Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wake Forest Preview

2008 Schedule
Aug. 30@Baylor
Sept. 20@Florida State
Sept. 27NAVY
Oct. 18@Maryland
Oct. 25@Miami
Nov. 1DUKE
Nov. 15@N.C. State

2007 Results: 9-4 overall, 5-3 ACC (T-2nd Atlantic Division); beat Connecticut 24-10 in the Meineke Bowl

Offense: QB Riley Skinner and leading rusher Josh Adams are back for another tour, however much of the rest of this unit will sport new faces in the starting lineup for 2008. And that's not necessarily a bad thing; Wake returned just a handful of starters on offense in 2006 and they only went to the Orange Bowl. The most glaring loss from last season is all-everything Kenny Moore, officially classified as a receiver but also saw time at running back and ran approximately 824 successful reverses throughout his Demon Deacon career. The aforementioned Josh Adams is actually the top returning receiver in terms of catches (34), so that should tell you about the general uncertainty of the receiving corps heading into '08. The offensive line returns just two full-time starters, but that may be just as well since last year's OL produced the lowest rushing yards per game and yards per rush of the Grobe Era.

Defense: God help the clunky offenses of the ACC against this group in 2008. Nine starters return from last year's unit, highlighted by the entire linebacking corps and the entire secondary, headlined by CB Alphonso Smith - he of the eight picks in '07, three of which went the other way for TDs. Here's a scary stat....17 of the top 20 tacklers from 2007 are back, including nine of the top 10. The only question mark on what should otherwise be one of the top defenses in the nation is the pesky little change at defensive coordinator. Former DC Dean Hood left to take a 1-AA head coaching gig. The new DC is Brad Lambert, the Deacs' linebackers coach the last seven seasons.

Special Teams: Kicking and punting stalwart Sam Swank returns for his senior season, however return duties will be performed by some new faces in 2008, as punt returner Kenny Moore and KR Kevin Marion are now in the private sector. This unit should be in the upper-tier of the league if Swank regains his sophomore form from 2006, when he was voted the team's MVP.

Coaching: For five seasons (2003-2007), the Demon Deacons had one of the most stable coaching staffs in all of college football, with no changes among the three main positions, and very few changes among the rest of the staff. This season sees two new faces, with Brian Knorr brought in to coach receivers, and Steve Russ to handle tight ends. While that may be a bit rocky for this program, those changes in reality are small potatoes compared to what we've seen around the ACC in the last few years (six head coaching changes since 2006). Regardless, what Jim Grobe has built in Winston-Salem is one of the more remarkable coaching feats of the last 20 years and now that he's spurned bigger and richer suitors the last few seasons, Wake Forest looks to be a program that can hang year in and year out near the top of the league.

Odds & Ends: Of the Demon Deacons' 20 wins over the past two years, only two have been by more than 20 points - a 37-10 romp over UNC last season and the infamous 30-0 beatdown of Florida State in '06.....2007's Meineke Bowl bid marked the first time in school history that Wake earned back-to-back bowl invitations.....the Deacons have beaten Duke by just six total points the last two years (14-13 in 2006, 41-36 in 2007); Duke was 1-23 over those two seasons

Schedule Analysis: Wake is the only ACC program without a 1-AA opponent this season. The Deacs' have two interesting matchups in weeks one and two, facing two BCS-conference doormats in Baylor and Ole Miss, both of whom are breaking in new coaching staffs. The Deacons then get a bye week before travelling to Tallahassee and to the scene of their Seminole Massacre of 2006. The Noles will be in their last week of suspensions from last year's academic scandal and should be very beatable if the Deacons have everything humming along. The Deacs' next ACC contest is a Thursday nighter with Clemson, so by early October they have a chance to own the Atlantic Division or to sit squarely behind the 8-ball. Virginia and Duke are in the rotation from the Coastal Division and Wake plays them back-to-back, at home, in early November; that's as close to having a 14-day breather as any team can get that late in the year. All five road trips are winnable, but none are gimmes, with the trip to FSU looking to be the toughest. Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech are absent from this year's slate.
Projected Wins: @Baylor, Ole Miss, @Florida State, Navy, @Miami, Duke, Virginia, Vanderbilt
Projected Losses: none
Toss-Ups: Clemson, @Maryland, @N.C. State, Boston College

Primo Demon Deacon Blogs: Old Gold and Blog and that's the only one I know of

Heartwarming You-Tubery:

The one ACC bowl highlight from 2007

Preview Disclaimer

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Previews Delayed


I'm still buzzing from my viewing of The Dark Knight. Yes, Heath Ledger as The Joker is as amazing as advertised. But Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon are really the unsung acting heroes of this film. And when talents like Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Christian Bale - who usually dominate every other film they appear in - are completely overshadowed by the three gents mentioned before...you know you're in for some real entertainment. Oh, and the Bat-pod reversing on a brick wall. Holy hell. You'll know what I mean when you see it.

