ACC Football Midweek Links – Week One

Posted by Brandon Rink on August 31, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

The talk is almost over - football starts tomorrow! (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

Welcome to your weekly ACC football early preview filled with links from across the conference, which hopefully bridges your week to the weekend with good reads…

  • 09/01/10  Western Carolina Catamounts @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets / ESPN3 / 7:30 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: GT QB Tevin Washington vs. himself

Western Carolina was one of the worst FCS programs last season so I wouldn’t worry about a ‘James Madison’ here…so, this is a big confidence game for Tevin Washington, who hasn’t experienced much success so far on the field for the Jackets.

Quotable coach (GT, Paul Johnson): On facing on a lesser opponent to start – “Well I consider Western big and strong that’s where I went to school. I don’t think it makes any difference who you play. You’re concerned about yourself when you first open and I’m sure they’re going to be excited to come in here and play. It’s a big opportunity for them.”

Bringing The Noise: Western Carolina installing the Pistol offense. Georgia Tech unveiled their opening depth chart earlier this week.

Watch This Over…: Rat Busters (Animal Planet), what’s amazing about Animal Planet is that “Rat Busters” (a show about folks who exterminate rats) precedes “Hillbilly Handfishin.’ ” I have no further comment.

  • Wake Forest Demon Deacons @ Syracuse Orange / ESPN3 / 8:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Syracuse passing attack vs. Deacs’ secondary

Neither unit was all too impressive last season, but both could turn into strengths in 2011 with experience back – Wake Forest needs to put up points…and make some stops to pull off the road opener in the Carrier Dome.

Quotable coach (Wake Forest, Jim Grobe): On Tanner Price’s progression – “You know, I was a Tanner Price fan last year. I thought that, at times, our supporting cast was not very good, whether it be catching the football, running the ball, blocking or those types of things. Tanner has come a long way, as has the rest of the offense. I think that he is going to get better support out of the other 10 guys on the field, and I think that Tanner Price is a much better quarterback today than he was at this time last year.”

Bringing The Noise: Blogger So Dear breaks down the depth charts. Dan Collins has the latest out of practice for My Take on Wake.

Watch This Over…: UNLV at Wisconsin (ESPN), it’s the only BCS vs. BCS game Thursday night.

  • 09/03/10 Northwestern Wildcats @ Boston College Eagles / ESPNU / 12:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: BC’s RB corps vs. Wildcats’ rush defense

Northwestern finished 92nd nationally in rush defense last season – they return a majority of their starters. With Montel Harris out, sophomore RB Andre Williams has to have a big day, along with reserves like sophomore Rolandan inch.

Quotable coach (Boston College, Frank Spaziani): RB corps without Harris – “The loss of Montel [Harris] is certainly a big loss because of who he is – he’s closing in on the all-time ACC rushing record and the ACC Preseason Player of the Year. But we’re fortunate in that we have Andre Williams who stepped up and played for us. He’s a proven commodity.”

Bringing The Noise: BC corner Donnie Fletcher didn’t practice. Soaring to Glory breaks down the battle of offenses here. HD says the BC offense is ready to step up this season. BC Interruption talks depth chart. STG has the basics of the game and opening line.

Watch This Over…: Akron at Ohio State (ESPN), another BCS vs. BCS matchup bumped to a lower network down the Mickey Mouse chain because of one team involved.

  • Appalachian State Mountaineers @ Virginia Tech Hokies / ACC Network / 12:30 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Hokies vs. health

Yes, I know, James Madison, but this isn’t five days after a national TV loss – Virginia Tech needs to put up the points and get the starters out without injury.

Quotable coach (Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer): On Logan Thomas –  ”Just watching him, I think he’s going to do fine. He’s a smart guy and I don’t think the situation is going to be too big for him. I think the thing he knows is that he has good players around him. He just needs to manage the game and do what he does and everything will be fine, he’ll play well.”

