Some ACC football links for ya…

Posted by Brandon Rink on August 3, 2011 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Clemson RT Landon Walker was one of the first ACC o-line injuries this summer - he's expected to be back to start practice, but the same can't be said for two more conference tackles. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

With our ACC season preview series in the books, we’re in that time between media days and actual football.

Practices are starting day-by-day for the teams, and news like the DeChristopher injury at Virginia Tech and Henderson injury at Miami have come out.

I’ve been biding my time recently with some ACC position by position projections for my day job at OrangeandWhite.com.

One of the harder ones to rank was offensive lines, but I did some digging into the more advanced stats to do the projections:

But football stat geeks aren’t quite satisfied with that measure so you also have the sack rate, which measures the sacks versus passes attempted. Football Study Hall takes that a step further in adjusting it to the quality of defenses they faced.

Adjusted ACC sack rates – Rank nationally

Clemson – 14th

Miami – 18th

Virginia – 32nd

Maryland – 39th

Duke – 53rd

Florida State – 65th

NC State – 71st

Wake Forest – 82nd

Boston College – 87th

North Carolina – 88th

Georgia Tech – 95th

Virginia Tech – 98th

As you can see, the Tigers test even better in this category than the sacks allowed area – leading the ACC. The starkest difference between the sacks allowed and adjusted sack rate is with Georgia Tech, where they fall from 23rd to 95th.

Virginia Tech’s spot in last among the conference is something to watch this season with them being the third-most experienced team in the ACC.

FSU and Wake Forest are two others to keep an eye on with middle to lower tier rankings from last season and the size and experience they bring in 2011.

QBs are the ones who get all the pub, and in a year with several inexperienced ones taking over, Duke ACC media days rep Sean Renfree got the nod for top QB in the ACC:

Projecting the ACC QBs

1) Duke – Sean Renfree

Outlook: Renfree was one of the top passers in the league last year in David Cutcliffe’s air-it-out attack, but struggled with turnovers. He has the luxury of two former All-ACC wide receivers at his disposal this season.

2) FSU – E.J. Manuel

Outlook: Manuel has big-game experience – from the ACC Championship Game to two bowl wins, one over South Carolina last year, and West Virginia the year before. He’s a big player that can hurt you from the air and on the ground – coupled with the weapons he has at receiver and running back, he’ll have a strong season.

3) UNC – Bryn Renner

Outlook: This one is a little riskier, but Renner did have a strong spring and he has receivers galore to get big yardage nos.

4) Maryland – Danny O’Brien

Outlook: This is where the projection part comes in – I think O’Brien is one of the top two QBs in the ACC, but the 1,300+ receiving yards and 13 TDs he loses from Torrey Smith and Adrian Cannon moving on will be hard to replace. He’ll have a decent season, but nothing eye-popping.

5) Virginia Tech – Logan Thomas

Outlook: Thomas has had the preseason hype machine in his favor this offseason with multiple comparisons to Cam Newton with his size and the relative ease of the Hokies’ schedule ahead. He definitely has the receivers and backs around him to have some success this season.

Withers/Swinney comparisons

ACCSports.com’s Jim Young has a point when comparing UNC interim coach Everett Withers to Dabo Swinney’s situation back in 2008 – just because of the talent Butch Davis is leaving behind:

There have been a lot of Chicken Littles in Chapel Hill lately, convinced that the sky is about to fall on Kenan Stadium. Don’t get me wrong, the Tar Heels do faced an uncertain future … beyond 2011. But the players that will take the field this fall are the same players that were set to do so before Davis was fired. And the coaching staff is the same, except for Davis.

So it wouldn’t be surprising to see UNC win seven or eight games this season. Heck, they might win even more if Bryn Renner blossoms in his first season as the starting quarterback.

While that season would have generated a bunch of yawns if Davis was still the coach, it would earn Withers plenty of kudos for “keeping the team together” and “guiding UNC through adversity” and various other clichés.

We’ll see how impressive Withers is this season. I’d definitely lean towards a fresh start for 2012, but you can’t rule out the hiring from within angle if he has a good chemistry with the players, and more importantly, UNC wins.

Big East raiding the ACC? Wait, isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

I know I’m a little late on this, but your typical megaexpansion talks goes like this:

“OMG!!! The SEC is going to raid the ACC for team X and team Y (and maybe team Z if they really beg). I guess we’ll just get West Virginia or Pitt or whoever wants to leave the Big East.”

Well, they’re turning the tables on this mythical conversation:

The dream scenario would be the current league, plus TCU and BC and Maryland and if three schools of that quality were added, then a 12th school could be a Villanova or Central Florida and the conference would clearly be better. However, adding Villanova or Central Florida as the 10th school or adding both as the 10th and 11th schools would not add a thing to the conference and thus is not attractive to anyone at this point…

[C]onference officials hope they can create a bidding war and get a far more lucrative package from ESPN than the original offer from a few months ago (the hope is the deal reaches the $16 million per team per year range, which is about $3 million more per team than the ACC deal).

I’m sorry, but this isn’t happening. The BC/Big East split was pretty messy, and Maryland is a charter member of the ACC, that as Testudo Times references, showed very little interest in leaving during last year’s bonanza.

I loved TomahawkNation’s quips on it here and here though:

Big East wants Maryland and BC? Take them please.

Don’t replace them. Eliminate champ game, put 2 teams in BCS every year like Big10 did and new Big12 (OU/Tex) will

It’s an interesting way to think of it. Raiding BC and Maryland certainly wouldn’t be devastating to the ACC – really, it seems more likely it would spur on a counter-raid from the ACC that leaves neither side really winning.

How about we just see how the expansion from last year works out for the Big Ten, PAC-12 and Big XII before we get all crazy again? (Please?)


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