After each weekend, I have been keeping track of how our future opponents' seasons are unfolding while also keeping track of how past opponents react to not having us to kick around anymore.
How to read the post: A capsule for each Pack opponent, including the team's record and most recent result, is listed under the heading "Week 1," "Week 2," "Week 3," etc. based on what week during the season that the Pack plays that opponent. The future/past opponent is listed in bold.
Week 1: #19 Mississippi State (6-0) 41, Tennessee (3-3) 31
Tennessee is 1-10 in its last 11 SEC games with Alabama and South Carolina up next. The Volunteers are surrendering 43 points a game against league foes so far this year. Buh bye, Mr. Orange Pants.
UT bad boy Tyler Bray stunk it up again against SEC competition, throwing for just 148 yards and 6.2 yards per attempt. Golly jeepers I want to replay this one.
Week 2: Temple (3-2) 17, UCONN (3-4) 14 (OT)
Chandler Whitmer had his best game by far, but the Huskies still managed to blow a 14-point lead and lose to the Owls in overtime. Whitmer was 22-for-39 for 293 yards and two scores with no picks and his team won the turnover battle, total yardage battle, and time of possession battle, yet lost the war. Temple allowed 36 points to Maryland earlier this year, but somehow the Owls are 2-0 in the Big Least.
Week 3: Arkansas State (4-3) 36, South Alabama (1-5) 29
SOAL is probably getting pretty tired of playing teams with some iteration of wolf as a mascot. Like the Owls, the Red Wolves won this one despite losing the box score. The Jaguars recovered 3 fumbles, held an 11-minute advantage in time of possession, gained 60 more yards, and lost. Virginia transfer Ross Matheney was solid for SOAL, completing 24 of 38 attempts for 241 yards and 3 scores.
Week 4: The Citadel (4-3) 45, Western Carolina (1-6) 31
The Bulldogs snapped their 3-game slide by doing what you do against the perennial SoCon doormats, get well. The Citadel had 5 different players rush for TDs; Darien Robinson led the way with 116 yards on 24 carries.
Week 5: North Carolina (5-2, 2-1) 18, Miami (4-3, 3-1) 14
On the surface it looks like maybe the Hurricanes learned to play defense Saturday. They did limit Bryn Renner to 214 yards and no touchdowns while holding their first opponent not named Bethune Cookman to under 30 points, but the Tarheels shredded the Canes for 272 yards on the ground. Whatever member of the Barth clan it is that kicks for the Heels these days had his struggles, missing a couple 3-pointers, or the final score would have been more indicative of the box score. Bad Stephen Morris, so unfortunately MIA when the Canes played the Pack, reared his ugly head big time in this one, going 12-for-26 and tossing a pair of picks before leaving with an injury.
The Canes play host to Florida State Saturday and an upset would go a long way towards legitimizing the Pack as a contender for the division title. It's hard to imagine the Pack emerges from road games at Maryland, UNC, and Clemson unscathed, so both the Noles and Tigers need to hurry up and slip up again.
Week 6: #12 Florida State (6-1, 3-1) 51, Boston College (1-5, 0-3) 7
E. J. Manuel threw for 439 yards and 4 scores, though he was picked twice (once by Jim Noel, Rodman's brother), as the Seminoles returned to their ass-whoopin' ways a week after the Pack dashed their national championship hopes. Kenny Shaw and Rodney Smith had 100-yard receiving days and Lonnie Pryor rumbled for two scores.
Week 7: Bye week. Hopefully you got you some fried at the state fair.
Week 8: Maryland (4-2, 2-0) 27, Virginia (2-5, 0-3) 20
Stefon Diggs returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score, helping the Fighting Edsalls secure a 17-0 first quarter lead. Perry Hills and the Terps struggled from there, going 37 minutes without points as the Hoos climbed back in it but ultimately fell short. It was the 5th straight setback for Virginia. This was yet another outcome that defied the box score. Maryland managed just 235 yards of total offense, including -2 on the ground, while Virginia claimed 386 yards against the stingy Terrapin D. And lost.
It's the Fighting Edsalls, not Florida State or Clemson, that sit atop the division standings, but the team with the nation's 123rd ranking in total offense (out of 124) cannot keep living a charmed life forever.
Week 9: North Carolina (5-2, 2-1) 18, Miami (4-3, 3-1) 14
Italian Stallion Giovani Benard ran for 177 yards and two scores on 27 carries, helping the Tarheels hold off the Hurricanes and get back in the race for the Coastal Division crown and a shot at... Oops. They are not eligible. The shame.
Week 10: Maryland (4-2, 2-0) 27, Virginia (2-5, 0-3) 20
90th in points scored and 102nd in points allowed is not a recipe for gridiron success, but at least there was a silver lining for the Cavs, as Kevin Parks delivered 129 yards on 17 carries against the vaunted Terp front 7. What in the world was ESPN thinking when they scheduled the probation-riddled Heels and Cavs for a Thursday nighter in mid November?
Week 11: Wake Forest (3-3, 1-3)
The Demon Deacons had a bye to rest up for what is likely an elimination game against Virginia. The loser can pretty much kiss any bowl hopes they might yet harbor good bye.
Week 12: #15 Clemson (5-1, 2-1)
After its bye last Saturday, Clemson (19th in the BCS rankings) will host Virginia Tech this weekend in what is a vital game for the conference title hopes for both programs. Perhaps falling behind 20-0 against Duke was rock bottom for the disappointing Beamer Ballers; the Hokies rallied, scoring the game's final 41 points, and suddenly this weekend's nooner and rematch of the 2011 ACC championship game is looking intriguing.
Week 13: #12 Florida State (6-1, 3-1) 51, Boston College (1-5, 0-3) 7
Andre Williams went for 104 yards on 20 carries, an impressive feat against FSU. And that's about it for BC sunshine. The Eagles have Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and N. C. State left. The Edsalls, Irish, and Hokies travel to Chestnut Hill. Question: will BC beat an FBS opponent this season?