Bringing The Noise: Gobbler Country has his pick and what to watch for. VT Effect scouts the Mountaineers. Gobbler Country with some depth chart notes going into App State. GC debuts the ‘matchups that matter’ with the Hokies talking Whip. And why not, more Gobbler Country - the game guide. Virginia Tech Fan has the keys to a Hokies win. Things to remember about Logan Thomas.

Watch This Over…: U.S. Open (CBS), do people watch tennis still?

  • LA Monroe Warhawks @ Florida State Seminoles / ESPNU / 3:30 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: ‘Noles vs. health

See Virginia Tech capsule – nothing to worry about here.

Quotable coach (FSU, Jimbo Fisher): Optimism on the season - “I feel confident in it and I believe in our guys, I really do. Hopefully, they understand living in the now and controlling what we can control and continue to do that consistently week after week. If something bad happens that we also don’t panic and go crazy. How you handle each situation each week is going to be key.”

Bringing The Noise: LA Monroe set to start two freshmen on the o-line. Tomahawk Nation says FSU’s D will be top 10 in the country this season. FSU RB Chris Thompson still listed atop the depth chart despite injury issues. Notes from Monday’s media session with Jimbo Fisher. The d-line should help out senior LB Nigel Bradham this season. FSU’s depth chart. Getting to know the Warhawks.

Watch This Over…: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (Comedy Central), you can flip to it in the commercials.

  • James Madison Dukes @ North Carolina Tar Heels/ RSN / 3:30 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: UNC RB Ryan Houston vs. rehab/rust

Houston hasn’t been on the field in two years and injured himself in the Heels’ spring game.

Quotable coach (UNC, Everett Withers): On Ryan Houston being back – “We just felt like going into the first ballgame with his experience, he should be the guy.  But we like to think we have three tailbacks, there is just one guy who has got to take the first snap.  But we like to consider Ryan, Gio [Bernard] and A.J. [Blue] as guys who are all going to play a lot for us at tailback.”

Bringing The Noise: Inside Carolina previews James Madison. Heels RBs Houston and Bernard getting back in action. Houston will start Saturday.

Watch This Over…: Millionaire Matchmaker, it’s probably a rerun anyway.

  • Troy Trojans @ Clemson Tigers / ESPN3 / 3:30 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Revamped Clemson rushing attack vs. Troy D

I’ve seen Troy as a sleeper pick here in some places, but with Andre Ellington back and an offense centered around a fast-paced ground scheme – just how effective the new Chad Morris offense is will be the difference between a blowout and a close game.

Quotable coach (Clemson, Dabo Swinney): On freshmen talent – “I think by mid-season, you’re going to see some of these young guys really emerge. They’re talented. We have to play somebody to see what we’ve accomplished in the off-season. Y’all are going to be excited.”

Bringing The Noise: Seldom Used Reserve breaks down the game and picks it. Clemson will be playing a number of freshmen come this Saturday. New Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is anxious and excited to see what his new offense will do against Troy. Shakin the Southland compares depth charts. Swinney likes coming into this season underrated.

Watch This Over…: LA Monroe at FSU (ESPNU), the ‘Noles will win going away – check out the fancy new offense of the Tigers in action on the Web against Troy.

  • William & Mary Tribe @ Virginia Cavaliers / ESPN3 / 6:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Virginia QB Michael Rocco vs. Tribe D

Virginia is improved, but the last time these two met, William & Mary won in Scott Stadium (26-14) – last year, Bill/Mary lost by four at UNC – there’s a bit of pressure on newly-crowned sophomore QB Michael Rocco to perform here.

Quotable coach (Virginia, Mike London): On new starting QB Rocco – “You haven’t seen a whole bunch of him.  He’s a true sophomore. He didn’t play many games last year. We’re trying to get some depth.  Again, I’ve said that Michael comes from a family of coaches.  He was a quarterback in high school, taught by his father.  Frank Rocco does a great job up there at that school. There’s a calmness about Michael, and there’s an understanding about the style of offense that we have, about how to distribute the ball to the different playmakers.  He’s a pocket guy that can make some of the reads.”

