ACC National Signing Day 2013 Recap: Looking Back at Our Predictions

Committing to the U in Style, WR Stacy Coley Looks to Bring Some Swag Back to Miami

Committing to the U in Style, WR Stacy Coley Looks to Bring Some Swag Back to Miami

Yesterday, we rolled the dice and tried to predict where all the top uncommitted ACC recruiting prospects would land on National Signing Day. Some we got right, while others we got resoundingly incorrect. A look at yesterday’s predictions, with notes on what we got right/wrong.

Matthew Thomas, OLB (5 Stars)

Our PickFlorida State; Actual – Florida State

Montravious Adams, DT (5 Stars)

Our PickClemson; ActualAuburn

MacKensie Alexander, CB (5 Stars)

Our PickMississippi State; Actual – Clemson

Stacy Coley, WR (4 Stars)

Our Pick – Florida State; Actual Miami (FL)

James Clark, WR (4 Stars)

Our PickFlorida; Actual – Ohio State

Tyrone Crowder, OG (4 Stars)

Our Pick – Clemson; Actual – Clemson

Denver Kirkland, OG (4 Stars)

Our PickArkansas; Actual – Arkansas

E.J. Levenberry, ILB (4 Stars)

Our PickTennessee; Actual – Florida State

Keith Bryant, DT (4 Stars)

Our PickSouth Carolina; Actual – Florida State

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National Signing Day 2013 Predictions: How Will the ACC Fare Tomorrow?

We Try to Guess Where Top Recruits Like Matthew Thomas Are Headed Tomorrow

We Try to Guess Where Top Recruits Like Matthew Thomas Are Headed Tomorrow

National Signing Day is upon us (almost)! And before letters of intent start getting faxed to various institutions of higher education around the country, we wanted to take one final look at which of the country’s top undecided recruits could land at ACC schools. No, we won’t mention Robert Nkemdiche here… Robert Nkemdiche.

Matthew Thomas, OLB (5 Stars)

Our PickFlorida State; Also In ContentionMiami (FL), Alabama, Georgia

Montravious Adams, DT (5 Stars)

Our PickClemson; Also In ContentionAuburn, Georgia

MacKensie Alexander, CB (5 Stars)

Our PickMississippi State; Also In Contention – Clemson, Auburn

Stacy Coley, WR (4 Stars)

Our Pick – Florida State; Also in Contention – Miami (FL), Syracuse, Louisville

James Clark, WR (4 Stars)

Our PickFlorida; Also In Contention – Clemson, Ohio State

Tyrone Crowder, OG (4 Stars)

Our Pick – Clemson; Also in ContentionNorth Carolina, Georgia

Denver Kirkland, OG (4 Stars)

Our PickArkansas; Also in Contention – Florida State, Miami (FL)

E.J. Levenberry, ILB (4 Stars)

Our PickTennessee; Also in Contention – Florida State

Update (2/5, 5:38 p.m. PT): Florida State holds onto Levenberry (via Tomahawk Nation)

Keith Bryant, DT (4 Stars)

Our PickSouth Carolina; Also in Contention – Florida State, Miami (FL)

Cornelius Elder, ATH (4 Stars)

Our PickUCLA; Also In ContentionGeorgia Tech, Ohio State, Purdue

Myles Jack, OLB/RB (4 Stars)

Our Pick – UCLA; Also In Contention – Florida State, Washington, Georgia

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Assessing Clemson: What Can We Take From the Tigers’ First Two Games?

Clemson Has Looked Good Through Two Games This Season, But Are Looks Deceiving? We Discuss.

The Clemson Tigers have looked pretty impressive through two games, but of course, we know there are concerns, too — some of which may not fully come to light until their big matchup with Florida State on September 22. Recognizing this, resident Clemson fan Joel Penning and I had a quick chat about some of the pressing issues thus far, addressing offensive tempo, Sammy Watkins‘s return, the run game and more. Check it out below, and enjoy the game this afternoon!

Clemson OC Chad Morris has promised to push the tempo even more. Is it possible?

Joel: When he arrived at Clemson, Chad Morris said he’d like to run 75-80 plays per game. The Tigers met that mark last year at 75.4. Morris’ offenses weren’t much quicker at Tulsa, where the Golden Hurricane ran 77.4 plays per game in 2010.  But the more plays you run, the more chances you have to score. Clemson is on track to match last year’s results, but the length of the game and the persistence of a defense that has trouble getting off the field will limit the offense’s effectiveness. The most effective hurry-up offenses are paired with competent defenses; otherwise, every quick score can easily be matched by a slower, more plodding score that eats up the clock. It’s just a question of game management. So ultimately, I have a hard time seeing Clemson top 80 plays per game.

John: I’d agree with that. Competing directly with amazing defenses like Florida State and Virginia Tech, I find it hard to believe that shootouts are the way to go. Against a shoddy defense? Sure, bombs away, and dare them to score on you. But against teams like that, you’re giving them opportunities to create turnovers, and letting you beat yourself at your own game. Running 75 plays per game has worked pretty well to this point, and I think it’ll yield better results as the defense improves.

The run defense is a travesty. Will it end up being the team’s undoing once ACC play begins?

JP: Brent Venables was hired to shore up a shaky defense, but two games into 2012, the Tigers are giving up more yards per play than last year. Kevin Steele largely failed during his three years to check option-based offenses, whether the triple-option of Georgia Tech or the zone-read of Cam Newton-led Auburn or the new Steve Spurrier attack. This year in Atlanta, Clemson did pretty well against that type of play, although maybe the departure of Gus Malzahn has accelerated Auburn’s return to a more traditional pro-style. Two games into the season, it’s hard to make a definitive judgment, but my general impression is that defenders are more willing to give up short runs in order to avoid being gassed by option plays. Georgia Tech on October 6 will determine Venables’ success in the minds of a lot of Clemson fans. But to answer the question more directly, Clemson had its most successful season in 20 years despite an awful defense. The Orange Bowl sticks in everyone’s mind, but it was offensive ineptitude that lost games to NC State, GT, and South Carolina.  With the inauspicious start for the Wolfpack, I’m still confident slotting Clemson second in the Atlantic, despite its weakness against the run.

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ACC Football 2012 Power Rankings: Week Three

Georgia Tech Bounced Back Nicely in Week Two, Running Roughshod Over Presbyterian All Day Saturday

All 14 ACC squads were in action again last week, and while many performed admirably, several manged to disappoint as well. Check out the list below, and weigh in down in the comments if you disagree.

1. Florida State Seminoles (2-0) (LW: 1): We really don’t know how to properly evaluate the Seminoles after two 1.75 games against FCS opponents, but they have won by a combined score of 124-3. So at least there’s that. The team’s first true test is coming up next week, however, as they are paid a visit by constant nemesis/thorn-in-side, Wake Forest. Also of interest: FSU has run the ball very effectively up until now. We’ll be curious to see if that continues now as they face better competition.

2. Clemson Tigers (2-0) (LW: 2): The Tigers’ second half defense against Ball State gave some fans reason for concern, as did the run D, which has been particularly poor. While it’s understandable that Auburn would be able to rack up 180 yards on the ground against them, for the Cardinals to total 252 is simply unacceptable. It’s great to have Sammy Watkins back this week, but unfortunately, he can’t play defensive line.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies (2-0) (LW: 4): The Hokies looked tired and disinterested against Austin Peay on Saturday, despite the fact that they won 42-7. We knew this offense would struggle coming into 2012, but it does appear that QB Logan Thomas will have to carry nearly the entire scoring burden. But should he continue his issues with accuracy, Tech could have a real problem on their hands as the season wears on.

4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-1) (LW: 5): Unlike their Labor Day counterparts, Georgia Tech did not give off any signs of exhaustion Saturday, amassing 712 yards of offensive en route to a big 59-3 rout of Presbyterian. Mixing it up against an inferior opponent, Tech was also able to give extended playing time to Vad Lee and Zach Laskey. The two combined for 217 rushing yards and two scores on just 20 carries, including a huge 79-yard gain by Lee.

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ACC vs. The World

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Georgia Tech backup QB Vad Lee hit WR Jared Green with a long touchdown pass as GT unveiled cool new uniforms again and racked up 721 yards on offense

It’s the ACC vs. The World, or at least the world of college football.  As one of the major FBS football conferences, it is important for the ACC to see how it stacks up against the competition. The public perception of conference strength influences everything from pride to money for TV deals and more. So let’s take a look to see how the ACC (including Pitt and Syracuse of course) has fared against other conferences so far this year.

