Seven weeks into the season, there are 12 unbeaten teams in Division I FBS.  Three reside in the SEC (including #1 Alabama), two are in the Pac-12 (Oregon-Oregon St. shaping up nicely), the Big XII has one (Kansas State), the Big Ten kind of has one (Ohio State ineligible for postseason play), Notre Dame is back, and even the MAC has a school (Ohio U.).  Then there’s the Big East– 3 schools (Cincinnati, Louisville and Rutgers) all ranked from 16th to 21st.  One year after being picked at by the ACC buzzard, the league is enjoying an October of relevance not seen since 2006 when Louisville, Rutgers and West Virginia brought unbeaten marks into November.  All while former conference members are having less than stellar autumns:  Miami and Virginia Tech have been consistently uneven, Boston College has been consistently awful and West Virginia was roasted in the Lone Star State sun by 35 points.  I can only imagine what bad karma Syracuse will get when they leave the league…

Alma Mater Update– another underwhelming afternoon for the Orange in a 23-15 loss at Rutgers.  I think the play that sums up the early season was a 21-yard loss on 2nd and goal 7 from the Scarlet Knight 17… setting up a missed field goal.  That and the blocked field goal returned for a touchdown.  Or could it be the four turnovers?  Ryan Nassib puts up decent numbers (356 yards passing) again…but SU once again comes up short in a game it could have won (they outgained Rutgers by 178 yards).  Bring on UConn and South Florida- two winnable games that can just as easily result in even worse defeats.

Maryland met Virginia in the annual snapshot of rival programs… and this year the Terrapin stock has been a cautious buy while most sold their Cavalier certificates in September.  A fast start and a slow finish resulted in a Terrapin 27-20 victory that provides a few answers but just as many questions…for both teams.  Terrapin Triumphs– another big day for Stefon Diggs:  the freshman returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and concluded the day with 4 catches for 89 yards.  Perry Hills threw for a touchdown and ran for another score.  Darrin Drakeford notched 7 tackles and 2 of the team’s 5 sacks… while the defense tallied two takeaways.  The team was penalized just once for 5 yards.  Terrapin Troubles– a running game that lost 2 yards on 29 tries.  Even taking out the sacks allowed– the team ran for 10 yards on 27 running plays.  It’s very difficult to win in November with a ground game that’s ground chuck.  Next Up:  Saturday vs NC State.

Cavalier Congrats– Kevin Parks rumbled for 129 yards… and the run defense destroyed the Terps Justus Pickett (15 carries for minus-8 yards).  Cavalier Concerns– the Phillip Simms/Michael Rocco duo showed up in Charlottesville again.  There’s a saying that if you have two quarterbacks you actually don’t have a quarterback.  At 2-5 the season is slipping away for the Cavaliers and it appears as though neither Simms or Rocco is able to take the mantle as QB1.  Next up: Saturday vs Wake Forest.

Virginia Tech has made me expect a slow start–and sluggish first quarters… but a 20-0 deficit?  Allowing a 62 yard touchdown pass… and then throwing a pick six?  But somehow the Hokies turned things around and beat Duke going away 41-20… saving the season and giving the Blacksburg faithful hope with enigmatic Clemson, inconsistent Miami and perplexing Florida State on the plate.  Hokie Highlights– being able to rally from 20 down.  Big plays–JC Coleman rumbled for 186 yards and touchdowns of 42 and 86 yards…while Marcus Davis notched 5 catches for 144 yards and TD’s of 42 and 47 yards.  Perhaps Coleman is the answer to a running game that’s had plenty of questions this fall.  The defense notched interceptions on consecutive Blue Devil drives in the second quarter that allowed VT to climb back into the game… and then held Duke to a combined minus-7 yards on three 3rd quarter possessions.  Hokie Humblings– how do you fall behind 20 points in the first quarter at home to Duke?  Eight penalties for 86 yards won’t help you against the ACC heavyweights.  Next Up:  Saturday vs Clemson.

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