ACC Preview: Clemson, Florida State and Randy Newman in a Rap Battle
Chad Floyd takes a loot (author’s note: the Dude edit left ‘look’ as ‘loot’. Who am I to change it?) at the ACC.
I was not in attendance at this year’s ACC Media Days at the beautiful Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC, but they were called “Operation Kickoff”. The space imagery is a very appropriate metaphor for the ACC.
They broke into the final frontier by being the first to set off this round of conference expansion in 2001 (wow I’m getting old). The phrase ‘failure to launch’ is horrifyingly accurate as a metaphor for the league not getting over the hump with a true national title contender since the late 1990’s Florida State Seminoles. I wish the space imagery would get out of my brain though, as for some reason I keep picturing John Swofford walking up to the podium to emcee the event in just a space helmet, and its horrifying.
Anyway, for those uninitiated, the ACC will stand as of 2014 as the only league in the country that doesn’t divide its divisions geographically, meaning the monikers ‘Atlantic’ and ‘Coastal’ will continue to confuse the crap out of people. There’s no real good way to remember the two divisions, and I only know the destinations of newcomers Pitt and Syracuse by looking at UNC’s schedule (Pitt joins the Heels, Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, and Virginia Tech in the Coastal).
Since there are more than two teams with more than Randy Newman’s chances in a rap battle to win their division in the Coastal, we’re gonna start there.
ACC Coastal Division
In today’s college football landscape, “balanced” is a nice word for “mediocre.” Although Virginia Tech has dominated this division since its inception, their regression to the mean has allowed for four teams to be able to claim the division title in the past two years (UNC and Miami, the first and second finishers last year, were ineligible for postseason play, so Georgia Tech went and set ACC football back another 10 years). This year, the four aforementioned schools are going to fight it out for the right to be the borderline-top-25-team-that-somehow-knocks-off-top-10-Clemson-or-Florida-State-and-loses-to-some-Big-Ten-team-in-the-Orange-Bowl.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets always start the season strong due to a healthy quarterback and…well, a healthy quarterback. That would bode well for them this year, as a tuneup against Elon precedes 4 straight Coastal games, including three against the other three contenders in the division. At this point, I can no longer write the Bees off, as they’ll win 8 games and be annoyingly close to winning the division again.
Miami: The media favorite at ‘Operation Kickoff’ /spacemanimageryshuddersagain, the Hurricanes are a talented bunch that could take the next step, or regress to 6-6, and it wouldn’t move the needle for me either way. A strong running game anchored by five returning starters on the line and my darkhorse favorite for ACC OPOY, RB Duke Johnson, will take a lot of pressure off of a relatively young (yet, again, talented) defense.
North Carolina: Much like Miami, there is significant variability in their potential win totals. After opening at South Carolina, every game is imminently winnable. The offense will put up a lot of points behind senior QB Bryn Renner, and if the defense improves (they ditched co-defensive coordinators after one failed season’s experiment) they will win most of those winnable games.
Virginia Tech: I will never understand the media’s love affair with Logan Thomas. He’s a nice athlete and throws a mean deep ball, but doesn’t do much else to move the needle as a quarterback. Their defense will improve over last year based on a veteran line and secondary, but I think the Tech program under Frank Beamer and Bud Foster is past its prime and set for an era of mediocrity.
The rest: I have no clue what to expect from Pitt. Just simply had no reason to watch Big East football. Virginia keeps on recruiting up a storm but has no quarterback, no playmakers, and no defense. And also alternate uni’s that make them look just like Syracuse, which is not good. Duke went bowling for the first time since Clinton’s first term, but lost 5 straight to finish the season 6-7.
ACC Atlantic Division
Alright, so let’s list the teams in this division. If there’s a strike-through on their name, they’re not going to win the Atlantic.
- Florida State
Maryland N.C. State S yracuse Wake Forest.
Seriously. Every team in the division has to play at least one game at either Syracuse or BC, which is like an SEC team playing a Sun Belt team on the road and it counting in their league record. Wake is going back to the veer-oriented offense which (still, inexplicably) won them the conference in 2006. Maryland is going to draw ‘A-C-C!!!’ chants everywhere they go as they play their last season in the league, and that’s hilarious and depressing at the same time. State hired Dave Doeren, who rocks two earrings but is one of the most decorated coaches of all time, as he took a #MACtion team to a BCS bowl game.
I’ll say, among the 5 dwarfs (dwarves?) (Dude’s note: Dwarfii), the finishing order will be 1. Maryland 2. State 3. Syracuse 4. Wake 5. BC. Not that you care.
Clemson: In DudeYouPodcast episode 5 our fearless leader Andrew Hall stated that Clemson was losing a whole lot on offense. I’m not completely in agreement with this assessment, as Tajh Boyd would have been the first QB selected had he entered the draft, Sammy Watkins disappeared with the emergence of now-departed Nuke Hopkins, and Andre Ellington never amazed me. I am a major believer in Chad Morris as an OC, and think Clemson SHOULD win the ACC. However, Clemson tends to Clemson sometimes, and their schedule is bookended by top-10 SEC teams. They’re not a national title contender for those reasons.
Florida State: So, Florida State loses a LOT of talent from a team that won the ACC and
triumphed participated successfully in the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois. While I hate to reference recruiting rankings, the guys replacing Tank Carradine and Bjoern Warner (get familiar with the following names on their line: Mario Edwards, Tim Jernigan, DeMarcus Walker). Offensively, Jameis Winston will win the QB job and should have ample time to settle into the job before the October 19 matchup at Clemson. They return starters all around him to ease the transition from E.J. Manual.
Coastal Champ: UNC. They shouldn’t lose all three games against VT, Miami, and GT, and don’t have Clemson or FSU from the Atlantic.
Atlantic Champ: Florida State. I’m in love with the talent on this team, and have to conveniently ignore the loss of five coaches in the offseason.
ACC Champ: Florida State. Not that big of a homer.
Offensive POY: 1) Tajh Boyd, Clemson 2) Duke Johnson, Miami 3) Bryn Renner, UNC 4) Sammy Watkins, Clemson 5) Jameis Winston, FSU
Defensive POY: 1) Anthony Chickillo, DE, Miami 2) Jeremiah Attaochu, DE, GT 3) Christian Jones, LB, FSU 4) Antone Exum, CB, VT 5) Kyle Fuller, CB, VT (as he gets the throwing away from Exum numbers)
Rookies of the Year: Offense: Jameis Winston, FSU; Defense: clown question, bro. No clue.