Choice quotes from former Sunday Morning Quarterback Matt Hinton on the ACC's brutal introduction to 2008 football:
Alabama kicked highly-rated, heavily motivated, this-is-our-time Tiger tail. Including sacks, the Tide outran the vaunted Tiger backfield 239 yards to zero; sacked Cullen Harper three times and hit him much more often than that; and held the ball for over 41 minutes. The lengthier of Bama drives lasted 4:51, 7:59, 6:43 and 9:01, which by themselves amount to almost a full half off the clock. Clemson, on the other had, had maybe six possessions that could have possibly mattered -- the game was all but over on its last three -- and James Davis and C.J. Spiller had eight carries between them. It's very simple: the Tide wore the Tigers out on the line of scrimmage, on both sides, made them one-dimensional, and choked away the opportunity for that dimension to do any real damage.
On the folks in Blacksburg:
Glennon was exactly what he's proven he would be over his first two years as the starter, and unless Frank Beamer is determined to sacrifice this very young team's chance at another ACC championship for the sake of future teams, it seems inevitable we'll see Taylor make an appearance soon -- not next week against Furman, probably, but sometime in the stretch of games against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Nebraska, for sure. Relying solely on Glennon was barely justifiable before Saturday, and after, it seems almost spiteful.
And on the conference's prospects as a whole:
The question now is, does the conference even have an opportunity for the rest of the season to atone for its terrible start? Assuming Georgia Tech, Florida State and Clemson's closing in-state tangles with the SEC are too late to make a difference in public/media perception, the only opportunities the conference has to make any kind of notable statement outside of its own borders are Virginia Tech's trip to Nebraska, Maryland's game with California, Florida State's game with Colorado in Jacksonville and Boston College's game with Notre Dame, maybe, depending on how good the Huskers, Bears, Buffs and Irish turn out to be. For the record, only Cal, at 7-6, finished with a winning mark among that group last year. With the only possible national contenders already eliminated from the race -- are you going to push Wake Forest? Really? -- the ACC can pack it and hold its fingers for a miraculous turnaround in its territorial adventures come November.
My one quibble would be leaving UNC's games with Notre Dame and Rutgers off the list of statement opportunities. True, the Heels have done nothing so far to deserve any attention, but neither has Maryland. My unrealistic optimism is bloodied, but not dead yet.