Big League Clu previews the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Its August everyone!, and that means college football season is just a few weeks away! I am going back to my roots, bringing you a weekly conference breakdown of the all the major college football conferences, or in this case… the five “Super Conferences” (ACC, SEC, BIG 12, BIG 10, and PAC 12). I will also be sprinkling in a few names from the other conferences, as they have suffered greatly from the purge that these super conferences started a few years back. Are you guys ready? Let’s Christen this 2013 college football season with a breakdown of the ACC, a conference that is looking to reestablish itself among the elites with a few household names, and also introduce a couple of new schools who joined the conference this off-season.
Clemson Tigers: (11-2 overall, 7-1 in ACC)
Leading the way with Tajh Boyd at QB, Clemson is looking to build off of last season’s success (they won the Chick-Fil-A Bowl over LSU). The Tigers are sure to to flex their muscle in the NCAA, as they are currently ranked 8th in the nation. They want to prove to all of the critics that the ACC is back as one of the premiere college football conferences in the country.
Florida State Seminoles: (12-2, 7-1 in ACC)
FSU is also big name program that had yet another fantastic season in 2012. FSU finished 12-2, was crowned ACC champs and won the Orange Bowl over underdog Northern Illinois. The Noles go into this football season ranked #12, but that is a really shaky #12. They lost several key players to the NFL draft this past April, including QB EJ Manuel. Head coach Jimbo Fisher certainly has his hands full before he pencils in his roster on game day.
North Carolina Tar Heels: (8-4, 5-3 in ACC)
All eyes will be focused on Senior QB Bryn Renner and the slew of talented backs that the Tar Heels boast as they enter the 2013 season. UNCs coaching staff will be put to the test as this Tar Heel team will have to face some important early season road trips (at Georgia Tech on September 21st and at Virginia Tech on October 5th).
University of Miami Hurricanes: (7-5, 5-3 in ACC)
Miami returns QB Stephen Morris and ACC Rookie of the Year Duke Johnson. Sprinkle in what many claim to be one of the ACC’s best offensive lines, and the Canes’ expectations get much higher. They should be. Third year head coach Al Golden is hungry for an ACC title.
Those Other Guys
Duke Blue Devils: (6-7,3-5 in ACC)
Last year was a bit of a head scratcher for Duke football fans. They won six games, made their first bowl appearance since 1994 AND even beat in state rival North Carolina (a game that won’t sit well with UNC until the two square off again at the end of the year). However, then the Devils didn’t win a game after October 20th! They finished with five straight losses, including a bowl loss to Cinncinati in the BELK Bowl. But hey, like I’ve said all along, I’m a glass-half-full kinda guy, so here is some good news: reigning ACC Coach of the Year, David Cutcliffe has led the Devils to 21 wins in his five years at Duke, which is 11 more wins than the program totaled in the previous 8 seasons….8! So, that’s something to feel good about, right?
Boston College Eagles: (2-10, 1-7 in ACC)
Why am I talking about BC? Well mainly because it is the one time I can actually point and laugh at Jobu’s alma mater for only winning two games last season, but also because Syracuse has joined the ranks of the ACC. The two teams will renew a rivalry that started when the two were Big East foes. Here’s to some good ole fashion slobberknockin football coming our way, Jobu! Now onto some real useful information about the Eagles: They ranked 119th in rushing last season, and 111th in points scored (they averaged 19.8 points a game). You might say those stats are pretty awful, but with the bad comes the good, as BC does return starting QB Chris Retting and 15 other starters. Hopefully they can improve on what they didn’t to too well last year, which was score points and run the football, or else head coach Steve Addazio might be unemployed pretty soon.
The New Guys!
Pittsburgh Panthers: (6-7, 3-4 in Big East)
Welcome to the ACC! Pittsburgh looks to start a new chapter to their illustrious football history in 2013. Pitt fans can finally rejoice that QB Tino Sunseri is no longer calling the plays under center. In fact, he is probably going to be replaced by former Rutgers signal caller Tom Savage. Savage gives them a little more offense, which they will need if they want to be relevant once conference play comes around. If they can’t put up points, second year head coach Paul Chryst will be spending his saturdays just like he does his sundays… praying.
Syracuse Orange: (8-5, 5-2 in Big East)
The other new guys; SU comes into the ACC after becoming one of the biggest surprises in the now defunct Big East Football Conference (now known as the American Athletic Conference). The Orange went 5-2 and finished the season as co-Big East champs along with Cinci, Louisville and Rutgers. They then went on to win the 2012 Pinstripes Bowl over West Virginia.
However, SU has a ton of work to do as they now play with the big boys of the ACC. They lost starting star QB Ryan Nassib and WR Alec Lemon on offense, along with coach Doug Marrone, who took a head coaching job with the Buffalo Bills. Former defensive coordinator Scott Schafer enters as the new head coach. Look for something of an old school thing back in ‘Cuse, as they will have a bit of a running attack with the return of their top two rushers: Jerome Davis (Doak Walker watch list) and Prince Tyson-Gulley. Welcome to the ACC Syracuse.
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