Prior to facing Notre Dame last Friday, North Carolina QB Sam Howell was quoted as saying (we saw it on twitter from an Inside Carolina reporter) “Yeah, we definitely have a lot of confidence that we can score as many points as it takes to win. We are going to have a really good plan...” But as Mike Tyson (who shockingly returned to the ring in an exhibition Saturday night at age 54) once famously said, “Everyone’s got a plan till they get hit in the mouth.”
UNC went up 14-7 and then got hit in the mouth. After the second score, the Heels were held to 173 yards total offense. That included being forced to punt on seven of their final eight drives before turning it over on downs in the final minute. The fourth quarter comebacks that the Tarheels were becoming famous for proved to be a bit more difficult against the Irish than Wake Forest.
The local media — bless their hearts — suggested the UNC offense was one of the nation’s best. Even Top 10 worthy. North Carolina has proven they can post astronomical offensive numbers against middle of the road ACC teams. But against Notre Dame, the Heels offense put up almost exactly the number of total yards and points as the typical Irish opponent this year. Certainly not Top 10 worthy.
In the upstate, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney slammed Florida State for backing out last minute of the game between the Noles and the Tigers a few weeks ago. He implied they cancelled the game because they were chicken. (FSU also cancelled last week’s game against Virginia. They must have been scared of them, too.) And then Dabo complained about the $300,000 it cost the university. Sorry Dabo. We didn’t know y’all were that hard up in Death Valley.
Keep in mind this is coming from a coach under contract for $93,000,000. And from a school that recently spent $85,000 on a recruiting visit weekend for 11 players and family. Swinney has built a dynasty in Clemson. But his typical reactions to any reasonable questioning of his program are juvenile.
Now, let’s take a break from eating leftover turkey sandwiches, set up the dart board and see whozza gonna win this week’s games:
SYRACUSE AT NOTRE DAME: The Orange were a downed fourth down pass away from pulling an upset over N.C. State last weekend. Unless Notre Dame has a letdown, we don’t see the Cuse getting a +2 turnover advantage, a KO return for a TD and a safety here. This one will be a blowout, especially in South Bend….Notre Dame 49, Syracuse 10.
BOSTON COLLEGE AT VIRGINIA: The Eagles are one of the top teams in the middle of the ACC (faint praise??) with all four of their losses coming to teams that were ranked at the time of kickoff. The Wahoos are on a three-game winning streak and need this one to insure a .500 record this year. UVA has only lost one game at home this season, but BC only loses to ranked teams. We’ll go with an upset here….Boston College 28, Virginia 24.
CLEMSON AT VIRGINIA TECH: So Dabo took out his displaced FSU anger on Pittsburgh last weekend. The question is can he use the everyone-against-Little-Ole’-Clemson schtick to create interest against a Virginia Tech team that has battled COVID-19 this year worse than most? Clemson needs a blowout here to help with their playoff positioning. This Hokie team has mostly thrown in the towel, so we think the Tigers will get it…Clemson 49, VaTech 14.
WESTERN CAROLINA AT NORTH CAROLINA: A get right game the Heels need before their trip to Coral Gables a week from Saturday. This one replaces a cancelled home game earlier this year against Charlotte. The 49ers have been replaced with another in-state foe, but the Catamounts are not close to UNCC’s level. A good game for stat padding by the Carolina offense. Unless you are into that, no reason to watch this one….UNC 63, WCU 7.
GEORGIA TECH AT N.C. STATE: Most of the Triangle intelligentsia had the Pack rated as a 3-8 team heading into this season. If State wins this one, they finish the inverse of that. The problem for State is they always seem to be a backward pass out of the endzone from going sideways. The Yellow Jackets can finish at .500 in the ACC with a win here, so they are not to be overlooked. A close one that could go either way. …N.C. State 34, Georgia Tech 31.
OTHER MAJOR GAMES THIS WEEKEND: Texas A&M over Auburn, Georgia over Vanderbilt, Florida over Tennessee, Kentucky over South Carolina, Alabama over LSU, USC over Washington State, Minnesota over Northwestern, Iowa State over West Virginia, Coastal Carolina over Liberty, Charlotte over FIU, Ohio State over Michigan State, Wisconsin over Indiana.
TOFF TOP TEN: 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Clemson, 4. Florida, 5. Notre Dame, 6. Texas A & M, 7. BYU, 8. Cincinnati, 9. Georgia, 10. Indiana.
Southeast Sports Syndicate, 2020.