Friday, April 21, 2006

Offseason Musings

The offseason brings about many predictions, anticipation for the upcoming season, and a lot of "well I think this is our year" discussion. I will touch a little bit on each team in the ACC regarding their prospects next year. Look for the SEC in the next couple of days.

The Hurricanes have a had a stormy offseason with their firing of almost their entire offensive staff. Kyle Wright returns for his second season as the starter and should be improved from last season. I think the Canes will be the favorite for the Coastal Division title as of right now. Basketball-wise, Miami will lose Guermillo Diaz from a somewhat underachieving team this past season. I think the Canes will struggle this upcoming season as compared to their first two in the ACC.
Florida St.-
The Seminoles showed what they can be in the Orange Bowl and will return a fair amount from that team including a more seasoned Drew Weatherford. The Noles will be the favorite in the Atlantic Division. FSU is on the upswing in basketball and should have a real good shot at making the Tournament next year.
Georgia Tech-
Tech will have the most experienced QB in the ACC this season and one of its most influential as well. As Reggie Ball goes, so goes Tech; the defense lost some, but the offense has more experience. 8 wins should be attainable this year, but a Championship Game appearance will be a very tall order. Paul Hewitt can look to next season where he has 2 McDonald's All-Americans joining a team that showed promise for 30 minutes of every game this season. Anything less than a second round Tourney appearance would be a disappointment.
The Tigers main question will be replacing Charlie Whitehurst. Other than that, the Tigers look pretty solid in every area, especially in the running game. The likely replacement, Will Proctor has spent 3 seasons in the Tiger system and steady play by him could land the Tigers in the ACC Championship. Oliver Purnell led the Tigers to one of their best seasons since Rick Barnes left for Texas. They have to replace some key players though; a NCAA bid is probably a long shot in the much improved ACC next year.
North Carolina-
John Bunting has another brutal schedule in front of him this season. A bowl bid will be very tough. But on the other hand, Roy Williams' crew will be one of the favorites for the Final Four next season. They bring in arguably the best freshman class in the nation and return most everyone except for David Noel. Chemisty will be a key for this team because they will be still be very young.
NC State-
Chuck Amato will rely heavily on his young studs at running back to carry the Wolfpack to another bowl bid. Mario Williams and Manny Lawson are gone off a punishing defense. A bowl bid should be attainable, but won't come easy. NC State fans may find out how lucky they were to have Herb Sendek this year. The team is still without a coach and is in danger of losing more recruits by the day (Chris Wright has already de-committed for 2007). Sendek led the Pack to 5 straight Tournament appearances. I think NC State takes a step back next year.
No need to discuss Duke football so we go straight to basketball. Coach K and Duke lose a lot in Redick and Williams, but may even lose more if Josh McRoberts leaves. I am sure K is working feveriously to get McRoberts to stay because if he doesn't then Duke may struggle to make the Tournament next year! I think McRoberts will stay, but Duke will struggle early on until K can get his kids to play his system. Once that happens, I think Duke finishes hot down the stretch. Still, Duke is a long way from its past years successes.
Wake Forest-
Wake will not be able to do much on the gridiron this year; 5 wins will be a successful season. Skip Prosser's time may be up at Wake. He rode the Chris Paul train for two great years, but now Wake loses Eric Williams. The Deacs have usually relied on developing talent rather than recuriting it. I think Wake is looking at a middle of the pack finish next year.
Virginia Tech-
Marcus Vick is gone, but that is not all good news because the Hokies didn't have any experience behind him. I think Beamer Ball takes a step back next year. They will contend for the Coastal Division title, but just don't have the talent they have had over the past few years. On the hardwood, VT struggled this season as everyone was prepared for them this time around. I think you will see much of the same next year.
Al Groh is experience some off the field issues with his team losing star LB Ahmad Brooks. The Cavs have failed to live up to their recruting rankings the last few years. A bowl bid willl be a successful season. Dave Leito led the surprising basketball team to a 7-9 record this season. I think things are looking up in Charlottesville with a new arena for next year.
Ralph Friedgen is fed up with the last two years performance on offense and is taking over coordinator duties. Still, the Terps will struggle to make a bowl again this year. Gary Williams is having the same frustrations with his basketball team. Maryland has not been able to uphold their Tournament championship of 2002 the last few years. With Georgetown back on the national scene, it will be harder for the Terps to recruit locally. Still, Maryland has one of the best atmospheres for a home game in the country.
Boston College-
The team every one forgets about in the ACC. The Eagles should be pretty good again this year on the gridiron though I think Clemson has passed them in the Atlantic Division. Al Skinner's basketball team could have played with anyone in the Final Four. I think BC has a shot this year to make a run in the Tourney if they get hot at the right time.

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