Nonetheless, team previews will commence tomorrow or Tuesday. But go see this damn movie in the meantime.

Bravo, indeed

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Miami Preview

2008 Schedule
Sept. 6@Florida
Sept. 20@Texas A&M
Oct. 11UCF
Oct. 18@Duke
Nov. 1@Virginia
Nov. 20@Georgia Tech
Nov. 29@N.C. State

2007 Results: 5-7 overall, 2-6 ACC (5th Coastal Division)

Offense: Gone are quarterbacks Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman, who regressed badly (right along with the program) over the last three seasons. Taking their place under center most likely falls to either redshirt freshman Robert Marve or true frosh Jacoby Harris. And, in case you're wondering, the third and fourth string QBs are freshmen as well, which has to be some sort of record....four QBs on a roster, 0 career snaps among them. The running attack returns it's top four rushers from 2007 with Javarris James leading the pack. The receiving corps will likely be dependent on the youth movement, with junior Sam Shields (disappointing so far in his career) being the only upperclassman expected to contribute much in this department. The offensive line, reeling from woeful performances in '06 and '07, returns just one true starter but several others with starts here and there over the last few years. In summary, the Miami offense in 2008 is short on experience, long on young talent, and a complete mystery in terms of forecasting how they'll perform.

Defense: For a program accustomed to finishing in the Top 10 in total defense most years, last year's 33rd rated finish was cause for a pink slip for former defensive coordinator Tim Walton after just one season. Moreso than the overall slip on defense in 2007, the complete disasters on that side of the ball in nationally televised games against Oklahoma (51 points allowed), Virginia (48 points), and Virginia Tech (44 points) may have been a good reason for the change. So, for the third time in three years, a new face sports the title of DC in Coral Gables, and that face belongs to Bill Young, fresh off leading the 12th rated total defense at Kansas in 2007. As for the talent Young is to guide, it is very young and very green. Just a handful of starters return from last year's un-"U" like unit, and it's a mystery as to how quickly that young and inexperienced talent adapts to yet another new DC. If you're looking for a breakout star for the Canes on this side of the ball, look no further than linebacker Colin McCarthy, the team's top returning tackler.

Special Teams: Aside from the loss of kickers Francisco Zapogna and Darren Daly, the main cogs of this unit return. Punter Matt Bosher, shaky early in 2007, improved as the season went on. Leading returners Graig Cooper and Ryan Hill are back, although Cooper only averaged 4.8 yards per punt return last year. This is a middle-of-the-road unit as far as the ACC goes.

Coaching: Stability in this department is something that hasn't been seen in Coral Gables in a while, as Miami enters the season with it's third defensive coordinator in as many years, whereas offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Patrick Nix is a wily veteran of the staff, returning for a second year after a disastrous 2007. A cause for concern with Nix is that in 5 seasons as a QB coach, all of his main pupils regressed (Reggie Ball and Taylor Bennett at Georgia Tech, Wright and Freeman at Miami). Head coach Randy Shannon had a tough first season in 2007, as the Canes limped to the finish, losing 6 of their last 7 games and the last three in blowout fashion. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to right the ship. What he can do is recruit, and his first two classes will be thrown into the fire in 2008, given all the personnel shortcomings on the team.

Odds & Ends: As mentioned above, the Canes lost six of their last seven games last season; the one victory? At Florida State....Miami's 16-16 ACC record since starting league play in 2004 is tied for 6th overall in the conference over those 4 seasons.....the Canes lost three games by 30 or more points last season; prior to 2007, their three most recent losses by 30 or more points were to LSU in 2005, Virginia Tech in 1999 and Syracuse in 1998

