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One Day in the ACC

I've mocked the ACC for a ludicrous 15 1-AA schools on their schedule this season; tonight we saw the reason why they keep paying them to play. Miami (four game losing streak) and Georgia Tech (new coach) both needed emphatic performances to start their seasons, and they got them, winning 52-7 and 41-14, respectively. We still don't much about either of these teams, but we've learned that D1-AA schools aren't very good.

So will UNC have an equally impressive showing on Saturday? Here's their recent performance against the lesser schools:

Year Opponent PF PA
2007 James Madison 37 14
2006 Furman 45 42
2004 William & Mary 49 38
1999 Furman 3 28
1992 Furman 28 0
1991 William & Mary 59 36
1989 VMI 49 7
1986 Citadel 45 14

Before the James Madison game, you had to back a ways (to the Mack Brown era) to find a time when the Heels truly routed and D1-AA opponent. The defense is much improved from the dark days of early this decade, though, and a Georgia Tech-type score is quite reasonable against McNeese St.

Wake Forest had the smartest role, getting their D1-AA-caliber opponent in a BCS conference wrapper (like Duke!) and destroying Baylor 41-13. N.C. State chose a respectable opening opponent and paid the price, losing the game 34-0 and their starting quarterback to a concussion. The question is whether the four interceptions indicate a Wolfpack defense to be feared, or a South Carolina offense that will continue the post-UNC frustrations of last season; either way, the State offense needs help and Russell Wilson back, stat.