“What? You don’t publish an ACC Preview?”
Perusing the newstand the other day, I came across The Sporting News’ SEC preview. Excited, I hunted for its ACC counterpart. No luck. I assumed that my Borders just didn’t have it. Searching online I realized something much more disappointing -- The Sporting News doesn’t publish one! So now I have to wait for the general College Football Preview that comes out later this summer. This sobering experience did make me think. Do I really need to buy the Preview issue? Aside from some stats and words, I can already predict what it will say about the ACC schools.
Here are my guesses on the storylines for each ACC team.
Boston College. The Eagles lost key players and are reworking their line. Their easy schedule will return them to the postseason where they hope to extend their bowl winning streak.
Clemson. Can Tommy Bowden beat his daddy and the ol’ ball coach again? Tommy B. is replacing some key players but the offense should be much better.
Duke. The clock is ticking on Roof. He has more talent. Can he finally show signs of improvement?
Florida State. Bowden reloads on defense and hopes the offense is improved. Much maligned coordinator Jeff Bowden is the key to the Seminoles defending their conference championship.
Georgia Tech. Gailey handed the reigns of the offense to young OC Nix. Will the veteran team, led by Ball and Johnson, finally break through the 7 win barrier? [The magazines will also mention the Jacket’s tough schedule.]
Maryland. Does Big Ralph get things back on track? Coaching turnover and QB questions make this a make or break season for the Terps.
Miami. New and old faces try to get Miami’s groove back. The ‘Canes still have enough talent to compete for the conference title. If they don’t, Coker is in trouble.
North Carolina. Bunting is in for another long year. Hope is on the way in the form of hot shot recruit Paulus. [This last note depends on the publish date. If they put the mag together before Paulus' commit, than look for just general “Bunting still has the support of the UNC faithful” filler.]
North Carolina St. Lost more talent than any team in the conference. Chuckie’s offense should be better and he is looking to build off of last year’s strong finish.
Virginia. Groh lost two coordinators and his starting QB. Look for the 'Hoos to struggle this season, but Groh does some of his best work when little is expected of his team.
Virginia Tech. The premiere team in the conference. Losing Vick helps because there will be fewer distractions. Beamer ball always assures that they will be competitive.
Wake Forest. Always good for an upset or two, the Deacs will still be out classed and finish in the bottom half of the conference.
My predictions on The Sporting News division standing predicitons:
ACC Championship Game
Virginia Tech over Florida State
All this cynicism about predictable storylines for the conference aside, I’ll still rush to buy the Preview the minute it hits the stands!