Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Associated Press

Status quo: ACC officially sticking with eight-game league slate


Monday, we asked the question, “Is a nine-game conference schedule coming to the ACC?”  Two days later, we all have our answer.

Following a vote of its athletic directors, the ACC announced Wednesday that the conference will continue to play an eight-game league schedule in football.  As of yet, there’s no word as to how the voting shook out, although the fact that Notre Dame has a football scheduling agreement with the league along with a handful of annual rivalry games with SEC teams likely made it at least an 8-6 split against going to nine league games.

The conference will continue to require its members to schedule at least one game per year against another Power Five conference member.

The Big 12, Pac-12 and Big Ten currently play nine-game league slates, with the SEC joining the ACC as the Power Five holdouts on that front. The Big Ten and SEC also have the Power Five requirement for at least one non-conference game per season.

Additionally, the Big Ten is the lone Power Five league to ban its teams from scheduling future games against FCS opponents.

ACC makes football title game move to Orlando official

ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05:  A general view of the field prior to the game between the Mississippi Rebels and Florida State Seminoles ahead of the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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After originating in the state, the ACC championship game is headed back to Florida.

In an announcement that should come as a shock to absolutely no one, the ACC confirmed Thursday that the 2016 football title game will be played in Orlando. The game will be held at Camping World Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:45 p.m. ET.

The 65,000-seat stadium serves as the home of the Citrus Bowl postseason game and also played host to this year’s Ole Miss-Florida State opener on Labor Day. ACC officials met with their counterparts from the city earlier this week to finalize the deal.

An announcement on the new site likely would’ve come earlier were it not for a pair of high school football championship games scheduled for the same day at the same venue. Those games will now be played the following weekend.

The move to Charlotte comes almost two weeks to the day that the ACC announced it was yanking the title game away from the city of Charlotte and out of the state of North Carolina. The move was in response to the controversial House Bill 2 (HB2), a law which some claim fosters discrimination against members of the LGBT communities.

Charlotte had played host to the ACC football championship game every year since 2010. Prior to 2010, the first three league title tilts were played in Jacksonville (2005-07) and the next two in Tampa (2008-09).

Clemson’s Jalen Williams ‘to miss a few weeks’ with sprained MCL

Clemson's Jalen Williams puts pressure on South Carolina State quarterback Caleb York during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Clemson, S.C. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)
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Clemson’s win over Georgia Tech Thursday night came at a bit of a cost for the Tigers, especially with Lamar Jackson and Louisville on deck.

On Tech’s first offensive possession of the game, Jalen Williams sustained a knee injury as he was chasing quarterback Justin Thomas out of bounds on a third-down play.  After being helped off the field and, ultimately, into the locker room, the linebacker/nickel cornerback was seen walking on crutches.  He didn’t return to the game.

Afterwards, the Charleston Post & Courier reported, head coach Dabo Swinney revealed that Williams had been diagnosed with a sprained MCL and is expected “to miss a few weeks.” An MRI is expected to be performed Friday to determine a more definitive timeline for a return.

Williams, a three-star 2014 recruit officially listed as the Tigers’ backup strongside linebacker, played in the first four games this season, starting one of those contests.  Entering the Tech game, he was tied for fifth on the team with 13 tackles.

As a redshirt freshman last season, Williams played in all 15 games.

Clemson’s dominant defensive effort helps secure win against Georgia Tech

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Christian Wilkins #42 of the Clemson Tigers sacks Justin Thomas #5 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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All week Clemson has heard about how the team has lost five straight at Georgia Tech and haven’t won in Atlanta against the Yellow Jackets since 2003. If they paid close attention to some media members, they probably heard that Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney has never beaten his opposite number Paul Johnson there either.

Consider the message received — and corrected — by Clemson after a Thursday night victory over Georgia Tech that was not as close as the 26-7 final score indicated.

The Tigers gave the 1985 Chicago Bears a run for their money in the first half, limiting Tech’s triple option to just 22 total yards before heading to the locker room and kept things up in the second half by holding Georgia Tech under 100 yards rushing for the game. Freshman defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was disruptive from the first snap (a huge tackle for loss) and forced just about everything on the ground outside to his teammates. Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel was even more impressive, flying all over the field on his way to a nine tackle and one sack night.

About the only positive on the night for the Yellow Jackets offense was freshman running back Dedrick Mills getting going for 75 yards and a score.

As impressive as Clemson’s defense was, the team’s offense wasn’t too far behind. Quarterback Deshuan Watson returned to his 2015 form in the first half after a slow start this season by throwing for 304 yards and two scores on the night. He did toss an ill-advised interception into the end zone following a miscommunication with a receiver but the play ended up as a safety for the Tigers after a miscue by Tech’s defense.

The win by Clemson sets up a massive top five clash next week at home with Louisville that very much could be for the ACC title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers seemed to take the foot off the gas in the second half, and had a few issues up front along the offensive line, but otherwise put together a second straight impressive victory.

Things will get much, much tougher next Saturday when they try to slow down Lamar Jackson and the Cardinals however but at least Clemson will head into that matchup with a few days of extra rest and will be fresh off their best defensive effort in a long time.

Strong defense and Deshuan Watson power Clemson to halftime lead over Georgia Tech

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Deshaun Watson #4 of the Clemson Tigers warms up prior to facing the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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For nearly a month, the college football world has been wondering when Clemson was going to look like, well… Clemson. You know, the Tigers that made it to the national championship game last year and ran the table during the regular season in 2015.

Well, the college football world can stop wondering after Thursday night.

Facing a pesky Georgia Tech team in their ACC opener, Clemson’s defense looked like one of the best in the country through the first half and quarterback Deshaun Watson finally showcased the skills that had many people labeling the Heisman Trophy favorite in 2016. The Tigers jumped out to a 23-0 lead going into the locker room at halftime but the score line didn’t quite indicate just how lopsided the game was up to that point.

After just two quarters, Watson and the Clemson offense had 347 yards. Georgia Tech? A whopping 22. The Tigers had more first downs than the Yellow Jackets had plays run and yards.

It was just that kind of half in Atlanta.

Freshman defensive tackle Christian Wilkins was particularly impressive for Brent Venables’ defense, blowing up a play in the backfield on the very first snap of the game and generally disrupting the Yellow Jackets’ triple option each drive.

Watson also finally returned to the form he displayed last year, throwing for 262 yards and two scores while adding 27 yards on the ground. Perhaps most encouraging for the Clemson offense was the big plays they got from Ray-Ray McCloud (seven catches, 90 yards) while the defense focused on Mike Williams.

Things were not completely perfect in the half for Watson even if he was bailed out by a bone-headed mistake. After a miscommunication with a receiver in the red zone, the signal-caller lofted a ball directly into the hands of defensive back Lance Austin.

Austin stepped out of the end zone however and then back in, before fumbling and then recovering the ball for what was a safety.  Clemson promptly marched down for a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

Going to be a long halftime speech filled with adjustments for Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson as a result.