Early 2013 ACC Football Betting Lines

"Clean, Old Fashioned Hate" is One of 48 ACC Matchups With Current Betting Odds in Vegas

“Clean, Old Fashioned Hate” is One of 48 ACC Matchups With Current Betting Odds in Vegas

While I’m not endorsing gambling (unless you’re in Las Vegas, then go right ahead), it’s always a great sign that college football’s right around the corner when you can start betting on games. To that end, Golden Nugget’s sports books have published lines for almost 250 games this fall — 48 of which are involving ACC squads. The full list of ACC games, which I’ve included below, are gleaned from the list provided by Don Best via SB Nation.

Week One

North Carolina at South Carolina (-12)

Penn State at Syracuse (+6.5) (at East Rutherford, NJ)

BYU at Virginia (+3.5)

Alabama at Virginia Tech (+17) (at Atlanta)

Georgia at Clemson (+3.5)

Florida State at Pittsburgh (+13)

Week Two

Syracuse at Northwestern (-13)

Oregon at Virginia (+21)

Florida at Miami (+2.5)

Week Three

Boston College at USC (-21.5)

Nevada at Florida State (-26)

Louisville at Kentucky (+14)

Week Four

Clemson at NC State (+11)

North Carolina at Georgia Tech (-4.5)

West Virginia at Maryland (+2)

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ACC 2012 Season Preview: Maryland Terrapins

Quarterback C.J. Brown Needs to Take Less Hits if Maryland’s Offense Wants to Progress in 2012

Team: Maryland Terrapins

2011 W-L: 2-10 (1-7)

Head Coach: Randy Edsall (2-10; one season)

Returning Starters: 15 (5 Offense, 10 Defense)

After arriving at his dream job coaching the University of Maryland football team last year, Randy Edsall proceeded to rub both media and players the wrong way while turning a 9-4 squad into a 2-10 disaster. The team’s defense allowed over 34 points per game. The team’s offense scored just 23 per game. Only two of the team’s 10 losses occurred by a single-digit margin, they barely defeated a suspension-depleted Miami team on opening night, and only beat FBS team Towson, 28-3. Additionally, they managed to choke away double-digit leads against Clemson and NC State, with the latter putting up 42 in the second half to come back and win. Needless to say, Edsall’s first year on the job was a challenging one. But it appears he’s taken steps to fix it.

First up was the offense, which demanded radical changes after a tumultuous 2011 campaign. So the ineffective Gary Crowton was fired, and in his place, the team returned former recruiting coordinator Mike Locksley, who spent the last three seasons at New Mexico. Now, he’ll have to figure out a way to mold C.J. Brown — who showed some signs of success in 2011 — into a program-defining quarterback. On top of conditioning the junior passer to take less hits, he’ll also have to work to replace several major pieces on offense, lost by the major attrition since Edsall took the helm. Beyond the obvious departure of former starting QB Danny O’Brien, Locksley will have to sort out former star tackle Max Garcia‘s replacement as well. With major question marks on the offensive line, it won’t be easy for Brown to quickly establish himself in the pocket. He’ll be relying on top targets Kevin Dorsey and Stefon Diggs to get open often, as well as the questionable running game to help pick up the slack; all uneasy propositions beyond the senior, Dorsey. Again, Locksley was brought back into the fold for a reason, and he’ll have his work cut out for him.

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ACC 2012 Spring Practice Expectations: Maryland Terrapins

Demetrius Hartsfield and the Maryland Defense May Hold the Key to Success For the Terps in 2012

As spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing what needs to happen for the teams and players of the ACC, culminating with notes on all 14 spring games.

Today’s featured team: Maryland Terrapins

As has been well-documented here, as well as everywhere else on the web, Maryland’s football team was terrible in 2011. Worse yet, they’ve already been terrible this offseason, and they still haven’t played an actual game. What was once a burgeoning quarterback controversy (and potentially exciting camp battle) quickly turned into a messy ordeal between head coach Randy Edsall and former starter Danny O’Brien — indirectly resulting in O’Brien’s departure to parts yet-to-be-determined. What we know now, however, is that rising junior C.J. Brown is now officially the man who carries all of Maryland’s hopes on his shoulders. The versatile thrower and passer had some impressive outings in 2011 (see: Clemson), but consistency was a struggle. For the pass game to improve from last year’s mediocre 75th overall (in the FBS), Brown has to put in the time with his receivers this spring. While he’ll surely have help, much of the onus will fall on rising senior receiver Kevin Dorsey, along with stud recruit Stefon Diggs. Like his quarterback, Dorsey struggled a bit with consistency throughout the year — missing two games, and then virtually disappearing from the stat sheet during the middle of the season. With a healthy running game (questionable, given the inexperienced backs vying for the starting job this year) and some marked improvement from Brown though, it’s conceivable the Terps score more than the meager 23.1 points per game they pulled together in 2011. Continue reading

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Final for 2011 Season)

Alabama is the Nation's Top Team After Winning the BCS Title Game

Now that the bowls are over, we’ll take our final shot at ranking the best 25 college football teams in the nation. Like every other publication, we’ll probably have differing opinions from yours. But please, feel free to share any discrepancies below.

