Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ACC Team Previews

Today, a brief preview of some of the teams in the ACC. I will take a more in depth look at Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida St, and Miami in the coming days.
Virginia Tech (11-2, 7-1)
Offensive Starters Returning: 5
Defensive Starters Returning: 5
Last 5 Years Win Totals: 8-10-8-10-11

A season that looked as if it was headed towards a Rose Bowl bid had unraveled by the time the Hokies left Jacksonville(for the second time) mostly because of one player. Marcus Vick is no longer with the Hokies and that leaves Frank Beamer's staff, with four new faces, scrambling at QB. Virginia Tech should bring a solid defense to play, but must look for new faces to step up and carry on. The Coastal Division is not as strong as last season, but the Hokies lost too many players to be a favorite for the title.

Key Players:
QB Sean Glennon

QB Cory Holt
RB Brandon Ore
WR David Clowney
C Danny McGrath
DE Chris Ellis
LB Vince Hall
LB Xavier Adibi
SS Aaron Rouse

Schedule:
Sep2NortheasternW
Sep9@North CarolinaW
Sep16DukeW
Sep23CincinnatiW
Sep30Georgia TechW
Oct12@Boston CollegeL
Oct21So. MissW
Oct26ClemsonL
Nov4@MiamiL
Nov18@Wake ForestW
Nov25VirginiaW


Prediction: 9-3, 5-3

Boston College (9-3, 5-3)
Offensive Starters Returning: 6
Defensive Starters Returning: 6
Last 5 Years Win Totals: 8-9-8-9-9

The Eagles have established themselves as a solid program over the last five years, but the winningest senior class in BC history is now departed and some familiar and new faces must step up. BC will rely on its ground game with two solid tailbacks and mammoth offensive line averaging over 300 pounds. The defense lost some key players from a unit which ranked fifth in rushing defense and 16th in total defense. I look for the Eagles to take a slight step back this season from their tie for first in the Atlantic Division last season.

Key Players:
QB Matt Ryan
RB Andre Callendar
RB LV Whitworth
WR Tony Gonzales
OG Josh Beekman
DT BJ Raji
LB Brian Toal


Schedule:
Aug31@Cent MichiganW
Sep9ClemsonL
Sep16BYUW
Sep23@NC StateL
Sep30MaineW
Oct7Virginia TechW
Oct14@Florida StL
Oct21BuffaloW
Nov4@Wake ForestL
Nov11DukeW
Nov18MarylandW
Nov23@Miami

L



Prediction: 7-5, 3-5

Maryland (5-6, 3-5)
Offensive Starters Returning: 7
Defensive Starters Returning: 7
Last 5 Years Win Totals: 10-11-10-5-5

Hard to believe the Terps are only two seasons away from three straight 10+ win seasons but they are. Ralph Friedgen has taken back the responsibilites of offensive coordinator in hopes of jumpstarting the stagnant Maryland offense the past few years. A major positive in College Park heading into the fall is the return of five offensive line starters. The Terps have a very easy non-conference schedule, but will be hard pressed to challenge for the Division title this season.

Key Players:
QB Sam Hollenbach
RB Lance Ball
RB Josh Allen
OT Jared Gaither
DT Conrad Balston
LB Wesley Jefferson


Schedule:
Sep2William&MaryW
Sep9Middle TennW
Sep14@West VirginiaL
Sep23Fla IntlW
Oct7@Georgia TechW
Oct14@VirginiaL
Oct21NC StateW
Oct28Florida StL
Nov4@ClemsonL
Nov11MiamiL
Nov18@Boston CollegeL
Nov25Wake ForestW


Prediction: 6-6, 3-5


Virginia (7-5, 3-5)
Offensive Starters Returning: 6
Defensive Starters Returning: 6
Last 5 Years Win Totals: 5-9-8-8-7

The incredible high of a comeback win in the Music City Bowl was muted by offseason troubles in Charlottesville. Star LB Ahmad Brooks is now in the NFL after one too many run-ins with the "team policies" set forth by Al Groh (who also may be taking some heat). The Cavaliers have strung together some nice recruiting classes in Groh's tenure, but have been unable to break through in the ACC yet. Highly unlikely with a new QB that Virginia can make a leap upward this season.
Key Players:
QB:Christian Olsen

