Florida State v Maryland

Updated: Florida State punches ticket to ACC championship


Updated 3:00 p.m. ET: Outside of a 33-yard touchdown pass from Shawn Petty to Kevin Dorsey, not much went right for Maryland in the second half and Florida State rolled to a 41-14 win over the Terps.

FSU was efficient all around on offense and aided by Maryland mistakes. Running back Devonta Freeman led all offensive players with 148 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. The Terps, on the other hand, couldn’t get much going with Petty filling in at quarterback.

The Seminoles have punched their ticket to Charlotte for the ACC championship. Who they’ll play is still undetermined, but depending on whether or not Miami self-imposes a bowl ban, it could be one of four teams from the ACC Coastal. Virginia Tech is still alive — barely — at 2-4 in conference play, but the Hokies are in a tight game with Boston College. Duke and Georgia Tech play a critical conference game later today, and Miami plays a late out-of-conference game against South Florida.


While the ACC Coastal division remains up for grabs (is that the right term?), the ACC Atlantic can be locked up today with a win by No. 10 Florida State over Maryland.

So far, this game’s going as expected. The Seminoles lead 27-0 at the half. FSU’s offense is working efficiently, but the ‘Noles defense has only allowed 36 yards. That’s outstanding obviously, but the Terps are still trying to MacGyver an offense with converted linebacker Shawn Petty in at quarterback.

Barring a complete second-half turnaround, this one looks over and Florida State would be able to punch its ticket to the ACC championship game because of a head-to-head tiebreaker over Clemson. A BCS championship appearance, while not out of sight, is a stretch. Florida State would need chaos and more chaos just to have a chance to head to Miami.

But the ‘Noles are certainly off to a good start today.

USC’s Max Tuerk already questionable for Notre Dame game

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 11:  Center Max Tuerk #75 of the USC Trojans prepares to snap the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Trojans defeatred the Wildcats 28-26.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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As if the questions about the head coach’s future aren’t enough, now USC could have a rather significant issue in the middle of its offensive line to deal with as well.

Early in the first quarter of what would turn out to be an embarrassing loss to Washington Thursday night, Max Tuerk sustained a sprained knee. Upon further examination, it was determined that the veteran center would be unable to return to the game.

Not only that, Tuerk, who was wearing a brace on his right knee following the loss, is already labeled as questionable for what it in every sense of the phrase a must-win game for Steve Sarkisian against Notre Dame eight days from now.

With Tuerk sidelined for the remainder of the game, he was replaced by Toa Lobendahn. It’s unclear which direction the Trojans would go if Tuerk is a no-go this weekend, although Khaliel Rodgers, who had been dealing with a personal issue, has been Tuerk’s backup.

Tuerk has started 38 games in his Trojan career — 18 at center, 14 at left guard, five at left tackle, one at right tackle. Lobendahn started all 13 games as a true freshman last season, the first eight at left guard and then five at right tackle.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.