Previously appearing on WTOP.COM amidst our “Countdown to SPECTRE”.


October is usually when things begin to cool outside (or if you’re at Syracuse, when the sun disappears for six months).  In college football, the local forecast is a major heat wave to various seats in Charlottesville, College Park and perhaps even Blacksburg.  All three coaches face pivotal stretches in their tenures with the knowledge that quite a bit of their job security is out of their hands.  Recruits can de-commit for the silliest of reasons.  New administrators can be on different pages–or even different books than the program previously in place.  The invisible hands of boosters and big donors often obscures actual achievement on the field and in the classroom.  Anything can happen.  Not five years ago Ralph Friedgen was voted ACC Coach of the Year, only to get fired a few weeks later.  Will the coaching carousel be far behind?  And do we measure the hot seat in fahrenheit, celsius or kelvin?


Maryland– Randy Edsall is 22-33 in four-plus seasons…20-23 since 2011.  Case for Cool: he’s improved recruiting locally and piloted the transition of the program from a basketball-first league (ACC) to a league known more for football (Big Ten).  Last fall the Terps won at Penn State and beat Michigan for the first time in schol history.  The Heat is On:  last season’s meltdown to Rutgers began a 2-5 stretch where the Terrapins have been blown out 4 times, most embarrassingly by Bowling Green.  The much-improved recruiting leaves the offense without a legitimate wide receiver…and he’s yet to bring in a quality quarterback (CJ Brown was a leftover from the Ralph Friedgen era).  Attendance isn’t much better than it was during the last years of Friedgen.


Virginia– Mike London is 24-41 in five-plus years…12-28 since 2011.  Case for Cool:  the Cavaliers have brought in plenty of players who are now competing at the NFL level despite the rigorous academic standards often mentioned at UVa.  They’ve more than held their own in losses to nationally ranked UCLA and Notre Dame over the last few seasons.  The Heat is On:  they barely beat William & Mary and could be on track for a fourth 8-loss season in London’s tenure.  Quarterbacking has been a disaster, with yearly controversies yielding to transfers who fare better elsewhere (Greyson Lambert).  They have also yet to beat Virginia Tech.  That one especially smarts in Charlottesville.


Virginia Tech– Frank Beamer is 276-138-4 in 28-plus campaigns…but 25-20 since 2011.  Case for Cool:  the man is an icon.  He built a middling independent that was a gimmee game for major programs into a New Year’s Day regular.  Beamer brought his program into the ACC and won 4 league titles in 7 seasons– more than Virginia, Wake Forest or Georgia Tech. He’s a proud alumnus of the school…and has beaten Virginia 11 straight seasons.  The Heat is On:  a 2-3 start lends the belief to another second-tier season in the ACC’s second-tier division (no offense to aficionados of the Coastal, but there’s not Clemson or Florida State).  The offense has been mired in mediocrity since Logan Thomas took his talents to the NFL…and they weren’t even that good his last two years in Blacksburg.  The soft shoe dancing around ending Beamer’s regime with dignity begins.


Alma Mater Update– the Orange are 3-1 entering this weekend’s trip to South Florida.  Recommendations for any Tampa trip include Lee Roy Selmon’s Restaurant.  Can SU continue their solid September (3-1) play with back to back wins on the road?  I’m smelling another Pinstripe Bowl banner, friends.  Bring on the wings with bleu cheese!


Maryland at #1 Ohio State– the Buckeyes boast the Big Ten’s leading rusher in Ezekiel Elliott (7+ yards per carry and 145+ yards per game) while the Terps own the league’s 14th ranked run defense.  They head to Columbus with questions surrounding coach Randy Edsall’s long and short-term status, never ideal when you’re headed to the Horseshoe.  There’s also a question mark surrounding who quarterbacks this week:  Daxx Garman, Perry Hills and Caleb Rowe all listed as tri-number ones on the depth chart.  Each has shown glimpses of possibility while also displaying the unfortunate warning flags.  Terrapin quarterbacks have thrown a total of 15 interceptions this fall,  or already one more than all of last season. Buckeyes in a blowout, 44-14.


Virginia at Pitt– the Cavaliers begin ACC play after a 1-3 September where they lost to three teams currently ranked in the top 25…and beat and FCS school.  So they might actually be much better than their record, or perhaps the one-possession win over William & Mary is more telling.  What will turn this year around is turnovers– UVa has yet to tally a takeaway this fall.  The Panther’s lone loss this fall is to an unbeaten Iowa team that’s taking the Big Ten by storm (albeit the Big Ten West)…and even after losing returning ACC Player of the Year James Conner to injury haven’t missed a beat with runningback Qadree Ollison averaging over 7 yards a carry.  They didn’t look great in last week’s four-point win at Virginia Tech…but you don’t have necessarily be great to be better than Virginia.    Cavaliers come up short, 28-16.


Navy visits #15 Notre Dame– the recipe is there for an upset.  The Fighting Irish are crestfallen after a heartbreaking loss at Clemson…and they didn’t look that great in one-possession wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia.  Keenan Reynolds has carved up team after team this fall…and the senior has the unbeaten Midshipmen in the middle of a historic season.  Can the Navy defense contain a Fighting Irish attack that boasts both power and speed?  Midshipmen miss making a miracle happen, falling 31-27.


Georgetown beats Lafayette, James Madison tops Towson, William & Mary falls at Villanova, Richmond edges Elon.

Last Week:  7-1.  Bounceback time!  Unless this is another “isolated incident”.

Overall: 36-7.