August 22, 2006

Frinklin Football Forecaster: ACC

1. Florida State Seminoles
Florida State finally found a quarterback in sophomore Drew Weatherford. He was rickety at times last year –rickety as in 18 interceptions- but he improved enough last season to claim the job. The ‘Noles didn’t seem nearly as dominant as a defense with Broderick Bunkely, Ernie Sims, Antonio Cromartie (who, admittedly, missed the year with injuries) and AJ Nicholson should be. As always, FSU is a contender on the national stage. The question is how serious a contender?

2. Clemson Tigers
Tommy Bowden has managed to avoid the guillotine despite grumblings from the Tiger faithful who apparently think that Clemson should contend for everything every year. His last two teams have stumbled out of the gate. This –loaded on both sides- should avoid that. The only problem is the loss of QB Charlie Whitehurst. As Whitehurst’s backup Will Proctor is a fifth-year senior. If gets the job done, Clemson can take the ACC.

3. Boston College Eagles
Boston College has become one of the most consistent programs in the nation. Matt Ryan, who started and played very well to end the season, should be the Eagles’ best QB since Matt Hasselbeck. BC lost a couple good offensive linemen, but Chestnut Hill has become a breeding ground for quality lineman. BC is strong up the middle on defense, but weak on the edges. Tom O’Brien has a quality program here; one that has reached a bowl game in seven straight seasons. This team should make it eight.

4. Maryland Terrapins
His first three seasons, Ralph Freidgen won 31 games with three bowl appearances. In the two years hence, the Terps have 10 wins and no bowls. Diminishing returns or a retrenching? Fridge takes over the play-calling this season with the retirement of Charlie Taaffe, but it won’t matter if he can’t settle on a quarterback.

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
The toughest team to play in the ACC? Might be. Jim Grobe’s Deacons play a grind it out run offense led by Micah Andrews and QB Ben Mauk. Mauk needs to improve and prove Wake can put the ball down the field. On defense the Deacons are experienced -10 returning starters- but not particularly fast and athletic.

6. North Carolina State Wolf Pack
How can a team with three NFL first-round draft picks on the defensive line possible improve? Well, Coach Chuck D’Amato had better do it quick as his is one of the hottest seats in the nation. The Pack started 2-4, but rallied last season to get a (very minor) bowl bid. NC State needs to start strong, or D’Amato might not last the season.

1. Miami Hurricanes
Larry Coker is 53-9 as a head coach, and he is under serious heat. That’s what happens when you lose three games – including a horrific 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl- as the Hurricane coach –as the top man in Coral Gables. Coker revamped his staff, hiring six new assistants including new OC Rich Olson. The D was fine last year, but the offense was boring and ineffective. Get young stud QB Kyle Wright working, and the Canes are in business.

2. Virginia Tech Hokies
One guy.

The Hokies are only one guy short of a serious national championship contender. Unfortunately for Frank Beamer, that one guy is New Mexico Vick, currently trying to stay out of jail and on the Miami Dolphin roster. Despite the losses of Vick, DE Darryl Tapp and corner Jimmy Williams this is still a good team.

Just one guy short.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Two big questions here: Can Reggie Ball throw to the right-colored jerseys? And can Chan Gailey get this team going on a weekly basis? If the answer is yes the Ramblin’ Wreck is the sleeper team in the ACC. If both answer in the negative, then it becomes a very, very long year in Atlanta. Ball – an amazing blend of quickness and arm strength- has the luxury of throwing to the best wideout in college football: Calvin Johnson. Of course, Ball is apt to going entire quarters without getting a ball on-target.

4. North Carolina Tar Heels
John Bunting survived what turned out to be a pretty serious rebuilding project, and has the Heels on an upswing. Not much of one, but NC is heading in the right direction. They do need a new QB to compliment bruising back Ronnie McGill. Bunting was a respected defensive coordinator in the NFL; which makes the relative mediocrity of his Tar Heels’ defenses so mysterious.

5. Virginia Cavaliers
When he arrived from the New York Jets, Cav coach Al Groh immediately upgraded the recruiting, landing heralded talents like D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Ahmad Brooks and Wali Lundy. It seemed that UVA would be the home-grown challenger to Florida State.


The Cavs have disappointed recently, and the roof could cave in this year. The big recruiting classes are gone; the team has stumbled at the box-office and the fans have soured on Groh. Making matters worse is the departure of both coordinators to head jobs elsewhere.

6. Duke Blue Devils
The hardest job in the country? Probably, yeah. Ted Roof is the head man here, an intense driven sort who –if he can propel the Dookies to any success – would do just fine at a bigger school. For now though, he’s in Durham: basketball-nuts, difficult academically, indifferent to football. The good news? The Blue Devils are younger then in recent years and due to Roof’s diligent recruiting they are almost certainly more talented.

Then again, they didn’t beat a DI school last year.

ACC Champion: Florida State Seminoles

Posted by Frinklin at August 22, 2006 05:58 PM | TrackBack

Noles rule!

That's really all I have to add.

Posted by: Eden at August 23, 2006 07:04 AM
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