The Washington Times - September 5, 2009, 08:37PM

BERKELEY, Calif. – I’m not the sort to try to make sweeping generalizations based on a small sample size.

That said, the ACC sure is doing a pretty solid imitation of itself from last year at this time.

SEE RELATED:


And that probably isn’t a good thing.

Let’s review:

N.C. STATE

* Showed no offensive pulse in losing to South Carolina in 2008
* Showed a faint offensive pulse in losing to South Carolina in 2009

GEORGIA TECH

* Ran roughshod over Jacksonville State in 2008
* Ran roughshod over Jacksonville State in 2009

BOSTON COLLEGE

* Shut out an underwhelming Kent State team in 2008
* Shut out an underwhelming Northeastern team in 2009

NORTH CAROLINA

* Squeezed past a I-AA opponent (McNeese State) in 2008
* Is bullying a bad I-AA opponent (The Citadel) in 2009

So far pretty similar, huh? And let’s excuse Monday’s participants (Miami and Florida State) from the comparison, since they beat up on lower division foes last year and take a step up.

That leaves six scenarios.

CONFERENCE FAVORITE

* Clemson was pulverized by Alabama in 2008
* Virginia Tech is losing 3-0 early to Alabama in 2009

VIRGINIA

* Got destroyed by Southern California in 2008
* Is losing to William & Mary in 2009

DUKE

* Beat James Madison in 2008
* Is losing at halftime to Richmond in 2009

WAKE FOREST

* Hammered Baylor in 2008
* Lost to Baylor in 2009

MARYLAND

* Edged Delaware in 2008
* Getting ready to play No. 12 California in 2009

LEFTOVER TEAM

* Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina in 2008
* Clemson is hammering Middle Tennessee in 2009

By my count, other than having a division favorite losing to a non-BCS team on a neutral field, there isn’t a situation that is substantially better at this stage. Well, Virginia Tech is getting destroyed (though those 13 yards in two possessions don’t bode well). And North Carolina is faring better against an inferior opponent.

But otherwise, it’s the same as it ever was. Which means unless things turn around in Durham, Charlottesville and Atlanta and Maryland can have a good showing on the Left Coast, the ACC may well be the butt of some jokes nationally once the weekend is through.

Patrick Stevens