Atlantic Coast Convos Top 25 (Final for 2011 Season)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) (LW: 3)

2. LSU Tigers (13-1) (LW: 1)

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys (12-1) (LW: 2)

4. Oregon Ducks (12-2) (LW: 5)

5. USC Trojans (10-2) (LW: 6)

6. Arkansas Razorbacks (11-2) (LW: 8)

7. Stanford Cardinal (11-2) (LW: 4)

8. Boise State Broncos (12-1) (LW: 7)

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (11-2) (LW: 11)

10. Wisconsin Badgers (11-3) (LW: 9) Continue reading

Big East Expansion: Who’s Looking to Start a New Basketball Conference?

Could Georgetown Be Stirring Up Another Big East Exodus?

Apologizing for the slight divergence from our regularly scheduled programming (football) in advance:

In what has become a weekly saga around these parts, we take a look at our (and by our, I mean Syracuse‘s) former stomping grounds (the Big East), which look more like a graveyard most days. While addition has been on everyone’s mind lately, it appears that some more future defections could lead to subtraction in the future (shockingly?). Says the Chronicle of Higher Education: “…two Big East members (that) have had conversations about leaving the conference to start a new league built around traditional basketball powers.” This is, of course, of no surprise to anyone who’s ever been on the inside of the hulking, slow behemoth known as the Big East. But the bigger questions still loom — who are the two Benedict Arnolds, soon to be the “new Pitt and Syracuse?” and if these schools were to form a basketball superconference, who else would be on board?

Obviously, the additions of schools like SMU, Houston and UCF to the basketball league do nothing for the overall quality but provide additional punching bags for the likes of Georgetown and Louisville. Since most of the Big East currently pads their out of conference schedule in advance of what’s usually a brutal 18-game league schedule, these additional bottom-feeders really don’t help. We can surmise that multiple basketball schools are unhappy about this, but which ones are so unhappy they’d consider defection? Keep in mind that candidates will almost definitely be of the league’s old guard, and won’t have a football program (or much of one to speak of). They also won’t be Providence, because John Marinatto and the school hold joint ownership of the conference (metaphorically). Which leads us to Georgetown and St. John’s. Why them, but not say Seton Hall or Marquette? Simple: TV revenue.

Once again, we know that schools are unhappy with this setup, but you have to look at which ones possess enough value to attract other big basketball schools away from their respective conferences and into the “Roundball League” (or whatever probably horrendous name it adopts). Since the Hoyas and Red Storm deliver parts of the New York and D.C. markets, these are your best options. We avoid Villanova since not only do they fail to be the hottest game in town, but their football program is looking to move up in the world (not possible in a basketball-only league). With these two main players set, the following Big East teams probably jump at the chance to join up: Marquette, Seton Hall, DePaul. Assuming they aim for 12, who else do they grab?

In this scenario, we assume Memphis and Temple are pushed by the Big East failing to extend an invite (highly plausible). Recognizing the sinking ship they’d remain a part of, ‘Nova would finally jump to this league, as would Providence. For the final two spots (and to keep it semi-regional), I’d encourage George Mason and VCU. What you’re left with is a 16-team basketball superconference, whose weak link would probably still be DePaul (surely the Demon Deacons don’t find this as entertaining as I do). To be honest, they’d probably get just as many bids as the ACC for the NCAA Tournament every year (if not more). A frightening thought, but far too important to ignore.

If this all comes to fruition (we’re far from that right now), who’d you like to see in this basketball-only superleague? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Big East Expansion: “Now What?” Edition

When the Big East Expands Again, This Guy's Definitely Still Interested

When we last left our more beleaguered East Coast football brethren (former rivals, for the five defectors among us), they were busy expanding to a four timezones format, extending its reach over 3,000 miles from its original locale of Providence, to the shores of San Diego. Since then, Air Force has made it awkward, and no longer wants a seat with the USSR of college football, while fellow service academy Navy is officially locked into independent status until 2014 (at least). So at this juncture, as we’ve asked several times before: now what?

We’ve mentioned most of these at one point or another, but worth noting all of the current candidates again, with odds and explanations attached. The following schools are listed from most likely to garner an invite to least likely. Also keep in mind that a) all schools are pretty much on the table at this point, and b)the conference has not necessarily said it will stop at 12 teams for football.

Temple Owls (Odds — 2:1): Already members of the Big East once, Temple fits the league’s original profile (good at basketball, eastern location), and this time brings a more formidable football program (they’d hope). The biggest barrier to their admittance has always been Villanova, but unless the Wildcats want to play basketball in the Atlantic 10, that stance will probably be changing soon.

