Tag Archives: acc football

The B1G Conference is Really That Bad

Every year I hear B1G, formerly the Big 10 Conference, fans rant and rave about how they are just as good as the SEC. This comes on the heels of getting demolished in the previous bowl season. In 2013 it was more of the same. Some of my close friends that live in B1G Conference territory were talking up the conference from top to bottom. After seven weeks we can all laugh at them. The conference is just as bad as it has ever been. There is no way they can compete with the SEC. In fact, the B1G might be considered the fifth best conference in college football in 2013. It is a tough pill for many to swallow, but it is the truth. Sometimes it hurts to hear our favorite teams or conference is subpar but we need to accept it. Here are a few reasons the B1G Conference will continue to struggle in the years to come.

Recruiting Kills the B1G Conference

I entered college in 2000 and that was the changing of the tides when it came to recruiting. I can clearly remember sitting in my dorm room and having a debate with my roommate that teams north of Tennessee and North Carolina simply could not compete in terms of recruiting. Why would a high school senior want to go play in State College, Pennsylvania over Miami, Florida? He could enjoy the nice warm beaches and beautiful women in Miami or he could suffer through the cold winters in Pennsylvania.

Years ago, when travel was much more difficult, these northern schools could recruit because coaches would convince players to stay home. There is no more staying at home. Home is the entire United States. A college football player can hop on a plane and travel the entire country in less than a full day. In fact, if he is a very good college football player that has the ability to go pro he may be able to get from one end of the country to the other in just a few hours because of personalized aircraft. This was not the case in the 1980s and even early 1990s. It is also true that recruiters used to encourage kids to stay home so their parents could watch them play.

Today there are more games than ever on TV. If mom and dad cannot travel to the away games they will be able to watch little Johnny on ESPNU, Fox Sports 1 or the SEC Network. If little Johnny is going to a team that will compete in a BCS conference there is a very good chance that 90% of his games will be on television. Now that mom and dad can watch the games on TV there is no reason to worry about travel. This makes me ask the question, why would any high school student want to play in a cold weather climate?

I can understand the argument to play in cold weather if that is your brand of football. If you are the type of player that excels in cold weather climates it might be a good idea to play for Penn State or Notre Dame. Unfortunately for these schools, those types of players don’t really exist anymore as most high school football players want to run up and down the field and score 30 or 40 touchdowns a season. It is no longer the case that three yards and a cloud of dust is attractive like it was in the 1970s.

Where Do High School Players Want to Go?

As mentioned earlier, most high school kids want to go to the cool and exciting college campuses. When visiting South Bend, Indiana in late November there is going to be a chill in the air and most of the students will be bundled up. Take this same trip to Tuscaloosa, Tallahassee or Miami and you are going to see a much different campus. There will be many students wearing jeans but tshirts or short sleeve shirts will be common. It may even be the case that some of the girls are walking around in shorts or skirts. The only girls walking around in shorts or skirts in the northeast or midwest will be considered crazy.

Trust me when I tell you that teenage boys are going to go where the girls are. I think we all have a story about one of our friends deciding to go to college because of that lucky lady. Most of the time that lucky lady never ended up with our friend but it did cause him to go to a specific school. With Facebook, Twitter and social media now being a huge part of the recruiting process high school athletes know where they want to go to enjoy the scenery. In fact, some universities have created groups of females to help show recruits around campus. This is just another attractive feature of a campus in the south. These female groups started in Texas and the SEC. It comes as no surprise as girls love their football in the south.

If young men want to go where the girls are and enjoy the beautiful weather why would they decide to go to Michigan, Penn State or Notre Dame. In the past these three school dominated in terms of recruiting and having teams in the top 10. These are three of the most storied programs in all of college football with more wins than any other teams. Why can they not bring in the big named recruits anymore? It is all about location. If Notre Dame were located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana you can be rest assured they would have a top 5 team every year. If Penn State were a university in south Georgia or Florida they would be in the BCS title game every other year. Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do about their location. This makes recruiting very difficult and it may cause programs to change their mind when it comes to the overall direction of the football team. A good example of this is Oregon.

