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Midseason Report - ACC

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 10, 2006


The best ACC players, coaches, surprises of the midseason and more.


Offensive Player of the Midseason
Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech
Defensive Player of the Midseason
– Brandon Meriweather, S Miami

Ten best ACC players in the first half of the season
1. Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech
2. James Davis, RB Clemson
3. Brandon Meriweather, S Miami
4. Matt Ryan, QB Boston College
5. Buster Davis, LB Florida State
6. Gaines Adams, DE Clemson
7. Phillip Wheeler, LB Georgia Tech
8. Branden Ore, RB Virginia Tech
9. Duane Coleman, DB Clemson
10. Jon Abbate, LB Wake Forest

Biggest Surprise – NC State QB Daniel Evans
NC State was quickly going into the tank after a horrible home loss to Akron and a lifeless 37-17 blasting at Southern Miss. With Boston College and Florida State ahead, the prospects for a decent season appeared slim. Then, with one big pass, the Wolfpack got into the ACC race. Down five with 46 left and starting on his own 28, Evans found Anthony Hill for an 18 yard pass, threw a 20 yard pass to John Dunlap to get to the BC 34, and then with five seconds to play, found Dunlap in the end zone for a touchdown. He then helped to spark the Pack to a win over Florida State for a stunning 2-0 ACC record.  

Biggest Disappointment – (tie) Miami and Florida State 
These two have enough talent to be playing for the national title, but they’re not even going to be in the ACC championship game without a miracle. Florida State hasn’t developed a consistent running game for the second straight year, and injuries on defense have been a problem. Miami lost its mojo in a loss to Louisville and haven’t shown nearly enough on offense to suggest a turnaround can be possible.

The ACC Champion will be ... Clemson over Georgia Tech
Don’t dismiss Miami and Virginia Tech quite yet, and NC State and Boston College might be players, but Clemson and Georgia Tech have been the two best ACC teams over the first half of the season and should fight their way into the championship. We’ll get a preview when the two play on October 21st.

Best Game of the First Half 
Boston College 34 ... Clemson 33 2OT … Sept. 9
Boston College got a blocked extra point from Jolonn Dunbar in the second overtime and then won it on a six-yard touchdown run from L.V. Whitworth and an Ryan Ohliger extra point. Will Proctor threw two touchdown passes including one on a short throw to C.J. Spiller who took it 82 yards for a score in the second quarter to put the Tigers up 17-7. Jeff Smith kept the Eagles in the game with three long kick returns highlighted by a 96-yard return for a score to open the second half and tie it at 17. Clemson took the lead in the fourth quarter on a one-yard James Davis scoring run, but BC was able to answer with less than five minutes to play on a one-yard Matt Ryan touchdown run following a Clemson interception that was called back after a review. The two traded field goals in the first overtime, and then Davis ran it in from a yard out before the fateful extra point attempt.
Player of the game ... Boston College kickoff returner Jeff Smith returned five kicks for 213 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a pass for seven yards.
Stat Leaders: Boston College - Passing: Matt Ryan, 22-38, 212 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: L.V. Whitworth, 19-78, 1 TD. Receiving: Kevin Challenger, 6-73, 1 TD
Clemson - Passing: Will Proctor, 25-40, 343 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
James Davis, 24-93, 2 TD. Receiving: Chansi Stuckey, 11-124
Second Best Game
– Clemson 27 ... Florida State 20, Sept. 16
Third Best Game – NC State 17 ... Boston College 15, Sept. 23

Worst Game of the First Half 
Clemson 52 ... North Carolina 7, Sept. 23
Clemson's James Davis ran for four touchdowns and 96 of the team's 327 rushing yards on the way to the blowout win. The Tigers jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on two Davis one-yard scoring runs and a seven-yard dash from C.J. Spiller. North Carolina's offense went nowhere, but it was the run defense that was the issue from start to third quarter as Clemson finished with seven rushing touchdowns on the way to a 52-0 lead. Cam Sexton ran for a four-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for North Carolina's only points.

