Let's be honest folks, the ACC Coastal has been a mess since day one. Other than a back-to-back run by Boston College, the road to the title game has been a sloppy one every year. When the divisions were originally set up, I'm sure the powers that be had in mind grand meetings between Miami and Florida State for a trip to the BCS title game every season, but that was not to be. How will this year's Atlantic race pan out?
The Eagles should have been better in 2011, but they struggled. Let me get this out in the open: I think the firing of Jeff Jagodzinski may have been one of the most hard-headed, idiotic disasters in all the recent years of college football. I know in detail the circumstances, but still.
Regardless, the Eagles have a ton of work to do to regain some pride.
The man that was once dangerously close to becoming the new head man for Georgia Tech in 2008 has shown that the ACC might be a little more than he bargained for. This guy left a job at UConn that would have likely ended with his likeness in bronze somewhere outside the stadium with dreams of BCS bowls in his head. He found out quickly that he's in a whole new arena.
From the disaster of last season, maybe the Terps make a bowl, but I'm not giving them too much credit until they get their act together.
This positioning is not so much a bashing of what this year's Wake team will be, as much as it is a credit to my opinion of the teams above them.
Jim Grobe is a good coach and will likely have a home with the Demon Deacons as long as he cares to stay, but this program has shown that it is not a perennial contender for titles in the ACC. I like Grobe, but I can never put much stock in the Wake Forest program as a whole.
However, It would be fun to see them have more success in the future.
Tom O'Brien knows what he's doing, but sometimes his players don't seem to.
NC State has been on the verge of mattering, and you can see that. The decision not to share Russell Wilson the the Colorado Rockies was admirable, but stupid.
With the Wolfpack on the brink of something great, Wilson's departure left them in unimpressive form. This team will do better than last year in the upcoming season, but still not good enough to head to Charlotte in December.
Jimbo Fisher had an okay 2011 season, but in Tallahassee, that's not enough.
FSU should be better, and they will be better soon. This is yet another Atlantic Division team that is on the verge of greatness, and the national media awaits with baited breath to sing their praises.
If the Noles can stay healthy and clean up their fundamentals, this will be a great season for them. If not, expect more of the same.
I tried my best to come up with a way to keep the Fighting Dabos of Clemson out of the top of my list.
It seems like an easy pick coming off the success of last year, and I wanted to shake things up, but they are just too talented. There are a ton of young, speedy players returning next season for the Tigers and with a little—okay, a lot—of improvement on defense, Clemson could repeat as division champions, at least.
Keep an eye on this team, but watch out for that "Clemson Moment."