Bringing The Noise: Cavaliers Journal breaks down new ‘Hoos QB Michael Rocco. Despite a number of returning starters, Virginia will have a lot of youth on the field according to the depth chart.

Watch This Over…: Deep Blue Sea (G4), I think this movie is on a cable/dish network at some point at all hours 365 days a year.

  • Liberty Flames @ NC State Wolfpack / ESPN3 / 6:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: QB Mike Glennon’s stats vs. Russell Wilson’s stats from Thursday?

Eh, why not.

Quotable coach (NC State, Tom O’Brien): On scrutiny for Mike Glennon – “I think every quarterback goes through scrutiny. He’s ready. His brother has been through it and I think that gives him a huge advantage. He’s seen his brother perform in a situation at Virginia Tech and he’s been around the game, as I said I think he’s really excited and looking forward to the opportunity to prove his ability.”

Bringing The Noise: SFN has an interesting preview. Backing the Pack analyzes the depth chart.

Watch This Over…: NASCAR qualifying (Speed), I struggle to watch races, much less one car going around the track.

  • Richmond Spiders @ Duke Blue Devils / ESPN3 / 7:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: Duke vs. the scoreboard

The Blue Devils can send a message by the final score on this one against an FCS team in disarray after their coach recently had to resign.

Quotable coach (Duke, David Cutcliffe): Status of the program – “We are significantly deeper in depth, a significantly faster football team, and systematically way beyond where we were (in 2008). People know what they are doing in the kicking game, offensively and defensively. Now we have guys playing that really other than a few all they have ever known is our system.”

Bringing The Noise: Duke’s All-ACC WR duo has a nickname now – the ‘Killer V’s.’ Blue Devils haven’t forgot the last matchup with Richmond.

Watch This Over…: Jersey Shore, It’s a repeat – and I can say that I’ve never watched a full episode of the Jersey Shore.

  • 09/05/10 Miami Hurricanes @ Maryland Terrapins / ESPN / 8:00 p.m. ET

Must-See Matchup: MD rushing game vs. ‘Canes D

Maryland has a couple of rushers who can do some damage against a Miami d-line that’s hurting due to the NCAA ruling this week.

Quotable coach (Miami, Al Golden): On the mess of the last couple weeks – “Is it difficult? Sure it’s difficult. I’m not going to lie to you. Is it a distraction? Sure, it can be. But we’ve got to make sure we maintain our focus.”

Bringing The Noise: NCAA makes their ruling – not quite the death penalty, but it will effect this week. D1scourse breaks down the offensive and defensive depth charts. A Miami blog assesses the damage from injuries and suspensions.

Watch This Over…: Everything, it’s an early conference game – would be a good early win for either team.

ACC Roundtable: Preseason Edition

Posted by Brandon Rink on August 29, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

The ACC roundtable is back, just in time for game week one.

Hitting the top questions facing the ACC preseason – BC Interruption is hosting the ACC Roundtable this week and will have a wrap from all the bloggers involved on Thursday/Friday. My answers…

1. Most ACC programs are hitting the snooze button for the first two weeks of the season before hosting four preseason top 25 programs in week 3 — #1 Oklahoma, #18 Ohio State, #23 Auburn and #24 West Virginia. How’s week 3 in the ACC go down? Can the conference win a majority of those four high-profile games on Sept. 17?

Can’t we just focus on not losing to App. State or Troy or William & Mary first? No? Ok, well, winning the majority looks less likely with Miami’s recent turn of fortune. Preseason, I projected wins for Miami, Clemson and West Virginia in those games – now, I’m leaning more to a split, but FSU could come up big and take out Oklahoma too. It’s not a question of is the ACC able to pull off the majority of those games – it’s “Will they?” And I’m going with a split.

