Posted: 2:12 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013
This is turning out to be a season of arresting stats in ACC football.
In part the phenomenon reflects nothing more than having 15 teams instead of 12. The more teams, the greater likelihood of commonalities appearing. Thus last weekend was the first in ACC history on which five teams scored more than 50 points each; two of those were newcomers Pitt and Syracuse. Similarly it’s the first time the ACC had five teams start the year at 3-0.
Throughout the 2013 season we’re likely to hear of one first after another in both football and basketball. The fact these stats are distorted by a broadened roster of teams won’t negate the information value, but should be put in perspective.
Dividing lines are useful in this instance, such as pre-15 members and post-15. Similar lines were (or should have been) drawn in 1980, when the ACC went to eight teams with the addition of Georgia Tech; 1992, when Florida State gave the league nine teams; and 2005, when the contingent grew to a dozen.
In the eight-plus seasons since Boston College came aboard some interesting trends have emerged.
High-scoring games are up; as noted here previously, seven of the top 10 point-producing contests in ACC history occurred since 2010, including the top two in 2012 (Georgia Tech-UNC) and 2013 (Pitt-Duke).
Now it appears shutouts are on the rise as well. Already this season five different teams have held opponents scoreless: Duke vs. NCCU (45-0), Georgia Tech vs. Elon (70-0), Syracuse vs. Wagner (54-0), Virginia vs. VMI (49-0), and Maryland vs. West Virginia (37-0).
The Terrapins’ triumph over the Mountaineers is clearly the most arresting of those developments, as it’s the only shutout pitched against a major-college foe rather than a striving, lower-echelon patsy.
Perhaps the Terps are readier for Big Ten football competition than we realized. Or, West Virginia has hit a very bad patch in its football history.
What’s interesting from an ACC perspective is that, a third of the way through the ’13 season, league squads have posted one fewer shutout than in all of 2012 and more than in 2009, 2010, or 2011. So far none of those contests have matched ACC teams.
Games In Which ACC Opponents Held Scoreless
|Year||Shutouts||ACC Competition||Multiple By School|
|2012||6||1 (FSU 52-WF 0)||2 by FSU, UNC|
|2011||4||3||2 by FSU|
|2008||10||3||3 by BC, 2 by UVa|
|2006||14||7||4 by VT, 2 by BC, 2 by UVa|
|2005||4||1 (VT 45-D 0)||2 by VT|
|Scoreless games suffered by school (2005-13):|
BC-1; C-0; D-4; FSU-1; GT-0; M-1, Mi-1; UNC-3; NS-2, V-3; VT-0; WF-3