CLEMSON -- Many assumed Butch Davis would be out as the North Carolina coach with the NCAA probe and player suspensions serving as the backdrop for Tar Heel football this fall, but Davis keeps winning despite the player losses and cloud over the program.

UNC is 6-3 record despite losing two projected first-round NFL picks along the defensive line and top receiver Greg Little. North Carolina also has played without two of its top defensive backs for much of the season.

UNC chancellor Holden Thorp said last week Davis is not in danger of losing his job and appears to not have broken any NCAA rules.

"There's no information to indicate that he participated in or knew of any wrong- doing," Thorp said. "(Athletic director Dick) Baddour and I are not having meetings deciding his future. He's our football coach."

Thumbs up

Jet Blue: The ACC's most improved player? Try UNC quarterback T.J. Yates, who threw for a school-record 439 yards and three TDs in a dramatic win against Florida State on Saturday. Yates became the first UNC player to twice top 400 yards passing in a game in a season.

Credit must also be give to creative UNC coordinator Jon Shoop.

After throwing more interceptions (15) than TDs (14) a year ago, Yates has already topped his TD (15) and yardage (2,312) output from last season.

Orange crush: Clemson's defensive line had one of the more impressive performances by a defensive unit in the ACC against N.C. State.

Da'Quan Bowers, Jarvis Jenkins and company were able to contain N.C. State QB Russell Wilson, which allowed the Tigers to drop seven and eight defenders into coverage. It's about the only formula to stop an elite quarterback like Wilson, who was held 120 yards below his average.

Taylor made: Tyrod Taylor is looking more and more like the ACC player of the year, throwing 16 TDs against four interceptions, while also leading Virginia Tech in rushing (584 yards) and to a 5-0 record and the driver's seat in the Coastal Division. Tech can clinch an ACC title game appearance with a win and a Miami loss.

Thumbs down

Kickers: Clemson has made just 7 of 14 field goals, and kicking woes in part explain Clemson's 2-8 record in games decided by five points or less during the Dabo Swinney Era.

Think Clemson has had issues with kickers? How about Florida State's history. FSU lost another close game to an errant field goal Saturday against North Carolina. The loss keeps Clemson alive in the Atlantic Division race.


Georgia Tech quarterback Joshua Nesbitt will likely miss the rest of the regular season after breaking a bone in his forearm against Virginia Tech.

UNC was also dealt a blow, losing leading rusher Johnny White to a broken collarbone. Just ask Clemson defenders how valuable White is to UNC's offense.

FSU quarterback Christian Ponder didn't practice Monday or Tuesday after having his elbow drained, but FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said Wednesday that Ponder could soon return to practice. Ponder is questionable for Saturday's game against Clemson.

He said it

Paul Johnson on Randy Shannon's assertion Georgia Tech uses illegal chop blocks.

"I think they are illegal," Johnson said. "Some people don't know the difference between a chop block and a cut block."

Stat of the week

195: Number of career victories at Virginia Tech for head coach Frank Beamer.

Trav's take

--Now in his 23rd season in Blacksburg, Beamer is closing in on 200 wins at Virginia Tech. But would Beamer have even made it at Tech in today's win-now-or-else climate? Beamer went 24-40-2 in his first six seasons at Tech and has gone 171-56 in his last 20.

--Several mock drafts have the Detroit Lions ending up with Da'Quan Bowers in the 2011 NFL Draft. That's bad for Clemson and for NFC North teams. Bowers and Ndamukong Suh on the same defensive line? Scary.

--If UNC was 3-6 would Thorp still be supporting Davis?