How Oregon Built a National Title Contender

The Oregon Ducks realized that playing traditional smash mouth football was not going to work because of their location. They could not recruit stud offensive and defensive linemen every year so they needed an alternative. The alternative was a very unique offense that was built on speed rather than on power. Oregon was more than willing to take players that normally would not play at the big schools like USC, Texas or Oklahoma. They used these smaller, faster players to develop a brand new style of offense. Instead of trying to run the ball on first and second down they decided to spread it out. The Oregon offense throws to set up the run. They also have a spread offense that rarely uses two tight ends. Heck, most of the time the single tight end is lined up as a wide receiver.

This new style of offense is very attractive to high school athletes that might be extremely fast but not that strong. When anyone watches an Oregon game during the fall months they can clearly see that most of the players are slim yet quick. This is something that Alabama, LSU and Florida would never had to do. These SEC schools can recruit five star offensive and defensive linemen every single year. This allows them to play a different brand of football. High school athletes will go to these schools just because of their location and history.

Oregon vs Ohio State

Oregon recognized that location was not in their favor so they went a different direction. We are seeing something very similar going on in Columbus, Ohio right now. Urban Meyer has brought the read option to Ohio State and he is recruiting more speed players. This will allow him to get enough speed on the field to compete with the big boys from the SEC. Something interesting about Ohio State is they do have the history to get some great five star recruits. If you can combine five star recruits with a unique offense the sky is the limit.

The only problem that Ohio State has right now is the location. Columbus, Ohio is not the most attractive area for high school athletes. When you think of vacation hotspots Columbus is not at the top of the list. Although this could cause problems in recruiting Urban Meyer knows how to get athletes for specific roles in his offense. Over the next two or three years it will be interesting to see if the location of Ohio State holds them back when it comes to a national championship run.

Something that will likely hold them back from a national championship run in 2013 will be their conference. The B1G has shown they are not ready to compete with the SEC and other power conferences. Until the B1G has several good teams (in the top 15) it will be the case that no one is willing to give Ohio State respect. They are not playing the toughest conference schedule so they may not be worthy of a spot in the BCS National Championship game.

Why ACC Football Will Never Change

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 was a great illustration as to why the ACC will never change. During the entire summer I made fun of the ACC because of the lack of depth and quality football. There is no arguing the fact that the ACC is one of the best basketball conferences in the nation. In fact, it can be argued it is the best basketball conference because of the number of championships won in the last three decades. That said, football is a much different story. The ACC has been throttled in BCS Bowl Games since the inception of the BCS. The middle to bottom half of the conference is downright bad. We saw more of that in recent weekends which should come as no surprise to most diehard college football fans.

Maryland and UVA Are A Joke

The University of Maryland came into Saturday, October 5th, 2013 undefeated and #25 in the country. Some analysts were predicting an upset of the top 10 Florida State Seminoles in Tallahassee. Maryland was coming off a huge win against West Virginia and they had tons of momentum. When all was said and done Maryland had the wood laid to them at Florida State. They left Doak Campbell Stadium with a 63 spot hung on them. To make matters even worse, Maryland couldn’t even get on the scoreboard. While Florida State and Jameis Winston are very good in 2013 they are not so good that the final score should be 63-0. This is all too typical of a subpar ACC team that breaks into the top 25.

Another lackluster performance on the weekend of October 5th took place in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Cavaliers have not been a good football team in years but most thought they could beat Ball State in Charlottesville today. When the scoreboard read zeros it was Ball State with a total of 48 points and Virginia with 27; absolutely embarrassing. This is no disrespect to Ball State but no ACC team should allow a MAC team to drop 48 points on them in their home stadium. At one point the ACC thought they could be one of the elite BCS football conferences when they added Virginia Tech and Miami in the early 2000s. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While Maryland and Virginia laid eggs today it is important to note that other cellar dwellers sucked it up as well. North Carolina State University lost to Wake Forest in Raleigh and the UNC Tar Heels took another conference loss. These teams are just straight up bad. If they played in the SEC or PAC 12 they would get routed every single week. It is almost basketball season on Tobacco Road so there isn’t too much longer to wait for something exciting to happen. That said, college football season will continue to grind on through the end of the year. Clemson and Florida State are very good college football teams but the rest of the conference is just plain terrible. What is interesting is that both Florida State and Clemson have been rumored to be leaving the conference to head to the SEC. With a few more years of terrible ACC football I believe it would be smart for them to leave.

Should Clemson and FSU Go To The SEC?

When SEC expansion was a hot topic a few years ago two ACC schools continued to come up – Clemson and Florida State. It makes perfect sense that these two schools would jump from the ACC to the SEC. First of all, they are not historically strong in basketball. In fact, Clemson has gone over 50 years without beating UNC in Chapel Hill in round ball. Florida State has been good recently but it has not been a long term trend. The ACC is historically strong in college basketball and they are trying to expand that even more by adding Louisville, Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The second reason it would be smart for the Tigers and Seminoles to go to the SEC is because of their football history. We can all agree that the ACC has not been strong in football. In fact, it has been well over a decade since the ACC has had a team in the national championship game in college football.

Part of the reason the ACC does not compete well in big time games is the level of competition. If Florida State and Clemson want to truly step up their level of competition they will go to a better football conference. Florida State’s main rival is Florida which happens to be in the SEC. Clemson’s main rival is South Carolina which happens to be in the SEC. These are just a few more reasons it would make sense to get out of a basketball conference and into a football conference.

The other issue is money. The SEC Network will start in 2014 and that will be a huge revenue generator for the conference. This will put more money in the pockets of all the teams that are in the SEC. Right now, there are no plans for the ACC to start a network. There are deals with the ACC with major networks but they do not have their own cable or satellite network. It would be smart for the ACC to get things in place before some of the bigger players in the conference decide to jump ship for more money. This has already happened with Maryland leaving the ACC to head to the B1G conference. Ten years ago there is no way Maryland would have left but the B1G Network is a huge revenue generator and the Terps want that extra cash. If the ACC continues to stumble it may be the case that it no longer exists as it is today. It might end up being just a basketball conference on Tobacco Road and the northeast.

Florida State and Clemson would like to improve in basketball but it is quite obvious they are more focused on football. For quite some time I have said that universities should focus on something they have been historically good at. NC State does a terrible job of this. They have won two national championships in basketball yet the alumni want a good football program. The NC State football program has never been good over a five year period. Instead of sinking money into Carter Finley Stadium they would be smart to spend money on the basketball program. Duke and UNC are just down the road so it should not be hard for NC State to get recruits that want to play at the highest level of basketball.

Is the ACC Just a Basketball Conference?

In the next two years the ACC is going to add Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Louisville. Louisville is coming off a national championship in college basketball and Syracuse has been one of the best teams in the Big East for several decades. One of the reasons the ACC is adding these schools is to have the ACC Basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden. This will be a huge draw for ACC fans. Most ACC fans are used to going to Atlanta or Greensboro for the ACC Basketball Tournament so this will be something completely different. If they do finalize plans on MSG I think it is safe to say that the ACC is a basketball conference and will always be a basketball conference.

Florida State and Clemson have a little bit of an identity crisis in the ACC. Clemson rarely makes it out of the first round of the ACC Tournament and Florida State has only recently had success in this tournament. That said, they have no problems running up and down the field on ACC teams during the football season. If Clemson and Florida State end up in the top 10 in football this year I predict the SEC will make a strong push to pull them out of the ACC and into a conference that is football centered.

As we continue to move into basketball season most schools in the ACC are gearing up for a huge season. In Chapel Hill they are getting ready for Late Night with Roy. In Durham, Coach K and the boys are hoping to make another Final Four run. Teams like Syracuse and UVA are hoping to make a strong run in the ACC Tournament. These are teams that do not care about college football. They have all been throttled in the last week on the gridiron so the fan bases are looking for revenge on the hardwood.

I can clearly remember being at NC State years ago and hoping college football season would come around because our basketball team could not beat Duke or UNC. I was a little bit short minded in that I should have accepted that the ACC will forever be a basketball conference. This weekend proved that ACC football is not going to change in the near future. The only way it is going to change is if the conference loses the power teams to the SEC or another power conference.

