Inside the ACC 09.06.14


• Imagine trying to tell someone in 2002 Duke would be a 19-point favorite against another Division I opponent in its first road game of 2014. The Blue Devils were the only Triangle team to simply take care of business last week in their romp of Elon.

Troy (0-1) will probably put up more resistance than Elon, but the Trojans opened the season with a 48-10 loss to UAB. The more confidence Duke quarterback Anthony Boone builds out of the league, the more likely Duke is to repeat as Coastal Division champions.

(P.S. Your friend from 2002 just asked what is the “Coastal Division?”)

• Keep an eye on the quarterback situation at Clemson. Senior Cole Stoudt wasn’t bad in last week’s loss to Georgia, but freshman Deshaun Watson came off the bench and provided a spark.

The Tigers’ schedule is such that if coordinator Chad Morris is serious about turning the keys over to Watson, this would be the week. Clemson plays S.C. State, followed by a bye week and then a trip to Florida State.

• This is a tough spot for Virginia. The Cavaliers were obviously juiced for a nationally-ranked UCLA team and gave the Bruins everything they wanted.

It’s natural to have a letdown for Richmond, but the Spiders are well-coached (by Danny Rocco) and have two former Virginia quarterbacks (Mike Rocco and Michael Strauss).

All the goodwill from the UCLA effort would be lost if the Cavaliers stumble Saturday.

Three to watch

Virginia Tech at No. 8 Ohio State, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

The Hokies (1-0) have struggled in the bright lights outside the ACC. They are 3-6 in their past nine games against major conference teams. The Buckeyes looked sluggish in their opening win over Navy.

San Diego State at No. 21 UNC, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)

The Tar Heels (1-0) got more of a test from Liberty than expected but were able to pull away for a 27-point win. This is the only time all season the Aztecs (1-0) will cross the Mississippi River.

The Citadel at No. 1 Florida State, 7:30 p.m. (TV)

The Seminoles (1-0) should find their footing after a tough outing with Oklahoma State in the opener. Quarterback Jameis Winston should look better and Jimbo Fisher will likely get deeper into his bench.

Number to know

0 The ACC won’t play any games in the Pacific time zone this season, but San Diego State will be the second team in as many weeks from the PST to play in the Eastern time zone. Southern California will make it three for three next week when it plays at Boston College.