As you know, 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. It would no doubt be a much better feature if I got the damn thing up before
Thursday early Friday morning. My bad. But read it anyway. K?
You may skip the italicized, explanatory paragraph below unless you're new to the site or forgetful.
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: Vanderbilt (7-4) 41, Tennessee (4-7) 18
Tennessee player reactions to the sacking of their head coach have been about as indifferent as Tyler Bray's play Saturday in UT's laugher of a loss to once unheralded Vanderbilt. Bray was 11-for-29 for 103 yards (3.6 yards per attempt) and threw a pair of picks. The Volunteers lost for the 14th time in their last 15 SEC contests and will have to beat Kentucky, a team that is equally winless in conference play in 2012 but beat the Vols last year, to get off the schneid. They will have to do it under interim head coach Jim Chaney, the team's offensive coordinator, and even if they do win it will be too little too late for bowl eligibility.
Apparently having beating N. C. State as your team's best accomplishment is not the kind of thing that preserves your job. As for the really, really bad accomplishments, Tennessee will finish with a losing record for the third straight season, a dubious feat it had not suffered through for over a century. Vandy had lost 34 of 35 to UT and the ‘dores 41 points were the most they have scored in the series since 1923.
Derek Dooley will get to keep his tailored orange pants and, more importantly, get a golden parachute in the form of a $5 million buyout. Coaching hires are almost always a crapshoot, and certainly Dooley had the whole Saban Coaching Tree thing in his favor, but methinks Tennessee will hesitate before bringing in another coach with a career losing record at a mid-major.
As noted in previous installments of the "How They Do?" feature, with each passing week N. C. State's loss to Dooley's down-in-flames Vols looked worse and worse.
Week 2: UCONN (4-6)
The Huskies had the rare late-season bye week to gear up for a potential bowl-salvaging but difficult stretch that includes a game at Louisville and the season finale at home against Cincinnati.
At the time, State's win on the road at UConn looked like it might be a quality win against a Big East contender, but ultimately the 10-7 win rings hollow as, like Tennessee, UConn has underwhelmed more and more as the season marched on.
Week 3: Middle Tennessee (7-3) 20, South Alabama (2-9) 12
Your Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division Champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets lost to the Blue Raiders by 21 at home. The Jags only lost by 8. This fact, coupled with the possibility that the Sun Belt will have as many teams in the postseason as the ACC, is perhaps the saddest thing ever written about ACC football.
Week 4: The Citadel (7-4) 42, Furman (3-8) 20
The Bulldogs closed this game and their season on a 28-3 run. VanDyke Jones ran for three scores and, in typical triple option fashion, about 29 guys had at least one carry in the game. The Bulldogs reversed their 4-7 record from a year ago and beat FCS playoff bound Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, helping Kevin Higgins capture SoCon coach of the year honors. If the Bulldogs could have squeezed out one more win, they likely would have made the novel concept known as college football playoffs. Other than the Florida State victory, I'm not sure that State's blowout win over the Citadel wasn't its most impressive performance of the season. Seriously. It was certainly one of the few times that the Pack exceeded expectations.
Week 5: Miami (6-5, 4-3) 40, South Florida (3-7) 9
The Hurricanes pounded their SoFla neighbors and are
going bowling. Kudos to the Canes for repeatedly slapping themselves on their wrists rather than taking the stonewalling, lawyering, denialing (ok, made that word up) approach preferred by a certain ACC member institution to their north.
Stephen Morris threw for 413 yards in the blowout of the Bulls; the U had three receivers eclipse 100 yards (Clive Walford, Herb Waters, and Phillip Dorsett). Clive and Herb? Are these guys Florida retirees who happened to be spry and have a couple years of college eligibility tacked on to their social security benefits?
At any rate, the U lost games by 4 and by 1 this year or they could well have been knocking at the door of double digit wins. They appear poised to return to 10-win territory soon enough under Al Golden. The brass is smart to pass up middling bowls now in hopes that the NCAA will come down softly when the Nevin Shapiro scandal finally comes to a close. By then, the Canes may have much more to play for.
Week 6: #10 Florida State (10-1, 7-1) 41, Maryland (4-7, 2-5) 14
The Seminoles cruised to their 10th win against the reeling Turtles behind 148 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns from Devonta Freeman. Florida State rushed 15 more times than it passed and pulled E. J. Manuel relatively early. Yay for sportsmanship. Saturday, the Noles play in-state rival Florida at the Doak in a game with BCS implications. Barring a very surprising loss to Georgia Tech in the ACC championship, FSU's spot in the Orange Bowl is safe. Florida, currently 4th in the BCS standings, has a good shot at an at-large BCS bowl with a win despite not making the SEC title game. FSU opened as a touchdown favorite. You go, ACC!
Week 7: Bye week.
Week 8: #10 Florida State (10-1, 7-1) 41, Maryland (4-7, 2-5) 14
Once upon a time Big Ten bound Maryland was 2-0 in league play. And then N. C. State gave them a very rude going away present in the form of two injured quarterbacks. And the next week they lost another one. And they had already lost two before the season even started. And now you have Shawn Petty, linebacker, under center and a 5-game losing streak that has eliminated the Fighting Edsalls from postseason eligibility. Petty threw for 2 TDs against FSU, which must make his LB mates so jealous. But Petty also managed just 8 total completions in the game. Still, his QB rating is higher than Tanner Price's. Ouch.
