2010 Spring Preview - Did ACC Expansion Work?
Florida State QB Christian Ponder
Florida State QB Christian Ponder
Posted Mar 19, 2010

The 20 Big Questions Going Into 2010 - No. 17. Why does it seem like the big ACC expansion of a few years ago didn't work? The big teams didn't come through as expected, but things might not be as bad as they appear. This and more in the ACC pre-spring overview.

2010 Spring Preview - No. 17
ACC - Did Expansion Work?

2010 Spring Preview 
- 2010 ACC Spring Preview 
- 2010 ACC Player You Must Know - BC LB Luke Kuechly 

- No. 20 Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 1-10) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 11-20) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 21-30) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 31-40) 
- Top 50 Non-Conference Games (No. 41-50)  
- No. 19 Is this it for the Big 12? 
- No. 18 Just how close the Big East has come to a BCS title? 

Want to be hip? Want to be able to hang with the in crowd? Start bashing the ACC and say expansion didn't work.

When the ACC took away Miami and Virginia Tech to start the 2004 season, and after bringing aboard Boston College in 2005, the idea was that a league was going to challenge the SEC for college football superiority. And it wasn't a bad thought considering Miami and Florida State, at their best, were better than any of the current SEC national champions, with the possible exception of 2008 Florida. But Florida State became average in a big hurry, Miami hasn't been able to pick up the pieces so quickly from the end of the Larry Coker era, and while Virginia Tech and Boston College have been the league's two best programs over the last few years, they didn't exactly make a splash nationally.

ACC expansion worked, even if it didn't rock as much as it was supposed to, but it'll only be seen as great if a team is within ten miles of the national title chase any time soon, and it doesn't help when Alabama comes out and beats the supposedly top teams in the season opener (beating Clemson two years ago and Virginia Tech last season). To put it another way; could you imagine what the ACC would be like without Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College?

Georgia Tech and Clemson represented the old guard ACC well last season, and that's exactly what the league needs to boost the interest from conference fans waiting for basketball season. There is some hope to get more noise on a national scale with North Carolina loaded up with NFL talent on defense, Georgia Tech's offense only getting better with experience and the right players, and Virginia Tech looking good enough to get to the BCS again. But until the league can consistently put two teams into the BCS, and until there are some big wins over the big boys, then yes, the naysayers do have a leg to stand on. On the plus side, though, the potential is there for the league to be better than ever from top to bottom.

Of course, that has been said and written over and over and over again, but Duke isn't a pushover anymore, Virginia isn't a miserable bottom-level team, and Maryland has the talent to be far, far better than it has been. If the bottom teams can provide a push, and the ACC can be more competitive and not just a world of mediocre, then maybe the league can take another step forward to being special. It's not there yet, though.

The Top Five ACC Players Who Need A Big Spring
1. T.J. Yates, QB North Carolina
2. Anthony Allen, RB Georgia Tech
3. Darren Evans, RB Virginia Tech
4. Marc Verica, QB Virginia
5. Jamarr Robinson, QB Maryland

The Top 5 Position Concerns/Battles
1. Clemson running back
2. Miami defensive line
3. Virginia running back
4. North Carolina offensive line
5. Wake Forest quarterback

The 5 Biggest ACC Spring Storylines
1. Is the North Carolina defense for real? Every list of 2011 NFL Draft top prospects have Tar Heel defenders all over the place, and if it plays up to its talent level, it might just take a mediocre season from the offense to win the ACC title.
2. How will Darren Evans fit in with Ryan Williams? Everyone would love to have the problems that Virginia Tech has with its running backs with Evans coming off a torn ACL to join Williams for what might be the nation's best backfield outside of Alabama's.
3. Baseball. The fate of two teams, Clemson and NC State, might hinge on how well the college baseball season goes. Clemson's Kyle Parker is a better power hitter than a quarterback and might not risk a sure-thing, multi-million dollar baseball career if the MLB scouts fall in love with him. NC State's Russell Wilson is the franchise, and while Mike Glennon will get work this spring with the starting quarterback playing baseball, the Pack can't lose its star.
4. Is Miami ever going to turn the corner? The talent is there, the coaching staff isn't bad, and there has been a little bit of success, but these Canes are light years away from the glory days and the move to the ACC hasn't mattered much so far for the program's profile. Raise your hand if you thought Miami wouldn't even make an ACC Championship game in its first six years, much less win one?
5. The Boston College linebackers. Luke Kuechly might have been the nation's best linebacker last season, he was among the most productive, and now the spotlight will be on Mark Herzlich as he comes back after battling cancer. No one is expecting Herzlich to be ACC Defensive Player of the Year good right away, but he's expected to help give the Eagles a whale of a 1-2 linebacking punch.

The Spring ACC Team Rankings
1. Virginia Tech
2. North Carolina
3. Miami
4. Georgia Tech
5. Florida State
6. Clemson
7. Boston College
8. NC State
9. Wake Forest
10. Duke
11. Maryland
12. Virginia

The Pre-Spring Call For Player Of the Year
1. Tyrod Taylor, QB Virginia Tech
2. Josh Nesbitt, QB Georgia Tech
3. Christian Ponder, QB Florida State
4. Ryan Williams, RB Virginia Tech
5. Quan Sturdivant, LB North Carolina