Sometimes, you’re better off not knowing. This is one of those times. Here’s a look at what we learned in the ACC after the second weekend of games:
The ACC has a better chance at winning the lottery than a national title. Virginia Tech, because of its high preseason ranking and supposedly favorable nonconference schedule, started out as the ACC’s best hope at a national title. The Hokies are now 0-2 with a mortifying home loss to James Madison -- one of the worst losses under Frank Beamer. And no, don’t make the argument that JMU is a title contender. FCS title contender, maybe. Big difference. Even Virginia was able to beat Richmond. And then came the double and triple-whammies: Florida State and Miami’s losses with the whole nation watching. This weekend revealed there’s still a significant gap between the nation’s elite and those two former powers. And defending league champion Georgia Tech lost to Kansas, which had lost to North Dakota State, an FCS team, in Week 1.
The ACC’s Heisman hopefuls need more than a campaign. FSU quarterback Christian Ponder was outplayed by Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. Jacory Harris threw four interceptions. Ryan Williams still hasn’t reached the 100-yard mark. Even NC State quarterback Russell Wilson had an off-night, completing just 10 of 30 passes. And Joshua Nesbitt? He completed five passes, none of which helped when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter.
Georgia Tech’s passing game is status quo and Al Groh’s defense still needs work. Groh’s defense got gashed for 407 yards and was beaten by a freshman quarterback making his first start. Jordan Webb threw for 179 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Meanwhile, veteran quarterback Nesbitt completed 5 of 15 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown, and couldn’t convert on fourth down with the game on the line. (A costly false start penalty didn't help him). It was hardly all on Nesbitt, as there were times when his receivers couldn't make the play on a catchable ball.
The Coastal Division isn’t as strong as we thought. Virginia Tech is 0-2. Georgia Tech lost to a Kansas team that was on an eight-game losing streak. Miami turned it over four times. Duke lost to Wake Forest. And North Carolina? The Tar Heels have to be kicking themselves. If ever the door was open for Butch Davis to make a move in the division, this would be it. Instead, the program is in the midst of two NCAA investigations. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Division went 5-1, with Florida State earning the only loss.
Florida State’s defense is still bad. It would be an understatement to say Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops had the upper hand on his little bro, Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. The Sooners racked up 487 total yards and Jones looked like the Heisman candidate Florida State was campaigning for. A learning curve was expected, as FSU is transitioning to a zone scheme and there are young players being asked to contribute immediately, but there were times when the Noles lined up improperly and hurt themselves with missed tackles.