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Jan
04
2015

Handing out 2014 season ending Final Grades to the ACC’s Coastal Division Football Teams.

Justin-Thomas-Georgia-Tech

Well for the ACC, football season has come to an end. There were some tremendous highs for some teams, and some gigantic lows for other teams. We are going to start a review of the season by handing a grade to each ACC Coastal team on their season. Here are the ACC Atlantic grades.

Georgia Tech (11-3, 6-2) : A

It was a remarkable season for Georgia Tech. This was legitimately by the end of the season one of the strongest teams in the country. The Jackets will finish in the top 10 after crushing Mississippi St. in the Orange Bowl. They won the ACC Coastal, and they beat their in-state rival Georgia. The Jackets ended long losing streaks to Miami, Virginia Tech, and Georgia. They also found a quarterback in Justin Thomas who is a perfect fit for Paul Johnson’s triple option offense. It was simply one of Georgia Tech’s best seasons in the last quarter century.

Duke (9-4, 5-3) : B+

How far has Duke come? 9 win seasons don’t get an A anymore. It was very good season in Durham, and a nice followup to last year’s 10 win season. I do have to take away points for a season ending collapse that cost Duke a Coastal Division title, that was theirs for the taking. It is also about time Duke gets that pesky bowl monkey off their back, and win one, but that was a respectable Sun Bowl effort in a 36-31 loss to Arizona St. That said, when you look at the rest of the ACC Coastal you’ve got to feel pretty good as a Duke fan about 2014.

Virginia Tech (7-6, 3-5) : C+

Virginia Tech had quite the Roller Coaster year. They went to Columbus, Ohio and soundly beat the Ohio State Buckeyes. It was the Buckeyes only loss of the season. I don’t care if you say Ohio State isn’t the same team, Virginia Tech went on the road and played a fantastic game. Unfortunately the Hokies couldn’t sustain it and at one point were in danger of missing bowl season all together. After a 6-3 loss to Wake Forest, Virginia Tech appeared finished. To their credit they ended the year beating Virginia, and gaining a solid bowl win over Cincinnati.

Virginia (5-7, 3-5) : C

Virginia showed signs of life this year. The mid-term grade would have been a B, but the Cavaliers failed to meet either one of their most important goals, make a bowl or beat Virginia Tech. That losing streak has reached 11 games, and the Hoos have lost 14 of the last 15 in that series. Virginia ended the season losing 5 of their last 6. Considering the pre-season expectations were so low, I am willing to give Virginia a passing grade but not by much.

North Carolina (6-7, 4-4) : C-

The Tar Heels could look brilliant one minute, and awful the next. There were some good moments – wins over Georgia Tech and Duke. There were also some discouraging ones like losing to East Carolina while giving up 70 points. The end of the season was a disaster. The Heels got outscored  75-28 in their final 2 games a 35-7 loss to NC State, and 40-21 loss to Rutgers in their bowl. UNC was flat out awful in both. For a team that started in the top 25, the season was an extreme disappointment. The defense was among the very worst in the country. Gene Chizik is the new DC, which looks like a good hire.

Pittsburgh (6-7, 4-4) : C- 

The Panthers ended the year with an epic collage against Houston in their bowl game. They blew a 25 point 4th quarter lead, which concluded another mediocre season.  At one point during the year the Panthers lost 6 out of 7 games. Pat Narduzzi is the new coach tasked with trying to turn this program around. James Conner is a fine RB who was a bright spot.

Miami (6-7, 3-5) : D

Miami was the pre-season ACC Coastal Division favorite. By the end of the year, they were arguably the worst team in the ACC Coastal. No coaching staff did a poorer job utilizing the talent on their team than the Hurricanes. A good young QB in Brad Kaaya, a RB back like Duke Johnson, and a LB like Denzel Perryman and you go 6-7 losing your final 4 games including a 30-13 loss to Virginia and 24-21 bowl loss to a mediocre South Carolina team? It was a season Hurricane fans would like to forget.

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