Late Hits: Big week for Florida State; first ACC rankings of the season

jgiglio@newsobserver.comOctober 20, 2013 

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    Florida State: The Seminoles were so good Saturday at Clemson, they turned the clock back to 1993. That makes Jameis Winston the new Charlie Ward and FSU the new No.1 team in the country.

    As long as we’re in the time machine, I’d like my fake ID and Cindy Crawford poster back and Brandon Walsh on TV.

    Auburn: I thought Auburn could only win with Cam Newton. The Tigers were 0-8 in the SEC a year ago and 11-14 overall since Newton led them to the national title in 2010.

    First-year coach Gus Malzahn has the Tigers at 3-1 in the SEC West after Saturday’s 45-41 win at Texas A&M.

    Northern Illinois: Quarterback Jordan Lynch ran for a ridiculous 316 yards in the Huskies’ 38-17 win against Central Michigan on Saturday.

    Lynch’s total is a Bowl Subdivision record for a quarterback. What’s even more amazing, the old record was also held by a Northern Illinois QB – Stacey Robinson, who ran for 308 yards in a game in 1990.

    ESPN: The Worldwide Leader gets, and deserves, a lot of criticism, but its pregame coverage of Florida State-Clemson was awesome.

    Kudos to FSU coach Jimbo Fisher for letting ESPN’s cameras in the locker room before the game and to Clemson’s Dabo Swinney for giving us a look at the bus ride to the Rock.

You get the feeling Alabama coach Nick Saban has given his defense the bread-and-water treatment since it got carved up by Johnny Football for 628 yards and 42 points?

Since Texas A&M’s uncharacteristic outburst on Sept.14, the Crimson Tide has allowed 16 points in five games. Given the way the rest of the country plays defense, that’s preposterous.

• On the other end of the spectrum, Baylor’s offense is from the Land of Make Believe. The Bears beat Iowa State 71-7 Saturday, which was the fourth time (in six games) this season Art Briles’ group has put up at least 70.

Go figure: The Bears lead the country in scoring (64.7 points per game). They have almost as many touchdowns (53) in six games as the second-best team Oregon (56) has in seven games.

• Washington State coach Mike Leach didn’t win any friends at Oregon with his play-calling in the fourth quarter of the Cougars’ 62-38 loss to the Ducks.

Leach wanted to get quarterback Connor Halliday the FBS record for pass attempts in a game. Halliday did just that, with 89 attempts, but most in the final quarter came against Oregon’s deep reserves, which drew the ire of Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti.

“That’s total (expletive) that he threw the ball at the end of the game like he did,’’ Aliotti said, according to The Oregonian. “And you can print that and you can send it to him, and he can comment, too. I think it’s low class and it’s (expletive) to throw the ball when the game is completely over against our kids that are basically our scout team.”

Ranking the ACC

1. Florida State: Did you see Jameis Winston in the locker room before the game? He made Joe Montana look nervous. He then made Clemson look like preschoolers.

2. Miami: Ugly win at North Carolina on Thursday but only the result counts, not how the injury-riddled Hurricanes got there.

3. Clemson: The Tigers suddenly feel like Matt Damon’s character in “Rounders,” their hopes dashed and their dreams down the toilet.

4. Virginia Tech: After a shakier than shaky start, the Hokies are suddenly solid as a rock.

5. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets are spotting dimes and eating onions. I don’t know what’s going on from one week to the next, but they’re better than the rest of the bunch.

6. Boston College: The Eagles didn’t play last week, but they look like a million bucks in retrospect for putting up 34 points on FSU.

7. Pittsburgh: The Panthers are a fitting addition to the ACC’s flotsam, not that bad and just good enough to make a bowl.

8. Wake Forest: The Deacons have new life but still will probably need to steal a game at Syracuse (Nov. 2) to get to a bowl.

9. Duke: Great comeback by the Blue Devils, even if it was against a lousy team. There’s no stopping Duke now.

10. Maryland: Bobby Brady had better luck after finding the tiki idol in Hawaii than Randy Edsall. The Terps haven’t been able to keep enough good players healthy to sustain a strong start to the season.

11. Syracuse: The Orange will always have Raleigh. Scott Shafer should focus on that 24-10 win against N.C. State on Oct. 5 instead of the 56-0 beatdown by Georgia Tech on Saturday.

12 (tie). UNC and N.C. State: That Miami loss will be difficult to recover from for the Tar Heels, and N.C. State has the misfortune of tackling the FSU buzz saw.

14. Virginia: AD Craig Littlepage offers the dreaded vote of confidence support for Mike London, and then the Cavaliers blow a three-touchdown lead at home against Duke. Spoiler alert: This won’t end well.

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