College football season is just over 50 days away, and I cannot wait. While traditionally Saturday is a Rugby day for the AGM Linebacker, even rugby takes a back seat to college football. The AGM Linebacker is from ACC territory and lives and breathes ACC football, yes the conference is now 10 years removed from their glory days, but better days are coming, and as out of conference scheduling picks up for many schools the ACC will soon be flexing their muscles for all the NCAA to see once again.
So saddle up, make yourself a pull pork sandwich, pour yourself a shot of Southern Comfort (or a glass of Merlot if you’re at a UVA game) and get ready to watch to some ACC football the way it was meant to be. Tough and gritty with a wide open race to the finish.
ACC Preseason Preview Atlantic Division
Clemson Tigers : There is no doubt that the Clemson Tigers are the cream of the crop when it comes to ACC football, they may even be among the elites in the NCAA. However, there is one small problem. They are the Clemson Tigers, their coach is Tommy Bowden and we have all heard this story before and it always has the same sad ending. The Tigers are stacked with talent Cullen Harper at QB is a stud who completes a high percentage of his passes. At tailback Clemson has arguably the best two tailbacks in the ACC with James Davis and C.J. Spiller. On the defensive side Clemson is returning eight starters and will look to use their speed to apply pressure to opposing teams and knock them off their game plan early.
The biggest problem Clemson will face will be keeping focus and finishing what they started. Too often Bowden’s crew has been the most talented team in the ACC, but not the most disciplined team and the result is another, 8-4 season; great if you’re Duke, but a waste if you were thinking BCS in the preseason. Let’s hope they don’t do the same this year.
Key Games: Alabama, Florida State,
Florida State Seminoles : Okay, so this was a tough one, and I’ll be the first to admit that the ‘Noles got the nod because of who they are and prior reputation, but nonetheless they made it into the second spot. Drew Weatherford has been in college since about 1990 it feels like. By now he has to be the most experienced QB in the NCAA, and that will be a big help. Weatherford was aided by the addition of Jimbo fisher as an offensive coordinator last year, and he will look to build on that previous success.
The biggest asset for Florida State is a weak schedule. They open with four consecutive home games. Matter of fact the ‘Noles won’t leave the state of Florida till mid October. This means Florida State has a good chance to rack up some quality wins at home and that could go a long way in an average ACC conference.
Key Games: Colorado, Virginia Tech, Clemson,
Wake forest Demon Deacons : Wake is in the middle of their greatest run in school history. While the coffers don’t have the talent they once had two seasons ago, they still have enough to get the job done. That means they will be .500 at the very least and with a little bit of luck they can jump into the second spot in the Atlantic Division. The bulk of their success will depend on if they can move the all on offense. Last year the Demon Deacons were routinely out gained and it cost them.
Key Games: Clemson, Virginia, Boston College
Maryland Terrapins: The Terps have struggled the past few seasons. The bulk of their problems have resulted from inconsistency at the quarterback position. Despite the instability the Terps are a tough out especially for ACC opponents. Ralph Friedgen seems to get his teams to play just well enough to keep his job. That means the Terps will be playing spoiler to a couple of ACC opponents. I would like to say that dropping WVU from the schedule would help Maryland this season, but adding Cal is no cakewalk. Look for the Terps to upset some ACC’s teams bid for a title, just hope it’s not yours.
Key Games: Cal, Boston College, Wake forest
Boston College Eagles: The honeymoon is over for Coach Jagodzinski and company. Last year Jags was a first year coach and he feasted on the fruits of Tom O’Brian’s labor, mainly his grooming of QB Matt Ryan. Now Ryan along with a load of other talent is gone, and the Eagles are ready to return to earth. BC is only returning 10 starters meaning they will be very inexperienced and that leads to mistakes and close loses. As usual BC will be solid on both lines, but they just won’t have enough fire power to be in the mix. This will be one Boston team that does not bring home a championship.
Key Games: UCF, North Carolina, Wake forest
North Carolina State Wolfpack: Tom O’Brian is a hell of a coach, and he will be put to the test with this NC State team. They lost 10 starters from a 5-7 team, and they only have freshmen to replace them. Combine that with a brutal non-conference schedule and you can bet the Pack will slide before they are ready to climb again. But hang in there NC State supporters, this year may be rough but positive results will be coming down the pike very soon.
Key Games: Wake forest, East Carolina