This season in the ACC could very well be remembered as the Year of the QB….and I don’t mean that in a positive way. The biggest storyline that does not involve the media telling us how much the Virginia Tech football team is going to somehow bring healing to Blacksburg is the fact there is one bankable quarterback among 12 teams. Boston College boasts senior Matt Ryan who is now playing under the tutelage Steve Logan and beyond that the rest of the teams have questions, QB competitions in training camp and a whole lot of uncertainty about how much production the man behind center is going to provide. This accounts for the degradation of the ACC as a national power much the same way having a stable full of questionable point guards can weaken you in basketball. At any rate there will be a lot of attention on how well defense play and running games across the league. Here is how I see it unfolding:
Of course when you start breaking down the teams, Virginia Tech at least returns an experienced starter in Sean Glennon though rumor has it the freshman they have is very good as well. The Hokies will be defense and special teams centered as always with tailback Brandon Ore grinding out the yards on the ground. The only other question Frank Beamer must address is how well the offensive line will block for Ore. Behind the Hokies Georgia Tech and Miami are the odds on favorite to tussle in the 2nd and 3rd spots mainly because no one knows what to expect from Virginia. There is a potential hot seat situation brewing in Charlottesville but at the same time UVa has recruited well enough to be competitive. The Jackets are figuring out what to do on offense following the loss of Calvin Johnson but since any QB is probably an upgrade over Reggie Ball I would think GT is set for another 7-8 win season…assuming they can stop fighting with each other in practice. Miami is a honestly a mystery to me because they are working under a new coach who today names Kirby Freeman the starter for Saturday but said Kyle Wright was still the starter but just not this coming weekend. Let’s hope he is less confusing in his play calling than his explanation of his QB decisions. North Carolina is facing lots of uncertainty at QB, in the backfield and the offensive line. I think there is potential to suprise people and I also think I will talk more about the Heels in a full preview later on. Duke is all set for another cellar finish though it should be noted they do return everyone on offense and it is possible their QB, Thaddeus Lewis, is actually good.
Muddled. It is possible all six of these teams could go to a bowl though I think somewhere the math will work against whoever finishes last. The media tabbed Florida State to win the division but I am not convinced that Jimbo Fisher is that big of a difference maker considering they still are looking at Drew Weatherford behind center and he barely beat out Xavier Lee. I am of the opinion that Boston College has the best shot to win this division. The QB equation is a big deal and there is every reason to believe this team, which mostly played under Tom O’Brien, will carry on the same consistent play for at least one season. The major issue the Eagles face is they play three tough teams from the Coastal along with their own division opponents. Wake Forest will not surprise as many people this season but they are still a well coached and talented team. The set they employ are tough to prepare for which is really screwy for BC having to face them in the opener. Clemson and Maryland are coming off seasons which concluded in quite the opposite fashion as the Tigers swooned and the Terps came close to playing in Jacksonville. This season? Probably more of the same at least for Clemson anyway which will have the Tiger fans clamoring for Tommy Bowden’s head. Maryland plays a brutal schedule by virtue of being in the Atlantic plus they get West Virginia and Rutgers. They also play Georgia Tech albeit at home and UNC who might be far more dangerous in November than early in the season. NC State sits in the same boat as UNC except they at least have a proven backfield. Daniel Evans returns to start at QB and if the vaunted TOB discipline has taken hold this is a team that could be very potent at season’s end.
1. Virginia Tech
2. Georgia Tech
1. Boston College
2. Wake Forest
3. Florida State
6. NC State
ACC Championship: Virginia Tech 28 Boston College 24