2. What’s the one game on the schedule that your respective fan bases have circled on this year’s sched? (Conference-wide bloggers — what are the handful of can’t miss games on the regular season sched?).

FSU-Oklahoma – HUGE game for the conference, but every out of conference game, from Auburn to Western Carolina, is big for an ACC that just hasn’t performed OOC. An FSU win against a likely No. 1 Sooners team will do wonders for the ACC’s standing in the conference landscape, but another James Madison or Richmond will just cut it back down.

3. Name one ACC program that’s not Florida State or Virginia Tech that has a legitimate shot at winning this year’s ACC football title. Your ACC’s football champion dark horse is:

It’s tough to narrow down just one out of a pretty unspectacular crew past the top two, but I’ll stick with UNC, a team I projected to win 10 games before they toppled the Butch Davis regime. They still have to go to Virginia Tech on a Thursday, but like ’09 when they won at Lane Stadium, the Heels take the trip to Blacksburg after the Hokies play Georgia Tech.

4. It’s been an offseason to forget with major NCAA infractions / investigations into the North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami programs. Can the conference as a whole move forward from this whole mess? How do you expect this all to shake out?

Yes…until the next scandal. We’re all at the mercy of Yahoo! and the NCAA at this point.

Georgia Tech will be fine – they need to be more worried about finding the next Josh Nesbitt and Demaryius Thomas.

UNC has their punishment coming down midseason, and where that program goes is partly from the ruling and also if the higher-ups in Chapel Hill keep Tar Heels’ football on the frontburner. The timing of the Butch Davis firing doesn’t exactly have me optimistic for the future of North Carolina football.

Miami, oh Miami, we have a lot sorting out to do before we know what exactly happens there. Doesn’t look good though.

5. You can also add conference realignment rumors to the 2011 offseason to forget. With A&M set to divorce the Big 12 and move to the SEC, rumors swirl about a 14th program coming from the ACC. Now’s the time to pledge your allegiance to John Swofford and the ACC. Or don’t. Either way, tell us what you think the endgame is for the next round of conference musical chairs.

I’m leaning towards less movement than more, and quite likely that the current ACC holds. Something has changed – it appears the conference commissioners are doing some backroom dealin’ to keep each other alive.

Texas A&M is headed to the SEC, which means somebody has to fill that 14th slot. If the SEC is staying out of current markets (i.e. SC, FL & GA), Virginia Tech makes a lot of sense, but it’s not as easy as with Texas A&M. The Hokies are happy in the ACC – they win – they dominate in football. They fit well in the conference. If the SEC does wish to pluck Virginia Tech, they’ll have to go full-court press, a far different strategy than with Texas A&M so far.

Their best bet is just moving the conference West with another Big XII team and moving the Bama schools to the SEC East.

6. Last one, and recycled from last year. 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?

This could be a special season for the ACC. If Virginia Tech and FSU are as good as advertised, the conference could get two BCS bowl bids for the first time. What I expect and what I’d be content and happy with are the same – an improved out of conference record and a BCS bowl win. Anything less is a disappointment.

Post-camp/Offseason ACC Blogger Power Poll

Posted by Brandon Rink on August 28, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Eight of these nine coaches will take the sidelines next weekend - that's right, football starts this week(!).(Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

Anything happen this offseason in the ACC? Judging where the ACC is at this point before we go into week one, which has one conference matchup (Miami/Maryland), two BCS v. BCS conference OOC games and a diet of cupcakes…

Rank….Team…………………………………2010 Record
1)….Virginia Tech Hokies…………………11-3 (9-0 ACC)
What else can you say? The ACC title trophy case is quite full at Virginia Tech, and with recent developments in the Coastal, their path to Charlotte seems pretty clear right now. The issue out of camp is offensive line injuries for the Hokies, but they have the month of September to get healthy before conference play starts with Clemson coming to Blacksburg on October 1st.

