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One Quarter Down

With a fourth of the season in the books, I figure it's a good time to look at the fortunes of the teams on Carolina's schedule:

Rutgers (3-0) followed up its UNC win by destroying Illinois and handily beating Ohio on Homecoming. (Who holds Homecoming on the third week of September?) That makes this their best start since 1981. The Scarlet Knights take a D1-AA vacation against Howard next weekend before opening nonconference play against South Florida. Rutgers is currently pulling in 46 votes in the AP and 43 in the Coaches Poll, putting them third and fourth among others recieving votes, respectively.

Virginia Tech (3-0) has taken advantage of an ACC schedule that loads up on North Carolina teams early to go undefeated so far. That looks to continue with Cincinnati next on the schedule, followed by what could be their toughest conference game against Georgia Tech after a week off. The Hokies are 10th and 11th in the Coaches and AP Polls.

Furman (2-1) remains in the Top 5 of Division 1-AA after narrowly losing to the Tar Heels. They next face Top 25 team Western Carolina at home.

Clemson (2-1) needs kicking help, after losing their ACC opener to Boston College on a blocked extra point and having two placekicks blocked and returned for scores against Florida State. They managed to overcome it for the FSU game, after Bowden the Younger's halftime utterance "We're not gonna do any more kickin'." The Tigers returned both polls this week after their BC-induced absence, and look to have an embarassingly trouble free month of UNC, Louisiana Tech, Wake Forest, and Temple.

Miami (1-2) wants a new coach. At lest that's what the Baltimore Sun and the New York Post say, which is just like being there. The Hurricanes have fallen out of both polls for the first time since 1999, but have a Clemsonesque schedule in front of them after this week's bye, meeting Houston, UNC, Florida International, and Duke. Whether the talk of personell change will still be floating around a 5-2 team remains to be seen.

South Florida (3-0) has spent their September duking it out with their smaller cousins in Florida, escaping Florida International and UCF by a combined 8 points. Their only visitor from out of state has been McNeese State, the D1-AA Louisiana school that two weeks ago lost 76-0 to West Virginia Tech. (West Virginia Tech, it turns out, is not an All-Star team made up of Hokie and Mountaineer players.) South Florida travels to Kansas next week before starting their Big East play with the aforementioned Rutgers.

Virginia (1-2) lost at home this week to Western Michigan, seven days after they needed an overtime missed extra point to escape Wyoming. They have scored exactly one touchdown in each of the three games they've played to date, a mark that probably will not be topped Thursday against Georgia Tech. The following weeks of Duke and East Carolina hold more of a prospect for a win.

Wake Forest (3-0) is off to their best start since 1987, and are solely responsible for all of the ACC's victories against Big East teams to date this year. They're still a ways from recieving Top 25 votes - having to block a last second kick to escape Duke will do that to you - but have a good chance to go 5-0 with a visit to Mississippi and then a home game against Liberty next on the schedule. They are the best D1 team in North Carolina at the moment, by no small margin.

Notre Dame (2-1) fans are currently suffering from depression after a shellacking at the hands of Michigan last week. They overcame a slow start to beat Georgia Tech to begin the season, and had no problem against Penn State, and so sit at 12th and 13th in the AP and Coaches Polls. Their Magical Mystery Big 10 Tour concludes in the next two weeks with games against Michigan State and purdue, after which it will be clearer how much of the preseason assessment of the Fighting Irish was hype.

Georgia Tech (2-1) has soothed its Notre Dame loss with cupcakes in Samford and Troy, and if the wins weren't spectacular, they'll pass muster in the era of diminished ACC expectations. The Ramblin' Wreck get finish their vactation Thursday against Virginia, before their first reall ACC challenge, Virginia Tech. Poll-wise, they're currently totalling about half the votes of football powerhouse Rutgers recieves.

N.C. State (1-2) and Duke (0-3) solely exist to make UNC feel better about themselves at this point. Nothing more really needs to be said.