ACC Landmines - The Scary Letdown Games
NC State LB Nate Irving
NC State LB Nate Irving
Posted Aug 20, 2009

What are the dangerous games that every ACC team needs to watch out for? These are the ones that might be sandwiched in between two bigger games, they could be the ones late in the season that will be tough to get up for, or they simply could be letdowns.

The ACC Landmine Games

The traps to watch out for

By Pete Fiutak

Landmine Games For Every Team
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It's next to impossible for a team to get up for every game over the course of the long season. It's easy to be jazzed for the big rival or the top five team, but college kids can't remain focused enough to play razor sharp for one game and then maintain the same high level again the next week for the also-ran.

Below are the very dangerous letdown games for each team. These might be sandwich games, games a team and the fans won't take seriously, the game after a big rivalry, the game before a big game, or just a game that the team just won't be stoked for and could turn into a painful loss against a weaker opponent. If you find yourself arguing that these games will be easy, you're jumping into the same trap these teams might fall into. At the very least, these could be tougher tests than your favorite team might think. Sure, the team might win the game, but it might be pushed very, very hard.


Boston College - Oct. 31 vs. Central Michigan
This is a landmine because ... The Dan LeFevour era began against Boston College, and he and his high-octane offense could be deadly if BC is looking forward to its week off. The Eagles will have a three-week break from ACC play, facing Notre Dame and CMU before the off week, and this might not be a necessary game for their season. They'll be looking towards the finishing kick with road games at Virginia and Maryland, and a home date with North Carolina, but worse yet, they might not be equipped to keep up in a shootout.

- Clemson
- Sept. 5 vs. Middle Tennessee
This is a landmine because ... The Tigers will want to get off to a hot start after last year's disaster against Alabama, but if there's ever going to be a big upset, it's likely to come right away before the team is fully jelled. Enter the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders, who caught Maryland napping, or looking ahead to Cal, in last year's upset, and this year, the Tigers could be worrying more about the stretch of at Georgia Tech, Boston College, TCU, and at Maryland. Considering the work Clemson needs to do on its quarterback situation, this is a dangerous opener.

- Florida State - Nov. 21 vs. Maryland
This is a landmine because ... Sandwich time. The Noles close out the season with three road games in the final four in a tough November. After going on the road to face Clemson and Wake Forest, and with Florida to end the regular season, the Maryland game takes on more importance. The Terps need work, but by the end of the season they'll be as jelled as they're going to be, while FSU could be cashed. Not only is this a home oasis for November, but it's also the first home game after going on the road for three games in four weeks.

- Maryland - Oct. 24 at Duke
This is a landmine because ... Duke has a week off. The Blue Devils will get a nice midseason rest after going to NC State, while Maryland will be coming off a date with Virginia and with its break to come the following week. Even with Halloween week off, the Terps have a relatively rough stretch with three road games in four and four in six. The Terps can be forgiven if they take a mental siesta in what they'll expect to be the easiest game on the ACC slate.

- NC State - Oct. 10 vs. Duke
This is a landmine because ... The schedule isn't all that bad with four home games to start the season and four of the first five games in Raleigh. However, the Wolfpack will play Duke after going to Wake Forest and with Boston College and Florida State to follow. State can't help but be overconfident against the expected worst team in the league.

- Wake Forest - Oct. 24 at Navy
This is a landmine because ... The Demon Deacons might be extremely familiar with the Midshipmen after facing them twice last year, losing the first game and winning the EagleBank Bowl, but it's still hard to prepare for the option in the middle of the season (and without Aaron Curry at linebacker). Wake Forest will be plenty preoccupied with the game at Clemson the week before and with Miami, at Georgia Tech, and Florida State after, but they're still going to have to shift gears and be disciplined enough to change the D for the Navy attack.


-  Duke - Sept. 5 vs. Richmond
This is a landmine because ... The Blue Devils might be looking at a game against an FCS team as a break from what should be another tough season, but Richmond isn't just another team from the lover level. The Spiders won the national title, and gave Virginia a hard time in a 16-0 loss. This year's team should be solid. coming into the season on a nine-game winning streak, while Duke will have to be ready for a battle in the season opener that would be a layup for most of the other ACC teams.

-  Georgia Tech - Oct. 3 at Mississippi State
This is a landmine because ... Games against BCS league teams are always dangerous, but coming in the midst of the nasty part of the ACC season makes it even tougher. Not only does Georgia Tech go to Starkville after playing Clemson, at Miami, and North Carolina, and with a trip to Florida State, a home game against Virginia Tech, and with three more road games in a span of four weeks, there's serious brain-cramp potential. Not helping matters will be the MSU linebacking corps, which is strong enough to potentially keep Jonathan Dwyer and the Tech offense in check.

-  Miami - Oct. 17 at UCF
This is a landmine because ... This game means everything to UCF. While the Canes might not be too afraid to go to Orlando for the in-state showdown, they'll have to be prepared to take the best shot from the Knights and won't simply be able to show up and win. The Canes might not have their full intensity with Florida A&M the week before and the meat of the ACC season kicking in after. There's no way Miami won't be looking ahead to Clemson.

-  North Carolina  - Oct. 3 vs. Virginia
This is a landmine because ... There aren't any true landmine games on the schedule, with the possible exception of the date with Duke coming off a road trip to Virginia Tech, but that's a rivalry game at home. The Tar Heels might let up a bit against Virginia after playing Georgia Tech on the road and with the scrimmage against Georgia Southern and a week off to follow. The key will be to keep the focus up and be excited about playing one of the two ACC teams to not get to a bowl game last year.

- Virginia
  - Sept. 5 vs. William & Mary
This is a landmine because ... The Tribe pushed NC State in last year's opener, losing 34-24, and went on to have a nice season going 7-4 with a steady offense and a nice D. The season ended with two losses, but the finale was an overtime defeat to Richmond, the eventual national champion. Virginia has lost its last three season openers, including a disastrous blowout at home to USC last year, an embarrassing road trip to Wyoming in 2007, and a 38-13 loss at Pitt in 2006.

-  Virginia Tech  - Sept. 12 vs. Marshall
This is a landmine because ... If the Hokies are coming off a loss to Alabama to start the season (if it turns out to be a loss), it could be hard to get too fired up for Marshall with Nebraska and Miami coming up the following two weeks. As good as Tech might be, it will likely be more about Tyrod Taylor than originally expected with Darren Evans out and with the Herd bringing a nice defensive front to Blacksburg. It won't be a shootout, and it could take a full sixty minutes for the Hokies to put the game away.