1. DUKE IS A LOT MORE RESILIENT THAN I THOUGHT. I’m guessing I’m not alone on this one, but I figured the Blue Devils were about a 50-50 shot to get bowl-eligible even after winning five of their first six games. With a closing stretch of Virginia Tech, UNC, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech and Miami, that sixth win easily could have eluded them. But to their credit, they knocked off the Tar Heels 33-30 on Saturday and are sitting atop the Coastal Division. Pretty cool.
2. RANDY EDSALL HAS A CHANCE AT MARYLAND. The Terrapins lost their homecoming game on Saturday in dramatic fashion, as a potential game-winning field goal clanged off the uprights to allow N.C. State to escape with a 20-18 victory, but the day was bigger than a single result. It might have been a turning point in Edsall’s coaching career at Maryland.
A festive Byrd Stadium crowd — something we haven’t seen there in a while — cheered on a valiant effort by the home team, which rallied twice despite being down to its third-string quarterback. My mother, who’s been a season-ticket holder since the Mark Duffner era, called it one of the best atmospheres she’s ever seen. As some of you might recall, she was an ardent Ralph supporter and one of thousands who were disenchanted with Edsall. If he can sway her, he can sway anybody.
The Terps won’t be representing the Atlantic in the ACC title game this year, but with winnable games against Boston College and Georgia Tech on deck, they do have a shot to win a few more games and drum up a little support.
3. MARTINSVILLE IS SET UP FOR HIGH DRAMA. The Hokies and Cavs are off this week but it’s still a big weekend in the area, as the Sprint Cup Series visits Martinsville Speedway. Brad Keselowski still leads the points after Sunday’s race at Kansas (won by Matt Kenseth), but the two guys on his tail are the two best drivers at the Henry County track: Jimmie Johnson (seven points back) and Denny Hamlin (20 back). I don’t anticipate Clint Bowyer (25 back) still being in it after this weekend, but you never know. Also, Rick Hendrick said he expects Dale Earnhardt Jr. to make his return. That’s a lot of storylines that we’ll be getting into later in the week.
SUNDAY’S NFL UPSETS: Tennessee beat Buffalo. That’s it. Chalk won straight up the rest of the way. Tonight’s game is Lions at Bears.
BCS: Your top five in the BCS standings are Alabama, Florida, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame. Keep an eye on Oregon State (6-0), which is up to seventh.
ALWAYS SPOT ON: If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Andy’s always-entertaining “Five Thoughts” analysis on the Hokies.
VETERAN SAVVY: Philip Morris wins the big Late Model race at Martinsville.
Train roll on, on down the line
Won’t you please take me far, far away
Now I feel the wind blow, outside my door
I’m leavin’ my woman at home, oh yeah…