The Terp tale is a cautionary one for N. C. State, which has just two scholarship QBs on the roster and will only have two in 2013 if it does not sign one for next year's class. No QB commitment has come for the 2013 class. That TOB has allowed the cupboard to get this bare is further fuel for the fire TOB crowd's fire.
Week 9: North Carolina (7-4, 4-3) 37, Virginia (4-7, 2-5) 13
The Tarheels bounced back from their embarrassing, record-setting thrashing at the hands of Georgia Tech despite the fact that the Hoos held Italian Stallion Giovani Bernard in check. Bernard managed just 57 yards on 15 carries and had one punt return for 0 yards. Sigh.
Quinshad Davis picked up the slack for UNC, catching 16 balls for 178 yards and promptly celebrated by cutting and pasting the link to ESPN's highlights of the game into his power point presentation for his AFAM studies class.
Week 10: North Carolina (7-4, 4-3) 37, Virginia (4-7, 2-5) 13
The Hoos' stay in the bowl conversation was brief. Virginia's two-game winning streak, following a six-game slide, had it hanging on for postseason play possibilities, but dropped passes and empty red zone trips (sounds strangely familiar) poo-poo'd the bowl party.
Virginia managed a pedestrian 4.7 yards per play against UNC's raw sewage infested defense and went 2-for-15 on third down.
Week 11: #3 Notre Dame (11-0) 38, Wake Forest (5-6, 3-5) 0
Everett Golson threw for 346 yards and 3 scores as the Irish stayed on track for a shot at a national championship and kept the Deacons one win from bowl eligibility. The Golden Domers are the only undefeated team in FBS this year save Ohio State, which is in jail and ineligible for postseason play. The Irish need to topple the reeling USC-West Trojans to cement their slot in the title game.
I would be remiss not to dump on Tanner Price, as has been the case in this space pretty much every week. Price manages to be bad even when he is good. He completed 66.7% of his passes, an admirable feat against one of the nation's top defenses, but he still managed just 4.6 yards per attempt as the Screamin' Deacs were shutout for the second time this season.
Wake must beat Vanderbilt at home Saturday to make a bowl.
Week 12: #11 Clemson (10-1, 7-1) 62, N. C. State (6-5, 3-4) 48
The Wolfpack went on a 24-0 run in this game, led by 11, and somehow managed to lose by two touchdowns. Clemson answering the 24-0 run with 42 straight points of its own probably didn't help. The coaching cowardice that helped lead to this sadface result has been documented here. The per play atrocities are here.
The Jekyll and Hyde defense surrendered 33+ points for the fifth time this season, all losses. In fact, State is surrendering 43.4 points (!!!) per game in losses compared to just 11.3 points per game in wins.
Omega Swami noted in the preview that, for the Pack to win, they would have to limit the Tigers' multi-talented offense to one star. If more than one guy went off, State could not keep up. More than one guy went off: Tajh Superfluous H Boyd threw for 426 yards and ran for 103 as he accounted for 8 touchdowns, Andre Ellington ran for 124, and Sammy Watkins and Brandon Ford both went over 100 yards receiving.
Ford and N. C. State's Mario Carter both eclipsed the 100-yard mark in receiving. When was the last time two tight ends did that in the same game? Wacky stats are bound to happen when 110 points go on the board, like Tobais Palmer's ACC record 496 all-purpose yards. Palmer's big day gives State 3 receivers (Quintin Payton and Bryan Underwood are the others) with over 600 yards on the season. Underwood would likely be on pace for 1,000 if not for the numerous drops.
Moose who? Shadrach Thornton continues to make it easy to forget the misgivings of Mustafa Greene. Thornton piled up 114 yards rushing and added 53 through the air against the Tigers. For the season Thornton is averaging 4.8 yards per rush and 10.2 yards per reception, numbers that outpace Greene's career totals by a good margin and positively blow away Tony Creecy's 2012 marks of 3.7 and 4.7. That's right; Creecy is averaging less than 5 yards per catch. He would no doubt be Tanner Price's favorite target if he played for Wake Forest.
Week 13: Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4) 30, Boston College (2-9, 1-6) 23 (OT)
A three-point home win over a Maryland squad starting its 5th string quarterback remains the only win over an FBS opponent for the Eagles, though they certainly gave the Hokies, who must win their season finale against Virginia to make a bowl, a scare. Virginia Tech stayed alive for the postseason by harrassing Chase Rettig into a -25-yard rushing day and a 13-for-30 passing day. Like Rettig, Logan Thomas had a sub-50% completion percentage, but Thomas threw for a pair of scores, including the game-winning, 7-yard hookup with Randall Dunn in overtime.
BC has weapons in Alex Amidon and Spiffy Evans, but comes to Raleigh for the season finale riding a three-game losing streak and averaging just 14.5 points over its last 6 games. Despite being held to two catches for 18 yards against the Hokies, Amidon has 1,175 yards receiving on the season. Evans is one of the most dangerous return men in the country and averages 25.3 yards per punt return.