Great trivia question: Name the last ACC team to beat Clemson and Florida State in the same season?
Florida State and Clemson haven’t lost to the same ACC team in the same season since 2010. The Seminoles went 6-2 in ACC play that season and Clemson finished 4-4.
Since then, the two Atlantic Division teams have combined to win the past five ACC titles and go 69-13 in ACC play. Take out the five losses to each other, between 2011 and now, and they’re 69-8 since the start of the 2011 season.
But back in 2010, one team got them both, and it hasn’t happened since.
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Great trivia answer: North Carolina is the last ACC team to beat both FSU and Clemson in the same season. The Tar Heels, under coach Butch Davis, beat Clemson 21-16 in Chapel Hill and then went to Tallahassee and won 37-35.
So much has changed since then but UNC has a chance to shut some detractors up, not only theirs but on the Coastal Division side, with another win at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday.
Even last year, when UNC went 8-0 in ACC play, there were doubts because the Heels did not face either FSU or Clemson during the regular season. The Heels did acquit themselves nicely in the ACC championship game in a 45-37 loss in Charlotte. If not for a hinky offsides call on a late onsides kick, UNC might have even pulled off the upset.
More so than division pride, UNC can end a different streak at FSU. The Heels have lost their last 10 games against top 20 opponents, since beating the Noles, then ranked No. 20, in 2010.
Florida State, without safety Derwin James, has been prone to giving up big plays in the passing game. The Noles have been particularly slow out of the gate, although few coaches are better at halftime adjustments than Jimbo Fisher.
Given quarterback Mitch Trubisky’s success throwing the ball – 885 yards, 8 TDs, 0 INTs the last two games – the Heels at least have a chance to repeat history.
On to your Twitter questions:
Is Wake fore real? Top 12 rushing defense vs Matt Dayes & Co, who ya got?
It’s interesting, when N.C. State started 4-0 in 2014 and ’15, there was a healthy dose of skepticism. There certainly wasn’t anyone on ESPN’s SportsCenter giving the Wolfpack a shoutout, as there was this week for the Demon Deacons.
It’s demeaning really how people go, “Oh, how cute, look at little Wake (or Duke)” when either small, private school has some football success.
That being said, let’s rely on Bill Parcells for this answer. You are what your record says you are and the Deacs are 4-0 with road wins over two Power 5 opponents (Duke, Indiana).
They also have a very favorable path to not only a bowl game but maybe even a 10-win season, if all goes right. Before we put the cart before the horse, Wake needs to beat N.C. State in Raleigh, which it has done only once in 15 tries since 1984.
You’ve correctly identified the key to this game. N.C. State has run all over Wake’s defense the past two years. The Deacs do rank in the top 12 in rush defense this year but have yet to play a team with N.C. State’s talent at running back.
If N.C. State can get Dayes, who had a career-high 205 yards in last year’s win, going, it will hand Wake its first loss of the season.
If Louisville beats Clemson, could CU/FSU winner still make playoff?
I was an advocate for two ACC teams in the playoff in the preseason (Clemson and FSU). And still think the ACC can get two teams there but the way the Seminoles lost to Louisville (63-20 on Sept. 17), I’m not sure they’ll be able to do enough to make the selection committee forget that performance.
The ACC’s only likely path to taking up half of the CFP field is a Clemson win over Louisville (and not by 43 points) and Clemson going unbeaten and winning the ACC title. And pairing a 13-0 Clemson with 11-1 Louisville, which would include a late season win over an unbeaten Houston team.
The ACC probably needs the Pac-12 winner to finish with two losses for that to happen.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio