EDIT: I probably should have mentioned when I first posted this that this week’s roundtable is hosted by GT blog The Legacy x4.
1. There is no question as to whether the ACC is one of the toughest conferences this year as far as its constituents are concerned (as well as outsiders). Currently, 4 teams are bowl eligible while 5 are within one game of reaching eligibility. Is it mediocrity, or is the ACC on its way to being the powerhouse that expansion was supposed to bring?
The easy answer for outsiders is that the conference is still mediocre. In most conferences there are a few bread winners, a middle tier and a few terrible teams. Up until the expansion, this was the case with the ACC: Florida State ruling the roost, with several teams taking turns in the bourgeoisie, and Wake and Duke consistently bringing up the rear. Now, we have about as close to the opposite of that situation as one could reach. Eleven teams are .500 or better, everyone is bowl eligible, everyone has at least two losses, and even NC State has been competitive in defeat.
Point is, every other conference can safely rely on at least a few terrible teams. The ACC has no such team right now. And since most of the could-be-elite programs are either rebuilding (Virginia Tech, Virginia, FSU, Clemson), plateauing (Wake, Maryland, BC) or just too damn young (UNC, NC State, Miami, Georgia Tech) there is no dominant force in the conference, and it puts everyone at about the same level.
But this conference will be good soon. With the continued stream of good talent and an influx of new coaches in the past few years, it is only a matter of time before these teams bear the fruits of conference expansion.
As you must have figured out by now, I’m an optimist.
2. With a few notable exceptions, quarterback play in the ACC has been poor across the past couple of seasons, contributing at least in some part to the lack of offensive potency in the conference. Where does the ACC stand today in terms of quarterback play, and do you think our offenses are improving?
One Carolina quarterback politely begs to differ with that statement.
To answer the question, only five teams began this season with quarterbacks with one full season worth of games under their belt. Of those five, only Sean Glennonhad more than one full season of experience. Two of those QBs, Glennon and Cullen Harpe have been benched at some point in the season due to their play. It can be argued that QBs like Colt McCoy, Graham Harrell, Chase Daniel and Tim Tebow are all very good because they are all in their third year as the go-to QB. However, all of those players started performing well immediately upon being thrown into the fire.
I think what we see in the ACC is in part due to the coaches. Back in 2006 and 2007, there wasn’t much creative playcalling anywhere in the conference. and the results spoke for themselves. Now there will be a lot of talented quartebacks in this conference over the next few years: T.J. Yates, Russell Wilson, Tyrod Taylor, Chris Turner, Josh Nesbitt, Christian Ponder, Willy Korn, and whomever wins the QB battle in Miami. IN addition there has been a vast influx of new coaches in to the conference. QB play in the ACC has left a lot to be desired in the last few years, but by no means will that be a permanent fixture.
3. There are 5 out-of-conference games left for the ACC – BC/Notre Dame, Wake Forest/Vandy, Clemson/USC, GT/Georgia, and FSU/Florida. We went 3-2 in those games last year, and then 2-5 in bowl play (with the only wins coming over Michigan State and UConn). How do you feel we as a conference will compete against the rest of the NCAA in the final weeks of the season, and are you confident in our bowl play?
The ACC stands a very good chance to win four of those games. After watching Florida demolish Kentucky and Georgia in quick succesion, I’m not even remotely confident in FSU. I’ll say 3-2.
4. As far as (Georgia) Tech (As Virginia Tech is the real “Tech”) fans are concerned, ACC officiating is absolutely atrocious, both in conference (helmet-to-helmet, lack of holding calls) and out of conference (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tobqLJlxDBs). Are you in agreement? List any specific, obvious grievances, or use this opportunity to verbally assault ACC refs.
(looks into mirror)
Ron Cherry Ron Cherry Ron Cherry
(Ron Cherry magically appears behind shoulder)
Personal foul…criticism…Tar Heel Mania. 15 point penalty for your team.
You gotta problem? You gotta problem?
It’s bad enough that Cherry and his crew have made particularly egregious calls, not only against UNC but many other ACC teams. But he seems to enjoy calling attention to himself in these situations, and that is unacceptable for any referee.
5. Every college football fan has a favorite player not on their team. Who is that player for you in the ACC?
As much as I love the play of Shaun Drughn, I’m going to have to go with Johnathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech. He may be the conference’s best all-around back, and he’s flourishing under Paul Johnson’s system.