Thursday, February 12, 2009

the schedule, obviously

So, I can finally mark up my nice calendar of pretty pictures of the Grounds in various seasons. The schedule's out, yay. Let's bitch and moan about it!

Here's what comes to mind straight out:

- Boston College is a home game. Dammit. Actually I feel sure I already knew this because the ACC puts out matchups and locations years ahead of time, but still: dammit. Oh, sure, we played that game in Connecticut last year, which I would have gone to but for the wedding of a friend, and I didn't miss much anyway.

- No long stretches of home games or away games - only two each consecutively. The only time we don't have a home game after a road game is early, after the Southern Miss game, which I feel like we should win. All this strikes me as a good thing. As schizoid as we were last year, and for the most part still pretty bad on the road, I think coming home after all the road games is a good way to re-align the psyche if/when we take another dump on somebody's field.

- Every single team in the Atlantic was both bowl-bound and either 5-3 or 4-4 in-conference, so there's no way to complain about getting screwed by the cross-divisional matchups. We swap out Wake for BC, and really, what's the difference?

- Only one bye. This also strikes me as a good thing. Three of our worst games last year - USC, Duke, and Clemson - were the ones we had the most time to prepare for. So not only am I selfishly happy there's only one week of no football (9/26, in between the two consecutive road trips to Hattiesburg and Chapel Hill) I like to think that playing week in and week out once the ACC schedule kicks off can only help.

- No Thursday night games, again. Yeah, it's nice to play under the lights on national TV in prime time, but since when do we do well when we're expected to? When you're one of two teams in the conference that doesn't go bowling, you don't play Thursday games. And that's fine. Makes Saturday weird anyway. On a side note, I think it's curious that the ACC let NC State open on Thursday against South Carolina again like last year. After the 'Pack represented the conference so well by essentially getting back on the plane at halftime, I'd think the ACC would want to bury that game this year.

So naturally, you want a prediction. No. Well, OK. Anywhere from four to nine wins. We should beat W&M, Southern Miss, IU, and Duke. And Clemson, Miami, and TCU look like extremely losable games. (We definitely picked the wrong time to schedule TCU.) The rest are more or less up for grabs. Most are teams we've beaten recently, even when we weren't supposed to. And I'll never admit that VT is a game we lose before it's played. Depending on the officiating, sometimes not even after it's played.

So any record between 4-8 and 9-3 would be not terribly surprising to me. Actually, 9-3 would be pretty surprising, but using the same powers of inference that allow me to think Sammy, JJ, Jamil, CB, and Mo and Mu can each score 12 points in the same game, 9-3 seems quite within reach.

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