Three Impact Games in the ACC Coastal: Week 9


Halloween. It is a night full of scares, fun, tricks and/or treats. It is a night where imagination can and will run wild amongst children and adults alike. Creativity can outdo extravagance especially when it comes to costumes and especially if it saves you a few bucks in return. This season Halloween happens to also be on week 9 in college football. With that in mind, I would like to suggest a few fitting costume ideas for a player on each Coastal team. Starting as the rankings do with team number 7:


AD Blake James as Marty McFly: The movie Back to the Future II took place in the year 2015. Since the movie itself came out in 1989, I am sure AD James wishes that alternate future was his reality. Back in 1989, Miami was winning its second national championship in three seasons. Its current head coach, Dennis Erikson, was 11-1 following the departure of former Head Coach Jimmy Johnson. Here is a good feeling that in Marty’s alternate future Miami was doing a lot better than coming off a 58-0 beat down and the midseason firing of its coach. Toss in the fact that Butch Davis is in consideration for the job (ESPN Insiders piece) and it really may be back to the future for Miami next season.


RB Taquan Mizzell as Where’s Waldo: Odd choice I know, but hear me out. You got to know where this guy is if you want to stop the Virginia offense. Not only does he lead the team in rushing, but in receiving too. A running back like that is hard to find period, let alone on the football field. Case in point he amassed 174 all-purpose yards against the Heels and converted 2 long 3rd down plays to keep drives going.

Georgia Tech

DE Patrick Gamble and CB Lance Austin as Hagrid and Harry Potter: I was originally going to suggest Ron Weasley for Gamble but when you’re 6’5 and 220 lbs, you’re going to be Hagrid, who was definitely a beast of a man. So why did I pick two characters from this Wizard School series? Because after what they did to FSU this past Saturday, sorcery of some sort had to be involved. In this week’s rankings I mentioned the event several times, nonetheless a miracle like that probably requires a little magic from somewhere.

Virginia Tech

Coach Frank Beamer as Obi-Wan Kenobi: Beamer has won 234 games in his nearly 3 decades in Blacksburg (that’s over 8 wins a season). However in the last few seasons the Hokies have not been winning as they did in the days of old. This season they only have 3 wins and are in real danger of missing a bowl game for the first time since 1992. In Star Wars, Old Ben knew when to retire and mentor young Luke, it might be time for Frank to do the same.


K Chris Blewitt as James Bond: 007 knew how to get himself out of a jam. Whether it was convincing the bad guy to talk longer to escape a trap or dodge an explosion seconds before it blew something to smithereens, Bond always found a way to escape. The same could be said for this Panther’s team who has needed late field goals in their last two games to avoid disaster against lesser opponents. The hero of those games was none other than Blewitt himself. So pour him a martini and maybe he’ll miss a couple against the Heels on Thursday night.


S Jeremy Cash as Superman: I was tempted to put QB Thomas Sirk here after his heroics in the Virginia Tech game but went with Cash because he has been the most consistent all season. The kid is the heart and soul of this above average Blue Devil’s defense. So far on the season he has 57 tackles and 2.5 sacks. His hit on Georgia Tech QB Justin Thomas that caused a fumble, pretty much sealed the game against the Yellow Jackets. Plus check out his profile pic, he already has the off the field Clark Kent look wrapped up.

North Carolina

Oct 17, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Marquise William (12) throws the ball during the first half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

QB Marquise Williams as Two-Face: Did I just make the Carolina player the only villain of the bunch? Well yes, but could there be a better costume for our up and down QB? Look when Williams is on, he is as good as there is. Two Face’s good side was Harvey Dent, a well-respected and successful District Attorney and future Mayor. However, when Marquise is off, he is ugly, as ugly as Two Face, a man scarred by acid. So when he drops back to pass remember there are two sides to every coin, let’s just hope this time it lands good heads up.

With that out of the way, let’s turn our attention to week 9. Week 8 was supposed to be a slow week for upsets, but that didn’t prevent some major ones from happening. Actually with three games scheduled between division foes, another “light” weekend may still have some punch on this All Hallows’ Eve. So get ready because it is time once again for the 3 impact games in the ACC Coastal, starting with a big one on Thursday Night.

North Carolina at Pittsburgh (Thursday Oct 29th @ 7pm)

Both teams are coming off closer than expected wins against teams that are considered to be lesser competition. With first place in the Coastal on the line, which team can do enough to take home a crucial tie breaker game?

Things going for the Tar Heels: Running back Elijah Hood has now rushed for over 100 yards in his past two games. Teams know he is going to get the ball and they still can’t slow him down. This opens up lanes for Williams in the passing game and the read option. Pittsburgh has needed field goals in their last two games to beat teams that are a combined 2-6 in ACC play.

