No. 22 Georgia Tech (4-1, 2-1 ACC) travels to Tallahassee (2-3, 0-2 ACC) at 8 p.m. Saturday trying to keep pace with the Joneses in the Coastal Division, while the Seminoles - the preseason favorites in the Atlantic Division - attempt to avoid a contention-crippling loss.
While Clemson Nation is displeased about an inexplicable loss at Maryland, Florida State suffered a similar setback against Boston College last week.
Perhaps no team in the conference has been as difficult to read as the Seminoles. Even Bobby Bowden, who is being pressured by some corners to resign, has noted the difficulty he's had in keeping Florida State playing with consistent focus.
After scoring 54 points in a rout of then No. 7 Brigham Young two weeks ago, the Seminoles have dropped two straight.
If the Virginia Tech sophomore can keep this up the Hokies might get another shot at Alabama - in a more meaningful game. Taylor appears to be growing into a dynamic dual-threat quarterback, enjoying a six touchdown-to-one interception, ratio this season. Taylor threw two touchdown passes against seven interceptions last season. Against Duke on Saturday, Taylor threw for a career-high 327 yards and two touchdowns.
Miami's offensive line
Most thought Florida State had the best offensive line in the ACC. It appears that distinction goes to Miami, which averages 6-6, 318 pounds and is anchored by a guy who really looks the part in left tackle Jason Fox. Fox didn't allow a sack last season and picked up ACC lineman of the week honors this week. Here's why Fox earned the award: Oklahoma entered having allowed just 122 total rushing yards through three games, before Miami back Javarris James bettered that himself (150 yards) on 15 carries Saturday.
It was said the ACC needed a national title contender to boost its image: well it looks like the conference has two in Virginia Tech (ranked fifth inboth polls) and Miami (ranked 11th in both polls). The Sagarin Ratings have the ACC as the third-best conference in the country behind the SEC and PAC-10.
The Atlantic Division
The Atlantic has morphed into a bizarro world. Maryland in first place, Florida State sixth? Boston College and Wake ahead of Clemson?
Two touchdowns in 13 quarters has this unit under great scrutiny.
North Carolina's offense
A lot of people liked the Tar Heels in the preseason, including Sports Illustrated, which ranked the Tar Heels as the 20th best team in its preseason poll. While the defense has been as advertised (league-best 14.6 ppg), the offense is averaging a league-worst 18.6 ppg, including an anemic three-point showing in a loss against Virginia on Saturday.
BY THE NUMBERS
10: Clemson has played the 10th most difficult schedule in the country according to the Sagarin Ratings.
10.17: The average margin of victory in the 12 ACC conference games to date. The slimmest average margin of victory occurred in 1965 (10. 19). It is more evidence of the ACC's parity and unpredictability.
379: N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson's impressive interception-less streak ended Saturday at Wake Forest. The streak is the longest in NCAA history.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"My hope is frankly that we'll go ahead and, if we have to, let the world know that this year will be the end of the Bowden era. I do appreciate what he's done for us, what he's done for the program, what's he done really for the state of Florida. But I think the record will show that the Seminole nation has been more than patient. We have been in a decline not for a year or two or three but I think we're coming up on seven or eight. I think enough is enough. ... We're not paying to support an average or mediocre program. We're paying for a quality program, and we're not getting that right now," - Jim Smith, chairman of the Florida State board of trustees, as quoted in Monday's Tallahassee Democrat.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK II
"I have the utmost respect for Coach Bowden and what he's done. I told somebody (Monday), it's sort of like you have to put your favorite dog down; you know it's the right thing to do but you sure feel bad about it." - The same Jim Smith talking to the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday regarding Bowden: