Does the ACC Have the Nation’s Best Group of Quarterbacks?

We Look at Whether or Not the ACC's Crop of Quarterbacks Is the Nation's Best

The ACC, top to bottom, has the nation’s best group of quarterbacks for the 2012 season. Laugh all you want, but it may be hard to avoid the fact. While some may call out the pure number of schools we’re considering (14), or the fact that none are necessarily “elite” (false, by the way), this post’s going to try to prove those naysayers wrong. Or at least make them consider the opposing point of view. Maybe. Let’s jump in…

Of the 14 ACC starting quarterbacks, not one is in a real quarterback controversy. Just one (Stephen Morris) lost a position battle last year, and he still got considerable reps in 2011. Every one of these guys are upperclassmen — half seniors, half juniors. Six of them have also thrown for more than 3,000 yards in a season. Need I go on?

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the ACC’s signal-callers, compared to how they stack up to their counterparts in the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. To make all things even, we’ll average out all statistics across all passers. The categories will include: Career wins, 2011 passing yards, 2011 (total) TDs, and 2011 interceptions.

We’ll keep in mind this “study” isn’t perfect or scientific, so long as you remember we never claimed it was either. Continue reading

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ACC Previews & Predictions (Week 13) – Part 1

Virginia Tech Needs to Beat Rival Virginia to Get to the ACC Title Game

The only things left to be decided in the ACC this week are who represents the Coastal Division, and whether or not NC State achieves bowl eligibility. Beyond that, it’s all about state pride and regional grudge matches against the rival SEC. There’s also the little issues of Pittsburgh and Syracuse, both of whom are 5-5, with a season-ending battle for the postseason potentially looming next weekend. So who do we have getting Ws this weekend? Read on…

*Game of the Week*

Virginia Tech Hokies (10-1) (6-1) at Virginia Cavaliers (8-3) (5-2): This year, the title of Virginia’s best football team also coincides with the title of Coastal Division champ. After getting snuffed out by Clemson back in October, the Hokies enter this matchup as the hot commodity, having won six straight games with varying degrees of style. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, have won six of seven, and are riding a mean streak of “no one believes in us” willpower, along with some luck. Though both are top-30 defenses in the FBS, the game will likely come down to whose offense can persevere the longest. Seeing as Virginia has few big playmakers and has experienced trouble scoring all season, the pick is Virginia Tech and their run game, powered by David Wilson. Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Virginia 17

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

Boston College Eagles (3-8) (2-5) at Miami (FL) Hurricanes (6-5) (3-4): BC’s season started in disaster, with an offense that struggled to put up points and a defense that seemed incapable of stopping anyone else from reaching the endzone. Miami’s season started tragically as well, with talk of program “death penalties” and a bad loss to Maryland, before righting the ship and playing highly competitive football. Fast forward to the season’s final week and the ‘Canes find themselves back on a downward swing, while BC has won two of four and is suddenly playing some very strong defense. Even considering last week’s ugly 6-3 win, Miami’s pride will likely guide them to victory (and more than six points) on Senior Day. Prediction: Miami 23, Boston College 14

Pittsburgh Panthers (5-5) at West Virginia Mountaineers (7-3): Due to the Big East‘s failure to field a truly competitive football team on the national stage, this year’s Backyard Brawl still gets to mean something. And good thing too, because sadly, we don’t know the next time these two rivals will be facing each other. Even though the waves of realignment have separated these two though, it doesn’t mean there’s not enough hate to go around. Both schools can still win the conference (somehow), and Pitt needs at least one win to make a bowl game. Either would love nothing more than to spoil the others’ respective dreams, but the Mountaineers are far too talented to lose this one (nod if that sounds familiar at all). Prediction: West Virginia 33, Pittsburgh 24

Georgia Bulldogs (9-2) at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (8-3): “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” is one of the game’s most storied rivalries, exacerbated by Tech’s shortsighted departure from the SEC in 1964 (and later blocked re-entry bid). Even with nothing to play for in this year’s volume — UGA has the SEC East locked up and the ‘Wreck are only competing for a better bowl slot — there are still plenty of intriguing plot lines. Can Georgia’s defense stop the Yellow Jackets’ option attack? Will Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray assault Tech’s defense as others have also done successfully? It’ll be a hostile environment in Atlanta, but expect Georgia to ride their defense to the victory. Prediction: Georgia 26, Georgia Tech 17

Cincinnati Bearcats (7-3) at Syracuse Orange (5-5): These two teams are spiraling downward, but at least Cincy has an excuse. Losing quarterback Zach Collaros to injury, they’ve been forced to rely on backups and their defense, with mixed results (most notably last week’s disastrous effort versus Rutgers). For SU, the problem comes from a general lack of will, putrid tackling, subpar special teams and an offense so sickly of late it should be put out to pasture. In other words, it’s a total meltdown that hearkens back to the Greg Robinson era. It’s unlikely Saturday will stop the bleeding, either. Prediction: Cincinnati 23, Syracuse 16

For the rest of the weekend’s games, check out Part Two.