ACC Football Kickoff Linksplosion

You like that cheesy title?  I knew you would.  To continue my recent trend of providing ACC football previews without actually writing my own content, I give you three outstanding compilations of links from the ACCBasketBlog (they aren’t just for basketball anymore!).  I mean, why duplicate what they’ve already done?  There are enough links on these three pages to keep you busy for a week.  Granted, a lot of the stuff is duplicate content generated from the ACC Football Kickoff weekend, but still.  Read all of this and you’ll be ready to sound like you know what you’re talking about.

 

ACCBasketBlog Links I

ACCBasketBlog Links II – This Time It’s Personal

ACCBasketBlog Links III – Enter The Deacon

Guest Preview – ACC Football – Coastal Division

Last week I posted the first part of a guest preview of ACC footballMadduxSports.com gives us part II now – the Coastal Division

ACC Coastal Division Preview from MadduxSports.com

Defense, defense, and more defense, that is what the ACC Coastal is about. The Coastal is a rather interesting division to break down. Between quarterback battles, new coaches, coaches on the hot seat, national title contenders, and surprise teams, the Coastal division expects to offer many story lines in the 2007 season. Here is how the Maddux Sports college football picks team predicts the conference slate to pan out.

1) Virginia Tech – When you look at the Hokies’ defense on paper you have to be in awe. They return 8 starters from a crew that allowed 11ppg and 219 ypg overall. Both stats were good for #1 ranks in the country. From our preseason rankings Virginia Tech has the best secondary in all of College football. They also have a top 10 unit in the linebacking core, and although the DL has to replace 2 starters, 7 of the top 8 guys return. Bud Foster appears to be in line for another Broyles award at seasons end.

With a stout defense setting up for endless short field scoring opportunities, the offense won’t have to do much to win games. Junior quarterback Sean Glennon will be more of a game manager, being called upon to just not make silly mistakes. He will have an all ACC tailback in Branden Ore to help him out. Ore rushed for 1137 yards and took it to the house 16 times last year. Ore accomplished all of this while missing 2 games and running behind a below average offensive line. Five guys with playing experience are back on the OL so count on this unit being much improved. As long as the Hokies stay away from injuries and Glennon limits the mistakes, the defense should carry the team to the coastal division crown and possibly a national title appearance.

2) Georgia Tech – Even though the Yellow Jackets lose a four year starting quarterback in Reggie Ball and the College player of the year in Calvin Johnson, there is reason for optimism in Atlanta. Ball’s replacement is junior quarterback Taylor Bennett. Bennett has good size and a strong arm. He will be protected by one of the leagues best offensive lines that returns 4 of the 5 starters. Running behind that line will be tailback Tashard Choice. Choice is one of the most underrated backs in the country. In 2006 Choice rushed for 1473 yards and finished off the season with 7 straight 100 yard rushing games. On defense the Yellow Jackets return 8 players from a unit that was 27th in total defense. With an accommodating schedule we see Georgia Tech set to capture the 2 spot in the Coastal and should be a lock to reach their 11th consecutive post season bowl game.

3) Miami – The Hurricanes fired Larry Coker and replaced him with former defensive coordinator Randy Shannon. Shannon, like the Hurricanes, is looking to prove himself. If past results can be an accurate predictor of future performance, expect the new coach to be just fine. In the 7 years when Shannon ran Miami’s defense, the unit finished in the top ten in total defense 6 times. This year should be more of the same as he has plenty to work with. The defense returns 7 starters including future first round draft choice Calais Campbell. Campbell led all ACC defenders with 20.5 tackles for loss and racked up 10.5 sacks. The linebackers are the soft spot of the defense as the unit lacks a playmaker. Fortunately they will get plenty of help from the secondary that returns all 4 starters. The offense should make or break Miami’s season. There is QB battle going on between Kyle Wright and Kirby Freemen. A starter won’t be named until late fall but expect scoring to be back up in the high 20’s regardless which kid wins the job. The road schedule is brutal, having to face Oklahoma, Florida State, Virginia Tech, and Boston College on the road, but if Kyle Wright lives up to the can’t-miss potential he once garnered, the Hurricanes could reach double digit wins.

4) Virginia – After starting out the season 2-5, the Cavaliers finished with some momentum earning victories in 3 of their final 5 games. A big reason for the slow start and good finish was freshmen Jameel Sewell making good progress and showing nice potential as a college quarterback. Coming into last season Virginia had to replace 2 NFL draft choices, including D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Consequently, the offensive line was very inexperienced and labored to open holes for the running game. The unit also had trouble keeping opposing defenders out of the backfield and allowed 35 sacks for the season. This year the OL returns 6 players with starting experience and should be an asset instead of a liability. The defense is well-stocked, returning 10 of the 11 starters that allowed 17.8ppg and was 17th overall in total defense. Virginia’s defense is loaded and should keep the team in many tough ACC games. The Cavaliers are one of the most improved teams and will earn a post season bowl birth. Don’t be surprised to see Virginia occupy the 2nd spot if the ball bounces their way.

