What happened against the SEC, BC-NC State firings, bowl projections

Posted by Brandon Rink on November 26, 2012 under ACC Football | Comments are off for this article

Terrorized by Jadeveon Clowney, Tajh Boyd was one of two ACC QBs who didn't perform against top-15 SEC teams (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com).

Recapping the weekend…

1) 29-of-57 (50.8 cmp. %) for 182.5 per game, 2 TDs, 5 INTs

That’s the combined line for ACC Player of the Year candidates Tajh Boyd and E.J. Manuel in rivalry losses to South Carolina and Florida this weekend, at home, respectively.

FSU and Clemson were minus-five in turnover margin combined.

The Seminoles’ vaunted D, often times in tough situations because of those turnovers, surrendered a new set of downs 53 percent of the time on third down and 5.2 yards per rush.

Clemson’s not-so-vaunted D gave up more yards to USC with a backup quarterback (Dylan Thompson) with a new defensive coordinator (Brent Venables), 444, than to Connor Shaw and the ‘Cocks in a 34-13 loss down in Columbia with a soon-to-be fired coordinator last season (Kevin Steele), 420.

Poor QB play – turnovers – struggling defenses…are not a winning formula in beating top-10 teams.

The ACC’s formerly top-10 squads were manhandled. Big. Egg. Laid.

Oh, and Georgia Tech and Wake Forest combined to lose by 66 points to Georgia and Vanderbilt.

Numb – ACC teams doing this just doesn’t surprise me or anyone any more. When the conference needed some sign that it actually played the game of football this season – the teams carrying the banner (and everyone else) failed. It’d be embarrassing if it wasn’t just so familiar.

2) BC, NC State take steps towards…something

BC finally fired Frank Spaziani, while State made a statement by canning Tom O’Brien.

More than likely, that’s it for head coaching changes in the ACC, but it is interesting that both came in the Atlantic.

Both new Eagles AD Brad Bates and Wolfpack AD Debbie Yow got a first-hand look at where their programs were compared to Clemson and FSU – teams that finished a full three games ahead of the rest in the division.

In Chestnut Hill, the decision was pretty easy, with Spaz in charge of the Eagles’ first double-digit loss season since 1978, but at State, Yow is setting a standard.

Tom O’Brien won games – beat the rival more often than not, and overall, made the program look respectable (basically, he was Tommy Bowden). But after six seasons, the divide in the Atlantic was getting wider, with Clemson and FSU racking up the recruiting scores, and recruiting is something Yow emphasized in the post-firing media session. You have to have players, and especially when two divisional teams are bringing in top-15 classes each year.

With good hires, each can make headway towards, in what we saw this weekend, an inconsistent top of the ACC.

For a good look at the State decision from a Wolfpack perspective, check this out.

3) Bowlpocalypse 2012: ACC Edition

The Orange Bowl could be a mess (or more than usual), with Kent State (11-1) having a chance to crack the top-16 and earn an automatic berth. FSU will be favored to play them, but both the ‘Noles and Jackets have some demons to shake headed to Charlotte.

Georgia Tech needs a NCAA waiver if they lose to make the Sun Bowl, which Paul Johnson has been assured by his AD will happen. Technically, it shouldn’t because there are enough actually bowl eligible teams, but who knows – UCLA did in the PAC-12 at 6-7 so the precedent has been set.

Here’s what we’re likely looking at if the favorites win this weekend…

Orange: FSU v. Rutgers
Chick-Fil-A: Clemson v. LSU
Russell Atlantic (Orlando): Virginia Tech v. Louisville
Sun: Georgia Tech v. USC
Belk: Duke v. Cincinnati
Music City: NC State v. Vanderbilt

Call me pessimistic, but we could be looking at a one-win ACC bowl season. #goacc

2012 ACC Football Preview Countdown – ACC Champion/Full Rundown

Posted by Brandon Rink on July 22, 2012 under ACC Football | Read the First Comment

The winner of Clemson-FSU has taken the Atlantic three years in a row, and 2012 should be no different. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com)

It’s almost here.

I’m on the road to Greensboro, NC for the ACC Football Kickoff. Can’t wait to talk ACC pigskin with all 12 coaches and a couple players from each school (and hundreds of media).