RB Jason Snelling
WR Deyon Williams
DE Chris Long
LB Clint Sintim
CB Marcus Hamilton

Schedule:
Sep2@PittL
Sep9WyomingW
Sep16Western MichiganW
Sep21@Georgia TechL
Sep30@DukeW
Oct7@East CarolinaW
Oct14MarylandW
Oct19North CarolinaL
Oct28NC StateW
Nov4@Florida StL
Nov18MiamiL
Nov25@Virginia TechL


Prediction: 6-6, 3-5


Wake Forest (4-7, 3-5)
Offensive Starters Returning: 9
Defensive Starters Returning: 10
Last 5 Years Win Totals: 6-7-5-4-4

With nine starters back on offense, one would likely be very optimistic about the Deacs offense this season. Problem is that one of the starters lost was Player of the Year Chris Barclay. Still, Wake will rely on their ground game to move the ball this season offensively. Defensively, 10 returning starters hope to improve upon a woeful pass defense ranking 92nd in the nation. Jim Grobe's crew will be hard pressed to break out the cellar of the Atlantic even with 19 returning starters.
Key Players:

QB Ben Mauk
RB Micah Andrews
OT Steve Vallos
LB Jon Abatte
FS Josh Gattis

Schedule:
Sep2SyracuseW
Sep9DukeW
Sep16@UConnL
Sep23@Ole MissL
Sep30LibertyW
Oct7ClemsonL
Oct14@NC StateL
Oct28@North CarolinaL
Nov4Boston CollegeW
Nov11@Florida StL
Nov18Virginia TechL
Nov25@MarylandL


Prediction: 4-8, 2-6


North Carolina (5-6, 4-4)
Offensive Starters Returning: 5
Defensive Starters Returning: 7
Last 5 Years Win Totals: 8-3-2-6-5

The offseason in Chapel Hill produced some changes on the offensive staff of the Tar Heels with a new offensive coordinator installed (Frank Cignetti). Head Coach John Bunting hopes this season brings a bowl game at the end, but with another brutal schedule that task will be difficult. With a new QB and four of the top five receivers gone, UNC will most likely follow their ground attack to victories.
Key Players:

QB Joe Dailey
RB Ronnie McGill
WR Jesse Holley
OT Brian Chacos

LB Larry Edwards
CB Jacoby Watkins

Schedule:
Sep2RutgersW
Sep9Virginia TechL
Sep16FurmanW
Sep23@ClemsonL
Oct7@MiamiL
Oct14South FloridaW
Oct19@VirginiaW
Oct28Wake ForestW
Nov4@Notre DameL
Nov11Georgia TechL
Nov18NC StateL
Nov25@DukeW


Prediction: 6-6, 3-5


NC State (7-5, 3-5)
Offensive Starters Returning: 5
Defensive Starters Returning: 6
Last 5 Years Win Totals:7-11-8-5-7

For some reason, Chuck Amato is on the hot seat in Raleigh. Maybe it was his Top 10 finish in 2002 or his 46 wins in his first five season (NC State Record). To say the Pack have talent at running back is an understatement. Toney Baker was the 2004 NC Prep Player of the Year and Andre Brown won it in 2003. This tandem will see a lot of eight man fronts, but it may not even matter. The defense lost three starters to the NFL and will not repeat its number eight ranking of a year ago. Bowling may be a popular sport again in Raleigh, but some key games against Maryland, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina will either produce a strike or gutter ball.
Key Players:
QB Marcus Stone

RB Toney Baker
RB Andre Brown
WR LaMart Barrett
C Leroy Harris
DE Willie Young
LB LeRue Rumph
SS Garland Heath

Schedule:
Sep2App StW
Sep9AkronW
Sep16@So MissL
Sep23Boston CollegeW
Oct5Florida StL
Oct14Wake ForestW
Oct21@MarylandL
Oct28@VirginiaL
Nov4Georgia TechL
Nov11@ClemsonL
Nov18@North CarolinaW
Nov25East CarolinaW


Prediction: 6-6, 3-5

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