FOR THE SEVENTH ANNUAL musical look at ACC football, we call on Steely Dan to provide the tunes.
"Pretzel Logic," Boston College. When you try to figure out this team and what it is attempting to do, it's pretzel logic, all twisted.
The Eagles were blown away by Clemson and Virginia Tech, then turned around and defeated Florida State and North Carolina State. And why did it take seven weeks to figure out that Montel Harris needs the ball ... a lot? He rushed for 264 yards and five touchdowns in the win over N.C. State, both school records.
"Turn that Heartbeat Over Again," Clemson. Every time you start to think Clemson's season is finished, the Tigers seem to turn that heartbeat over again.
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Following a dismal performance in a loss at Maryland, Clemson rebounded to demolish Wake Forest and get back into the Atlantic Division race. The Tigers are among four teams atop the division standings with two league losses apiece.
"Down in the Bottom," Duke. This only begins to describe Duke's fortunes this decade, one in which the Blue Devils have gone 5-69 against ACC competition.
That fifth victory came this season, and do not be surprised if Duke posts a couple of more wins. It still might not be enough to lift the Blue Devils out of the Coastal Division basement.
"The Royal Scam," Florida State. Some folks believed in the preseason that Florida State was a top-25 team and a contender for the ACC championship. Those same folks also believe Bobby Bowden still coaches football.
It is all a royal scam, from the administration to the coach to the team.
"New Frontier," Georgia Tech. Maybe, just maybe, coach Paul Johnson is at the new frontier of college football: the option offense. Bring back the wishbone! Come on down with the veer! It sure is fun to watch Georgia Tech defeat No. 4 Virginia Tech while completing one pass in seven attempts. Oh, and one other pass was completed to Virginia Tech.
"Reelin' in the Years," Maryland. Poor Ralph Friedgen only can wish he was reelin' in the years. Instead, he quickly is being reeled into retirement.
Maryland has named Friedgen's successor-in-waiting, and this team pretty much stinks for the second time in the past three seasons.
"My Old School," Miami. In Randy Shannon's third season, he already might have Miami fans talking about their old school, or at least their old football program.
No doubt, this Miami team is dangerous, although a far cry from the perennial national championship contenders of yesteryear.
"What a Shame About Me," North Carolina. What a shame, indeed, for a North Carolina team that entered the season with BCS aspirations and now would be happy to play in a bowl game.
Not many teams can survive losing four starting offensive lineman, as the Tar Heels did.
"Walk Between the Raindrops," N.C. State. Another team that believed it could contend for an ACC title. Another team out in the cold and walking between the raindrops.
"The Goodbye Look," Virginia. Until consecutive wins over North Carolina, Indiana and Maryland, Al Groh had the goodbye look as Virginia's coach.
A second consecutive losing season - and third in the past four years - and Groh's nine-year run at Virginia will be over.
"Do It Again," Virginia Tech. Do not be surprised if Virginia Tech does it again and wins a third consecutive ACC championship. Virginia Tech is the Florida State of old in the league.
"Deacon Blues," Wake Forest. After three consecutive outstanding seasons, it looks as if Wake Forest has returned to being the Wake Forest of old. Fans are singing the Deacon blues around Winston-Salem, despite a 4-3 record.