We’ve done the countdown for picks for both divisions, and here’s the rundown (preseason All-ACC ballot, week-by-week predictions, bowl projections and bonus thoughts on the 2012 season)…

Projected ACC Standings/Champion (Our ACC previews in the links)


1) Virginia Tech – 10-2 (6-2 ACC)
2) UNC – 8-4 (5-3 ACC)
3) Georgia Tech – 8-4 (5-3 ACC)
4) Virginia – 8-4 (5-3 ACC)
5) Miami – 3-9 (2-6)
6) Duke – 4-8 (1-7)


1) FSU – 11-1 (7-1 ACC)
2) Clemson – 10-2 (7-1 ACC)
3) NC State 8-4 (5-3 ACC)
4) Wake Forest 5-7 (2-6 ACC)
5) Boston College 4-8 (2-6 ACC)
6) Maryland 4-8 (1-7 ACC)

ACC Championship Pick: Florida State

Analysis: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is the motto of ACC prognosticators. Virginia Tech-FSU has been the ACC media pick five of seven years in the divisional era, with the Hokies the favorite in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and FSU in 2005 and 2011. They’ve actually met twice, splitting the series (2005 – FSU; 2010 – Virginia Tech).

This is a case of defense wins championships – FSU and Virginia Tech with the top-two defenses in the league. They also each draw their toughest divisional game at home (GT at VT; Clemson at FSU). And the QBs are similar as well, though we haven’t really seen FSU’s E.J. Manuel over a full season.

I like the Seminoles offense to be improved and the defense disruptive to take the ACC for the first time since that ’05 matchup.

Preseason All-ACC Ballot


QB: Tajh Boyd (Clemson)
RB: Giovani Bernard (UNC)
RB: Andre Ellington (Clemson)
WR: Sammy Watkins (Clemson)
WR: Conner Vernon (Duke)
TE: Matt Furstenburg (Maryland)
OT: Oday Aboushi (Virginia)
OG: Omoregie Uzzi (Georgia Tech)
C: Dalton Freeman (Clemson)
OG: Brandon Linder (Miami)
OT: James Hurst (UNC)
K: Dustin Hopkins (FSU)
Spec.: Sammy Watkins (Clemson)


DE: Brandon Jenkins (FSU)
DT: Timmy Jernigan (FSU)
DT: Joe Vellano (Maryland)
DE: James Gayle (Virginia Tech)
LB: Kevin Pierre-Louis (Boston College)
LB: Demetrius Hartsfield (Maryland)
LB: Steve Greer (Virginia)
CB: David Amerson (NC State)
S: LaMarcus Joyner (FSU)
S: Earl Wolff (NC State)
CB: Kyle Fuller (Virginia Tech)
P: Dalton Botts (Miami)

ACC Player of the Year: Sammy Watkins, Clemson. (Correctly picked David Wilson last year)

All-ACC By Team: BC (1), Clemson (5), Duke (1), Florida State (4), Georgia Tech (1), Maryland (2), Miami (2), UNC (2), NC State (2), Virginia (2), Virginia Tech (2), Wake Forest (0).

ACC Blogger writer J.J. Greenstein offers his 2012 ACC picks…

Atlantic Division

Florida State: 11-1 (7-1) You don’t just walk into a Thursday night game at Lane Stadium and get a win, ask any ACC team. That’s the game that could keep Florida State out of a national title game appearance. E.J. Manuel is now a senior and is ready to lead this team to its best finish since the Bowden days. I expect the home game against Clemson and the road match-up with NC State to provide the Seminoles with scares, but I see FSU taking the Atlantic Division.

Clemson: 10-2 (7-1) Clemson is looking to build upon last season’s 10-4 season while moving past a horrendous bowl performance against West Virginia. If they can beat Auburn in Atlanta to start the season (and I think they will), then Tajh Boyd should be able to carry the Tigers to another solid season. I only see the Tigers losing at Florida State, and of course, at home against South Carolina to end the season.

NC State: 10-2 (6-2) Sounds a little crazy, but if the Pack can beat Tennessee in Atlanta to open the season, they should be well on their way to their best season under head coach Tom O’Brien. Mike Glennon has all the tools to be an NFL quarterback and is working with a loaded running back committee. If someone steps up at linebacker for the defense, this could be a very scary team when considering that State probably has the best secondary in the ACC.  If things go right, a home game against Florida State right before the bye week and a road trip to Clemson are the only two games I see the Pack dropping.

