing during bowl season, with an eleven team in Syracuse needing one win in their last game of the season to join the party. If you look across the county, it will be hard to find another conference with that kind of depth from top to bottom.

One reason could be the overall record the league boasts against non conference foes, another could be the turnaround of such teams like Boston College and Miami now that their problems with the NCAA have been settled.

The big game of the week takes place in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, as the Duke Blue Devils come to town to finish what has become one of the feel good stories of college football for the 2013 season. Duke (9-2, 5-2) needs to knock off the North Carolina Tar Heels to win the Coastal Division for the first time in school history, and get the chance to play in the ACC championship game vs. the Florida State Seminoles. The Blue Devils arrive at Chapel Hill riding a seven game win streak, they have scored thirty points or more in five of the seven wins during the streak. The nine wins the most since 1941. Beating the Tar Heels will not be an easy assignment, North Carolina (6-5, 4-3) come into their senior day game having won five in a row themselves. The offense has scored thirty points or more in four of the five games, including a school record eighty points in their win last Saturday against Old Dominion.

Boston College (7-4, 4-3) finishes their first season under head coach Steve Addazio facing a familiar foe in the Syracuse Orangemen (5-6, 3-4). These two teams use to meet on a regular basis when both were part of the Big East Conference, this will be the first time the two schools have met since the Eagles left to join the ACC. Syracuse miss an opportunity to join the bowl parade when they lost at home last week to the Pittsburgh Panthers 17-16. This week the Orangemen get one more shot at joining the bowl crowd, but to get it done they must first find a way to slow down the nation leading rusher in BC’s senior running back Andre Williams.

Williams’ season has become one for the record books, he is the first running back in ACC history to reach the 2,000 yard mark (2,073). He is also the first Boston College running back to get to 2,000 yards. He has single handedly taken the Eagles offense on his wide shoulders and led them to a five game win streak. Help has come from a different source, senior placekicker Nate Freeze is perfect in field goal tries this year (16 for 16), and he is also Boston College’s all time leading scorer. The defense has step it up as well registering 32 sacks this year, last year the Eagles could only muster 6 for the entire 2012 season. The win on the road vs. Maryland 29-26 snapped a six game road conference losing streak.

Clemson’s Season finale takes place on the road. As the Tigers head to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks, Clemson (10-1, 7-1) with no shot at winning their division still need a win to secure a spot in a BCS bowl. The Tigers offense has been the story for most of the year, cracking the fifty points mark on five different occasions. Senior quarterback Tajh Boyd has thrown for over 3,200 yards this season, his favorite target senior wide out Sammy Watkins has gone over 1,000 yards in receiving. Clemson passing attack is ranked 8th in the nation averaging 338.8 yards pre game. South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 in SEC) is also trying to improve their bowl position in the season finale having won four in a row. Quarterback Connor Shaw has pass for almost 2,000 yards with 20 TD. The Gamecocks boasted the leading rusher in the conference in Mike Davis who has 1,100 yards with 10 TD coming into this game.

The Florida State Seminoles will try to end the regular season undefeated at the expensed of a long time foe in the Florida Gators. The Seminoles (11-0, 8-0) have been running rough shot over every opponent they met in recent weeks, last week it was Idaho turn to face the onslaught as the Vandals gave up 80 points to Florida State. It has been a rough 2013 to say the least for the Gators. At 4-7 and 3-5 in the SEC they will have their streak of 22 straight years in a bowl game snapped. To make matters worst their loss last week to Georgia Southern 26-20 was their first loss to an FCS school since 1946.

Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6) could possible get wide receiver Michael Camparno back for their last regular season game vs. Vanderbilt. Vandy at 7-4, 4-4 in the SEC, boast quite the passing combo in quarterback Austin Carta- Samuels who has pass for over 2,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, and wide out Jordan Matthews who has 99 catches good for 1,209 yards and 5 TD.

Virginia Tech (7-4, 4-3) wraps up their regular season vs. Virginia, the Cavs (2-9, 0-7) will get one more shot at winning their first game in conference this season.

Georgia Tech (7-4, 5-3) get to finish the season vs. Georgia, Tech use 15 different ball carriers in their win over Alabama A&M last week. They will face a Bulldogs squad that will be without their starting quarterback Aaron Murray who suffered a season ending knee injury in their loss at Auburn.

On Friday the weekend of ACC action kicks off with Miami (8-3, 4-3) taking on Pittsburgh (6-5, 3-4) both teams come into this game having already become bowl eligibility. A win for either team will enhance what bowl game they get a chance to play in.

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