Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Yesterday we talked about the likely cakewalk Florida State will enjoy in the “Atlantic” Division of the ACC. That’s because their quarterback was the Heisman Trophy winner, and nobody else has any good quarterbacks! We have a very similar story in the ACC, where erratic Anthony Boone of Duke, and similar Marquise Williams of North Carolina are the only signal callers assured of having some sort of positive impact on their teams.
Where did all the quarterbacks go?! Let’s jump into Part II of our ACC preview…
ACC Coastal Division
2013 Record: 8-5
2013 Rankings: 101 on offense, 4 on defense
Returning Starters: 8 on offense, 5 on defense
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
Notebook: Logan Thomas has moved onto the NFL. But, he could only lead the #101 ranked college offense as a senior…so he may not last long! Virginia Tech is the favorite in the Coastal because they have so much experience outside of QB on the offensive side of the ball. And, because Coach Beamer always gets respect from pundits. A good early test comes September 6 at Ohio State, where the Hokies only hope is to force a defensive struggle.
2013 Record: 9-4
2013 Rankings: 48 on offense, 89 on defense
Returning Starters: 5 on offense, 7 on defense
Head Coach: Al Golden
Notebook: Stephen Morris is gone…which means a new quarterback will have to figure out how to outscore what this surprisingly soft defense is likely to allow. Huge surprise that the Miami defense has lost its swagger to this extreme degree. The team could make a splash with good road results at Louisville (bowl revenge!) and Nebraska in the first month given what’s going on at those programs. And, if the new quarterback is any good…then the Hurricanes can make a run at the top of this division. Of course, if he isn’t…then Coach Golden’s reputation could take another big hit.
2013 Record: 7-6
2013 Rankings: 49 on offense, 64 on defense
Returning Starters: 7 on offense, 7 on defense
Head Coach: Larry Fedora
Notebook: Marquise Williams took over at quarterback for about the final month of the 2013 season, and immediately got results. They crushed Cincinnati in the Belk bowl 39-17 to clinch a winning season. Definitely a team to keep an eye on as a sleeper given returning experience and that strong finish last year. Big games at Clemson and Notre Dame in the first half of 2014 could put the Heels on the media map too. If the new QB’s across the ACC flounder, Carolina could really make a big leap forward.
2013 Record: 7-6
2013 Rankings: 97 on offense, 34 on defense
Returning Starters: 7 on offense, 5 on defense
Head Coach: Paul Chryst
Notebook: You know a Coach Chryst team is going to play smashmouth football. It’s not the end of the world when a run-heavy team loses its quarterback. But, you can see that last year’s offense barely cracked the top 100 despite playing in a conference that had some shaky defenses. A light early schedule could inflate the record, and these guys managed to dodge FSU, Clemson, and Louisville in cross-divisional action. Perhaps a developing story…but more likely to be a team that’s not as good as its won-lost record makes it seem.
2013 Record: 10-4
2013 Rankings: 47 on offense, 82 on defense
Returning Starters: 8 on offense, 6 on defense
Head Coach: David Cutcliffe
Notebook: Well, what do you make of last year? They won their division, and almost upset (probably disinterested) Texas A&M in the Chick-Fil-A bowl. They had a 20-14 record, but a raw stat average of a team that should be around #60 in the country. Closer inspection suggests a team that was better than its stat rankings but not as good as its record. If you believe that their 4-0 regular season records in games decided by a TD or less was a result of a smart coach and a clutch quarterback…then these guys are a contender to repeat. If you think they caught a few breaks…then they’re just in the pack. Frankly, we have them higher in our Power Ratings than Athlon (where we’re getting the returning starter data from) apparently does. Non-conference schedule is a gift this year, with Elon, Troy, Kansas, and Tulane.
2013 Record: 7-6
2013 Rankings: 44 on offense, 27 on defense
Returning Starters: 6 on offense, 5 on defense
Head Coach: Paul Johnson
Notebook: The team was worse than those stats make it look, thanks to wins of 70-0 and 66-7 over Elon and Alabama A&M. Take those out, and you have a losing team with ugly stats for an ACC team. Replacing a quarterback in an option attack is always dicey. But, sometimes the new guy is so fast that he catches defenses napping out of the gate. First real test of 2014 comes September 20 at Virginia Tech.
2013 Record: 2-10
2013 Rankings: 89 on offense, 65 on defense
Returning Starters: 7 on offense, 8 on defense
Head Coach: Mike London
Notebook: It’s unclear why Coach London still has a job. This is clearly a last hurrah after last year’s disaster (one of the two wins was over lowly VMI). He does have a lot of experience back. And, they may play to save his job. The storyline will be set early with UCLA, Louisville, and then a road game at BYU falling in the first four weeks of action. We expect a few feisty games, but more disasters.
That wraps up our look at the ACC. We’ll devote Friday to baseball since the All-Star Break will come to an end. College football conference previews resume Saturday with a weekend look at the newly expanded Big 10.
If you have any questions about special summer rates for the coming football season, call us in the office 1-888-777-4155. Game Day BEST BETS in baseball resume on Friday.
A review of the upcoming schedule here in the NOTEBOOK…
Friday: MLB Series Preview…Baltimore Orioles at Oakland A’s
Saturday: College Football…Big 10 “East” Preview
Sunday: College Football…Big 10 “West” Preview
Monday: MLB Series Preview…LA Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates
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