Coach of the Midseason Jim Grobe, Wake Forest
It’s not like Wake Forest is knee-deep in talent just waiting in the wings ready to roll, but Grobe has been able to overcome the loss of the starting quarterback and running back and still get off to a hot start and in a position to go to a solid bowl game.

Player who'll step up in the second half Javarris James, RB Miami
He’s just starting to warm up. The future of the Miami offense is now the present needing to carry the Canes if there’ll be any hopes of an ACC title season.    

Best performance so far - Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-27 win over Virginia Tech.

Top Freshman – Clemson WR Jacoby Ford
While he hasn’t done much yet as a receiver or a runner, he’s been a terror as a return man leading the ACC in kickoff returns and averaging 16.75 yards per punt return.

Coach who needs to have a big second half – Miami’s Larry Coker
Anything less than an ACC title will likely mean a regime change this off-season. The Hurricanes simply aren’t playing up to Hurricane standards.

Player who needs to have a big second half Florida State QB Drew Weatherford
It’s obvious the Seminoles aren’t going to have a running game for the second straight season, so if Weatherford isn’t razor sharp, the bad Seminole season will turn into an epic disaster.  


Best remaining conference game – Georgia Tech at Clemson, Oct. 21
It might be a preview of the ACC title game, but each has nasty other tests ahead. However, so far, these two overcame their biggest division hurdles with Georgia Tech winning at Virginia Tech and Clemson winning at Florida State.

Team Mid-Season MVPs & Predictions   
Atlantic

Boston College – QB Matt Ryan
predicted wins: at Florida State, Buffalo, at Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland
predicted losses: Virginia Tech, at Miami
predicted record: 9-3 

Clemson – RB James Davis
predicted wins: Temple, Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, South Carolina
predicted losses: at Virginia Tech 
predicted record: 10-2 

Florida St – LB Buster Davis
predicted wins: at Duke, at Maryland, Virginia, Wake Forest, Western Michigan
predicted losses: Boston College, Florida 
predicted record: 8-4 

Maryland – LB Wesley Jefferson
predicted wins: at Virginia, NC State, Wake Forest
predicted losses: Florida State, at Clemson, Miami, at Boston College 
predicted record: 6-6

NC State – QB Daniel Evans
predicted wins: at Virginia, at North Carolina, East Carolina
predicted losses: Wake Forest, at Maryland, Georgia Tech, at Clemson 
predicted record: 6-6

Wake Forest – LB Jon Abbate
predicted wins: at NC State, at North Carolina
predicted losses: Boston College, at Florida State, Virginia Tech, at Maryland 
predicted record: 7-5


Coastal
Duke – CB John Talley
predicted wins: None
predicted losses: Florida State, Miami, Vanderbilt, Navy, at Boston College, at Georgia Tech, North Carolina 
predicted record: 0-12

Georgia Tech – WR Calvin Johnson
predicted wins: Miami, at NC State, at North Carolina, Duke
predicted losses: at Clemson
, at Georgia 
predicted record: 9-3

Miami – S Brandon Meriweather
predicted wins: FIU, at Duke, Virginia Tech, at Maryland, at Virginia, Boston College
predicted losses: at Georgia
Tech
predicted record: 9-3

North Carolina – LB Larry Edwards
predicted wins: South Florida, at Duke
predicted losses: at Virginia, Wake Forest, at Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, NC State 
predicted record: 3-9

Virginia – DB Marcus Hamilton
predicted wins: North Carolina
predicted losses: Maryland, NC State, at Florida State, Miami, at Virginia Tech 
predicted record: 3-9

Virginia Tech – RB Branden Ore
predicted wins: at Boston College, Southern Miss, Clemson, Kent State, at Wake Forest, Virginia
predicted losses: at Miami 
predicted record: 10-2