Sons of Saturday Logo

College Football Week 4: Embrace the Chaos or The ACC On Fire

By Justin Cates | September 27
College Football Week 4: Embrace the Chaos or The ACC On Fire
The ACC seen here during a quiet, preseason moment.

Like any rational person I spent Friday night tuned dutifully in to watch Syracuse-Liberty and Wake Forest-Virginia.

Wake (4-0, 2-0) got three touchdown passes from Sam Hartman and rode their strange mesh point ground attack to a 37-17 thumping of Virginia (2-2, 0-2). The Demon Deacons earned a top 25 ranking with the win and UVA fell into an early ACC Coastal hole despite 400 more passing yards from Brennan Armstrong.

Dave Clawson’s crew is the latest team to emerge to challenge for ACC supremacy this season as things get stranger by the week.

There’s something positive happening for Dino Babers meanwhile. Syracuse (3-1) pulled off a nice non-conference win over the favored Liberty Flames (3-1) and they found a star in the process. Freshman running back Sean Tucker has been a force rushing for 132 yards or more in three of the first four games for the Orange.He was a force in this game which saw Syracuse almost entirely abandon the pass in favor of Tucker’s 32 carries for 169 yards and a score.

WF Black Gold Stroke
These guys might be the class of the ACC in 2021.

Tucker is a name to watch for sure though Malik Willis tried to single-handedly spoil the party with three TDs through the air. His dark horse Heisman campaign appears likely over, though he’s yet to toss an interception this season and there are a couple big opponents left for him including Ole Miss.

As for the rest of the ACC, well N.C. State is now the conference’s highest ranked team in the AP Poll coming in at No. 23 after knocking off Clemson in two overtimes. The Wolfpack (3-1, 1-0) have an aggressive defense that recorded five tackles for loss in the upset over the Tigers (2-2, 1-1). A capable ground game couple with solid passing from Devin Leary make State dangerous, though we await the invariable occurrence of “just State things”.

Dave Doeren isn’t worried.

Oof. Why tempt the football Gods like that Dave?

Clemson has some major issues namely that the offense just isn’t working yet with young D.J. Uiagalelei and the running game is virtually non-existent. Dabo Sweeney will be quick to crow about injuries and inexperience, which is true, but not the point. His team is not only vulnerable but apparently mortal and the conference is lining up to take its shots after a decade of Tiger dominance.

Odds and Ends

I caught this preview graphic during my fiendish late-night tape delay watch of Virginia Tech-Richmond. It would appear that the Duke and UNC quarterbacks decided to dress as one another for Halloween and kicked things off early.
QB head shots
I like to imagine Gunnar Holmberg going into an area barber and having the following conversation:

Gunnar: "Hey I need a haircut. Can I get the top ten preseason Sam Howell please?"

Barber: "Sorry. All we've got is early-season .500 record Sam Howell. You'll look fine as long as you aren't playing a Tech this weekend."
Arkansas's football team has been on point this season, but so has their social media crew. They've relished in a renewed Hogs program that has quickly risen into the top ten and looks every bit the SEC and national contender.

My experience with the Razorbacks faithful is entirely limited to some former neighbors who would often loudly carry on deep into the night during the yearly member-guest tournament at the local country club as well as before, during, and after Arkansas games. This was when they were winning roughly four times per year. I can only imagine how they're handling this current run.

On balance, this season is shaping up to be as crazy as it gets. Somewhere this weekend I saw a stat that put the number of top 25 teams who have lost so far rapidly nearing 40 before this weekend's action had even concluded. It was the highest number at this point in the season since the 1930s. Yes the ACC is mired in a confounding display of parity, but so is nearly every conference.

We are all the ACC Coastal now.

Stay buckled in and keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times moving forward.