Things going for the Panthers: WR Tyler Boyd had 165 all-purpose yards against Syracuse. It was his second straight game where he had yards passing, running and receiving the ball. Also Pittsburgh is the ranked underdog home team on a short week. Those are all pluses for Pitt. Carolina just got done playing a sloppy game against Virginia where they were tied at halftime. Marquise Williams has thrown 7 interceptions already this season while the Panthers have picked off 7 balls in their last 4 games. Add in that the last time UNC played a Thursday Night game was opening night and they lost 17-13 to a bad South Carolina team and it’s no wonder Pittsburgh looks like the cream of the Coastal.

Oct 24, 2015; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Elijah Hood (34) with the ball in the first quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Halloween was last on a Saturday six years ago in 2009. That season, Carolina once again played a ranked opponent on the road on a Thursday night. That season the Heels went into Blacksburg and walked out with a win on a late field goal by Casey Barth as time expired. The win was the Heels first in the ACC and the start of a 4 game winning streak. This season there is a little more on the line. The Panthers have done just enough to win and the Heels looked sloppy against the Cavaliers. If they start off that poorly again, Carolina is going to lose. However, I strongly believe they were looking ahead to this game and therefore will be ready to play. If the defense keeps playing strong, the Heels may be looking at win number 7 and bowl eligibility.

Miami at Duke (Saturday Oct 31st @ 7pm)

Duke is coming off a 4OT win against Virginia Tech. Miami is coming off a 58-0 thrashing at the hands of Clemson. One school just fired their coach and has an interim. The other might have the best coach in the ACC. Will this even be a game?

Things going for the Hurricanes: Things can’t get any worse than last week, right? When there is nowhere to look but up that’s always a positive, right? Miami has the talent; it just hasn’t done great at using it. A new coach may get more out of players who had finally given up on their doomed leader. Duke’s defense also just gave up 43 points to a Virginia Tech team Miami held to 20 and maybe things aren’t completely cloudy in sunny Florida.

Things going for the Blue Devils: Thomas Sirk may finally have found his rhythm as a QB. He is the reason Duke is still 6-1 and not 5-2 because the defense faltered against the Hokies. The best player Miami has is QB Brad Kaaya and he is probably out with a concussion. Most people didn’t consider it a fair coaching matchup when Golden was still there, does that really improve with an interim who probably won’t be there in 3 months?

Virginia Tech had everything to lose last week in Blacksburg. They needed a win to have any real chance at the Coastal, let alone a serious opportunity to make a bowl game. They came out and gave Duke a run for their money. Do the Canes have the same urgency? If they do, they have the talent to test this Duke defense that struggled to shut down Hokies RB Travon McMillian. However, if they see this as a lost season playing for a lame duck coach, Duke should win this one in a blowout.

Georgia Tech at Virginia (Saturday Oct 31st @ 3pm)

The third Coastal game of the weekend sees the worst two teams in the division fighting for a chance at bowl eligibility and avoidance of the basement. Both teams have 5 losses on the season so a win here means that they don’t have to win out for a chance to go bowling this holiday season. The Yellow Jackets are coming off an emotional miracle win against Florida State. The Cavaliers are coming off a tough road loss to Carolina. Which team can do enough to get their second ACC win of the season?

Things going for the Yellow Jackets: Georgia Tech just had one of the best game winning plays of the season. Momentum like that can carry a team. Plus the Cavs have given up 521 rushing yards and 6 TDs in their last three games. If there is one thing the Jackets like to do, it is run the football.

Things going for the Cavaliers: RB Taquan Mizzell is a beast. I mean his nickname is Smoke. So far this season he has 837 all-purpose yards and 5 TDs. Plus the best way to beat Virginia is through the air and Georgia Tech doesn’t throw the ball much. Currently Jackets QB Justin Thomas has 915 passing yards total in 8 games (that’s 114 yards per game).

Georgia Tech has been close several times this season. They just finally caught a break against the Seminoles. It is possible that was the break they needed to return to the team that was so dominate earlier this year. However, the Cavaliers have been competitive in most of their games this season as well and had legitimate chances to knock of Notre Dame and Pitt, two ranked teams. Throw in the fact the game is in Charlottesville and that the Jackets might be hung over after that huge win and Mike London may find a way to keep his job for another season.

One to keep an eye on: Virginia Tech at Boston College (Saturday Oct 31st @ 12:30pm)

Poor Virginia Tech. They had a real chance to win that game against Duke and just couldn’t do it. Their reward, a Boston College team that is winless in conference play. The Eagles have a great defense that has lost 3 of their last 4 games by a combined 8 points. Unfortunately their offense isn’t even close to as good. Both teams need the win to have a realistic chance at bowl eligibility. Which will come to an end this weekend, Boston College’s ACC losing streak or Frank Beamer’s Bowl streak?

Well that makes seven Coastal teams so there isn’t anything else to add here. The round robin between the Coastal’s top three starts this Thursday. If history serves as reference, all three will go 1-1 and the Coastal will be just as murky as before. However, here’s hoping the Heels find a way to change that and change the country’s opinion of them. So get ready, this season is about to get real.