Schedule Analysis: The Good: a cozy opener at home with Charleston Southern so the kids can ease into the season. The Bad: six road games on the slate (every other ACC school has just four or five). The Ugly: @Florida, @Texas A&M, UNC, FSU, UCF all in a row over a span of six weeks starting in week two. All of those games are losable in a good year, but that stretch coming so early with such an inexperienced young squad spells something like a 2-4 or 3-3 start at best. The Canes close the year with two Thursday Night match-ups with the Techs, then a road trip to NC State. Only road trips to Duke and Virginia appear like sure things. Boston College, Clemson and Maryland are absent from this year's slate.
Projected Wins: Charleston Southern, UCF, @Duke
Projected Losses: @Florida, @Texas A&M, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, @NC State
Toss-Ups: North Carolina, Florida State, @Virginia, @Georgia Tech

Primo Hurricane Blogs: Canes Rising, Hall of Canes

Heartwarming You-Tubery:

A lot of this would be helpful in 2008

Preview Disclaimer

Friday, July 11, 2008

Maryland Preview

2008 Schedule
Sept. 6@Middle Tennessee
Sept. 27@Clemson
Oct. 4@Virginia
Oct. 25N.C. STATE
Nov. 6@Virginia Tech
Nov. 29@Boston College

2007 Results: 6-7 overall, 3-5 ACC (T5th Atlantic Division); lost to Oregon State 21-14 in the Emerald Bowl

Offense: New offensive coordinator James Franklin (Kansas State's OC from 2006-07) arrives with his West Coast attack, hoping to instill a consistent pulse in a unit that has woefully underperformed the last few seasons, given Ralph Friedgen's supposed genius (average Terp total offense rank from '04-'07: 83rd). After two years as his own OC, the Fridge steps back again to focus solely on head coaching duties. QBs Jordan Steffy and Chris Turner performed well at times last season, but neither stepped forward in the spring to claim the starting position, so it appears that August practices will settle the issue heading into the opener with Delaware. Replacing departed running backs Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore is sophomore Da'Rel Scott, who will likely be catching a lot of passes out of the backfield in the new system. The true star of the offense is All-ACC wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey (786 yards last year while being constantly double and triple-teamed). The rest of the receiving corps is deep and experienced and should flourish in the West Coast attack if either of the QBs grasps the new offense quickly. Lastly, the offensive line is certainly the deepest in the ACC, and may be the league's best with four returning starters and tons of experience on the second-team.

Defense: This is where it gets a little dicey. Both the line and the secondary are works in progress, with no standouts except for perhaps Jeremy Navarre, who has shifted from end to tackle. Fortunately, against the largely inept offenses of the ACC, there is time to gel. The linebackers are as strong as ever in College Park, with a deep and experienced group led by Dave Philistin (124 tackles in '07). Last year's Terrapin defense collapsed far too often late in games (Wake Forest, Virginia, UNC, Georgia Tech), causing defensive coordinator Chris Cosh's seat to get a little warm. The regular season finale - a 37-0 bowl clinching shutout of NC State - quieted some of Cosh's critics.

Special Teams: Kicker Obi Egekeze (perfect in PATs, 17-23 FGs in '07) and punter Travis Baltz (Freshman All-American in '07) are back, along with returners Danny Oquendo and Da'Rel Scott. This is easily the best special-teams unit in the ACC and one of the best in the country.

Coaching: The enthusiasm of Ralph Friedgen's superb first three seasons of double-digit wins has dimmed into a mediocre malaise. The losses of former OC Charlie Taafe and former DC Gary Blackney in recent seasons have not been overcome and recruiting has been lackluster the last few years. Another 6-6ish season (or worse) and things will get very testy in College Park. The aforementioned James Franklin brings a brief NFL pedigree, having served one year as receivers coach for Green Bay in 2005, and he was the Terps' receivers coach during the early Fridge years. DC Chris Cosh is in his third season and needs a big performance out of his defense to keep the wolves at bay.

Odds & Ends: The Fridge's record in his first three seasons in College Park: 31-8; his record since: 25-23....that 31-8 mark from 2001-03 was the sixth best overall record over those three seasons in all of college football....the Turtles were one of only four teams to beat two Top 10 opponents in 2007, beating #10 Rutgers in September and #8 Boston College in November

Schedule Analysis: An early test in week 3 against Cal will tell us a lot about the '08 Terps. Or maybe not. Weeks 1, 2 and 4 (Delaware, Middle Tennessee, Eastern Michigan) provide decent cannon fodder for the new offense to test-fire upon. After that there are no gimmes, but with helpful bye weeks prior to the Wake Forest and Virginia Tech showdowns in mid-October and early-November. On the plus side, three of the Turtles' five divisional matchups are at home. Duke, Georgia Tech and Miami are absent from this year's slate.
Projected Wins: Delaware, @Middle Tennessee, Eastern Michigan, @Virginia, NC State, North Carolina
Projected Losses: @Clemson, @Virginia Tech
Toss-Ups: California, Wake Forest, Florida State, @Boston College

