For two decades this was the “new-money” rivalry in college football.  While Miami-Florida State didn’t hold the “tradition” of Michigan-Ohio State or Auburn-Alabama… this Sunshine State Showdown routinely produced more top ten matchups and eventual national champions (7 over a 20 year span).  From 1983 to 2003, one of these two schools entered New Year’s Day in the national title conversation 15 times–so it was only assumed that when Miami joined the ACC it would take the rivalry to the next level.  Unfortunately for Hurricane and Seminole fans, that level was several steps down from the rarefied air of the 80’s and 90’s.  The league separated the two schools division-wise so they could meet in the ACC Title game– and it hasn’t happened once.  The Canes fell on hard times under Larry Coker and Randy Shannon…and then almost did hard time with the NCAA.  The Noles declined like any great empire does during the final years of a great regime–to the point where Bobby Bowden felt like the 10th season of Friends.  And it didn’t help that the game’s been moved all over the calendar:  if the ACC wanted to pump up this rivalry they should move it to Columbus Day weekend and keep it there.  But until the league gets it right–for at least one November night college football gets to turn back the clock to “wide right”.

Alma Mater Update– after one week off the Orange prepare for their “Closing Month”– needing three wins to lock up bowl eligibility.  In the “stats were built to support any theory” category– SU won’t play a team with a worse record in November, but meet just one school with a winning ACC record in that stretch.  They start with a Wake Forest team that seems to be hitting its stride after a September loss to Louisiana-Monroe (almost upsetting Miami last weekend)…and after a 56-0 thumping two weeks ago by Georgia Tech one wonders what sort of mindset this team will have.  One feels we’ll need extra blue cheese with the wings at Sign of the Whale.

Virginia Tech at Boston College– can the Hokies erase the sting of a home loss to Duke?  They begin Closing Month with a duel against a former Big East brother…last year a 2-10 Eagles team took Tech into overtime before coming up short.  BC boasts the ACC’s leading rusher in Andre Williams, but the Hokies have the stingiest defense against the run in the conference (under 100 yards per game…and under 3 yards a carry).  The big question is– how will Logan Thomas bounce back from tossing four interceptions against the Blue Devils?  Hokies hang on, 19-17.

Virginia vs #9 Clemson– the Cavaliers had a three game homestand to turn their season around…instead they posted a come from ahead loss to Duke and an afternoon of missed opportunities against Georgia Tech.  Instead of bringing a .500 mark into November with postseason possibilities at least in the conversation, coach Mike London’s team is facing bowl elimination three days after Halloween.  And the ninth ranked Tigers bring quite a bit to the table with Tajh Boyd coming off a 300+ yard passing effort against Maryland…and Sammy Watkins posting 14 catches last Saturday.  While this season has been tough to swallow for the UVa faithful, Kippy and Buffy break out the easy to enjoy Chateau O’Brien Malbec:a medium-bodied wine with complex aromas of plum and fig, a velvety soft texture, and remarkable fruit flavor“–or as other expert tasting notes read: “Big Boat”.  Kippy and Buffy break out salmon puffs this week– and for those joining them, that’s not guacamole–it’s wasabi (I learned the hard way).  Cavaliers come up short, 42-17.

Navy loses to Notre Dame on NBC, Georgetown slips to Lafayette, Towson defeats Delaware, Richmond rips Albany, James Madison tops Villanova, William & Mary loses to New Hampshire.

Last Week: 5-3.

Overall: 50-13.