By Jesse Wojdylo

Florida State vs Clemson 2013

The biggest regular season game in recent history in the ACC will take place in Death Valley on Saturday, October 19th at 8:00 pm on ABC Sports. The Clemson Tigers and Florida State Seminoles have been very impressive this year as both teams have moved the ball up and down the field on their opponents. There is little argument to be made that these are two of the best teams in college football. Clemson finds a way to score over 40 points even against SEC defenses. Jameis Winston and the Seminoles dropped 63 points on a Maryland team that had one of the better defenses in the country. This makes the matchup on Saturday, October 19th all the more interesting.

Florida States’s Offense

Coming into the season most experts knew the name Jameis Winston but they had no idea how good he was going to be. He is a freshman so the only game tape that was available was from his high school days. When trying to make a prediction as to the success of a young quarterback most cannot make an accurate assessment when looking at high school games. The other issue is the fact that Jameis is a young kid that will likely be rattled during away games, right? Well, that has not been the case. In fact, he has played very well under pressure in the two ACC away games for Florida State this year. At Pittsburgh and at Boston College were no problems for this young quarterback from Tallahassee.

Even when Florida State has been behind in games Jameis Winston remains a cool character and he leads his team back to a huge victory. This happened in the Boston College game that was in Chestnut Hill. Something that makes the Florida State offense very difficult to defend is the fact that Winston can run the ball if he needs to. Prior to this year, Florida State has not had a duel threat quarterback since Charlie Ward in 1993. That 1993 team lead by Charlie Ward went on to win the national championship. If the Seminoles can continue to put points on the board there is a good chance they will have an opportunity to play for the national championship in the final BCS championship game this year.

I have watched Florida State play football since the early 1990s and I have not seen a dominate performance like the Maryland game in a long time There were some mid 1990s Florida State teams that used to roll up the ACC. It was not unheard of for FSU to win games by 40 or 50 points. This has not happened in almost a decade. To see the score Florida State – 63 and Maryland – 0 scrolling across the bottom of sports TV stations brought back memories of the past. Jameis Winston has Florida State Seminoles fans thinking this might be the year the team could make a run.

Clemson’s Offense

Tajh Boyd has lead the Clemson offense for several years. He has been at Clemson for what seems like decades. Being a senior quarterback means he has been through many difficult situations. Those tough road games in October and November become much easier when a team has an experienced quarterback. This has proven to be true for Clemson with a road win at NC State on a Thursday night. There will be some other tough road games as the year progresses but Tajh Boyd has looked very good thus far. If he can play at 75% of what he has been playing at early in the season the Clemson Tigers will not be challenged by anyone other than Florida State. During the Florida State game Tajh will need to be at his best.

The Clemson offense is one of those new age offenses that likes to get in as many plays as possible. The Clemson offensive coordinator would love to snap the ball 100 times every single game. This is not possible some games but it doesn’t mean they will not try. If Clemson gains some momentum on offense it is very difficult for ACC defenses to slow them down. This is especially true when they play in Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina. When the big crowd starts rocking Death Valley it is almost impossible to slow down the Tigers. The Clemson fans are quite unique for the ACC as they have won a national championship and they know quite a bit about college football. This means they do not cheer loudly when the offense is on the field. This allows Tajh Boyd to get the plays called with ease.

If the Clemson Tigers are able to get off over 80 plays in the game against Florida State I would imagine they will come out on top. If the Tigers offense has to sit on the bench for much of the game I believe Florida State has the opportunity to knock off the #3 team in the country. It will be fun to watch an amazing offense like Clemson take on a top 5 defense such as Florida State.

Florida State’s Defense

Florida State is giving up less than 300 yards per game and they seem to get better every week. Before heading into the Clemson game they will have a bye week which will give them seven extra days to prepare for Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins. This will play a huge roll in the game. Giving a great defense extra time to prepare for a fast paced offense can make a huge difference. If the Seminoles are healthy and have done their homework this might be the first time we truly see the Clemson Tigers offense challenged in 2013. It is interesting to see how teams react to a situation that is unique. If Clemson has a couple of drives that stall early it might frustrate them. When an offense gets frustrated they often try to do things out of their comfort zone. This is when turnovers happen.