5) North Carolina – After a 1-6 start, coach John Bunting was canned. The team seemed to respond well to the change, playing competitive against 3 ranked opponents, then finished the season with two wins over NC State and Duke. Butch Davis is the man in charge to rebuild the program and with one of the highest rated recruiting classes in the country, he is well on his way. Bunting didn’t leave Davis with much talent, as only 9 starters return. Expect the new coach to try and play his guys making the team very young and raw. It will be a rebuilding year for the Heels, but anticipate them to be in a spot to challenge for the ACC Coast Division title in the not so distant future.

6) Duke – In seven of the last eleven seasons, Duke has failed to win at least one ACC game. Last season was more of the same as the Blue Devils took the doughnut in conference play and finished 0-12 overall. Although it should be noted that they were very close to upsetting ACC champs Wake Forest & national power Miami. It took a blocked field goal on the final play of the game for the Demon Deacons to hold off Duke 14-13. Against the Canes, Duke was intercepted in the end zone and just missed pulling off a momentous upset, going down 20-15. I don’t think either of those scares were aberrations and it wouldn’t shock us to see the Blue Devils win 2 games in 07. With 11 starters returning on offense and one of the ACC’s best QB’s Thaddeus Lewis (yes we said one of the best) Duke has closed the talent gap on the rest of the Coastal division foes. The problem is the schedule which could be the toughest in the entire conference. Is Duke Improved? Yes. Will it translate to wins? Probably not, but don’t be surprised to see the Blue Devils putting a scare into a team or two.

MadduxSports.com is an expert college football prognosticator but also knows the pro football teams well. For more predictions including weekly NFL picks visit Maddux Sports today.

Skip Prosser Dies Of Heart Attack

Wow.  This is terrible news.

 

Skip Prosser apparently had a heart attack this morning while jogging and died.  He was 56 years old.  By all accounts, he was an extremely likable and good man.

 

Sad, sad, sad.  I feel terrible for his family, his friends, his current and former players and all Wake Forest and college basketball fans.

 

I had even planned on writing a post this week about how Prosser had earned himself two more guaranteed years at Wake by signing two outstanding players a couple of weeks ago.  I hope their commitments made his final weeks happy.

 

More links:

Dime Magazine

Mike DeCourcy

Dick Vitale

News & Record

Guest Preview – ACC Football – Atlantic Division

I mentioned previously that I would be posting a third-party football preview, and here it is!  Tom from MadduxSports.com put together a nice preview of the 2007 ACC football season for me simply for the quid pro quo of linking back to his site.  The Coastal Division is coming next.  Enjoy!

ACC Atlantic Division Preview from MadduxSports.com

When we were constructing our NCAA football predictions yearbook and free season preview, the ACC Atlantic division was without a doubt the most challenging to predict. After Florida State, the skill level between Atlantic teams 2-6 is microscopic. When we come across a scenario like this where the teams are so comparable, we have to really rely on the schedule to sort out the order of finish. Add some new coaches to the mix, Cinderella stories, bizarre stats and the challenge to take the ACC Atlantic expects to be one thrilling race this season.

1) Florida State – After a 3-5 ACC record in 2006, most prognosticators are down on the Seminoles. Maybe it is the fact that Florida State has lost 22 games in the last 5 seasons and is not just the dominant Seminole team of old. Or it could be the fact Bowden has a plethora of new coordinators. I am not buying it. Last season they were young and had very few seniors. Seventeen freshmen saw playing time, but guess what all those guys have experience now. As for the coaches, Jimbo Fisher, Rick Trickett, and Chuck Amato are all viable head coaching candidates; these are not your normal run of the mill coaches.

FSU will be lead by their defense that only allowed 92.5 ypg rushing in 06. The defensive line is arguably the best in entire nation and goes 2 deep at all 4 spots. Former JUCO All-American Paul Griffin is back from an early season knee injury which will move tackle by trade Andre Fluellen back to his normal position. The linebacking corps loses a couple of players to the NFL including stud Lawrence Timmons. Early injuries to the line backers hurt last years output but if the Seminoles can stay injury free you could actually see melioration in this unit.

The offense will hinge on how fast Drew Weatherford learns Jimbo Fisher’s playbook. If the learning curve is quick, the Seminoles will be explosive and should average 30 ppg. Don’t forget that while he was the offensive coordinator at LSU, Fishers offense’s averaged 30 points a game against SEC defenses. How do you think his troops will do playing against inferior competition? I fully expect a return to prominence for the Noles and anticipate seeing them in a BCS game in January of 08.

