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.