We're another day closer to football.
We kicked off the poll last week with our preseason rankings of the ACC – now, we’ve partnered with ACC Rivals‘ wealth of ACC bloggers for a true poll of rankings/thoughts on ACC football. Check out the first installment (excerpt below)!
Game. Week. ACC football kicks off Thursday and continues all the way through Labor Day in week one. The combined forces of my site at ACCBlogger.com and the authors here on ACC Rivals will rank the ACC with analysis each week - here’s how the panel of ACC bloggers see the conference shaping up preseason…
Rank) Team……………Poll AVG
1) Virginia Tech Hokies – 1.5
Glass ½ Full: You won’t find a more consistent program in the country and with Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans and Ryan Williams returning the Hokies will look to run right through the ACC on their way to a conference championship. Questions marks loom on defense as there is a good amount of youth and inexperience all around but Beamer and his staff simply know how to get the most out of their players and win games. – Daniel Thompson.
Glass ½ Empty: As much as it pains us to say, they will be good. With as many good teams in the Coastal Division, they probably won’t win the Division, but they have one hell of an offense. The problem is along the O-Line and the defensive front 7, with both being pretty thin. Foster will coach them up early, but if the injury bug starts to hit, they could be in for a longer season than most think.- Lambeth Field
2) Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets – 2.8
Glass ½ Full: Four NFL draft picks are gone but no worries. Joshua Nesbitt is back and in the third year of Paul Johnson’s offense, it should get more efficient. The defense can’t be any worse now that Al Groh is the new defensive coordinator. – Jordan
Glass ½ Empty: Never doubt the triple option. They showed last year that they can control a game on the ground and burn teams with the option pass. The knock on this team is the switch to 3-4. Groh has already said that they don’t have the players for it yet and the learning curve on the defense is at least a year. – Lambeth Field. <Continue reading the rest on ACC Rivals>
The actual ACC blogger roundtable - pretty sweet, huh?
From Old Virginia hosts the preseason edition of the ACC football roundtable that includes many fine ACC team and conference bloggers (he’ll have a recap up later this week). You’ll notice that most of the questions are geared towards teams – so I had to improvise a bit. Read on…
1. At UVA we have made wholesale changes to everything this past offseason: the coaching staff, the offense, the defense, the uniforms, even the color of the equipment shed. What change or changes on your own team are you most looking forward to watching play out on the field this season?
The Seminoles’ change from the CEO to more a hands-on approach from Bowden to Fisher, and maybe even more key for FSU, the shift on defense from Mickey Andrews to Mark Stoops. At FSU, Fisher isn’t about to get a pass for being in his first year – it’s ACC title or bust in Tallahassee. In a wide-open Atlantic, coaching will be huge in finishing first or towards the middle of the pack.
2. Who is the next ACC coach to get fired, and when? And if you think that’s your own coach, who would you like to see replace him?
Well, this is an interesting question now, isn’t it? With Davis in a heap of trouble, his situation comes to mind first – so many factors involved – “Carolina way” image, possibility of losing players due to situations out of his control, and just having to steer the ship in such troubled waters. He got the vote of confidence from his employers so we’ll see there.
UNC mess aside, Ralph Friedgen is probably the guy most in trouble. The Terps turn in another sub-.500 record and he’s in trouble. Honestly, I think everyone survives for on-field results in 2010 so it may be 2011 for Friedgen.
3. How excited are you about your team’s out-of-conference lineup this year? How would you grade your program overall when it comes to scheduling OOC games?
The first couple weeks could be really good. There’s LSU, Boise State, Navy, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Auburn all highlighting the early slate.
The ACC gets an average grade overall though. Sure, there are some heavy-hitters in the early season schedule and among the rivalry tilts, but FCS newbie Presbyterian also makes it on there 2 or 3 times, BC has such heavyweights as Weber and Kent State, and a few average to bad FBS teams also on the ACC schedule with Army, Kansas, and East Carolina.
4. What one player on your schedule (not in the ACC overall – your team’s schedule only, and it doesn’t have to be ACC) are you most worried will cause you pain and grief this year?
From an OOC standpoint, Kellen Moore’s the guy. Make no mistake, no matter how much street cred the Broncos have built up to now – the ACC will catch major heat for dropping a game to a member of whichever conference out West has Boise. Moore is a legit Heisman candidate with a solid o-line to keep him upright and the weapons to pick apart the Hokies’ D.
5. Conversely, provide us a little bulletin board material. Which team on your calendar are you absolutely positive that not only will you stomp their guts to China, but you’ll gain the warmest, fuzziest feeling of immense satisfaction out of doing it?
6. It’s been a loony offseason in the conference membership department, but the ACC sat out this round. Do you think the ACC is set at 12 teams for the long term? If not, which team(s) is/are most likely to be added, and which would you like to see?
I think as long as the ESPN keeps paying and strong academics stay an integral part of many ACC schools – the ACC does stay at 12 for the long term. The ACC schools demonstrated in the crazy offseason that they weren’t all that eager to make the jump – and other conferences (*cough*SEC*cough*) aren’t jumping at the chance to grab them either.
