Prove It - Week 4 Football; Time for the ACC Atlantic to Shine

Clemson College Football Jonathan Meeks

Prove It - Week 4


Clemson at Florida State, Saturday, 8:00pm


Someone from the ACC Atlantic is obviously going to win this game.  Winning the game in a convincing fashion would go a long way in projecting which team is the favorite for the ACC title.  Both Clemson and Florida State are ranked in the Top 10 of nearly every poll.  Both have had extremely convincing wins through the first three weeks of the season (Clemson’s average margin of victory is 22; Florida State’s average margin of victory is 58).  The Seminoles have allowed only three points all season.  Clemson’s star receiver Sammy Watkins is finally back in the saddle after being suspended for the first two games.

This game is important for these teams because it is really the first game against legitimate competition that both will have played.  Granted, Clemson’s first game was against Auburn.  While the Tigers should not be considered a lesser opponent, Auburn is not the same Auburn team we have known for the last couple of years.  Clemson and Florida State will have to get the most out of their respective talent on Saturday night if they intend to win.  Tajh Boyd for Clemson and EJ Manuel for Florida State are established, gifted quarterbacks.  Both can lead the offense and both can run if the play breaks down. 

Florida State ranks right behind Clemson in rushing in the ACC.  Andre Ellington averages 109 yards rushing per game.  Couple him with DeAndre Hopkins on the outside, and the Tigers have a loaded offense.  This game might come down to defense.  Florida State leads the nation in almost every major defensive category.  As of right now, their opponents have averaged a single point per game.  That number is bound to change, but it is easy to see why Florida State is the favorite to win the conference.    The Coastal has generally been the division to hold the flag for the ACC in the BCS.  Clemson won the conference last year to help the Atlantic’s cause.  With Virginia Tech’s baffling loss to Pittsburgh last weekend, this game is sure to determine the front runner for ACC glory.



Arizona at Oregon, Saturday, 10:30pm


Arizona has been a good program, but they have not been able to sustain any sort of success in recent years.  Mike Stoops was fired after last year.  Enter Rich Rodriguez.  After his failed Michigan experiment, he has far less pressure on him to win right away at Arizona. Still, he is already righting the ship.  The Wildcats are second in the Pac-12 in offense and are scoring 46 points per game.  They have thrust themselves in the national conversation by receiving votes in the Top 25 polls.  Matt Scott has been great at quarterback.  He continues to learn Rodriguez’s offense as he goes.

Oregon has been the opposite of Arizona.  They have been one of the most consistent teams in the country in the last ten years.  They appeared in the national championship game two years ago.  The Ducks have claimed the conference title three years running.  Unseating them will not be easy.  The competition is better in 2012, but Oregon looks just as high-octane as they have been in recent years. 

This is an opportunity for Arizona.  They will have to rely on Austin Hill to continue putting up stellar numbers against a slightly depleted Oregon secondary.  Rodriguez’s 3-3-5 defense is a little different than the Ducks are used to, and it may pose problems for first year quarterback Marcus Mariota.  Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they face this task on the road.  Oregon has not lost many games at home in recent years.  The question is if Arizona can handle early, new success.  Oregon is in familiar territory. They win year in and year out.  The bright lights of a big conference road game might stun the ‘Cats a little bit at the beginning.  They will need to settle in and play one of the best games they have played in years.   Two respected coaches will be playing chess on Saturday night.  Can Rodriguez outduel Chip Kelly?  Pulling off a huge road win against a national title contender would add yet another player in a conference full of strong football programs.


Week 4 Football - What to Watch For