Wake Forest: 7-5 (4-4) I like quarterback Tanner Price, he’s accurate and as a junior should have good command of the offense; but the Demon Deacons lose their leading rusher (Brandon Pendergrass) and leading receiver (Chris Givens). I see them retuning to a bowl game with wins over Liberty, North Carolina, Army, Duke, Maryland, Boston College, and Vanderbilt in the finale.

Boston College: 3-9 (1-7) Without running back Montel Harris, who was dismissed from the team, and their best defensive player Luke Kuechly, who went in the first round of the NFL Draft- last year’s 4-8 team is unlikely to improve. I only see one conference win (at home over Maryland) and non-conference wins over Maine and Army.

Maryland: 1-11 (0-8): Could this year’s squad be worse than last year’s 2-10 team? I think so. They don’t return their leading passer after Danny O’Brien transferred or their leading rusher in Davin Maggett so the offense will rely heavily on sophomore quarterback C.J. Brown who had under a 50% completion rate in the ten games he appeared in. Brown can be electric at times but I don’t see it being enough to amount to anything more than one win over William & Mary to open the season.

Coastal Division

Virginia Tech: 11-1 (7-1) Could this team go undefeated on the heels of losing last year’s Sugar Bowl? I think it’s certainly possible, but there are a couple of tests for Logan Thomas and the Hokies if that’s going to happen. I do think they will win a tough one at home against Florida State- with Lane Stadium being the difference. They have to go to Death Valley to play Clemson, who twice beat them easily last season and I see it happening again this season, but I still see the Hokies running away with the Coastal Division.

Virginia: 9-3 (6-2) The Cavaliers return quarterback Michael Rocco and leading rusher Perry Jones from last year’s 8-5 squad. head coach Mike London has a solid team that will be tested early in their non-conference schedule. I see them taking down Penn State at home but falling to a very good TCU team on the road. They have a fairly manageable ACC schedule but I don’t like their chances in road games at NC State and Virginia Tech. However, it should be a very solid year for the Wahoos.

Georgia Tech: 6-6 (4-4) The Yellow Jackets are always a tough team to predict because you never know who will show up and be able to shut down the option attack. Quarterback Tevin Washington returns to lead the offense. A tough schedule faces Tech with non-conference games against BYU and at Georgia; plus they must travel to Clemson as an ACC crossover game. I see wins over Presbyterian, Middle Tennessee, Boston College, Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke to get to a bowl game again this year.

Miami: 5-7 (4-4) The Hurricanes don’t return their leading passer (Jacory Harris), their leading rusher (Lamar Miller), or their leading receiver (Tommy Streeter) from last year’s 6-6 team. Ouch. Add in a tough non conference schedule, where I only see them winning one of four- this season could be a disaster. There are a few swing games on the schedule, though- North Carolina, NC State, and South Florida would fit into this category that could make or break the Hurricanes’ season. I’ll give them wins over Boston College, Bethune-Cookman, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Duke to end the season.

North Carolina: 5-7 (3-5) The real question will be, how motivated are the Tar Heels knowing there is no post-season this year due to NCAA sanctions? The talent is there but the learning curve for the Tar Heel offence under first-year coach Larry Fedora will be tough for quarterback Bryn Renner- who really isn’t equipped to play in the spread offence. Louisville presents a tough road non-conference test but the Heels got a manageable- but not easy, ACC cross-over schedule (at Wake Forest and NC State, home against Maryland). I see the Heels beating Elon, East Carolina, Idaho, Duke, and Maryland in the season finale.

Duke: 3-9 (0-8) Take out a road trip to Stanford and the Blue Devils have an easy non-conference schedule. Still, they should win three out of four to open the season. However, the ACC did them no favors- giving Duke cross-over games against at Wake Forest and Florida State with a home matchup with Clemson. Honestly, even with senior quarterback Sean Renfree returning I don’t see the Blue Devils winning an ACC game this season- the schedule is just not set up for them. Wins over Florida International, North Carolina Central, and Memphis should generate a buzz in Durham, but I the saga continues for Duke football.

ACC Championship

I expect Florida State to avenge their loss at Lane Stadium against Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game as the Seminoles head to a BCS bowl at 12-1 under Jimbo Fisher.