Week 1: 10 games (7-3)

vs. Big 10 (0-1) Syracuse lost a close game to Northwestern 42-41, but QB Ryan Nassib showed that the Orange are dangerous on offense.

vs. SEC (1-1)

Highlight- Clemson beat a quality SEC foe in Auburn at a neutral site (The Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.). QB Tajh Boyd and Andre Ellington had the Clemson offense rolling.

Lowlight(s)- Pitt lost to Youngstown St. NC State faced a tough test in Tennessee, but did not show up on game night and live up to lofty preseason expectations.

Week 2: 12 games (8-4)

vs. Big East (2-1) NC State bounced back to grab a win over UConn, and Maryland got the win over Temple. But Pitt found themselves embarrassed by former/current conference-mate Cincinnati on Thursday night.

vs. Big 10 (1-0): Virginia was outplayed by Penn State for virtually the entire afternoon, yet found a way to score a big victory nonetheless.

vs. Big 12 (0-1): Miami looked horrible against Kansas State, as QB Collin Klein had a field day against the ‘Canes. However, Miami was saved from being the lowlight of the week.

vs. Pac-12 (0-2) Syracuse lost, but played a respectable game against the number two-ranked USC Trojans.

Highlight- UVA’s victory over Penn State in Charlottesville, Va. Cavaliers QB Michael Rocco connected with Jake McGee late in the 4th quarter to grab the lead for good.

Lowlight- Pitt…again

ACC Football 2012 Power Rankings: Week Two

If Clemson’s Andre Ellington Continues Running the Way He Did on Saturday, the Tigers Could Win the ACC Once Again

After months of arbitrary offseason shuffling, we finally have some actual games to base these rankings off of. All 14 ACC squads were in action last week, and while many performed admirably, several manged to disappoint as well. Check out the list below, and weigh in down in the comments if you disagree.

1. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 1): The Seminoles did a commendable job pummeling Murray State on Saturday. And that defense — just as impressive as they’ve ever been. Unfortunately, however, the big win came with a steep price. Star defensive end Brandon Jenkins injured his foot, and is now out for the remainder of the season. We won’t know how much the loss affects FSU this week, but once the real slate starts, it’ll be all too apparent.

2. Clemson Tigers (LW: 2): Everything about Saturday’s win over Auburn was exceptional. Andre Ellington‘s ground game. Tajh Boyd‘s ability to make plays work through the air and on the ground. The offensive line’s maturity right in front of our eyes. And of course, the defense quickly showing they’d learned a thing or two from new coordinator Brent Venables.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels (LW: 6): Everyone worried about how Giovani Bernard would fit into Larry Fedora’s offense. After the 62-0 drubbing they handed Elon, I think he’ll fit in just fine. Three TDs on just 12 touches will do that sort of thing. Obviously there’s more difficult opponents out there, but the big win appears to be an appetizer for what’s in store for this offense.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 3): Another slow start for the Hokies, though this year, they manage to win the opener. If Virginia Tech gave the game ball to anyone on Monday night, it should’ve been handed right over to their opponent’s QB. Aside from their late drive for the game-tying field goal, the offense appeared listless and the O-line issues are real.

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25: Week Two

After an Impressive Opening Win Over Michigan, Alabama is Quickly Repositioning Themselves for the Number-One Spot

Now that we’re in-season, we’ll be updating these rankings on a weekly basis. As always, we think these are correct. Simultaneously, you’re probably of the opinion you know better. Feel free to share that with us below (respectfully, of course).

Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25 (Week Two)

1. USC Trojans (1-0) (LW: 1) (First-place votes: 3)

2. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) (LW: 4) (1)

3. Oregon Ducks (1-0) (LW: 3)

4. LSU Tigers (1-0) (LW: 2)

5. Florida State Seminoles (1-0) (LW: 6)

6. Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) (LW: 5)

7. West Virginia Mountaineers (1-0) (LW: 10)

8. Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) (LW: 7)

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (1-0) (LW: 9)

10. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-0) (LW: 12)

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