2)….Florida State Seminoles………….10-4 (6-2 ACC)
Preseason ACC favorite – no pressure, Jimbo Fisher. Oh, and No. 1 Oklahoma comes to your stadium in week three – a win there, jolts expectations through the roof for the ‘Noles. Can FSU live up to the hype? Remains to be seen (but they’re my pick for the ACC crown for the second year in a row).

T-3)….North Carolina State Wolfpack/Maryland Terrapins………..9-4 (5-3 ACC)
Hard to separate the Wolfpack and Terrapins – one had a offseason coaching change (MD) – the other lost an All-ACC QB to Wisconsin (NCSU). Both lost a lot in the receiver corps and the pressure’s on the running game to improve. And O’Brien and Edsall’s squads are playing the role of the dark horse contender in the Atlantic at this point with everybody picking FSU. These teams both tasted nine wins last season – can they get back there (or better) this season?

5)….North Carolina Tar Heels…………8-5 (4-4 ACC)
Honestly, I don’t know what to think about UNC at this point. Obviously, they had the shake up at the top with Butch Davis’ firing, and that’ll have some effect on this season. How much? That’s the trick. This is a talented team that didn’t wilt under last year’s pressure with players out left and right – now, they have to overcome another obstacle.

6)….Clemson Tigers………………….6-7 (4-4 ACC)
You can see it in their eyes – Clemson’s coaches are excited about what their new offense, filled with talented freshmen coming in, will do in ACC play. New OC Chad Morris has installed about 75 percent of his fast-paced, ‘smashmouth’ spread offense with a green QB in Tajh Boyd running the show, but most importantly, Clemson has a healthy Andre Ellington to carry the football. This is a big season for Dabo Swinney to show the Tigers’ program is going in the right direction.

7)….Boston College Eagles………………7-6 (4-4 ACC)
Another team with a new offensive coordinator here with Kevin Rogers, and the early returns are positive from the BC faithful. Fall camp wasn’t kind to the RB corps though with Montel Harris needing knee surgery that’ll keep him out for some of the early games, and No. 2 back Andre Williams spraining his ankle. At least initially, the pressure will be on sophomore QB Chase Rettig to perform against an underrated Northwestern team and a not exactly easy road trip to UCF in week two.

8)….Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets…………..6-7 (5-3 ACC)
Looks like junior QB Tevin Washington will be running the show come Thursday against Western Carolina after a bit of competition. Limiting turnovers and improving the passing game will be keys for Georgia Tech to get back on the championship level.

9)….Miami Hurricanes………………………7-6 (5-3 ACC)
It’s been a nightmare two weeks for the Miami program since the Yahoo! story dropped on Nevin Shapiro’s alleged grandiose dealings with ‘Canes players for several years. With several players’ eligibility in question, any success this season is in question – it’s just a mess of situation for Al Golden in his first year on the job.

10)….Duke Blue Devils…………………………3-9 (1-7 ACC)
Duke got back to work early this season with a February start to spring practice – you can tell, they think this is the season they can get to that elusive bowl, but David Cutcliffe said at ACC media days he’s all about building the program for the future. Some folks are declaring this is the year of the bowl for the Blue Devils, but with their schedule, 5 wins would be a good season.

11)….Virginia Cavaliers…………………..4-8 (1-7 ACC)
Mike London, in a short time, has given Virginia fans reasons for optimism, and with a no. of starters back on offense and defense + a easy non-conference schedule sets the mark for this season a bowl for the first time since 2007. Finally beating the team just above them in the rankings here would be a big step towards that goal.

12)….Wake Forest Demon Deacons…3-9 (1-7 ACC)
The Deacs are one of five teams from the ACC to end 2010 with a win (Vandy), and have a team stacked with returning starters. Add to that, they’re about as under the radar as it comes – a definite candidate for surprising some teams this season. But a schedule with both divisional winners and Notre Dame coming to BB&T will keep Wake bowl-less again most likely.