Brandon’s week by week game picks (Pick in bold)

Week one

Tennessee vs. NC State (Friday, Georgia Dome)
Auburn vs. Clemson (Georgia Dome)
Miami at Boston College
Florida International at Duke
Murray State at Florida State
William & Mary at Maryland
Elon at North Carolina
Richmond at Virginia
Liberty at Wake Forest
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech (Monday)

Week Two

Maine at Boston College
Ball State at Clemson
Duke at Stanford
Savannah State at Florida State
Presbyterian at Georgia Tech
Maryland at Temple
Miami at Kansas State
North Carolina at Wake Forest
NC State at Connecticut
Penn State at Virginia
Austin Peay at Virginia Tech

Week Three

Boston College at Northwestern
Furman at Clemson
North Carolina Central at Duke
Wake Forest at Florida State
Virginia at Georgia Tech
Connecticut at Maryland
Bethune-Cookman at Miami
North Carolina at Louisville
South Alabama at NC State
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh

Week Four

Memphis at Duke
Clemson at Florida State
Miami at Georgia Tech
Maryland at West Virginia
East Carolina at North Carolina
The Citadel at NC State
Virginia at TCU
Bowling Green at Virginia Tech
Army at Wake Forest

ACC Standing Through Four Weeks


1)      Florida State – 4-0 (2-0)
2)      Boston College – 2-1 (1-0)
3)      NC State – 3-1 (0-0)
4)      Maryland – 3-1 (0-0)
5)      Clemson – 3-1 (0-1)
6)      Wake Forest – 3-1 (0-1)


1)      Virginia Tech 4-0 (1-0)
2)      Georgia Tech – 3-1 (1-1)
3)      Duke – 3-1 (0-0)
4)      UNC – 2-2 (0-1)
5)      Virginia – 2-2 (0-1)
6)      Miami – 1-3 (0-2)

Week Five

Clemson at Boston College
Duke at Wake Forest
NC State at Miami
Florida State at South Florida
Middle Tennessee at Georgia Tech
Idaho at North Carolina
Louisiana Tech at Virginia
Virginia Tech at Cincinnati (FedEx Field)

Week Six

Miami at Notre Dame (Soldier Field)
Boston College at Army
Georgia Tech at Clemson
Virginia at Duke
Florida State at NC State
Wake Forest at Maryland
Virginia Tech at North Carolina

Week Seven

Boston College at Florida State
Duke at Virginia Tech
Maryland at Virginia
North Carolina at Miami

Week Eight

Boston College at Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech at Clemson
North Carolina at Duke
Florida State at Miami
NC State at Maryland
Wake Forest at Virginia

ACC Standings Through Week Eight


1)      Florida State – 8-0 (5-0)
2)      Clemson – 6-1 (3-1)
3)      NC State – 5-2 (2-1)
4)      Maryland – 5-3 (1-2)
5)      Boston College – 2-5 (1-3)
6)      Wake Forest – 3-4 (0-4)


1)      Virginia – 6-2 (3-1)
T-2) Virginia Tech – 6-2 (2-2)
T-2) UNC – 5-3 (2-2)
T-2) Georgia Tech – 5-2 (2-2)
5)      Duke – 4-4 (1-3)
6)      Miami – 2-6 (1-4)

Week Nine

Clemson at Wake Forest (Thursday)
BYU at Georgia Tech
Maryland at Boston College
Duke at Florida State
NC State at North Carolina

Week 10

Virginia Tech at Miami (Thursday)
Boston College at Wake Forest
Clemson at Duke
Georgia Tech at Maryland
Virginia at NC State

Week 11

Florida State at Virginia Tech (Thursday)
Notre Dame at Boston College
Maryland at Clemson
Georgia Tech at North Carolina
Miami at Virginia
Wake Forest at NC State

Week 12

North Carolina at Virginia (Thursday)
South Florida at Miami
Virginia Tech at Boston College
NC State at Clemson
Duke at Georgia Tech
Florida State at Maryland
Wake Forest at Notre Dame

ACC Standing Through 12 Weeks


1)      Florida State – 10-1 (7-1)
2)      Clemson – 10-1 (7-1)
3)      NC State – 7-4 (4-3)
4)      Wake Forest – 4-7 (2-6)
5)      Boston College – 4-7 (1-6)
6)      Maryand – 4-7 (1-6)


1)      Virginia Tech – 10-1 (6-1)
2)      Virginia – 7-4 (5-2)
3)      Georgia Tech – 8-3 (5-3)
4)      UNC – 7-4 (4-3)
5)      Duke – 4-7 (1-6)
6)      Miami – 2-9 (1-6)

Week 13

Boston College at NC State
South Carolina at Clemson
Miami at Duke
Florida at Florida State
Georgia Tech at Georgia
Maryland at North Carolina
Virginia at Virginia Tech
Vanderbilt at Wake Forest

Week 14

Projected ACC Title Game: Florida State vs. Virginia Tech (Bank of America Stadium)

Frank Beamer's Hokies could be playing in Atlanta for a third time in four seasons, if they're not a BCS at-large candidate again. (Pic per OrangeandWhite.com).

