Vacation -- Happy to get Away

Wouldn't you know it? I go on vacation - to another country, even - and I miss out on what Virginia football coach Al Groh called one of the greatest games in ACC history. Just my luck.

Imagine my surprise when my wife and I got off the plane at RDU and my mother-in-law picks us up, talking about how State defeated UVa, "and it was supposed to be just a great game! There was something like two big touchdowns at the end!"

Keep in mind that she isn't exactly an avid sports fan, so for her to know this kind of info speaks to the enormity of the game. Then, to follow that up with what a good friend of mine - who has seen probably 200 games at Carter-Finley Stadium through the years - called, "maybe the best game I've ever seen at Carter-Finley."

Ugh. Do I have good timing or what?

The positive side to being away from ESPN,, Sports Illustrated, etc., for a week was that I was forced to not keep up with American sports (save for the smidgen of results that ran across the ticker on CNN World). I know it sounds strange - 'how can NOT keeping up with the Pack be a good thing?' you ask. But trust me, it was. For instance, I didn't have the added stress of wondering about important, life-changing things such as:

Is T.A. healthy?
Will the defense show up?
Can State stop the run?

And these were just concerns I would've had for the Duke game.

Truth be told, it was refreshing to not keep up with sports for a week or so. No new gray hairs sit atop my head; my blood pressure didn't make any dramatic Saturday-afternoon jumps; and my wife didn't keep looking at me out of the corner of her eyes as I watched the game to see if I was still of stable mind and spirit.

But it's good to be back in the good ole US of A. And just in time for the Pack to be on vacation. (Again, talk about good timing.) Next Saturday, however, will be a different story. On that day I'll be in front of the tube with fists clinched, eyes bulging and blood boiling, stressing over whether the Pack can - again - knock off the mighty Seminoles.

Man, it's good to be home.

'Now' ACC Standings
1. Florida State:
Almost miraculously, FSU still has national title hopes.
2. NC State: Exactly where most thought the Pack would be at the beginning of the season. Hey, better late than never ...
3. Maryland: ... though the Terps are seemingly always lurking around the top.
4 (tie). Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest: All of these teams have nice postseason aspirations - and for good reason.
7. Clemson: This is getting redundant, but we'll say it again: a win this week could do wonders for Tommy's job security. (But that may be the last time we say it.)
8 (tie). Duke and North Carolina: Only three more weeks 'til the "Inflatable Helmet Bowl!"

'Later' ACC Standings
1. Virginia Tech
2. Miami
3. Florida State
4. NC State
5. Maryland
6 (tie). Georgia Tech, Virginia and Wake Forest
9. Boston College
10. Clemson
11 (tie). Duke and North Carolina

This Week's Predictions:

Wake Forest at North Carolina:
There are reports out of South Carolina that Clemson will fire Tommy Bowden sometime in the near future. What does this have to do with Wake Forest-North Carolina? Well, the kitchen really started to get hot for Bowden after his Tigers were demolished by the Demon Deacons last week. If he gets canned, that make two coaches fired after getting thumped by Wake. (With Carl Franks being the first.) John Bunting better hope he doesn't become No. 3. Bunting won't get fired, but his Heels will lose - again - to Wake. Coach Killers 47, Heels 14

Georgia Tech at Duke:
Tech needs to keep winning to keep its Gator or Peach hopes alive. Duke needs to win to keep its coach's hopes alive.
Tech 35, Duke 28

Florida State at Clemson:
Part of me thinks Clemson held off axing Tommy until after his daddy gets a hold of the Tigers. Smart move.
Father 44, Son 14

Also ...
West Virginia 30, Boston College 14

Miami 27, Tennessee 10

Pittsburgh 21, Virginia Tech 17

Prognostication Record This Year (as far as picking the correct winner goes): 42-12

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