Primo Terp Blogs: Turtle Waxing, Testudo Times

Heartwarming You-Tubery:

Coming soon to a secondary near you

Preview Disclaimer

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Preview Disclaimer 2008

Team-Preview-O-Rama begins tomorrow, so please take the following into account when poring over my predictions, prognostications, and such:

--For those looking for long, in depth, thesis-length previews, you will be disappointed with mine. If you want catechism-esque excellence MGoBlog-style, sorry. I got tired just reading that...there's no way in hell I could write 12 previews of that length, at least not before the earth crashes into the sun or Joe Paterno retires, whichever comes first. Anyway, I'm not going to tell you much more than the folks at Athlon's, Lindy's, Sporting News, CFN, and Phil Steele already have. Here, you'll get concise, knowledgeable (well, mostly), possibly witty, and very opinionated outlooks.

--I will be projecting each team's probable wins, losses, as well as some I-don't-have-a-clue games. Just because I predict Team A to knock off Team B does not mean that I think Team A is the flat-out better team. Other factors such as when the game is played, where the game is played, and who those teams face before and after, play a crucial role. And the accursed Thursday Night Factor is probably going to screw everything up anyway.

--Keep in mind that 50% of ACC clubs (Boston College, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Duke) are in Year 1 or Year 2 with their current coaching staffs. That's a hefty percentage of the league in which I can't use a lot of past performance as a solid basis for this year's outlook. Just covering my ass here if and when some of these previews turn out to be near-slanderous.

--I'm a Florida State grad and fan, so my 'Nole preview will likely have a much different tone and style than the others. That means I'll have more in-depth factoids about the Seminoles than you care to know, and I'll either be overly optimistic or comically despondent about FSU Football Version.2008.

--Forgive any seemingly dumb mistakes that may appear in a preview, such as listing a player as returning for this season, when in fact said player is out for the year because he accidentally severed an appendage in a freak human-skateboard mishap last week. I try to stay well informed on each program, but if I goof something up, let me know and please have mercy on my soul.

Extremely careless offseason activity

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hit or Miss: The ACC's 2008 Non-Conference Slate

Last fall, we saw the likes of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Virginia go on the road and get abused like rented inbred mules at Oklahoma, LSU, and Wyoming respectively, on national TV, in the first weeks of the season. The ACC's image never recovered in the following months and the league did itself no favors by going a lousy 2-6 in bowls.

2008 offers a major chance at redemption....or another chance to bury the league's reputation even further. Here's a week by week schedule of non-conference action for the league (listed by most-to-least intriguing):

AUG. 28-30, 2008
Clemson vs. Alabama (in Atlanta)
USC @ Virginia
N.C. State @ South Carolina
Wake Forest @ Baylor
Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina (in Charlotte)
Boston College vs. Kent State (in Cleveland)
James Madison @ Duke
Jacksonville State @ Georgia Tech
Delaware @ Maryland
Charleston Southern @ Miami
McNeese State @ North Carolina

SEPT. 6, 2008
Miami @ Florida
Ole Miss @ Wake Forest
Northwestern @ Duke
Maryland @ Middle Tennessee
The Citadel @ Clemson
Western Carolina @ Florida State
Furman @ Virginia Tech
Richmond @ Virginia
William & Mary @ N.C. State

SEPT. 11-13, 2008
California @ Maryland
North Carolina @ Rutgers
Virginia @ Connecticut
Navy @ Duke
Chattanooga @ Florida State

SEPT. 20, 2008
Miami @ Texas A&M
Mississippi State @ Georgia Tech
UCF @ Boston College
East Carolina @ N.C. State
Eastern Michigan @ Maryland
South Carolina State @ Clemson

SEPT. 27, 2008
Virginia Tech @ Nebraska
Florida State vs. Colorado (in Jacksonville)
USF @ N.C. State
Navy @ Wake Forest
Rhode Island @ Boston College

OCT. 4, 2008
Connecticut @ North Carolina
Western Kentucky @ Virginia Tech

OCT. 11, 2008
UCF @ Miami
Notre Dame @ North Carolina
East Carolina @ Virginia
Gardner-Webb @ Georgia Tech

