Author: Contributing Writer @HokieGuru
ACC Pre-season RoundTable Series
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Atlantic Roundtable Panel #2
We’re happy to have @NCStateFootball, @TerrapinNation, and @MartinRickman give their thoughts on the upcoming 2011 ACC football season. @HokieGuru is the moderator here today at @TalkinACCSports this wonderful panel.
First up is @NCStateFootball. Here’s the dude’s bio verbatim: “Anyone who can pull for NC State over the last 20 years of disappointments and let downs is mentally tough (or disturbed, your call) and that describes @NCStateFootball. As a State fan your glass is always half full and half empty at the same time and that is him to a “T”. A long time fan, alumni, booster who was born into this life of constant heartache when he’s not tweeting about NC State football he’s busy working on his projects and applications in attempt to change the world! His current time-consuming beta project is WhatsUpRaleigh.com that is part of RaleighDigital.com.”
Last, but not least, we have@MartinRickman. Here’s his bio: “I like sports teams. Unfortunately, the sports teams I like are located in Winston-Salem and Cleveland. Oh, and I write about them sometimes.” He also manages the Wake Forest Blog BloggersSoDear.com
Which team will win the ACC Atlantic Division?
@NCStateFootball: How about I tell you who won’t win it, Wake Forest, Maryland, & Clemson. While as much as I’d love to put NC State in there as a contender it won’t happen. I’ve been a State fan far too long to get my expectations up only to see them come crashing down (usually vs Maryland, see 2010) so I expect a good season that falls slightly short of a divison crown. That leaves us with BC and Florida State. I don’t trust Boston College. They are going to need Montel Harris to rush for 2,500 yards and Luke Kuechly to have 20 tackles a game to be competitive. While both may happen I just don’t have faith that BC is the same team they were with TOB as the coach. So by default Florida State wins the Atlantic Div. but with EJ Manual under center anything can happen.
@TerrapinNation: While I’d like to pick my beloved Terps, the Noles just return too much talent under 2nd year head man Jimbo Fisher not to pick them. EJ Manuel and Chris Thompson will lead the offense while Brandon Jenkins will anchor the D.
@MartinRickman: Florida State. They’ve got all kinds of speed and talent all over the field. Plus, that Jimbo Shrimp Fischer is a pretty decent coach, it looks like.
Who is the best player in the ACC Atlantic Division?
@NCStateFootball: No brainer, Montel Harris. Not only is the guy on pace to break every Ted Brown ACC record, which for the record I am not happy about, he’s a black belt and would ninja me for not picking him here.
I’ll give you a few underrated players as well (mostly State guys who don’t get enough press); Audi Cole (LB, NC State), Earl Wolff (S, NC State), Danny O’brien (QB, Maryland).
@TerrapinNation: Danny O’Brien. I know Montel Harris is the sexy pick, but O’Brien returns some solid weapons in Boykins, Dorsey and Tyler despite the loss of Torrey Smith who is now with the Baltimore Ravens. New Offensive Coordinator Gary Crowton’s teams have put up xbox-like numbers in year one at his last two stops. Here’s guessing that trend will continue in College Park.
@MartinRickman: Montel Harris. He’s gonna rush for a whole bunch of yards.
Who is a dark horse team that could win the ACC Atlantic Division?
@NCStateFootball: To be honest, I’m not high on many teams in the Atlantic Division, there are just too many question marks. While FSU is loaded at talent, I’m not sold on EJ Manuel or their #5 in the Nation ranking. We’ll find out real quick when they line up vs Oklahoma how much they miss Christian Ponder. Clemson has talent but is too young on offense and as long as Dabo Swinney is their head coach I don’t seem them surprising anyone. Wake Forest has 7 QBs on their roster, any team with 7 QBs on their roster is not going to be good. They are still mourning the graduation of Riley Skinner. Maryland is a huge question mark with a first year coach, albeit a good one. Sure Danny O’Brien is good but how much will he miss Torrey Smith? What other weapons will they have? State has a chance to be good and I honestly think they are flying under the radar right now. The Pack returns experienced depth at almost all positions but 2, QB and WR. The defense will be solid, if not real good, so if the guys stepping in on Offense live up to their talent levels and we avoid an injury-plagued season like ‘09 the Wolfpack will be tough.
@TerrapinNation: Terps. See above.
@MartinRickman: Clemson? Can you call them a dark horse? They always have talent, but dark horses don’t choke all the time, do they?
Final thoughts on the ACC Atlantic Division?
@NCStateFootball: It is wide open. Will EJ Manuel put FSU over the top? Will Mike Glennon live up to all the TOB hype? Does Dabo Swinney keep his job through the year? Can Montel Harris carry BC on his back? We’ll see in 30 days!
@TerrapinNation: After FSU, the Atlantic division has more question marks than Matthew Lesko’s suits. The Terps are breaking in a whole new staff while Clemson has a new offensive coordinator. NC State’s hopes are riding on a QB who’s never started a game in his career while BC’s hopes are riding on a QB who probably shouldn’t have started a game at this point in his career. And Wake Forest? Well…
@MartinRickman: Wake will finish last. They’re not good.
Which team will win the ACC?
@NCStateFootball: The safe pick is Virginia Tech but they have their own questions too, I have a feeling it’s going to be someone we don’t expect. I’m going with Duke!
@TerrapinNation: Noles end the Coastal division’s four year strangle hold on the conference championship.
@MartinRickman: Virginia Tech will beat FSU by seven points. I saw it in my Fruit Loops a couple weeks ago.
And that’s a wrap, folks!!! Thanks to the panelists for providing their insight on the ACC’s Atlantic Division!!