The often maligned ACC has two signature inter-conference wins already this year, and is looking to build off the early season successes.
On opening weekend, Clemson upset the Georgia Bulldogs, who then went ahead and dismissed South Carolina this past Saturday. And then yesterday, the Miami Hurricanes battled through some offensive struggles to shock their in-state rivals, the Florida Gators. It’s become popular (and fair) to criticize the ACC for its performance in out of conference games, but that could be changing.
Here are three storylines to follow this week in the ACC:
1.) Can Florida State‘s Jameis Winston replicate his near perfect performance?
Winston was brilliant in his collegiate debut, shredding the Pittsburgh Panthers, completing 25-of-27 passes on the evening. This week he will face a Nevada team who was pounded by UCLA in week one but rebounded to beat UC Davis this past week.
While Winston likely won’t complete the ridiculous percentage he did against Pitt, expect him to put up absurd numbers against a weak Nevada defense. After one week, Winston has become one of the most talked about players in all of college football. That won’t change after he rips Nevada on Saturday.
Many college football analysts predicted Boston College to struggle in Steve Addazio‘s first season on Chestnut Hill, but the Eagles are off to a nice start. Although they haven’t beaten a quality opponent yet, the Eagles are still 2-0 as they head west to take on USC.
Quarterback Chase Rettig has been efficient with the football (four TDs, one INT) and really has developed a nice connection with wide receiver Alex Amidon. The running game has been outstanding as well, with senior Andre Williams leading the way (318 yards, two touchdowns).
Meanwhile, USC was brutal in their Saturday night loss to Washington State. The Trojan offense doesn’t have an identity and hasn’t found a way to get the ball in the hands of Marquise Lee. Neither quarterback was able to move the ball consistently, as USC mustered a meager seven points.
It won’t be an easy task heading out west, but if the Eagles can pull it off, that would be another huge victory for a conference on the upswing.
3.) Is Duke for real?
The Duke Blue Devils are looking to make back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history and are off to a nice start, going 2-0 to open the season. Unfortunately, starting quarterback Anthony Boone broke his collarbone on Saturday, but backup Brandon Connette played well in their 28-14 victory over Memphis.
This weekend, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets come to town in the ACC opener for each. The Yellow Jackets played in the ACC Championship last year but lost a lot of players from 2012. If Duke can win and start the season 3-0, it would be one of the best stories in ACC so far.