OCT. 18, 2008
no out-of-conference match-ups

OCT. 25, 2008
Duke @ Vanderbilt

NOV. 1, 2008
no out-of-conference match-ups

NOV. 8, 2008
Notre Dame @ Boston College

NOV. 15 & NOV. 22, 2008
no out-of-conference match-ups

NOV. 29, 2008
Florida @ Florida State
Georgia Tech @ Georgia
South Carolina @ Clemson
Vanderbilt @ Wake Forest

Non-conference home games: 34
Non-conference road games: 10
Non-conference neutral site games: 4
vs. SEC: 10
vs. Big East: 4
vs. Big 12: 4
vs. Pac 10: 2
vs. Big 10: 1
vs. Notre Dame: 2
vs. non-BCS 1-A: 11
vs. 1-AA: 14

--More home games, less BCS competition, more-1AA foes...I don't have a problem with it at all; the ACC as a whole proved it couldn't handle the brutal non-conference gauntlet of '07 so it's best to take a step back and face an easier slate.
--Weeks 1 and 2 will likely set the tone in terms of the ACC's reputation this year.  Clemson-Bama, NC State-South Carolina, UVA-USC, and Miami-UF are four of the biggest non-conference games of the opening two weekends in all of college football.  Cavs-Trojans and Canes-Gators are unfortunate mismatches favoring the non-ACC clubs, so the ACC needs the more "even" matchups to turn out in it's favor.  And it goes without saying that the league cannot lose any other non-conference game in those two weekends, except for perhaps Duke-Northwestern.
--Although there's less total BCS opposition, the quality of the opposition is still pretty tough: Florida twice, USC, Georgia, USF, Cal, Alabama, Nebraska, etc.  But it's still easier than last year's slate.
--A quick glance of the games tells me that the ACC should win every 1-AA and non-BCS 1-A matchup; all but three of those games are home contests and there's no glaring mismatch (i.e. BYU vs. Duke).  That's 25 wins right there.  Going just 11-12 in the 23 BCS-opposition games would put the ACC at 36-12 in non-conference competition heading into the bowl season.   Anything less than that and the ACC's reputation likely stays in the crapper.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Out of Conference Report 2007 - Final Edition

For those who are new to this blog, I began a feature last season that would attempt to quantify the strength of each BCS league based on the quality of it's non-conference competition. Yes, I realize that football has far too many intangibles and such that can't be broken down into mere numbers. But I'm a stats guy, and if someone is going to tell me that the Big 10 or Big East or whoever is better than the ACC, I'd like to see some justification for that aside from half-informed fanboy drivel.

For better or worse, I've compiled a fairly detailed set of numbers that go a long way in showing where the conferences stack up against each other. One thing some of you may ask is....why not just list how one conference performed against each of the other five leagues last season and leave it at that? For starters, no conference played another league enough times to get an accurate feel. Secondly, even if there were enough games played to make a good determination, that only shows that one conference was better than another, not how one conference stacks up against the other five.

So, I hope that explains this whole endeavor. I have some ACC-centered commentary among all the numbers, but for the most part the stats speak for themselves. And away we go...

Final non-conference records among the BCS leagues, post-bowl craziness:
Big XII41-15.732
Big Ten38-14.731
Big East32-13.711
Pac 10
Based on general perception, I don't think it surprises anyone that the ACC is comfortably in last place in these standings, nor that the SEC is in first. But, as this feature has been pointing out throughout the 2007 season, there's more to out-of-conference competition than the above records.

To delve a little deeper, below is the combined record of all 1-A/FBS opposition faced by each BCS league in non-conference play:
Pac 10249-194.562
Big XII315-291.520
Big East252-243.509
Big Ten240-311.436
So while the ACC finished last in the win-loss standings, it appears that part of the reason was that they faced stronger out-of-conference opposition than everyone but the Pac 10. It's interesting to note that only the Big Ten had their non-conference opponents collectively finish below .500...and comfortably below .500.

Below illustrates the percentage of games each league played away from home in non-conference action:
Conf.Road Games/OOC GamesPct.
Big East21/4546.7%
Pac 10
Big Ten19/5236.5%

FYI: bowl games and out-of-conference neutral site games (i.e. Missouri-Illinois, Florida State-Alabama) were calculated as road games for both leagues.

One-half of the ACC's non-conference competition was played away from an ACC stadium. One half! Meanwhile, seven out of ten of the SEC's non-league games were played at home. The Big Ten wasn't partial to hitting the road either.

