Beware the Mid-American Conference.  Usually cannon fodder for the Big Ten in September, this plucky league has earned a reputation as upset-inducing in October– knocking off Big East unbeatens Cincinnati (Toledo triumphing at the Glass Bowl-do you think Huggins would allow his Bearcats to go on the road non-con this late in the season?) and Rutgers (Kent winning in Piscataway thanks for participating in big boy football, Scarlet Knights).  Perhaps revenge for the Big East taking Temple back in the offseason?  But just to show the MAC doesn’t care who’s unbeaten, the league ate one of its own this past weekend– as Miami handed Ohio its first loss of the year.

Additional Carnage– two other unbeatens fell as Oregon State slipped to Washington and Florida fell to Georgia.  This leaves five unbeatens from four conferences plus Notre Dame (as the Irish will never leave their Independent wife but remain content to shack up with a convenient mistress for non-football sports).  Closing month could bring more calamity with Alabama-LSU on the plate this Saturday.

Alma Mater Update– SU played a tale of two halves against South Florida… eventually storming back for a 37-36 victory.  The key– two quick scores to start the second half against a sluggish Bulls bunch.  I’m still concerned with their ability to tackle and while Ryan Nassib looked okay at times, he zipped more than a few darts downfield in key situations.  Two recommendations for Tampa tourists:  Bahama Breeze for lunch, Chart House for dinner.

Maryland lost another heartbreaking ACC game to a team behind it in the standings– this time a 20-17 defeat at Boston College.  For the second straight Saturday the Terps lost their starting quarterback for the season to a torn ACL.  This means the team has to move to Plan E– which even with a fully stocked team would be a challenge, but this fall that means true freshman Shawn Petty (who had been a linebacker until last week) with true freshman Brian McMahon (a tight end until last Tuesday) next in line.  Terrapin Triumphs– Stefon Diggs (11 catches, 152 yards and a TD) continues to enjoy an incredible freshman year…while Caleb Rowe after a rough first half (6 punts and 2 interceptions in 9 possessions) to complete 10 of 15 second half passes with 2 TD’s and 1 INT…the defense held BC to 8 yards rushing and 3 of 13 on third down… as the duo of Joe Vellano (1.5 sacks) and AJ Francis (2 sacks) set up the back 8 well.  Terrapin Troubles– a missed 35-yard field goal by Brad Craddock preceded a changing of the placekicker;  hopefully Brendan Magistro will fare better (he made his lone attempt– a 28 yarder– plus 2 extra points)… the defense that dominated the second half (78 yards on 5 possessions, 3 three and outs plus 1 fumble recover) coughed up 85 yards for a game-winning score when they needed a stop the most… and is there anything that can be done for ACL injury prevention?  More broccoli?  Bubble-wrap?  We’re taking calls. Next Up:  Saturday vs Georgia Tech.

Virginia and Virginia Tech both enjoyed necessary weekends off… the Cavaliers are in full free-fall (2-6 and 0-4 in the ACC) while the Hokies aren’t much better having dropped 3 of 4.  But Frank Beamer’s bunch could actually still win the Coastal Division with a 3-1 October (Miami is 4-4, BC and VA are both 2-6).  Thursday VT begins it’s Closing Month with a trip to Miami, Saturday Virginia starts a rough November (none of the four opponents have losing records) by battling NC State.

Last week I asked you to submit “ACC tailgating tandems” to complete the group that already has “Matt and Stacia” at Maryland, “Kippy and Buffy” at UVa, “Meredith and Peyton” at UNC and “Tommy and Cricket” at Duke (although Tommy’s on thin ice after asking hitting on Buffy during the UVa-Duke game).  After too many suggestions to count… here’s the consensus couples with food and beverage recommendations…:

Virginia Tech– Ray and LuAnn.  Milwaukee’s Best with Smoked Turkey Legs.

Wake Forest– Albert and Victoria.  Night Train wine with overcooked burgers.

NC State– Elmer and Louise.  Mickey’s Big Mouth with liverwurst (not on crackers- straight from tube).

Clemson– Cooper and Clarissa.  The “N” in Clemson stands for Natty Light, Nachos and Knowledge.

Ga Tech–  Joe and Deanna. Grey Goose and tonic or Basil Haydens on the rocks with buffalo wings and chili.

Florida State– Dewey and Irlene.  Bud Light and bottomless shrimp cocktail with shrimp casserole.

Miami– Gregory and Autumn.  Sazeracs and sushi.

Boston College– Sully and Smitty’s sister (the one with the hat).  Sam Adams and Clam Chowder.