The ACC has outperformed most analysts’ expectations early in the college football season. While we’re still in September, the conference has won some impressive inter-conference battles, and still has a few on the horizon. Perhaps the biggest surprise, even though they have had a relatively soft schedule, is the Maryland Terrapins 4-0 start. They will face a huge battle in two weeks when they travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State.
Until then, here are a few storylines to keep an eye on for Week 5 in the ACC:
1.) Is this the end of the road for Virginia Tech‘s Logan Thomas?
If Virginia Tech loses on Thursday night at Georgia Tech, and I would guess they will, it might be time for Frank Beamer to go to the bench to replace quarterback Logan Thomas. While he has all the physical tools to be a tremendous college QB, he’s simply underperformed since his sophomore season. Although the Hokies are off to a 3-1 start, Thomas has been inconsistent, bordering on awful.
Even in Saturday’s triple overtime victory over Marshall, Thomas wasn’t very good. He only threw for 181 yards and had two interceptions as well. On the season, he’s completing only 48.5 percent of his passes and has thrown just four TDs to go along with six interceptions.
Virginia still hasn’t played an ACC contest, so it might be too soon to make the change at QB, but it almost seems inevitable. Not only would it give them a chance to let a younger QB play (Mark Leal would likely be the choice), but it also might improve them offensively.
It’s improbable that Beamer would make such a move, but it might be the best move for the Hokies.
1.) Can Florida State’s Jameis Winston make a Heisman push?
Winston had another solid performance against a severely undermanned Bethune-Cookman team, but didn’t get much of a chance to play because the score was lopsided fairly early. Moving forward, however, Winston will get plenty of chances to display his prodigious talents. The Noles are getting into the middle of their ACC schedule, and they play at Boston College this weekend.
Winston is certainly a long shot to end up in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation, but if he dominates like he did against Pittsburgh, he could crash the party. Ultimately, his performances against Clemson and Florida will determine whether or not he gets the invite, but he can start building some hoopla by shredding BC this weekend.
3.) Can Pittsburgh’s offense repeat their explosive performance?
The Panthers ripped Duke on Saturday and showed great offensive balance in the process. Quarterback Tom Savage threw for 424 yards and six touchdowns, while running back James Conner added 173 yards on the ground. They have two great weapons in Devin Street and Tyler Boyd, who had a breakout performance against the Blue Devils. Although Duke isn’t a great defensive team, they appeared explosive all afternoon.
This week they’ll play Virginia, who is a little better defensively, but still not great. The Panthers could make it two in a row in the ACC and build some momentum as the head into a tougher portion of their schedule.
B.L. is an ACC football writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip and on Google.