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Aug
02
2014

Our First Ever #ACC Mailbag predicts the ACC Coastal Winner, Surprise ACC team, peanuts and more.

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Aye, good evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) fans – only four Saturdays until ACC Football begins!!!  Seems like forever during the summer waiting for college football to start – but we’re officially in that month 😉

Until then, Jeff (@TalkinACCSports) and I (@HokieSmash) got you covered with our first ever ACC mailbag.

And we didn’t mean Mike London’s Criminal Justice Training LOL.

On Twitter, we asked the question below:

And then we got the following questions (see Jeff and my answers below these tweets):

@hokiesmash:  This was a real struggle for me (probably for both Jeff and I) as I hard time deciding between Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Miami, and Duke.  All four teams have serious flaws  I wondered out loud of I should be throwing darts at the board to pick the Coastal Winner  In the end, I decided that “the offense can get you there, but defense wins you games.”  In this case, Virginia Tech has the best defense in the Coastal Division, North Carolina hasn’t played defense in the Larry Fedora era, Miami hasn’t played a whole lotta defense either in the Golden era and has even more challenges at quarterback than Virginia Tech, and I’m not sold that any team will overlook Duke this year.  In addition, I feel that this is a year where a team with a modest offense can take you far in the Coastal Division – I feel that Virginia Tech’s offense can’t get any worse (can it?) – and that the Hokies running game should improve (I think there’s only one way to go there – and that is up) – so I went with Virginia Tech to win the Coastal.  You’ll see more details in a future ACC predictions blog post – where Jeff and I pick the records of every ACC team.

@TalkinACCSports: I wrestled over this one for while. I started with everyone in the Coastal but Virginia as a candidate, then started eliminating them one by one. Pittsburgh lost their QB and their All-American Aaron Donald on defense. Miami’s schedule is too tough. Georgia Tech has lost nearly 15 players scholarship players during the off-season, and there are too many questions with the overall talent level. I was left with Duke, UNC, and Virginia Tech. I finally settled on Virginia Tech, because of their defense. It’s the best single unit in the Coastal division, and even marginal improvement of the offense really elevates them. I don’t trust the defense at Duke, so I’d probably put UNC finishing second.

@hokiesmash: We love hearing from that anchor of the ACC Digital Network, Jeff Fischel – you should follow him on Twitter – he is awesome.  Jeff, see our answer to the Coastal Division question from @KilroyFSU above.  Given the health of the Miami QBs, I’m thinking Mr. Heaps might see a whole lotta playing time.  Jeff, I’m fan of Diet Mountain Dew (see the signature drink above).

@TalkinACCSports: Our ACC podcast @StateoftheU told us that Williams would need an Adrian Peterson type recovery to play early in the season. Kevin Wilson just got suspended for at least one game, so I think Heaps won this battle, because basically no one is left. Yes Miami has a couple other QB’s that could factor in now, Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier, but this is Jake Heaps’s job to lose.

The peanuts in the coke? I grew up an Army brat but once we settled in Georgia for my teenage years, I remember a couple of classmates doing drinking Cokes with peanuts in them. They swore it tasted good, but no I never tried it.

@hokiesmash: Louisville – I believe the Cardinals will win nine games in their first ACC season (more will come in our ACC predictions post).  Charlie Strong left Bobby Petrino a pretty good roster – and we know Bobby can coach offense.

@TalkinACCSports: The one under the radar team I’m looking at is NC State. The Wolfpack are coming off a 3 win season where they went winless in the ACC. Because they play in a division with Florida State, Clemson and Louisville upward mobility is going to be tough, but the schedule sets up for a fast 4-0 start. Boston College, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest are all winnable home games. If they steal a road game along the way, you could be looking at team that can go 8-4. Florida QB transfer Jacoby Brissett has a ton of potential.

@hokiesmash: My answer here is that Chad Morris has proven himself – he has coached prior Clemson teams with young talent and the Tigers offense improved each year under his leadership.  I think Jeff and I both expect the Clemson offense to have to catch up to the Tigers defense this year.  The Clemson defense has some NFL talent – the best Tigers unit in a long time that will  have to carry the load this year in a few games.  In short, I believe we’re really going to find out more this year about Brent Venables.

@TalkinACCSports: Great question. I have to go with Chad Morris here. Since Morris has been at Clemson, there has been playmakers like Andre Ellington, Sammy Watkins, DeAndre Hopkins, and Tajh Boyd in the offense. This year he has the least proven skill position players that he’s ever had at Clemson. If the offense sputters, people may question whether the offense was a product of the talent or the coaching. Venables has a proven pedigree, going back to his days as DC at Oklahoma. Remember Morris never coached in a Power 5 conference until he arrived at Clemson in 2011.

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2 pings

  1. Best and Worst case records for each ACC Atlantic Division team in 2014. » All Sports Discussion says:

    […] You think I’m crazy don’t you? Hey if Auburn can from 3-9 (0-8) to the national title game, nothing is impossible. First the Wolfpack have a very manageable schedule. Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, at South Florida, and Presbyterian open the season. The Wolfpack need to take full advantage of that and get off to a 4-0 start. Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Wake are all winnable home games. If those young players come together quickly, the Wolfpack could be a surprise team in the ACC, in fact I said this already. […]

  2. Optimism abounds in Raleigh, after NC State beats UCF in St. Petersburg Bowl. » All Sports Discussion says:

    […] of their program, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Back in August I said NC State could be a surprise team in the ACC and they proved me right.  When you look at the season as a whole, you have to feel even better about the future of this […]

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