Why Your ACC College Football Team Will Fail
With the start of the college football season upon us, hope abounds with every team and all fans. No one has a loss, and every team in the competitive ACC has a chance to win the conference.
The fans of each team are speaking of why they will win. There are special players on each team, and new coaches with great ideas. Everyone has that "big" game circeld on the calendar that will determine the sucess of their team.
For just a bit, I am going to point out why each team in the ACC will actually not do as well as excepted, so here goes.
The Clemson defense should keep Clemson in most games, but the offense may sputter at times. As of right now, the Tigers plan to start a freshman quarterback who has never taken a snap.
Still, it is placekicking that will cost the Tigers this year. Look for Clemson to lose at least one game because of the kicker.
In a conference where every game counts, that could be the game the Tigers needed.
The offensive line is still young for Florida State, and the defense returns just five starters. Then, there is the issue of proven running backs.
Yet, there is something to be said for playing for a coach and a defensive coordinator who are leaving at the end of the year.
Complacency will be the reason FSU fails.
Every year, the pundits omit the Eagles from winning the division. There is Florida State and Clemson, along with everyone's favorite: Wake Forest. Then NC State and Maryland are bigger, stronger, and faster.
The Eagles have 14 starters coming back and 71 percent of their letterman returning from 2008.
But it will be coaching that will catch the Eagles this year. You simply can not keep changing coaches and expect to win.
Everything should look good for the Pack. Baker is back at running back, along with Russell Wilson at quarterback. And despite losing Irving, the defense should be stout.
But the most wins the Pack have posted in a season since 2003 is eight. You simply do not go from winning an average of three conference games per year since 2004 to winning the title.
Come back next year.
Make no mistake, Wake is a good football team and is well-coached. Of course, having Riley Skinner and eight other returning starters on the offense is a huge plus.
But the biggest reason Wake Forest will not win the conference is the schedule. Wake Forest must rely on recruits who are "under the radar." It is not going to get the speed and talent the other schools get.
This year, the Deacons play Florida State, Clemson, Miami, and Georgia Tech. Things are stacked against Wake from the start, and there is still Maryland, Boston College and NC State to consider.
Simpy put, this is a rebuilding year for Maryland.
Returning nine starters from a team that went 4-4 in conference the previuos year does not bode well.
If the Terps can break even in conference play this year, there is hope for 2010.
The Hokies appear to be solid because of good coaching and 15 starters coming back from a team that won 10 games and the conference title last season.
But the missing link is obvious when you look for a weakness. When it is third-and-three, or when you need to pick up a first down on the ground, who gets it?
By the end of the year, that special running back may have emerged. But the Miami and Georgia Tech games are in the first half of the season. Not to mention, the Hokies play Nebraska and Alabama early in the season.
According the experts, the talent is there.
According to the players, the swagger is back.
According to the press, the coaching staff is now in place.
Then why am I looking for the 'Canes to disappoint yet again?
I am not sure which is more of a concern—the lack of a home field advantage or Randy Shannon's inabilty to get the job done. I could win 12 games in two years with that talent.
Do not worry Tech fans, I am not going to say that other teams will learn the "gimmick" offense.
I am, however, going to pick on one posistion of the offense: Quarterback. With the preseason loss of Jaybo Shaw, things could get dire.
If Nesbit sprains his ankle and can not play against Miaimi, who does? If Nesbit is out with the flu against Virginia Tech, who plays?
The "gimmick" offense requires a skilled and expierienced quarterback.
Nine starters back on a defense that won eight games is a plus.
The Tar Heels did lose five games last year—four of those losses came by a combined total of nine points.
This defense should keep Carolina in most every game in 2009. But in order to win, you have to score.
The running game should be solid until teams stack the line and dare the Tar Heels to throw. Then, the close losses should come again.
Eleven starters return from the 2008 squad that won five games. Last year's squad ended the season by playing eight teams that went to bowls. Not to mention, Virginia played the opening game against USC.
Last year, Virginia was not that bad—it was simply a win or two away from actually having a wonderful year.
But this year's team is not that good, and the fan base wants to get rid of the coach prior to the season. The distraction of that alone spells doom.
I thought Duke could win four games last year.
I am not so sure this year.
The Blue Devils have 11 starters from a team that won just four games. There should be more of the same in 2009.