7. Standard question for the finish: a) What do you expect out of your team, b) What kind of season would keep you content and happy, c) What kind of season would be a disappointment?
I expect three 10+ win teams and six teams in the final top 25 – and I’d be disappointed with much less with all the talent stockpiled in the ACC. The time is now for the conference to make an impact in the BCS world.
Feel free to discuss/answer the Q’s yourself about your teams below…
It’s just bad, for UNC. Most of the big news broke from ESPN’s Joe Schad at first – and per usual, everybody got sources afterwards:
schadjoe update: UNC is investigating if approximately 9 players including standouts had papers written by a former tutor
schadjoe update: UNC put standout players on scout team on Wednesday as UNC inquiry expands beyond agents and parties
schadjoe update: Among the players involved in UNC’s tutor investigation: Marvin Austin, Bruce Carter and Robert Quinn
schadjoe update: The tutor in the middle of UNC’s academic impropriety allegations was also Butch Davis’ nanny
The last update really circled the Twitterverse, but was only half-true as the tutor was an academic advisor to his son – not a nanny. Then, the reports continued – this time from CBS Sports’ Will Brinson:
A source has also told CBSSports.com that two players, cornerbacks Charles Brown and Kendrick Burney, have already been kicked off of the football team.
Of course, Kendric Burney and UNC message board land dispute this. The Brown dismissal has been confirmed elsewhere, but still, nothing definitive has come out yet.
And finally, we had the vaunted 7:30 press conference where we found out that:
- The “two prong” investigation could last into the season.
- The tutor in question was employed by Butch Davis and the UNC athletic department at some point.
- Players have been demoted to scout teams in preparation for missing them against LSU and possibly beyond.
- The agent investigation led to the tutor investigation.
- And like everybody has seemed to point out, Davis seemed a little pale.
What They’re Saying Today
In regards to the number of players involved, Inside Carolina’s Greg Barnes said per Joe Ovies:
Barnes on @620TheBuzz – “think that 12 is probably closer ball park, dont think we are at that level yet. 6 a little conservative”
Got to listen to the ACC Sports Journal’s Dave Glenn on WCCP 104.9 out of SC and here’s what he said:
- Heard that up to ten players involved in the academic investigation.
- The standard university imposed suspension of players offered to the NCAA is usually a 1/3 of the season. The NCAA then deems whether or not that is the proper punishment and it goes from there.
- He also mentioned possible in-house punishments at UNC that include a possible semester suspension which would be sure to affect this process as well.
What I’m Thinking
It’s just a mess – from the Sturdivant marijuana charge to Austin/Little with agents to multiple players involved in alleged academic fraud – a mess. I don’t think it’s overstatement to say the LSU game is sunk right now – way too much turmoil, and not enough football going on at UNC. The “lack of institutional control” bomb was dropped at the press conference by the News & Observer’s Giglio – Tar Heels have to be dreading the NCAA putting that in any report involved here. Football-wise, the big thing is Davis doesn’t know what players he will have yet – and it could be up to gameday that he does find out. One thing I wonder is why we’re only talking defensive players. Were the offensive players not offered this supposed deal or could they have been smart enough to say no – who knows.
Obviously, at UNC, protecting the academic image is huge and may very well affect Davis’ employment, but let’s look at the UNC/ACC impact in football:
- Let’s say UNC gets the least worst case scenario and it’s a 1/3 year suspension for most of the defense, and possibly a one game suspension for Little – whether UNC even bowls or not comes down to when the suspension is announced. If they are suspended in the next week, that’s crucial games with LSU, Georgia Tech, and at Rutgers – the further you go, UNC has East Carolina, Clemson, Virginia, Miami in the middle of the season. Even if they get everybody back at some point, how long does it take for them to gel (do they even at all)?
- Austin is the one guy with a foot in both prongs of the investigation reportedly – is all this enough to get him kicked off the team entirely? He sure seems to have found a lot of trouble in his time at UNC.
- As for the ACC race as a whole, I crossed off UNC awhile ago, but those still holding on, are jumping off the bandwagon in droves. For the contenders but not favorites such as Georgia Tech and Clemson, their trips to UNC just got a little easier it seems. The Heels may have a full squad by November, but the Hokies have to like these developments too on the football field and recruiting element.
- As for the ACC strength discussion and how fans should feel about this, I saw this discussion going back and forth on Twitter as to whether opposing fans should really want something this – as it could knock the ACC down a notch in strength. For me, I’m all for UNC beating LSU and being a strong contender in the Coastal for this site’s purpose, but if I’m in Clemson, Atlanta, Blacksburg, Raliegh, Tallahassee, and any other ACC school city playing UNC – their weakness is your gain. On the football field and recruiting, this helps your individual team – ultimately, the ACC isn’t really in a position to sell itself as a conference yet anyway, so sell your team and they benefit from this. At the very least, the other 11 ACC school fans shouldn’t be all that concerned about this in relation to conference strength.
So, we’re a little early, but you have to ask…