Clemson is one of the best teams in the country when it comes to turnover margin. They average getting about two more turnovers than they give up. Florida State gets about one more turnover than they give up. With both teams being top 10 in the country there is a good chance that this game will come down to turnovers. Look for Florida State’s defense to put some extra pressure on Tajh Boyd. Tajh has not thrown a lot of interceptions in the first part of the season but he has also not been pressured by a great defensive line. Pay close attention to this matchup when the Tigers take on the Seminoles.

Clemson’s Defense

If there is one weakness for either team in this game it is the Clemson defense. It is not the case that the Clemson defense is bad but they have given up a lot of points in big games. When the Tigers opened against Georgia this year the defense gave up 35 points. This isn’t the first time a Clemson defense has give up over 30 points in a big game. It is important to note that the defense has played much better since that Georgia game. I will also point out that Georgia has one of the best offenses in the country that has yet to be stopped. I would like to see Clemson play well on the defensive side of the ball in a big game and the Florida State game will give them an opportunity to do just that.

Once again, turnovers could play a very large roll in this game so the Clemson defense will need to create a few. This has not been a problem in the first few weeks of the season but the level of competition, minus Georgia, has not been to the level of Florida State. Florida State’s offense is one of the best in the country and Jameis Winston could be the best quarterback in the United States. He has not turned the ball over much. His decision making is that of a senior quarterback. This means the Clemson defense is going to have to rattle him if they want him to throw bad passes or fumble the ball.

Who Will Win?

The Clemson Tigers will be favored in this game because they will be playing at home. That said, the Seminoles will have a week to prepare for the game. Ultimately, it will come down to the quarterback play. Tajh Boyd is the senior leader of the Clemson Tigers and he is the leading passer in ACC history when it comes to TDs. On the other side of the ball Jameis Winston is the new kid of the block but he has been very impressive. I think the Clemson Tigers will end up winning this game close solely because of the home field advantage and the senior at quarterback.


Famous Jameis Winston Continues to Impress

Not long ago I wrote an article comparing Jameis Winston to Johnny Manziel. Throughout the entire article I pointed out how Johnny Manziel continues to make poor decisions off the field while Jameis Winston seems to be quite upstanding with amazing character. As the college football season progresses it looks as if Jameis Winston is here to stay. Some felt as if the first few games were just a fluke. After watching much of the first half of the Boston College game I can say that is not the case. Winston came out slow with a few incompletions. Most young quarterbacks would have hung their head; Jameis did not. He finished the first half strong with 216 yards and three touchdowns. Even though he started the game with a few incompletions he still ended up 9 of 13 for the half. This tells me that the kid can bounce back from a tough situation.

Jameis Winston is Mature

At one point in the first half of the Florida State at Boston College game the Seminoles were down 17-3. There are a number of experienced quarterbacks that would have tried to do too much and get their team back in the game with one play. Famous Jameis methodically worked down the field a few times. He gained his confidence with some completions. By the time the half was over the Seminoles had scored 21 straight points. This is the sign of a very mature young quarterback. Having watched thousands of hours of college football in the last decade I can tell you that quarterbacks like this do not come around often.

There are a number of young quarterbacks that burst onto the scene of college football and have a few impressive games early in their career. After defensive coordinators get some game film of these players it is harder to throw for the big yards. Jameis Winston is still very early in his career so it will be fun to watch his progression. It is often true that young quarterbacks go in one direction or the other. They continue to grow and mature both on the field and in the classroom. These are the quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck that go on to impressive professional careers. There are other quarterbacks that let the success get to their head and they stop doing the hard work needed to succeed. There are hundreds of quarterbacks that have a few great games but never amount to anything.

The fact that Jameis Winston is such a mature young man makes me believe he will be the quarterback that continues to study the game while also studying in the classroom. I do not think that is the case with Johnny Manziel. I think Johnny Football has other things on his mind. He enjoys partying and going out way too much. While Manziel is at the party Winston is in the film room watching game tape of the teams coming up. I think we can all agree that Peyton Manning became the amazing quarterback he is today because of hard work. Peyton does not have the best throwing motion nor is he the most skilled. What he has is the best work ethic in the game of football today.