2) Wake Forest – No one is giving the Demon Deacons a chance to repeat as ACC champions, but I’ll bite. We all know that Wake Forest was very fortunate having the ball bounce their way in 2006 (+13 TO margin & +3 in close wins), but a lot of the success has to be accredited to perhaps the ACC’s best coaching staff lead by Jim Grobe. To dismiss the TO issue, the Demon Deacons are normally on the plus side of the turnover numbers because of Steed Lobotzke’s confusing innovative offensive schemes and Dean Hood’s ball hawking defense. Wake Forest returns 14 starters, including 9 on offense which should get the Deacs scoring back in the mid 20’s. Their ACC schedule is also the weakest in the entire conference and they get the lucky draw of playing the 2 bottom feeders from the Coastal; Duke & North Carolina. We won’t go out on a limb and say they repeat last year’s magical season, but there will not be that huge drop in the standings that you are reading about everywhere else.

3) Clemson – After starting the season 7-1 the Tigers fell flat on their face finishing at 8-5. They capped off the late season futility by losing to Kentucky 28-20 in the Music City bowl. Even with the dynamic running back duo of James Davis and CJ Spiller, the offense could be in some trouble. No Tiger quarterback has played a meaningful snap and the offensive line must be retooled. The defense is one of the ACC’s best and will need to carry the club until the offense gels. Clemson is young only having 8 senior scholarship players. The schedule is one of the more manageable ones in the ACC which is we are calling for a 3rd place finish and 5-3 record in ACC play even though some teams listed below the Tigers are more gifted.

4) NC State – Last years 9 losses (most since 1959) sparked the Wolfpack to fire Chuck Amato and hire rival BC Eagle coach Tom O’Brien. O’Brien immediately brings a no-nonsense attitude guaranteeing to repair the undisciplined penalties and turnovers that plagued NC State during the Amato era. NC State was hindered by a -11 in turnover margin and 5 close losses in 06, so better luck is anticipated. If the Wolfpack can solve the QB quandary and the defense retools after losing their top 2 tacklers, expect to see the Wolfpack bowling again.

5) Boston College – The Eagles had to a hire a new head coach after Tom O’Brien bolted away to rival NC State before last years bowl game.  Jeff Jagodzinski is now the man in charge and inherits O’Brien’s talented recruits.  Jagodzinski is a young and innovative offensive coach who spent some time in the NFL before taking the position.  He also has some familiarity with Boston College as he was the offensive coordinator for the Eagles from 1997-98. Senior quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the best and toughest guys in the country passing for almost 3,000 yards while playing most of last season with a broken foot. Boston College returns 17 starters from a team that won their 7th straight bowl game the year before. Why are we so down on the Eagles? BC benefited from a +15 turnover margin in 2006. They also have a new head coach and are running new offensive schemes. Add to it that BC has arguably the toughest ACC schedule drawing the top three Coastal division teams and we have to place the Eagles in the 5th slot.

6) Maryland – We are still scratching our heads trying to figure out how the Terrapins finished with a 9-4 record last year. In the 2006 season Maryland won 5 ACC games by a combined margin of victory of only 13 points! They were also outgained by 85 yards per contest in all ACC games. They had six close wins overall and tremendous fortune like that doesn’t often repeat itself. Maryland does return 8 starters on offense so expect improvement on the 21 points per game. Maryland’s club is refined but the win/loss record won’t reflect it.

If you took pleasure in reading our predictions on the ACC, join Maddux Sports for free football picks on the weekly college slate. Maddux offers both free and premium football picks as well as weekly game break downs all season long.

I’m Back

Yawwwwn.  Strrrrrrrrrretttttch.  So, what did I miss?  Anything?

 

[Thumbing through the news of the last couple of months …]  OK, it looks like a few things happened while I was napping.  Guess this is as good of a time as any to shake off the cobwebs and get back to it. 

 

But not just yet.

 

First, I want to do a little self-promotion.  As you may recall from a previous post and that little box over there to the left, I have a little side-bidness called BrightCar.  Well, BrightCar has a big 50%-off sale coming up on Tuesday, July 24.  We are running a promotion in conjunction with a cool little site called Bits Du Jour.  BDJ(as the cool kids call it) is a site that advertises one software product per day at a drastically reduced rate, like a software version of Woot.com.  Well, BrightCar is going to be that product this coming Tuesday.

 

If you want in on this, and I know you do, you can either go to BitsDuJour.com, check out the coupon on the BrightCar site or just go to the BrightCar purchase page and enter BitsDuJour as your referral code.