Good evening from all of us at All Sports Discussion. We’re happy to have@SpencerHardison, @TerrapinNation, and@BloggerSoDear give their thoughts on the upcoming 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) football season.Please see their bios below:
@BloggerSoDear: Jake is a 2009 and 2010 alumnus of Wake Forest University and is currently a CPA in the NC Triad area. He also manages the Wake Forest athletics blog, Blogger So Dear, Twitter Account.
Now that we’ve introduced you to our blogger panelists, let’s get started with some of their thoughts in our second annual ACC Atlantic Division preseason panel!!!
Which team will win the ACC Atlantic Division?
@TerrapinNation: I guess if you put a gun to my head and force me to pick a winner I’d have to go with Florida State. They have one of the best defensive lines in the country and E.J. Manuel is one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC when healthy. That said, starting cornerback Greg Reid was recently kicked off the team and FSU has underperformed for close to a decade now. Is it too late to switch my vote for Clemson?
@SpencerHardison: With E.J. Manuel back and one of the best defenses in country, the Atlantic Division has to be Florida State’s to lose. Clemson will obviously have something to say about that, but championship teams are built from the trenches out and the Tigers have serious questions up front. Florida State on the other hand, has arguably the best defensive line in the country, and a young but very talented offensive line. At the end of the day, Florida State simply has more positives than negatives, and will ultimately take the Atlantic Division.
@BloggerSoDear: Like every other preseason, I am tempted to say Florida State. I really do not trust them at all, but if you look at the schedule they seem to have the advantage over Clemson. While both teams get VT and Duke from the Coastal, Clemson also gets GT while FSU gets Miami. Furthermore, the Clemson-FSU matchup is in Tallahassee. I seriously do not want to pick FSU, but with those factors and such a stout defense (on paper at least) I’m going to pull the trigger on the Noles again.
Who is the best player in the ACC Atlantic Division?
@TerrapinNation: Sammy Watkins is the best player in the Atlantic Division, Atlantic Coast Conference, and the entire Atlantic seaboard. The things he did last season as a true freshman were simply unreal. Honestly, I’d probably say he’s the frontrunner to win the Heisman next season if not for the fact he’s been suspended for the season opener versus Auburn. Missing that game will likely hurt him big-time in terms of postseason awards.
@SpencerHardison: The last time such a question was presented to us I went against the grain and did not select Clemson’s Sammy Watkins. I can’t do that twice. Sammy Watkins is the best player in the Atlantic Division, the ACC, and, if he duplicates last season, the country. The guy is a flat out stud. He’s a game-changer and the best player on any field he steps on.
@BloggerSoDear: Sammy Watkins and it’s not even close. We haven’t seen such an electric player breakthrough immediately in the ACC in a long time. The kid is special and it is unfortunate for the conference that he is not going to be available for the Auburn game. Drugs are bad, m’kay.
Who is a dark horse team that could win the ACC Atlantic Division?
@TerrapinNation: My guess is most are going to say NC State….so I’m going to go with a homer pick here and say Maryland. While I don’t think CJ Brown is as talented as Danny O’Brien, the fact that he likely won’t have to look over his shoulder should help boost his confidence. The Terps will also have some good young running backs and Steffon Diggs could be this year’s Sammy Watkins. On defense, Maryland should have a healthy Kenny Tate and a new scheme that should help them improve.
@SpencerHardison: I’m not really sure how much of a “dark horse” they are, but if things fall together just right, NC State could be playing in Charlotte for an ACC Championship. They have all the makings of an ACC contender with an experienced quarterback, Mike Glennon, a good offensive line, six returning linemen combine for 112 starts, and a defense that is pretty good too. Sure, there are questions at linebacker, but those guys are going to be better than expected. And the defensive line is getting no where near the credit they deserve. Not to mention an All-American named David Amerson lurking in the secondary. All in all, whether people want to admit it or not, NC State has a legit shot at the Atlantic Division.
@BloggerSoDear: I think most people forget that the Deacs were a 5 minute collapse and missed FG in Death Valley away from winning the division last year. With that being said, the OL problems keep me away from making the homer pick. Since Maryland and BC are really struggling right now, that leaves NC State. The Pack have a couple stars in Glennon and Amerson and a lot of experience in the trenches. They have also had some success against FSU at home in the past, so ACC game #2 for NCSU will undoubtedly be their game of the year (no ACC games until week 5, TOB?). It seems that TOB has had a mancrush on Glennon for some time, so this should be the payoff year. I would not bet on it, but outside of FSU and Clemson it seems NC State is in the best position in the Atlantic.
Final thoughts on the ACC Atlantic Division?
@TerrapinNation: The Atlantic division should be fun to watch this season. FSU and Clemson are the cream of the crop, but NC State has the talent to make some noise. Maryland and Wake Forest, meanwhile, should be on the rise. This will be the final season of the Atlantic Division as we know it before Syracuse and Pitt joing the league next summer. Let’s all just sit back, crack open a few beers and enjoy.
@SpencerHardison: The Atlantic Division is going to be far and away better than the Costal Division this season. In the Coastal, Virginia Tech will win. How the rest finish, really doesn’t matter. Especially considering UNC-CH has no chance at playing for an ACC title. But, in the Atlantic Division, there are three teams that have a legit chance at playing for an ACC title. Not to mention teams like Wake Forest and Maryland who are dying to play the role of spoiler. Though Florida State is the favorite to win the division, it’s really anyone’s to win. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this fall.
@BloggerSoDear: As is the case in many years, it will be interesting to see who chokes less between Clemson or FSU in November and take on VT in Charlotte (they just get an auto-berth now, right?). Other than when they face each other, the game of the year in the conference will be FSU at VT on November 8th. I have a feeling the fate of the Atlantic will be in FSU’s hands at that point and they may have the tough task of trying to get a W in Blacksburg to lock-up a trip to Charlotte. As far as the ACC schedule is concerned, that is the only really challenging game for either the Tigers or Noles in the month of November.
Which team will win the ACC?
@TerrapinNation: Honestly, I think it’s a toss up between FSU and Virginia Tech. The Hokies have been so consistent over the last several years and I really like Logan Thomas. The easiest way to decide is to simply line up Logan Thomas and Bjorn Werner across from each other and whichever man is left standing, that’s who’s team will win.
@SpencerHardison: Ultimately, I’m taking Florida State to win the ACC. It is their time. That fan base has waited so long for the Noles to return to a BCS game, and this is their year. Frank Beamer and the Hokies will certainly have something to say about it, but when it’s all said and done, Florida State just has more athletes and will hopefully finally win the Orange Bowl for the ACC.
@BloggerSoDear: Virginia Tech. No matter what, the Hokies always seem to be there. With Logan Thomas’ stock soaring after last season and an ever-dependable defense, I have more far more confidence in VT to get the job done than anyone else. That Beamer guy is a solid coach too. Just warming you up for some Brent Musberger analysis, folks.