ACC Coastal Division Pre-Season Football RoundTable Part 1

This will be the first of a 5 part series, as we sample the ACC Fans on Twitter perspective on the upcoming season. There are two roundtable discussions each on the Atlantic and Coastal Division and a final one on the ACC in General. Thanks to @HokieGuru for organizing and moderating the Division questions and answers. You know what I think about the ACC this season, it’s time for our ACC friends to give their thoughts.

Author: Contributing Writer @HokieGuru

ACC Pre-season RoundTable Series

Coastal RoundTable Pt 2 | Atlantic RoundTable Pt 1Atlantic RoundTable Pt 2 | Overall ACC RoundTable

Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coastal Preseason Football Roundtable #1

We’re less than a month from college football!!! WOO!!  Since we’re so close, we figured it would be fun to have a preseason panel with some great folks from Twitter.  We’re happy to have @akosnitzky, @ztevans, and @DukeBlogMKline give their thoughts on the upcoming 2011 ACC football season.  @hokieguru is the moderator here today at @TalkinACCSports for this great panel.

First up is @akosnitzky.  He has attended most Miami Hurricanes home games since 1979 in addition to several key away games over the years.  When he is not bleeding Orange and Green, he is a school administrator, as well as a college professor assisting master’s, specialist and doctoral students. He has published several scholarly in education.  He is also blogs about the use of Blackberrys.  In his spare time, he is a moderator on a large smart phone site.  LET’S GO CANES!!!

Next, we have @ztevans.  He is the Daily Tar Heel Multimedia Editor by day, tweeting too much about sports by night (e.g. dude is a student at UNC). NOTE: He is not a sportswriter; he merely tweet/talk about sports from the perspective of a lifelong ACC fan “for fun.” The opinions presented are his alone and do not reflect the views of management or staff at The Daily Tar Heel.

Last, but not least, we have @DukeBlogMKline.  He has been a Duke fan since age 7 or 8 and that includes the football team. He has a background in print journalism but left the business to become a teacher and have been teaching middle school for eight years. He got back into writing a few years ago at Bleacherreport.com but left to start my own blog the Duke Sports Blog about all things Duke, including football.

Well, let’s get right to our questions…

Which team will win the ACC Coastal Division?

@akosnitzky: Virginia Tech. The Hokies have a favorable schedule with four warm up games until they embark on their conference schedule on October 1.  With Clemson, Boston College, and Wake Forest as the cross division opponents and drawing Miami and UNC at home, Virginia Tech will be ready for ACC Title game again this year.

@ztevans: I give the nod to Virginia Tech, over Miami.  On the offensive side, both teams essentially returned their offensive lines en masse, so it will up to quarterbacks Logan Thomas and Jacory Harris to determine their fates. Can Thomas fill Tyrod Taylor’s shoes? Can Harris limit the mistakes that crippled the Hurricanes last season? Both defenses are expected to be strong, albeit with weaknesses (VT’s front seven, Miami’s secondary). Ultimately, it’s worth noting that the Hokies play their toughest ACC games at Lane Stadium and don’t face Florida State, the media favorite in the Atlantic, while Miami will be taking trips to Blacksburg, Chapel Hill, and Tallahassee.

@DukeBlogMKline: Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer and company just always find a way to get it done.

 Who is the best player in the ACC Coastal Division?

@akosnitzky: DE, Quinton Coples, UNC.  Based on what has occurred at UNC during the offseason, the Tar Heels defense will spend a lot of time on the field which will provide Coples with more tackling opportunities. He may not improve upon his 10 sacks last year but expect a big increase in tackles.

@ztevans:  David Wilson was a highly-praised prospect coming out of high school and led the Hokies last season in all-purpose yardage.  With Ryan Williams and Darren Evans now gone, Wilson will get many more opportunities to display his playmaking ability.

@DukeBlogMKline: I’ll go on a stretch and say Duke quarterback Sean Renfree. I know I’m not likely to get much agreement on this but I’m looking at player here and not team. He isn’t on the best team, but he may be the best quarterback in the conference or at least the Coastal Division. He has experience now, he is healthy and he has a pretty good core of receivers to throw the ball to. If he can get some decent protection and the Blue Devils can add a more balanced attack he should have a strong season.

Who is a dark horse team that could win the ACC Coastal Division? 

@akosnitzky: Miami; The Hurricanes have experienced players on both sides of the ball and the talent to compete with any ACC team.  What led to Miami’s demise last year was being one of the top NCAA teams in turnovers and penalties which they hope to correct under new coach Al Golden.  The other question mark is QB where Jacory Harris many think will start. Although Miami has a tough schedule playing Ohio State at home and away against FSU and VT, they will compete if we they have the Harris that threw for 6,152 career yards as opposed to the one with 39 career interceptions.

@ztevans:  Call me biased, but don’t sleep on UNC.  Because college-aged men are a strange bunch (and yes, it takes one to know one), the dark cloud hovering over Chapel Hill could be just the kind of thing to once again inspire the Tar Heels.  The talent is there, and Everett Withers has made it clear he will not allow the NCAA Investigation to be a convenient excuse for poor play.  Of course, the dark cloud could crush the Heels just as easily as it inspires them.

@DukeBlogMKline: Miami: Al Golden has proven he can win at a program like Temple, so with the resources of a Miami and the talent that was already assembled there he has the best chance of sneaking up on the Hokies. The Canes should be more disciplined than they were under Randy Shannon, something that cost them some games.

Final thoughts on the ACC Coastal Division?

@akosnitzky: I plan on seeing Virginia Tech play again near my home in Miami in another BCS game.  The issue will be what changes we may see in a newly coached Miami team and what product UNC will put on the field in light of their off season problems and the sudden firing of Butch Davis.

@ztevans:  If Miami defeats Ohio State, retroactively place me on the Hurricane bandwagon. If Jacory Harris throws four interceptions in that game, remind me to say “I told you so.” Nothing says sports analysis like knee-jerk reaction, after all. Also, G.T.H.D.

 @DukeBlogMKline: This is an interesting division with lots of story lines. From a Duke perspective, the Blue Devils have to win games in this division to have a shot a bowl game. North Carolina is going to be interesting to watch and see how they perform in the wake of the scandal that cost Butch Davis his job. Miami has a new coach, Georgia Tech is rebuilding and Virginia should be better. On paper Virginia Tech looks like the favorite and rightfully so but in the ACC just about anything can happen. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Duke made some noise though I don’t seem them beating the Hokies.

Which team will win the ACC?

@akosnitzky: Virginia Tech will win the ACC.  Frank Beamer is the most proven coach in the conference.  Logan Thomas will adapt to his new position and look more like a senior when the Hokies reach the conference title game.

 @ztevans:  Which team will win the ACC? Virginia Tech has won three of the last four ACC Championship Games (or three of the last three according to the NCAA), so it’s a hard sell for me to take anyone else to win the conference. That said, Florida State is fielding an incredibly strong team, returning 16 starters from last season’s Atlantic Division champions.  I predict a barn-burner of an ACCCG rematch between these two teams, with Dustin Hopkins ultimately missing a potential game-tying or game-winning field goal wide right so all the ACC people on Twitter can spontaneously explode and rush to beat each other to the same punch line. Go Hokies.

 @DukeBlogMKline: Florida State looks to be the cream of the crop, and all the pundits favorite, but my money is on Virginia Tech finding a way to do it again.

 And that’s a wrap, folks!!!  Thanks to the panelists for providing their insight on the ACC’s Coastal Division!!


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