The ACC Helps Winston

Something that diehard college football fans recognize is the conference in which an athlete plays will greatly determine their stats. The ACC is not considered one of the strongest conferences in college football so Jameis Winston will have several layup games. Boston College was one of those games. When the game was over Winston had 329 passing yards and four touchdowns. No one will make the argument that Boston College is even a decent team. Other terrible teams in the ACC include Wake Forest and UNC. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels gave up 55 points to a very bad ECU team. This means that Florida State will likely be able to drop about 50 on them. With the upcoming schedule being rather weak look for Jameis Winston to have a huge year when it comes to stats.

I am a numbers guy but I do warn my friends about looking at stats too closely. Recognize that stats do not mean everything. Johnny Manziel is going to have huge stats this year because the Texas A&M defense is terrible. Some quarterbacks might not have the best stats but they are great leaders and great players. As it looks right now, Jameis Winston is going to have amazing stats and he looks to be a strong leader. As mentioned earlier, this is not common when it comes to freshmen in college.

The biggest game Jameis Winston will have in 2013 will likely be the Clemson game. Unless something unusual happens in the next two weeks it looks as if Clemson will play Florida State as one of the top three teams in the country. If Florida State continues to win and a few other teams take a loss this could be an ACC matchup of two top five teams. This has not happened in a very long time. Tajh Boyd, the quarterback of Clemson, recently set the ACC record for most touchdown passes in a career. The press will eat this alive as it will be young against old. Tajh Boyd is a senior and he has taken his bumps and bruises along the way. Jameis Winston is still a freshman and he has a lot to learn over the course of the next several years. That does not mean he will not perform well against the Clemson Tigers this year.

This game will be played at Clemson on October 19th, 2013. Interestingly, the FSU Seminoles will go into the game off a bye week. This gives them seven extra days to prepare. One would think Florida State would have the advantage with this being the case. It should be one of the more enjoyable ACC games to watch in 2013. If Jameis Winston and Tajh Boyd are both healthy it will probably be a very high scoring game.

Tajh Boyd vs Jameis Winston

Any other year and I would say that Jameis Winston is a lock for ACC Player of the Year with this type of play. This year, he might not even get a handful of votes. Tajh Boyd has already thrown for over 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns in the very early part of the season. Tajh Boyd is also a senior so he has been around the block a time or two. This is going to garner him even more votes from the media. It will also be hard for Famous Jameis to have any chance at the Heisman because there are so many great quarterbacks throughout the country. In the southeast alone there are big names like Johnny Manziel, Tajh Boyd, AJ McCarron, Aaron Murray and Stephan Morris. All of these quarterbacks have had outstanding years in the early part of the season. This does not include names outside the southeast like Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota. As we continue to progress through the 2013 it might end up being the year of the quarterback.

Not too long ago I wrote the article, “Is 2013 the Year of the Athletic Quarterback?” Well, it looks as if that prediction is coming true. It is truly enjoyable to watch the great quarterback play in college football this year. One of the things many NFL fans say about college football is the quarterback play is substandard. That is not an argument this year. There are eight to ten college quarterbacks that will have a great future in the NFL. These young men are throwing the pigskin around every Saturday afternoon or night. If you have yet to watch college football this year I would suggest checking out some of the games on CBS, ABC, ESPN or Fox Sports. You will be shocked at the stellar play from the quarterback position.

I will be the first to admit that I am a college football homer. I watch very little NFL football as I love the fervor and passion of college football fans in small towns. I also love to see student athletes succeed. One of my joys is to see young men and women graduate from college and move on to bigger and better things. This is sometimes related to athletics, but many times it is not. I feel as if most NFL players do not have a future outside of their athletic ability. If they get hurt there are few ways they can make help society. This is not true with college athletes. While there are some that have no desire to get a college degree there are many that are enjoying the chance to get a free education while doing something they love. Check out these young men on Saturday and enjoy their love of the game.