ACC Analysis: Breaking Down the Remainder of Virginia Tech’s 2020 Schedule

Three games. And if COVID-19 has its way, it might be two.

Virginia Tech’s 2020 season has hit the final stretch. The Hokies will likely get a bowl invite if bowl games are played this winter, but all Tech can count on are the three remaining ACC games on their schedule.

So instead of reviewing the entire conference, let’s take a look at the three teams left on Tech’s slate.

Pitt’s rebound threatened by COVID-19

It’s been a frustrating season for Pittsburgh. Their stellar defensive line has been virtually wasted by an anemic offense and an inconsistent secondary. The Panthers have played in a bunch of close games, but they also lost to Notre Dame by 42.

Pitt’s win over Florida State on Nov. 7 is hard to gauge — did the Panthers find something on the offensive side of the ball, or is Florida State that bad? You could make an argument either way.

The Panthers’ strength is clearly their defensive front, which has generated the most productive pass rush of any team in the country — the Panthers lead the FBS in sacks (38) and tackles for loss (93).  Oddly enough, the Hokies are tied for second and eighth in each of those, respectively.

Kenny Pickett may decide the outcome of this game. He’s a mobile playmaker who has missed a couple of games this season due to injury. Pickett’s return came against Florida State, when he completed almost 78 percent of his throws and scored a rushing touchdown.

This game may not happen. The Panthers were forced to postpone their contest vs. Georgia Tech this past weekend after an outbreak of COVID-19 within the program. Pitt paused all football activities on Nov. 12 and just resumed practice on Tuesday.

I’m not sure if the Panthers will be ready for their game against Virginia Tech, but this is worth monitoring. And with both Pitt and Virginia Tech already slated to play on Dec. 12, I’m not sure when the game could be made up.

War Machine Clemson is Coming

Clemson lost their first regular season game since the Ronald Reagan administration a couple of weeks ago and they’ve had a long bye week to think about it.

If you don’t think Clemson is about to steamroll every opponent in front of them, you are sadly mistaken. Dabo Swinney is going to dare the College Football Playoff committee to leave them out of the top-four by nuking the remaining teams on their schedule.

Clemson plays Florida State and Pittsburgh before traveling to Blacksburg. Trevor Lawrence is back, though his absence wasn’t what befell Clemson in their loss to Notre Dame. The Tigers’ defense has plenty of time to get right before they play the Hokies, who own the best offense left on Clemson’s schedule.

This represents another challenge for Virginia Tech’s offensive line. The Tigers’ defense is tied for second in sacks (with Virginia Tech) and third in tackles for loss, most of which come from the front four. Stud tackle Bryan Bresee should be healthy by then, but the Tigers have plenty of other options.

Virginia Close to .500

Don’t look now, but the ‘Hoos are hot.

Virginia has won two straight — a three-point win upset over North Carolina and a 31-17 win over a decimated Louisville. The Cardinals were without both of their top offensive weapons, Javian Hawkins and Tutu Atwell.

To Virginia’s credit, wins are wins. Brennan Armstrong has been better since returning from a concussion earlier in the season, throwing six touchdowns to just two interceptions in his last three games. Add what he’s done on the ground — 217 yards and three touchdowns — and the ‘Hoos are once again becoming a one-man band.

Virginia plays three more games before their showdown with the Hokies — a cakewalk vs. Abilene Christian, a winnable road game vs. Florida State and a tough contest vs. Boston College. We’ve got plenty of time to learn more about Virginia before the clash for the Commonwealth Cup takes place.

ACC Analysis: Clemson Solidifies Dominance, Virginia Awakens and Notre Dame Lurks

Week 9 provided all sorts of headlines from the ACC. Not only did Duke drop a 50-burger on Charlotte in shocking fashion, but another ranked ACC team fell to an unranked opponent.

Let’s dive right into this week’s ACC Analysis.

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Louisville’s Roller Coaster Performances Leave Unanswered Questions

The Louisville Cardinals’ hype train had plenty of steam in preseason.

Scott Satterfield‘s bunch was coming off an eight-win season in Satterfield’s first year as head coach and the team returned some talented players on both sides of the ball.

Twenty-twenty hasn’t gone as well as planned. The Cards are 2-4 thus far — those four losses coming in succession. They included lifeless defensive performances vs. Miami and Georgia Tech and a narrow defeat to a reeling Pitt squad.

However, Satterfield’s birds might be starting to fly in the right direction. And if they’re figuring things out, they’re as dangerous as anybody outside of Clemson.

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ACC Analysis: Notre Dame Rolls, Carolina Returns and Boston College Gets Right

Another week, another crazy set of ACC games.

Syracuse made life hard on Clemson for three quarters, while Florida State laid an egg after upsetting North Carolina last week.

If there’s anything we’ve learned through the first several games, it’s that the ACC is a roller coaster outside of Clemson. Teams vary widely in performance from game-to-game, depending on individual matchups. There is very little consistency to the conference.

Ranked Virginia Tech lost to Wake Forest. Florida State followed up their upset win over North Carolina with a dud against Louisville. And those are just two examples.

We’ll highlight the conference’s inconsistency in this article.

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The Many Obstacles Facing Dave Clawson at Wake Forest

Coaching in the ACC Atlantic Division is stressful.

Take NC State’s Dave Doeren for example. In a normal year, Doeren gets to face both Clemson and Florida State every season, two historically good football programs. He gets to recruit against those schools in his own state, as well as other top-end programs like Georgia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Florida, etc.

Now imagine you are Dave Clawson and you’re coaching at Wake Forest. The job just got tougher.

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ACC Analysis: Florida State’s Upset of Carolina Throws ACC Into Disarray

There is Clemson, and then there is everyone else.

Six weeks of games have taught us that, and only that, about this year’s ACC. The conference just refuses to put forth a legitimate challenger to the Tigers’ reign.

Let’s run through some of the headlines from this past week’s slate of ACC games.

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Jeff Hafley Using NFL Background to Succeed at Boston College

The American Northeast is home to a few well-known items — the Patriots, the Red Sox, the Bruins and clam chowder.

What the Northeast isn’t known for is their love affair with college football. Boston College plays second fiddle in that market and everyone knows it. That’s part of the reason why building a successful program there has been so tough over the last decade-plus.

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ACC Analysis: Clemson Reigns in a Hurricane, NC State Rights the Ship and More

Another week, another crazy set of ACC games.

Each week, we learn more about each of these teams. We learn who is for real (Clemson, duh), we learn who is actually good (North Carolina) and we learn who might be a fraud (Louisville).

Let’s get into this past week of ACC games — except for Virginia Tech’s, we’ve beaten that horse to death.

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North Carolina Benefitting From Preseason Opinions, Weak Schedule

Early-season college football rankings are usually rubbish. Teams are either still flying high off a weak schedule and a favorable media view from the prior year, or a team is still flying under the radar and hasn’t yet received the media’s full attention.

I’m figuring that North Carolina falls into the first category. The Tar Heel Hype Train started in 2019, thanks to Carolina’s quick turnaround under Mack Brown‘s stewardship and freshman quarterback Sam Howell‘s emergence as a legitimate passer in the ACC level. Carolina was the preseason favorite to challenge Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.

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ACC Analysis: Pitt Falters, Clemson Rolls and Carolina Escapes

Man, it sure is fun watching college football every Saturday.

Along with Virginia Tech’s win over Duke, Saturday was filled with ACC games. Some went as planned, some didn’t. Let’s run through some of this past weekend’s performances.

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