The following indicates the percentage of non-conference competition played against fellow BCS-league opponents:
Conf.BCS Foes/OOC GamesPct.
Pac 1015/3740.5%
Big East
Big Ten20/5238.5%
Big XII19/5733.3%
And each conference's record against other power-league competition:
Pac 109-6.600
Big Ten
Big East8-10.444
Furthermore, the following is the combined record of each league's BCS opposition:
Pac 10
Big East
Big Ten122-131.482
That's a lot of numbers to look at and gauge. What they tell me is that the ACC has to be applauded for the quality of non-conference opposition it faces. More than one-half of that competition is from the other five BCS leagues. On top of that, it's good competition (witness the .608 winning percentage of the opposition). Unfortunately, the league wasn't quite up to meeting the challenge, given the 13-16 record. I was a bit surprised to see that the Big East fared just a tad worse in the win-loss column. The SEC and Pac 10 appear to have fared the best in this category when you look at all of the numbers (and remember that the Pac 10 is the only league to play 9 conference games, so that's one less non-conference game for each member). Neither the Big East nor the Big Ten impress in this category in any aspect.

Each league's record against other 1-A/FBS foes...that is, the non-conference results against the poor schmoes from Conference USA, the MAC, the WAC, etc.:
Big Ten21-3.875
Big East18-3.857
Big XII24-5.828
Pac 1014-6.700
And, just for kicks, the combined record of the "other 1-A" opponents for each BCS league:
Pac 10149-115.564
Big East133-141.485
Big Ten118-180.396
That's too many losses by the ACC and Pac 10 given the number of games played, although the Pac 10 can be slightly forgiven given that they played fairly decent non-BCS competition. Overall though, the Big Ten's lack of quality non-conference opposition, whether BCS or non-BCS, is evident. Just .042 percentage points separate the winning percentage of the Big East opponents with the Big XII's opposition, while there's a drop of .047 points between the Big XII and Big Ten.

The percentage of non-conference games against 1-AA competition...
Conf.1-AA Foes/OOC GamesPct.
Big Ten8/5215.4%
Big XII8/5614.3%
Big East6/4513.3%
Pac 102/375.4%
This is one set of standings in which finishing at the top is not something to plaster all over the conference media guide. Nonetheless there's not a big difference between the SEC through the ACC. The Pac 10 deserves kudos for avoiding lower-division matchups whenever possible. If there has to be a big loser in this category, it's the Big Ten, since the six BCS leagues went 40-2 against 1-AA opponents in 2007....and the two losses were by Big Ten schools (Michigan and Minnesota).

So, what does all of this mean? A few things stand out to me: 1) The quality of the ACC's non-conference competition has clearly affected their won-loss record in non-conference play; 2) I'm surprised that the Big East wasn't more impressive in this category, given the better reputation they seem to hold with many in the media; 3) The SEC deserves it's props as the King of college football, but they play weaker non-conference competition than most, and they stay at home to do it; 4) The Pac 10 looks fairly impressive, but is a bit of an anomaly since they played much fewer non-conference games due to their round-robin league slate; 5) Nothing much stands out about the Big XII except that they could buck up on the number of BCS opponents they face outside of league play; 6) The Big Ten's non-conference opposition was generally horrible, and they didn't exactly set the world on fire against it.

All that said, this is how I'd rank the conferences for 2007:

1) SEC
2) Pac 10
3) Big XII
4) ACC
5) Big East
6) Big Ten

And there's a large gap between the Big XII and the ACC. Still, looking at the numbers, the ACC is better than it's national perception....and even better then the perception I had of it. The Big Ten enjoys far more favorable media coverage than the ACC (and Big East for that matter), but it's loftier tradition can only carry it so far. The Pac 10 is much better than "USC and the nine dwarves". And the SEC is the best...but not quite as dominant as advertised.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

...And We're Back

Well, back in the sense that I'm actually posting again. No real content to deliver this time, other than a loose schedule of what to expect in the coming weeks and months prior to Kickoff 2008.

The following is a loose and generic plan for ACCFR in the next few weeks:

--The final "Out of Conference Report" for '07, promised approximately six months ago and then abandoned because I was too depressed and disgusted at the ACC's bowl crapformance. I shall deliver this long awaited analysis this Friday or Saturday.

--Team previews: starting next week (July 7). Look for two per week. I won't reveal which team and when, in order to maintain a semblance of searing anticipation.

--Overall conference preview: mid-August.

--Random features and ramblings: starting next week.

My apologies for the lack of content over these last months...life has been wacky lately, and the burnout from 2007 has been longer and deeper than expected. But rest assured, I can feel the ol' juices flowing again.