Now we turn our attention to the local boys. Maryland and Navy are in the same boat, pardon the pun. Both are at least as good if not better than about 8 teams on their schedule and will almost certainly lose to 3 or 4 teams. It all depends on how many times they stub their toes in winnable games, in determining what if any bowl they got to. I expect them both to just sneak into post season play.
PROJECTED ACC FINAL STANDINGS
1. Florida St.
3. NC State
5. Wake Forest
6. Boston College
1. Georgia Tech
2. Virginia Tech
3. North Carolina
4. Miami (FL)
ACC Championship Game: Florida St. over Georgia Tech
Florida State isn’t back to the glory days, but I think the are back to being legitimate ACC title contenders. They have quality athletes on defense and if QB Christian ponder continues to develop they will be able to score again. Clemson is projected second, which is mainly a condemnation of the play in this division. New QB Kyle Parker is sparking rave reviews, now he needs to deliver. NC State won 4 straight to end the regular season last year and sneak into a bowl. With Russell Wilson the unquestioned team leader this year , they expect to take another step up. Maryland will be up and down just like last year. They can beat anybody and lose to anybody. I expect them to head to another bowl game. But Terps fans need to pray for QB Chris Turner’s health. There isn’t much behind him. Wake lost two of the best defensive Demon Deacons of all-time in Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith. As much as I respect coach Jim Grobe, it will be tough to keep up the recent level of play. BC will have a tough year. New head coach, under weird circumstances. A still unsettled QB situation. The loss of the top defensive player to illness. Too much for the Eagles. Va Tech is every-body’s favorite, but I think they’ve been winning over weak opposition the last two years. The loss of Darren Evans and the inconsistency of Tyrod Taylor at QB make the Hokies vulnerable. Butch Davis’ Tar Heels could expose that vulnerability with what should be an excellent defense, but I expect the Ramblin Wreck to emerge as division champs.Year two under former Navy coach Paul Johnson should be even better than last years surprise. The team now has had a full year to learn the intricate option offense. Just about everyone returns on offense, and the 25th ranked defense didn’t lose much either. Look out for the Tech versus Tech game on October 17th. Miami (FL) is trying, but are just not there yet. And their first four games are murderous. FSU, Ga tech, Va tech, and Oklahoma. They could be 0-4 by October. Al Groh is feeling the heat at UVa. He needs the return of QB Jameel Sewell to jumpstart the offense. And Duke….. well, they’re Duke.
Bowl Teams: Florida St., Clemson, NC State, Maryland, Wake, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Miami (FL)
Offensive MVP: Russell Wilson, QB NC State
Wilson finally took over for good in game six last season. The Wolfpack were a downtrodden 2-3 team that had just lost to South Florida by 31. His 21 combined TD’s and inspired play got them into a bowl.
Defensive MVP: Jason Worilds, DE Virginia Tech
The pass rusher will be the key to the Hokie defense. His ability to disrupt the opposing offenses and their QB’s will make the difference between a good and great season.
Team most likely to be way better or worse than I predicted:
Wake Forest. Jim Grobe is a very good coach. The offense returns most of the key components from last season. the only problem is that they were fairly mediocre last year. The heart of this team was the defense. you don’t lose two first team All-America candidates like Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith and not feel it. But if the staff can work magic and the defense stays solid; they could be better than I think.
Best TE in the League: Greg Boone, Virginia Tech
The ACC is not deep at this position, so we’ll go with the big man in Blacksburg. At 6′ 3″ 290 lbs he can definitely block.
Best Coordinator: Bud Foster , DC Virginia Tech
Through all the talent that has come and gone at Virginia Tech, the recipe for their success has been defense. The architect of that D over the last 15 season has been Bud Foster. He definitely deserves this.
PROJECTED INDEPENDENT STANDINGS
( based on overall records)
1. Notre Dame
This one is short and easy. Notre Dame will be very good, but not great. Navy will be good enough, but nothing special. And Army will struggle yet again.
Bowl Teams: Notre Dame, Navy
Offensive MVP: Ricky Dobbs, QB Navy
Now that he has the QB job all to himself, expect HUGE individual numbers.
Defensive MVP: Manti Te’o, LB Notre Dame
I know it is a stretch to pick a freshman, but I think Teo is the goods. I expect him to play early, play alot, and play big.
Best Indy TE: Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
Best Indy Coordinator: Ivin Jasper, OC Navy
Navy- 292 yds rushing per game in ’08. It will be just as high this year with improved passing.
Season starts in 30 minutes. WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO