Way-Too-Early 2013 ACC Football Power Rankings

An Early Look at 2013 Shows Clemson to Be at the Head of the Class in the ACC

An Early Look at 2013 Shows Clemson to Be at the Head of the Class in the ACC

When we last left our teams, there appeared to be hope on the horizon. Though the 2012 season was a difficult one, the bowls showed some real glimmers of great things to come, as the ACC racked up its first winning postseason record in seven years. Beyond some long-awaited hope for greater success, 2013 also brings some change to these rankings. Syracuse and Pittsburgh will now actually be participating in the conference, after two seasons appearing in the power rankings despite not doing so. And Louisville, our newest pals set to join in 2014, will also be joining the party — meaning 15 teams will be listed for the remainder of this calendar year (and slightly beyond into bowl season 2014). Cheer up! It’s less than 230 days ’till kickoff.

1. Clemson Tigers (Last Year: 2): Tajh Boyd‘s back, and the defense is improving steadily. So even without DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Ellington, this team will still be fine in 2013. In year two under defensive coordinator Brent Venables, expect an even more aggressive front-seven as the coach works on improving linebacker play in particular. That secondary will still get burned, but be certain they’ve also learned some lessons from last year, too.

2. Louisville Cardinals (LY: NR): After the show Teddy Bridgewater put on during the Sugar Bowl this year, the Cardinals are an extremely hot commodity, and are likely to start strong in their final season of Big East football. It’ll be interesting to see how coach Charlie Strong and his team respond to having a target on their backs from week one, when they’ll likely be handed a top-10 ranking to start the year.

3. Florida State Seminoles (LY: 1): They’re losing a lot on the defensive side of the football, along with QB and senior leader, EJ Manuel. But like those old, Bobby Bowden-coached teams of teams of the 90s, this ‘Noles squad has already reloaded. The offense may take a few to warm up, but the defense will still be very much their strength heading into next season.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (LY: 5): After sitting out two straight years of postseason berths, the ‘Canes are really hoping they’re given a break from the NCAA in terms of leniency. With a ton of young talent eager to get a shot at a conference title, and arguably the best QB/RB tandem in the ACC in Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson, Miami could very well be out for blood come opening kickoff this fall.

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Addressing Florida State/Big 12 Rumors; Some Musings About Boston College

Boston College’s been (m0stly) better off after joining the ACC, but would Florida State find a better home in the Big 12?

Well, it’s that time again.  Scratch that, it’s been “that time” since the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama hoisted the Crystal Football signifying their supremacy over the vast domain that is college football. I’m talking, of course, about the continually ongoing debate about conference realignment.

Recently, there have been some interesting rumors about a possible move to the Big XII by Florida State. And I’m going to put a stop to them right now.  Right. Now. This will not happen, so we can stop all the shenanigans. Here’s the thing, I’ve said before that one of the fundamental building blocks of conferences is geography. Back in the day, it was just a bunch of schools who played against whoever would schedule them.  Ultimately, certain schools started developing rivalries, and schools that were geographically close to one another gravitated together and formed conferences. This is still evident today.  I tend to cite the Big Ten as the best example of this (Great Lakes Region, Upper Midwest, etc.), but they are far from the only ones. Continue reading

2011 ACC Season Recap: Florida State Seminoles

Even With One of the Country's Best Defenses, Florida State Still Disappointed in 2011

Team: Florida State Seminoles

W-L: 9-4 (5-3)

Postseason: 18-14 Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame

Top Offensive Performer: EJ Manuel, QB

Top Defensive Performer: Nigel Bradham, LB

Starting the year out as a top-five team, it appeared that the sky was the limit for the ‘Noles, back in the saddle as a national power. Unfortunately for them (and the ACC), the good times wouldn’t last very long. After a tough, close loss to then-top-ranked Oklahoma, Florida State began their league slate with consecutive 35-30 defeats to upstarts Clemson and Wake Forest. Somehow, the team would win seven of their final eight contests to right the ship, but the rally failed to change perception. After an extended period of national success under Bobby Bowden from the late 80s through the early 00s, the Seminoles of the last eight or nine years have continually disappointed, despite its collection of highly-talented athletes.

On offense, the team was led by junior EJ Manuel, who finished fourth in total offense in the conference while throwing 18 touchdown passes. Manuel would also run for four scores on the year, occasionally showing prowess on the ground — most notably in a 41-16 rout of Duke in which he passed for two scores and ran for two more in the game. Beyond Manuel, the offense was efficient, for lack of a better term. Though they were 33rd in the FBS in passing yards per game (257), and 39th in points (30.6), they lacked standout playmakers and ranked among the worst in the country running the ball. No back or receiver on the team accumulated more than 600 yards on the season; a stunning statistic through 13 games and that many points scored. But of course, it all came down to the defense. Continue reading