Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Brief, Way Too Early '07 ACC Preview

There have been plenty o' goings on in the world of ACC football lately, and a few of those big topics (FSU's new coaching staff, the Georgia Tech semi-shakeup, the problems at Miami, the state of Clemson, etc.) will be addressed shortly.

But on this lonely ol' Saturday night, I offer you my quick 2007 ACC preview....

ATLANTIC
1- Florida State- they're starting to gain momentum on the recruiting trail, and holy mother of God, the new coaching staff is eye-popping.
2- Maryland- probably the least-talked about team in the conference and yet they're coming off a 9-win season and returning a ton of talent.
3- Boston College- Coach Jags is a total mystery, but there's still enough talent left over to remain competitive.
4- NC State- Chuck Amato knew how to recruit. He just had no ability to be an effective head coach. Tom O'Brien actually knows how to run a program and '07 will be a springboard for the Wolfpack to roar, starting in '08.
5- Clemson- Sayonara, son of Bobby. Everything was laid out perfectly for Clemson to launch into the elite of college football in '06, and Tommy still managed to lose 5 games. That's unforgivable in today's college football world and he's losing too much talent to make a run in '07.
6- Wake Forest- Penthouse to outhouse. Well, not really. But losing over 25 seniors from their ACC championship team is going to cripple the Deacons. Still, Riley Skinner and Co. will be the best 5-7 team in the country in '07.

COASTAL
1- Virginia Tech- Easiest pick of this entire list, even with the underwhelming Sean Glennon returning at QB and with some significant losses on defense.
2- Georgia Tech- The best of a ho-hum lot, they should actually be better with Reggie Ball and Patrick Nix gone. Calvin Johnson would normally be irreplaceable, but Tech never used him enough to warrant his departure being considered a catastrophic loss.
3- Virginia- A 5-7 year with the dearth of talent in '06 was actually sort-of impressive for Al Groh's Hoos. If they can bring in a good recruiting class this spring, UVA is a contender in '08.
4- North Carolina- Strangely quiet so far, given the big splash hire of Butch Davis. They'll be much better than in '06, but it'll be a stretch for them to get above .500 overall.
5- Miami- They're returning much of the same team that went 7-6. Randy Shannon's been on the job for 6 weeks and only yesterday hired an offensive coordinator, and a very underwhelming one at that (GT's Nix). They're still without a defensive coordinator. Recruiting slipped over the past few years and it's not looking much better this spring.
6- Duke- This is all on the Duke athletic department and school administration. They have decent coaches and some pretty good athletes, and they're completely unsupported by the school. This is as hopeless a case as any major 1-A program.

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