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Fourth and Long

Football season has arrived!

For many of you reading this football season means Sundays spent flipping from one station to another trying to watch all 32 teams play on any given week. I, however, prefer my football played on Saturdays and 32 teams just isn’t enough for me… I need 120.

I love the NFL, but in my opinion there is no better sport in the world to be a fan of than college football. Rosters change every year and for 110 of the 120 teams in the country the season goals don’t include a National Championship. They include things like winning the division, beating your rival and playing for a conference title. Every college football team and every college football fan has hope.

I am a Miami Dolphins fan. I have not had NFL hopes in a long time.

Fortunately for me I have Saturdays to cheer me up and in my house that means ACC football. By my house I mean from whatever room my wife isn’t watching her Buckeye’s play.

This year’s ACC football season looks to be an interesting one as there is a plethora of storylines and matchups to look forward to. I plan to spend a little time each week discussing what we just saw and what we can expect to see over that weekend. Let’s start right away.

Opening week actually begins tonight (it is Friday as I write this) as NC State takes on Tennessee in Atlanta. While Tennessee plays in the powerhouse SEC they are not unbeatable as many would have you believe. Carolina proved that two years ago by beating the Vols in Tennessee.

The Wolfpack have one of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Mike Glennon and one of the best, if not the best athletes in cornerback David Amerson.

Glennon is more than efficient on offense and should be even better in his second year as the full time starter. If he improves on his 136.4 passer rating and his 31-12 touchdown to interception ratio he is going to earn more attention from the national media very shortly.

Amerson is simply an offensive nightmare. Amerson amassed 59 tackles last season by not being afraid to come up and stop the run. Despite his willingness to make contact, Amerson does most of his damage stopping the passing game. He set the ACC single-season record for interception with 13 and led the entire country by an impressive margin. His ability to “shut down” one side of the field makes moving the chains much more difficult for opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators.

The game to watch on Saturday also takes place in Atlanta as Clemson takes on Auburn in yet another ACC vs. SEC matchup. Clemson is still loaded with talent coming off an ACC Championship, however, they have spent the entire offseason being reminded of the dismantling they took from West Virginia in the Orange Bowl last season. Rumor has it that if you are real quiet you can hear the Mountaineers score another touchdown.

It will be interesting to see how much heralded quarterback Tajh Boyd does against the other Tiger’s defense without star receiver Sammy Watkins.  Clemson will need a big game out of tailback Andre Ellington if they hope to beat Auburn again this year.

As if that wasn’t enough we get to watch the battle of the Techs on Monday. Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech Monday at 8 p.m. Both teams are talented and for the last seven seasons the winner of this matchup has gone on to win the coastal division. This game will probably be the best of the bunch this “weekend.”

 

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at dave@gate811.net.