20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 17: Letdown Game For Every Power Five Team

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20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 17: Letdown Game For Every Power Five Team

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20 For 2020 College Football Topics, No. 17: Letdown Game For Every Power Five Team

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20 for 2020 College Football Topics, No. 17: The letdown or sandwich game for every Power Five team.


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They’re the games that all fans blow off, but all coaching staffs lose sleep over.

For the most part, they’re supposed to be sure-thing wins, but they’re the ones that don’t always get the full and undivided attention of the supposedly superior team.

They’re the letdown games, or they’re the sandwiches – the games in between the two supposedly more important, bigger battles.

On each Power Five team’s slate, there’s at least one game that will be a moment to mail it in, but it could also be time to worry a bit.

More often than not there’s not a problem – they’re the easier games for a reason. However …

You’ve been warned.

ACC ATLANTIC

Boston College Eagles

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Holy Cross, Oct. 31
Game Before: at Virginia Tech
Game After
: at NC State

Of course Boston College is going to roll past the Crusaders – it had better. With Clemson, Louisville and at Virginia Tech before, and road games at NC State and Florida State after, this is the only relative breather.
Full Schedule Analysis

Clemson Tigers

Letdown/Sandwich Game: The Citadel, Nov. 14
Game Before: at Notre Dame
Game After
: at Wake Forest

Here’s the problem – there aren’t enough tough games on the slate for this loaded team to make anything a true letdown game, but dealing with the Citadel option offense will be annoying coming off the showdown in South Bend.
Full Schedule Analysis

Florida State Seminoles

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Pitt, Oct. 31
Game Before: at Louisville
Game After
: at Miami

This is when the Noles are in the dog days of the season. They’ll have to deal with the likely shootout against Louisville on the road, and the showdown against Miami – the pivotal moment in the 2019 season for the program – is coming up. They have to take care of home against the Panthers.
Full Schedule Analysis

Louisville Cardinals

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Wake Forest, Nov. 14
Game Before: at Virginia
Game After
: at Notre Dame

UofL can’t take anyone lightly quite yet, but this should be a stronger Year Two under Scott Satterfield. It’ll have a fun few weeks including a date at Virginia before hosting Wake Forest, but one eye will likely be on the late-season showdown on the trip to South Bend.
Full Schedule Analysis

NC State Wolfpack

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Duke, Oct. 10
Game Before: Florida State
Game After
: at Clemson

Considering the Wolfpack start the season at Louisville, the pressure could be on in October. The Florida State game is a must after getting rocked in last year’s showdown, and going to Clemson is a likely loss. There can’t be a misfire against Duke.
Full Schedule Analysis

Syracuse Orange

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Liberty, Oct. 17
Game Before: Louisville
Game After
: at Clemson

There weren’t too many problems in last year’s opener at Liberty with a 24-0 win, but this time around it’s coming off a key first half game against Louisville followed by a week off. The Orange might be looking past the Flames with the trip to Clemson to follow.
Full Schedule Analysis

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Villanova, Sept. 19
Game Before: Appalachian State
Game After
: Notre Dame (in Charlotte)

Be very, very, very careful with this. A whole lot will be made out of the battle with a loaded Appalachian State team the week before, and the battle with Notre Dame in Charlotte is right after. This is a prime moment for what should be a strong Villanova team to come up with something big.
Full Schedule Analysis

ACC COASTAL

Duke Blue Devils

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Wake Forest, Oct. 3
Game Before: at Pitt
Game After
: at NC State

The Blue Devils should be able to roll through the first part of the schedule, but the ACC season opens up at Pitt, and then comes the date against the Demon Deacons. There likely won’t be a lack of focus after losing 39-27 last year, but a trip to NC State is up next before dealing with North Carolina and Notre Dame.
Full Schedule Analysis

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Virginia, Oct. 17
Game Before: at Virginia Tech
Game After
: at Pitt

It doesn’t get much more sandwichey than playing between Clemson and UCF – Georgia Tech gets Gardner-Webb – but the Virginia game is even more interesting. It’s a home date between two road games on the front end against North Carolina and Virginia Tech and two right after against Pitt and Syracuse.
Full Schedule Analysis

Miami Hurricanes

Letdown/Sandwich Game: at Georgia Tech, Nov. 21
Game Before: at Virginia Tech
Game After
: Duke

Throw this in the letdown category, even though the Canes lost 28-21 to Georgia Tech last year. It comes right after a run of at Virginia, Florida State and at Virginia Tech, and it’s late in the year before closing out with Duke. The Canes can’t lose focus.
Full Schedule Analysis

North Carolina Tar Heels

Letdown/Sandwich Game: James Madison, Sept. 19
Game Before: Auburn (in Atlanta)
Game After
: Georgia Tech

Oh sure, North Carolina types will say all of the right things about playing one of the stars of the FCS, but it’ll be too hard to take the lower-level team seriously after dealing with UCF and Auburn, and with the ACC season against Georgia Tech starting the week after.
Full Schedule Analysis

Pitt Panthers

Letdown/Sandwich Game: Georgia Tech, Oct. 24
Game Before: Notre Dame
Game After
: at Florida State

The Panthers struggled to get by Georgia Tech last year, but they did it. Now they have to get up for them right after dealing with Notre Dame the week before and with a trip to Florida State to follow. After this, the ACC season kicks in full force.
Full Schedule Analysis

Virginia Cavaliers

Letdown/Sandwich Game: (tie) VMI Sept. 12, UConn Sept 19
Game Before: Georgia (in Atlanta)
Game After
: at Clemson

A little creative license here – call this a double-decker sandwich. No, Virginia won’t lose to VMI or UConn, but it can be forgiven for not bringing the full intensity with the season opener in Atlanta to deal with Georgia and with the ACC opener at Clemson lurking.
Full Schedule Analysis

Virginia Tech Hokies

Letdown/Sandwich Game: at Duke, Nov. 21
Game Before: Miami
Game After
: Virginia

Okay, okay, Virginia Tech isn’t going to overlook Duke after getting obliterated 45-10 last year, but it’s a late-season battle in the final road game of the season. The Miami game the week before should be a big deal in the Coastal race, and then comes Virginia. After losing last year, the Hokies will be a wee bit focused on taking back the rivalry.
Full Schedule Analysis

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