The ACC finished last season with only three teams in the top 25 and not one in the Top 15. The ACC Champ and BCS bowl representative, Virginia Tech, was embarrassed by Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Orange Bowl. The ACC has some elite talent at schools like North Carolina, Florida St, Virginia Tech and Clemson but they need to produce that talent into results on the field. A take a look at the ACC and some key players for the upcoming season on the east coast.
1. Florida St: The Seminoles return many key starters from a team that reached the ACC Championship game last season and added the 2nd best recruiting class in the nation. Jimbo Fisher should have the Seminoles heading into the season as a Top 10 team and they will be ACC favorites. Look for quarterback E.J. Manuel to thrive with his top 5 receivers returning.
|1st team All American Luke Kuechly|
will anchor the BC defense
3. Clemson: The Tigers struggled last season with a disappointing 6-7 record and lost the best defensive player in the nation in Da'Quan Bowers but things look to be brighter on the other side of the tunnel. The Tigers bring back running back Andre Ellington, DeAndre Hopkins at receiver and have one of the best recruiting classes in the nation coming in, loaded with four 5 star recruits.
4. Maryland: Maryland let go of Ralph Friedgen after a 9-4 season and hired former UConn head coach Randy Edsall to take over commands. I believe Edsall is a good coach but not the great coach that Maryland was looking for to take the program to new heights. I believe that the Terrapins will succeed and reach another mediocre bowl game in their first season under Edsall with sophomore quarterback Danny O'Brien leading the way but wont challenge Florida St.
5. North Carolina St: The NC State faithful received a huge blow in what looked to be a very promising season when quarterback Russell Wilson headed to Madison to play for Wisconsin in the upcoming season. The Wolfpack return 8 starters on defense that was one of the best in the ACC last season and have a very good up in coming coach in Tim O'Brien. They should salvage a bowl game but the expectations for a Top 15 team and a possible BCS game will not happen this season.
6. Wake Forest: The Wake Forest football program has gone down the drain since they won the ACC title and appeared in the Orange Bowl back in 06-07. Look for this disappointment to continue for Demon Deacon fans in 2011 but Sophomore quarterback Tanner Price could be the answer next season as they try and turn around the program.
1. Virginia Tech : Tech has dominated the ACC in recent years and has had 10+ win seasons every year since 2003. Even when they looked like they may slip up at the beginning of last season they won 11 straight claimed the ACC title. The Hokies should be good once again this upcoming season but they may not be the favorites headed in. The Hokies lose quarterback Tyrod Taylor along with running backs Darren Evans and Ryan Williams. They return four offensive lineman that will lead the way for running back David Wilson and an always strong defense.
|Running back and return man David Wilson will carry|
the Hokies offense in 2011
2. Miami: If Jacory Harris starts this season for the Hurricanes and if he limits his interceptions then the Hurricanes could easily challenge for a ACC Championship with all the talent they have. The O-Line will lead the way for two back-up running backs from last season while a strong linebacking core will anchor the defense.
3. North Carolina: Butch Davis is headed out of Chapel Hill and Everett Withers is in as interim head coach for the Tarheels. This is the second year in a row that they have been hurt big time in the off season. The Tarheels failed to bounce back after high expectations last season and it looks like this could be the same this year. Their defense should once again be electrifying, especially up front with three high draft picks but the quarterback and running back situations are limbo for the upcoming season.
4. Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets go into the season without a settled quarterback situation despite Tevin Washington playing four games last season. The defense doesn't return a lot of starters but looked very strong throughout the spring. If the triple option get rolling in the upcoming season then we could see the Yellow Jackets fighting atop the ACC.
5. Virginia: The Wahoo's return 17 starters, most out of any team in the ACC, its just too bad it was from a 4-8 team last season. That experience puts them above Wake Forest and the Duke Blue Devils and I wouldn't be surprised if they pull off a couple of upsets but they may just fall short of a bowl game for another season. The Cav's averaged 400 yards of offense last season, third in the ACC, and the return 8 starters from that side of the ball while the defense will be led by all american candidate CB Chase Minnifield and DE Cam Johnson.
|Jimbo Fisher and the Florida St Seminoles are|
the preseason favorites for the 2011 season
ACC Championship Game: Florida St over Virginia Tech
Player of the Year: Montel Harris, RB, Boston College
Defense Player of the Year: Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
Coach of the Year: Jimbo Fisher, Florida St.
Freshman of the Year: Nick O'Leary, TE, Florida St