VA Tech saves ACC from more bowl embarrassment

Darren EvansEntering the Virginia Tech-Cincinnati Orange Bowl matchup Thursday night, the ACC hadn’t earned a BCS victory since 1999 and some media outlets were even suggesting that the conference champion should lose its automatic BCS bid. Making matters worse, the conference was just 3-6 in non-BCS bowl games this year, further adding to the embarrassment.

But Frank Beamer’s Hokies put an end to the ACC’s drought with their convincing 20-7 win over the Big East Champion Bearcats. Tech held Brian Kelly’s dynamic offense to just 239 passing yards and picked off Cincy quarterback Tony Pike four times.

Offensively, Hokie frosh running back Darren Evans did most of the damage, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor added 47 rushing yards and a score. As a team, Tech rushed for 259 yards, which was their third 250-yard rushing game of the year.

Maybe this win will breathe some life into the ACC, which certainly has some talented programs, but inconsistency seems to be the conference’s major drawback.

VA Tech always has one of the more talented defenses, but poor quarterback play doomed them for most of the year. Georgia Tech’s triple option was impossible to stop at times, but LSU’s 38-3 rout in the Chick-fil-A Bowl proved that the Jackets still have a long way to go to compete for a national title. Boston College, NC State and Maryland have some great young talent, but once again, inconsistency doomed those three programs throughout the year.

With players like Evans, Taylor, Da’Rel Scott and Russell Wilson, the ACC will feature some of the best young talent in college football heading into 2009. So hopefully the ACC can turn their BCS misfortunes around and produce a legit title contender next year, instead of being the conference that’s best known for its underachieving.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Week 12 College Football Primer

Top 25 vs. Top 25
Tim TebowNo. 25 South Carolina at. No. 4 Florida, 3:30 PM ET CBS
After they were shocked by Ole’ Miss and turned in a lackluster performance in a win over Arkansas, the Gators trounced LSU, Kentucky, Georgia and Vanderbilt in convincing fashion. Nothing against the three teams ranked higher, but Florida might be the best team in college football right now. Tim Tebow has resurrected his Heisman candidacy after rushing for five touchdowns and accounting for 424 total yards in the Gators’ 51-31 win over the Gamecocks last year. But Steve Spurrier’s squad has been one of the hottest teams in the nation over the past couple of weeks. The rotation of Stephen Garcia and Chris Smelley at quarterback has lifted South Carolina and the defense has played inspired. This is a better matchup than most think, although it’s highly possibly that Florida could roll with how well they’ve played over the past month. Expect the Gators to use this as another statement game leading up to their huge battle with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game December 6.

Upset Watch:
Maryland TerpsNo. 16 North Carolina at Maryland, 3:30 PM ET ABC
The Terps have clearly been a different team at home than on the road where they’re 4-0 and averaging 25.5 points per game as opposed to 1-3 and 11.75 PPG on the road. Maryland has also won five straight against ranked opponents the past two years and still control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic. Three wins in their final three games would send the Terps to the ACC title game, which is amazing considering this was the same team that got drubbed 31-0 by Virginia. If Maryland is going to pull off the upset they’ll need to get Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett going in the running game because putting the ball in the air against the Tar Heels is a risky proposition. UNC has one of the best ball hawking defenses in the nation and has forced opponents into mistakes all season. If the Terps play things close to the vest offensively and rely on their defense to win the game, an upset could be in the making.

Other notable games:
Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama, 7:45 PM ET
It’s highly unlikely the Tide lose focus against a 3-6 Mississippi State team, but the Bulldogs did pull off one of the better upsets of the year when they crushed previously No. 13 Vanderbilt 34-3.

No. 3 Texas at Kansas, 12:30 PM ET
The Longhorns try to keep in the national title hunt while the Jayhawks look to end the season as quickly as possible.

No. 10 Georgia at Auburn, 12:30 PM ET
This is one of the more underrated rivalries in the SEC.

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