2007 CFN ACC Preview
Offenses, Defenses & Depth Charts
Georgia Tech |
North Carolina |
CFN All-ACC Team &
Top 30 Players
- ACC Team-by-Team
- ACC Unit
- ACC Schedules &
Yes, the Demon Deacons were good and yes they found ways to win with
timely play, a never-say-die attitude, and a fantastic offensive line
that stood on its head, but let’s be honest here; if they’re winning the
ACC title, the league is down.
When a league’s two power programs (Miami and Florida State) are each
mediocre also-rans, most will perceive the conference won’t be quite up
to snuff. While that isn’t always the case, it didn’t help last season
that Clemson, everyone’s mid-season darling, collapsed, Virginia Tech’s
brain went bye-bye in critical back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and
Boston College, BC lost to NC State on a last season miracle pass and to
Wake Forest after dominating the entire game, and the Yellow Jackets,
well, they had Reggie Ball at quarterback.
While this won’t be a big bounce-back year, it’ll certainly be
interesting with the Hokies getting everyone back from the nation’s
number one defense, Georgia Tech as better than it’s been in years, even
with Calvin Johnson jetting early to the big league, and Maryland loaded
for a good run after winning nine games. Of course, the national
perception of the league all depends on how good the two Sunshine State
Miami and Florida State will always have as much talent and athleticism
as anyone in the country, and now the two superpowers hope and upgrade
in coaching will be the difference to get them out of the doldrums. The
Hurricanes don’t need Randy Shannon to restore “Da U” attitude, they
need him to coach the team better than it was in the final years under
Larry Coker. The Seminoles finally acknowledged what everyone else
already knew; Jeff Bowden was dragging down the offense. New offensive
coordinator Jimbo Fisher is a significant upgrade, to go along with four
other new assistants.
Even if the Canes and Noles are close to being national players again,
the ACC still might not be back to where conference fans hoped it would
be after the Big East raid of a few years ago. However, it’s going to be
a terrific, wide-open season with several teams legitimately in the hunt
for the title. And yeah, that might even include Wake Forest.
Team That'll Surprise
Maryland – The Terps have the All-Measurables team. Everyone can run,
everyone can lift, everyone looks the part of what top football talents
should look like. Literally, they’re a living, breathing Under Armor ad.
If that potential turns into production, the schedule works out just
well enough to pull off the Atlantic title.
Team That'll Disappoint
Wake Forest – Disappoint isn’t exactly the right word. The Demon Deacons
won’t be expected to repeat as champions, and they might have a hard
time even getting back to a bowl game. They somehow got it done last
year with flawless special teams, the league’s most efficient passing
game, and most importantly, by always, always, always winning the
turnover battle. They won’t finish sixth in the nation in turnover
margin again, and that’ll be the difference.
Offensive Player of the Year
QB Matt Ryan, Sr. Boston College – Ryan led the ACC in total offense
last season, and now he should shine even brighter under new head coach
Jeff Jagodzinski, who spent last year with the Green Bay Packers
coaching Brett Favre. Ryan isn’t Favre, but he will be the difference
maker who makes a good BC team great.
Defensive Player of the Year
LB Vince Hall, Sr. Virginia Tech – You might have to make this a
co-Defensive Player of the Year award along with Hall’s running mate,
Xavier Adibi. The two stars of the nation’s best defense should dominate
once again leading a loaded team that’ll be the favorite to win the ACC
title from the start.
5 Big-Time Players Who Deserve a Bigger Spotlight ...
1. LB Philip Wheeler, Sr. Georgia Tech
2. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Soph. Maryland
3. DT B.J. Raji, Sr. Boston College
4. CB Brandon Flowers, Jr. Virginia Tech
5. C Steve Justice, Sr. Wake Forest
Coach on the Hot Seat
Bowden, Florida State – While Bowden will never be fired, even if he
goes 0-12, but he’s only had one ten-win season since losing the 2000
national championship to Oklahoma. Success has spoiled the fan base, and
now they’re hoping for big results, or at least an ACC title, after all
the new coaching changes.
5 Non-Conference Games the ACC had better take, very, very seriously
1. Florida State at Colorado, Sept. 15
2. Virginia at Wyoming, Sept. 1
3. North Carolina at East Carolina, Sept. 8
4. Wake Forest at Navy, Oct. 20
5. Central Michigan at Clemson, Oct. 20
5 Best Pro Prospects
1. DE Calais Campbell, Jr. Miami
2. OT Barry Richardson, Sr. Clemson
3. S Kenny Phillips, Jr. Miami
4. DE Andre Fluellen Florida State
5. WR Greg Carr, Jr. Florida State
5 Biggest Shoes to Fill
1. James Johnson for Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech
2. Joe Birdsong or Jeff Griffin for Steve Vallos, OT Wake Forest
3. Kwam Williams for Gaines Adams, DE Clemson
4. Recardo Wright for Buster Davis, LB Florida State
5. Tom Anevski for Josh Beekman, OG Boston College
5 Bold Predictions
will win the Atlantic. It’ll take a tough win over Georgia Tech from the
Coastal Division to help make it happen, but as long it can come up with
wins over Clemson and Boston College, it should be able to weather a
loss at Florida State.
2. Duke will go winless … again. Even though the young team will be
better and will throw a big scare into at least two of the ACC powers,
Duke will go without a win. The best chances are against Connecticut and
at Navy in the non-conference schedule, and against Wake Forest and at
North Carolina in league play.
3. At least one Bowden won’t be the head coach of an ACC program next
year at this time. Bobby will never be forced out, but with three road
games in the final four at Boston College, Virginia Tech and Florida,
along with a home game against Maryland, the fans will be grouchy. Tommy
has to keep Clemson in the Atlantic race until the end and can’t lose at
4. The most successful first new head coach will be Jeff Jagodzinski. Of
the four programs starting a new era, Jagodzinski will keep Boston
College among the league’s most consistently successful teams helped by
QB Matt Ryan along with a solid defense.
5. Virginia will start hot, but will completely collapse over the second
half of the year. Duke, North Carolina, Middle Tennessee and Connecticut
will give Cavalier fans a false hope for a hot season. Over the final
five games, Virginia plays at Maryland, at NC State, Wake Forest, at
Miami, and Virginia Tech. It’ll lose four of the five.
What Will Happen
Tech will beat Maryland in the ACC title game, but it’ll need help to
get there after losing to Georgia Tech on November 1st.
- The Terps will win the Atlantic, but will lose to Boston College and
Florida State late in the year to make it interesting. October home wins
over Georgia Tech and Clemson will save the day.
- Miami will reestablish its dominance at home, but will lose on the
road to Florida State, Virginia Tech and Boston College to temper an
otherwise good first year for Randy Shannon.
- North Carolina and Duke will be better than their final records. The
Tar Heels will be too young to make major strides right away under Butch
- Virginia will struggle just to get to 6-6. The loss of top receiver
Kevin Ogletree to a season-ending knee injury will kill the Cavalier
- Wake Forest will go from ACC champion to a losing record. Three road
games in the final four weeks will be too much to overcome.