Memphis Tigers (Odds — 8:1): Another all-sports addition, Memphis could contend immediately in basketball, but would likely be the new Temple of the league (while Temple would become the Rutgers of the new Big East?). Losing 10 games this past year won’t help them out much, but another defection (not unlikely) would.

ECU Pirates (Odds — 10:1): We’ve mentioned this several times before, but the Pirates have already applied to join the Big East! That was easy. A school that regularly draws 50-60K for football would normally be a big attraction, except that they’re the fifth-best game in town down in North Carolina, and provide little in terms of TV revenue. Ceiling in the new iteration of the league would likely be an 8-4 record.

Villanova Wildcats (Odds — 15:1): Given they’re already a member in all other sports, adding Villanova would be an easy fix. And at this point, the soonest they’d join is 2014, which as luck would have it, could coincide with Navy’s entry date. On the other hand, they play home games in a soccer stadium and usually play less compelling football than (at the very least) Penn and Temple.

Southern Miss Golden Eagles (Odds — 25:1): And to be honest, if they were in an even marginally larger media market, this would be a slam dunk already. The reigning Conference USA champs would love to continue rivalries with UCF, SMU and Houston, and raise their own national profile (they’re the San Diego State of the Gulf Coast, really). Even better than all of this: They’d be an immediate contender in a budding Western division.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Odds — 35:1): If you’ve already got two teams in Texas, why not add an Oklahoma team, too? Tulsa’s always been decent at football, especially with the whole not-playing-defense thing which seems to work so well for C-USA teams. The drawback — most eyes in Tulsa are likely on the other two big football teams in the state, plus it would be difficult to finish higher than fourth in that Western division.

Toledo Rockets/Colorado State Rams/UNLV Rebels (Odds — 100:1 each): And this is just a sampling of the schools the Big East could consider. Hell, might even throw Hawaii in there while they’re at it. If they’re going for eyeballs and institutional cache, then they’re going for UNLV or to be honeset, Hawaii (have been to a BCS game). Logically, the pick’s Toledo — probably as good as half of the league this year and a natural rival for Cincinnati. Colorado State’s more tossed in there to represent any mountain-type team in that general region of the country.

If we’re stopping at just one additional school (to pair with Navy), Temple would appear to be the pick. However, to avoid pushing too many teams out West (and further toward leaving the conference), they may go with another choice left of the original conference footprint. If that’s the choice, I’d give Southern Miss the call first. In the case of more than just one invite though, no blog post can truly capture the amount of teams on the table. Might as well include every team currently in the MAC, Mountain West, WAC and C-USA. And that’s just for starters.

Big East Expansion: Four Different Time Zones Edition

Will Boise State's Lauded Arrival Save the Big East's AQ Status?

As most have probably heard by now, the Big East is suddenly not so “east” anymore. With the additions of Boise State, SMU, Houston, UCF and San Diego State, the conference is now one that stretches all the way from Florida to California, or the just as ridiculous Rhode Island to Idaho if you’d prefer that visual. Further complicating matters is the fact that it still needs two more schools to reach its goal of having 12 football-playing members. Who are the big contenders? To me, you first look at the two obvious answers:

Navy — end the years-long flirtation and help the Midshipmen get out of some of their scheduling conflicts, so they can join the league as soon as possible.

Air Force — you’re not getting one of these military academies without the other. And now that the Falcons have several travel partners out west, it’s a lot more palatable of a move for them.

If you’re Louisville Cardinals basketball coach Rick Pitino, however, you have something else in mind:

“…my hope is that they’ll go out there and get a Temple or a Memphis to keep basketball strong.”

Something tells me that Air Force and Navy will be easy gets, and the Big East probably stops there. They’ve also stated that Temple is their first alternate should there be a snag in their plans — something I support, so long as Memphis isn’t part of the deal (terrible facilities, poor academics). Then again, Syracuse won’t be the ones that have to travel all over the country just to play in-conference, so I’m not as broken up as I once would’ve been.

The bigger question, once the league fills out at 12 schools for football and who knows how many for basketball, is are they better off? For its traditional strength — basketball — there’s no way the schools above replace SU and Pittsburgh (and even West Virginia, to a point). For football? I still think it might be more of an even swap (or even a downgrade) than anyone within the conference is letting on. The Mountaineers are no Boise, but they are regularly in the BCS standings and usually win their BCS bowls as well. Pitt, Syracuse and oft-forgotten defector TCU have also been to BCS games with varying degrees of success. The other adds besides the Broncos? Zero BCS berths, few appearances in the standings and outside of the former Southwest Conference teams, little history to speak of.

Yes, as they’ve done before, the Big East will surely write its own epilogue here. But for those already penning a success story on the gridiron, maybe you should hold off for a few before you start throwing a parade for the league’s bumbling leader up in Providence, John Marinatto.