Over the weekend, Georgia Tech won the ACC Championship. In taking a closer look at the results, I’m going to copy Joaq’s Winners/Losers format.
Georgia Tech– After taking second in Pool B due to a loss to North Carolina (11-13) on Saturday, the Tribe rallied to take down Maryland (15-12), top seed Virginia Tech (15-7), and North Carolina (15-11) on Sunday en route to its first ACC Championship (previous winners are Virginia in 2009, Clemson in Spring 2010, and Virginia in Fall 2010). Rallying to beat a team that you lost to on Sunday is always a good thing, and doing so in the Finals is a sign of veteran leadership. Georgia Tech had closer-than-expected scores with NC State, Duke, and Maryland, but it’s hard to say how many of those opposition points were put up after the game had been put away. Also, Georgia Tech’s D line is still coming together, so they may have struggled to convert some break opportunities that would have closed teams out sooner.
North Carolina– Darkside certainly answered my question of whether or not they were for real by putting up a 4-0 Saturday in pool play and beating Boston College and Clemson to get to Finals on Sunday. That they did so without Noah Saul, a senior captain that UNC has heavily depended on over the past two seasons, is even more impressive. This showing definitely puts UNC in the discussion of Atlantic Coast Region contenders. They’ll be at Queen City Tune-Up, and it was announced today that they’ll be at Terminus in late March. Thanks to Bryan at No Look Scoober, we’ll have a UNC profile up soon.
Virginia Tech- They went undefeated in-region, and it’s good that they made Semis, but the next step for Burn is (and has been) taking down a big opponent in a meaningful spring game. Aside from their win over Virginia at Wilmington 8s last year, that’s yet to happen. Evan Klein’s injury is a big deal for Virginia Tech because they rely so heavily on him to consistently receive and throw deep shots, and there may be a silver lining in how far they went without him. Given the quality of the field (Georgia Tech, UNC, Georgia, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, Dartmouth, San Diego State), Queen City should reveal a lot more about Virginia Tech.
Regional Outlook- Georgia Tech went 6-1 with one loss to an Atlantic Coast opponent. North Carolina went 6-1 with one loss to a Southeast opponent. Boston College went 2-4 with four losses to AC opponents. Everyone else sort of falls into place from there. I guess this bodes well for the Southeast since all six of Georgia Tech’s wins came against the AC while only two of UNC’s were out of region, but it’s still hard to say. With UNC-Wilmington and Virginia still yet to play this spring, it’s too early to tell how valuable wins against weak AC teams are.
Clemson, NC State- I mostly just wanted to note that Clemson made Semis and NC State gave Georgia Tech a scare in pool play (12-14 in a game that came was tied 12-12). Playing late into Sunday is a good sign for a young team like Clemson, and I’m sure that NC State still has a few good players around since they made Nationals and went down prematurely in 2010.