College Football Power Shift: Is The ACC The Next Top Conference
In the world of college football there are few certain truths. One of these truths is that for the past decade the most dominant conference in college football has been the SEC.
In the past 10 years the SEC has won six national titles. But as all college football fans know, the landscape is constantly changing, and in the next five years we could see another conference rise to power: the ACC.
Since 2000, the ACC has expanded and added three teams: the Miami Hurricanes, the Virginia Tech Hokies, and the Boston College Eagles.
In the past 10 years the Hurricanes and Hokies have combined for three trips to the National Championship, the same number of times as all other ACC members combined in the same period of time.(Florida State went three times, accounting for all three of the conference's trips).
Better to Be Lucky Than Good
Sometimes in order for a change of power as momentous as this a team or conference needs to catch a lucky break or two.
With the departure of key players Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes as well as other veterans, the Florida Gators will be focused on rebuilding for the few. With Georgia struggling and no true leader at the QB position the SEC(the current top dog) has become a one trick pony with only Alabama and the SEC western division as its claim to fame.
A weak SEC provides other conference with a chance to shine.
Candidates to Represent the ACC for the National Title: V-Tech
Frank Beamer built a name for himself long before his Hokies were brought into the ACC. Beamer has compiled a 187–92–2 record since taking over the Hokies in 1987. In the course of building the program Beamer and the Hokies have won 3 Big East and three ACC championships. Including a trip in 1999 to the National Championship.
Beamer's Hokies have showed a prowess for generating score from offense defense and special teams, prompting his philosophy of scoring is a team affair to be called Beamer Ball.
Dabo Swinney stepped in as head coach for Clemson after Tommy Bowden stepped down in 2008.
Swinney an alum of the University of Alabama, had passed on an opportunity to return to his alma mater and join the staff of Nick Saban, prior to the beginning of the 2008 season. Swinney's team finished -43 under him in the seven games in 2008.
In 2009 the Tigers won their division and finished with a 9-5 record, despite their QB being a freshman. Looking forward Swinney's Tigers will be lead offensively by sophomore Kyler Parker a two sport athlete who threw for 20 TDs in 2009. Sophomore RB Andre Ellington will take over after the departure of CJ Spiller, Ellington averaged over seven ypc as Spiller's back up in 2009.
Paul Johnson built a name for himself at Navy honing hist triple option offense. Despite much criticism of the triple option Johnson continued to us the option to his success.
His first season at Georgia Tech, he finished 9-4 (beating rival Georgia) despite 16 starters being either freshmen or sophomores. In his second season Johnson led the Yellow-jackets to an 11-3 record and a victory over No. 4 V-Tech.
It looks as though Johnson's old stand bye the triple option is still competitive in the 21st century. Georgia Tech's option based playbook coupled with the youth of the team gives them a realistic shot of being a national presence in the near future.
Randy Shannon's Hurricanes had a rough start going a combined 12-13 in his first two season. Shannon also lost highly touted QB Robert Marve. Despite turmoil on and off the field Shannon was able to rally the troops in 2009 and finish 9-5.
Perhaps the best thing Miami has going for it besides Shannon's ability to recruit top-25 classes is the emergence of sophomore Jacory Harris whose play alone could bring Miami to the conference championship. If Harris can improve on his sophomore number this up coming season, and elects to stay for his senior season, it may be a magical one for the Canes.
Butch Davis took over the helm, of an anemic Tar Heels program following the 2006 season.
Despite going 4-8 in his first season, Davis has finished 8-5 in two years following, bringing the Tar Heels their first back to back winning seasons in over six years Davis served as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes from 1995-2000 where he compiled a record of 51-20, leading the Hurricanes to the Sugar Bowl in 2000.
Under Davis the Tar heels had the ninth best recruiting class in 2009 and the 29th in 2010, adding youth and talent to supplement the team in the near future.
Jimbo Fisher has a tough task ahead of him, as he takes over following the retirement of the most historic coach in Seminole history, Bobby Bowden.
In 2009, Florida State's Achilles heel was often their secondary, as evidence in the Miami game where the defensive backs were beat deep by the speedy Miami receivers. If Fisher can address this problem, then the 'Noles may be well on their way, as long as Senior QB Christian Ponder Recovers from last season's injury. Freshman E.J. Manuel took over for an injured Ponder last season and went 2-1 as a starter.
The Noles had the 10th overall recruiting class last year, highlighted by many talented defensive players. With plenty of depth, Fisher just has to bring the talent to the top to be successful.