It’s the Atlantic Division midseason awards time and we are happy to have our Twitter panel back. @NCStateFootball, @TerrapinNation, and @MartinRickman will give their thoughts who the winners. @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
HERE WE GO!!
Who is the ACC Atlantic Division Midseason Most Valuable Defensive Player?
@NCStateFootball: If anyone says anything other that Kuechly they are insane, so I’m going with Andre Branch of Clemson. He’s as disruptive as they get coming off the edge and while Kuechly is amazing and putting up huge numbers, Boston College is flat out terrible and they have the worst D in the conference. Other candidates: Earl Wolf State, Julian Burnett GT
@TerrapinNation: The Atlantic Defensive MVP at this point is clearly Luke Kuetchly. Through the first half of the season he has 99 total tackles, including 10 for a loss. His 16.5 tackles per game lead not only the ACC, but the country. He has definitely lived up to his preseason all-american honors.
@MartinRickman: LB Joe Vellano. He’s arguably Maryland’s best player, and any dude who gets 20 tackles in a game will probably be high up there on my list. He’s been active on almost every down, mixes it up, causes fumbles and has a TD to his name this year. Also considered: Andre Branch (DT, Clemson), Bjoern Werner (DE, FSU), Nikita Whitlock (NT, WFU).
Who is the ACC Atlantic Division Midseason Most Valuable Offensive Player?
@NCStateFootball: The popular pick will be Taj Boyd but I’m going with Wake Forest’s Tanner Price. They are a quarter + OT away from being undefeated and no one player is more important to his team than Price.
@TerrapinNation: For me, this is a no brainer. The Atlantic Offensive MVP is Tahj Boyd. Through the first half of the season, these ARE your daddy’s Clemson Tigers. No meltdowns so far for the Tigers and Boyd seems to improve every time out. The emergence of freshman wideout Sammy Watkins should ensure that Boyd’s passing numbers continue through the second half of the season.
@MartinRickman: Wake Forest WR Christ Givens. Givens has been sure-handed, played through some injuries and consistently given Tanner Price a target to throw to when he needs it most. He has four 100-yard games, 33 rec, 599 yards and five TDs, and leads a corps of receivers that are collectively probably the best group the Demon Deacons have ever had. Tajh Boyd is sure to be a popular pick here, too, though.
Who wins the ACC Atlantic Division Midseason Coaching Award?
@NCStateFootball: Jim Grobe. No one expected this team to be competitive after last season let alone 3-0 and beating down FSU so easily.
@TerrapinNation: I’m going to go outside of the box on this one and pick…..Chad Morris. While Dabo Swinney has become everyone’s favorite coach in the ACC with his ‘look at me go nuts’ post-game interviews, none of it would be possible without the addition of offensive coordinator Chad Morris. He gets extra points for winning a head to head matchup with Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn earlier this season.
@MartinRickman: I’ve got to give this to Dabo. Clemson had all kinds of talent, but I don’t think anyone (except for maybe Dabo himself) thought the Tigers would be where they are right now. They’ve maintained focus, haven’t had a let down game (yet?) and are playing great football. I’m extremely impressed. Have to give some props to Wake Head Coach Jim Grobe though, too.
Who is the ACC Atlantic Division’s surprise team?
@NCStateFootball: Honestly, Wake or Clemson. I’ve been doubting Clemson all year, after sleeping through the first 2 games they beat an average Auburn team but they way they man handled VT IN Blacksburg was impressive. With as much talent as they have, even Dabo can’t screw that up. Wake needs to win a couple more games but they are up there.
@TerrapinNation: Admit it, you forgot all about Jim Grobe and the Wake Forest football program. Well, following a win over Florida State this past weekend the Demon Deacons are now sitting at 4-1. Their lone loss was in OT on the road against future ACC foe Syracuse.
@MartinRickman: Wake Forest. The Deacs are a fluke injury (and a few coaching decisions) against Syracuse away from being undefeated going into a night homecoming game against Virginia Tech this weekend. At 4-1, Wake is only two games away from being bowl eligible, with Duke, Maryland and Vanderbilt left on the schedule. Even if the Demon Deacons only win two of those three, that’s a three win turnaround for a team that is still growing and gaining confidence with every game.
Who is the ACC Atlantic Division’s most disappointing team?
@NCStateFootball: This one has so many options. Florida State, a pre-season National Championship contender starting off 0-2 in the league and 2-3 overall. Or you have Maryland and their 43 ugly uniforms and their benching of last seaon’s Rookie of the Year. And you have BC who just flat out sucks and are completely wasting Luke Kuechly’s talents. Then you have mother f’n NC State, my NC State. Coming off a 9 win season which had some people’s hopes up that they could contend (not mine) but instead they can barely beat 2 FCS teams and takes a Central Michigan game to get their first FBS win. The defense can’t stop my flag football team and the offensive line, a TOB “Staple”, has more holes than @hokieguru’s socks. [Editor’s Note: LOL] Oh yea and don’t forget the 900lb Gorilla in the room, Russell “Heismen Candidate” Wilson destroying people in Wisconsin. I need another drink just thinking about all this.
@TerrapinNation: The Florida State Seminoles went into the season with darkhorse national title aspirations. Now, sitting a 2-3 they are out of the national picture and already all but eliminated from ACC title contention. Most believed the Seminoles were still a year away, but this has been an extremely disappointing season so far for the Noles.
@MartinRickman: Can’t see a pick other than Florida State here. No good victories yet, but the Noles can make their season respectable if they can come out on top of a stretch of very winnable games. Boston College is up there for honorable mention though. I have to believe Spaz might be gone after this season unless a miracle happens.
To close, here’s your chance to change your ACC Atlantic Division preseason pick. Who is going to win the ACC Atlantic Division?
@NCStateFootball: I’m no sheep. I’m sticking with my FSU pick, they have the easiest schedule out (State, Miami, Maryland, Virginia) and it is the ACC so Clemson is bound to lose and Wake hasn’t really been tested yet.
@TerrapinNation: Clemson, duh. Winning!
@MartinRickman: Clemson. They’re in the driver’s seat, by far.
We thank our panelists for another great roundtable at All Sports Discussion