With spring practices nearing completion, we have another installment of our early power rankings for the entirety of the ACC. As always, we take into account what’s happened both on and off the field, and try not to read too far into what happened in practices this spring. This will be revised monthly throughout the offseason.
1. Florida State Seminoles (LW: 1): The O-line may seem shaky, and the jury’s still out on whether quarterback E.J. Manuel can truly carry this offense, but that hasn’t stopped the hype in Tallahassee. Predicated on defense last year, the Seminoles won’t be above leaning on what should be one of the best units in the country again, if need be. But if forced to go that route, their ceiling may be winning an ACC title — rather than the national championship.
2. Clemson Tigers (LW: 2): A lot’s changing for the Tigers, who are raising the bar for the program after a 10-4 campaign in 2011. New defensive coordinator Brent Venables has hit the ground running since his arrival, and by all accounts his more aggressive style is already rubbing off on a group that desperately needs to improve upon last season’s performance. On the offensive end, fans will be curious to see how much they incorporate the pistol offense, and how well Tajh Boyd adapts to both the new scheme, and new pressures of being the league’s most highly-touted signal-caller.
3. Virginia Tech Hokies (LW: 3): Dissatisfied with offensive production, Virginia Tech has also given the pistol a shot this spring, with varying results. While the team has incorporated the spread with Logan Thomas‘s mobility as the focal point, it appears they’re mixing things up to see what works best with the inexperienced offensive line. Both attacks have their own respective challenges, and it’ll likely come down to which projects best over the course of the year.
4. NC State Woflpack (LW: 4): Off-the-field issues have played a much larger part in NC State’s spring than the program would’ve liked, and the question marks are starting to pop up about how successfully they can really be in 2012. More and more, it’s appearing as if Mike Glennon will have to shoulder much of the load — something that may improve his draft stock, but could also force them to be far too one-dimensional in a year they were originally projected to break through in the ACC. Continue reading