Bowl Projections!

Orange: Florida State
Chick-Fil-A: Virginia Tech
Russell Athletic (Orlando): Clemson
Sun Bowl: NC State
Belk: Georgia Tech
Music City: Virginia

Bonus Thoughts…

1) FSU a national championship contender? – Phil Steele thinks so, and both ACC Blogger writers have them going 12-1, with the only loss at Virginia Tech. It really depends on the climate at the top of college football this season. In 2011, the top-four was made up of an undefeated team (LSU) and three one-loss teams (Alabama, Oklahoma State and Stanford, in that order); 2010, three undefeated teams (Oregon, Auburn and TCU – TCU left out of the BCSNCG); 2009, four undefeated teams (Alabama and Texas in the BCSNCG; TCU and Cincinnati left out); 2008, nine teams either with one loss or undefeated (Oklahoma and Florida selected above Texas, USC, Alabama, Penn State, Utah, Texas Tech and Boise State). And 2007, the last time an ACC team was in the mix – two one-loss teams and six two-loss teams in contention (Ohio State, 11-1, and LSU, 11-2 selected – VT left out at 11-2 at third in the BCS standings). Obviously, an undefeated FSU is likely a lock for the title game, but at one-loss, they could be matching not-quite-the-strongest-of-schedules (two FCS opponents) against LSU, Alabama, USC, Oklahoma and whoever else contends this season. It’ll be close, but they’re just outside the top-two.

2) Back-to-back double BCS bids? – Yeah, so it didn’t quite work out last season, but really, the at-large ACC team (Virginia Tech) put on a pretty good show at the Sugar Bowl (23-20 OT loss to Michigan…also, it was a catch). I have three ACC teams in the double-digit win category this season, but the Hokies just slipped in last year because they hit the 11-win mark. I figure that is where an ACC at-large team would have to reside to earn the bid, which the Tigers and Hokies fall short on this season.

3) ACC not hitting its bowl marks, again – Last year, the dual BCS-bids left one spot open and Miami choosing not to bowl the other. Unless the bottom-half of the Atlantic is better than I expect, Shreveport, D.C. and San Francisco will be looking elsewhere for participants. Another factor is UNC’s postseason ban, as they would’ve been a lock in my eyes.

4) Who’s on the hot seat? – Obviously, Randy Edsall and Frank Spaziani – at least from a fan perspective. Both are breaking in new coordinators, which may buy them some time if they actually show improvement. Edsall could be losing the AD who hired him, obviously problematic. Either way, the two won’t turn it around in a season – Edsall and Spaziani just at least need to show the ship headed in the right direction.

5) Oh, Miami and Al Golden needs its own category – Yahoo! Sports really, really seems to not like you, Miami. It’s way too early to pass judgment and Al Golden says “inferences and suggestions…that (his) conduct was anything but ethical are simply false,” but the problem is the ‘Canes are buried in a PR nightmare once again right before the season. Golden will field basically nothing but questions tied to the report at Monday’s ACC Kickoff sessions. True or not, this sets Miami back again, burying Golden and co. in what was already an uphill battle to begin with. But I’d caution for the court of public opinion to drop the hammer on Miami – portions of Yahoo’s initial report turned out have holes in it, and lest we forget, the main source was an egomaniacal, vengeful criminal. We’ll see how it plays out.

Your Turn…

2012 ACC Preview: Who wins the ACC?

  • Clemson (81%, 405 Votes)
  • Miami (8%, 40 Votes)
  • Florida State (4%, 19 Votes)
  • Virginia Tech (3%, 15 Votes)
  • NC State (2%, 8 Votes)
  • Virginia (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Duke (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Maryland (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Georgia Tech (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Wake Forest (0%, 1 Votes)
  • UNC (0%, 0 Votes)
  • BC (-2%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 503

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