Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ACC roundtable #3

Hey hey hey. The ACC Roundtable this week is hosted by those crazy Georgia Techers, The LegacyX4. Very thought-provoking set of questions, so straight to it we go.....

1. There is no question as to whether the ACC is one of the toughest conferences this year as far as its constituents are concerned. Currently, 4 teams are bowl eligible while 5 are within one game of reaching eligibility. Is it mediocrity, or is the ACC on its way to being the powerhouse that expansion was supposed to bring?

Neither. Whoever the best team in the ACC is, they would be decided underdogs in a neutral-site game against anywhere from 2-4 teams each in the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12, not to mention USC. Actually, 5 in the Big 12. That's not powerhousing. However, once you get past these conference's top layers, just about any team in the ACC, NC State being the one exception, is better than a match for everyone else. The conference has racked up wins against the middling competition in the other conferences; teams like Nebraska, Colorado, California, Vanderbilt, Connecticut. The ACC will have a tough time in the higher bowls (Orange, Peach, Gator, unless we get a Big East opponent in the Orange Bowl) but should dominate the lower-tier bowls (Music City, C****s S****s, E*****d).

2. With a few notable exceptions, quarterback play in the ACC has been poor across the past couple of seasons, contributing at least in some part to the lack of offensive potency in the conference. Where does the ACC stand today in terms of quarterback play, and do you think our offenses are improving?

Quarterback play is better than people thought it would be, but the answer is pretty much the same as above: no stars or powerhouses, but many teams are getting solid QB play. Really, the only teams that haven't found a good quarterback are BC, and surprisingly, VT and Clemson. (Miami has one, I just don't think they realize it.) I think it's the running games that are holding the offenses back. I mean, who's a good RB in the conference? Cedric Peerman, Jaybo Shaw, C.J. Spiller....maybe Da'Rel Scott and Shaun Draughn. Running backs are in much shorter supply than quarterbacks in the ACC these days.

3. There are 5 out-of-conference games left for the ACC - BC/Notre Dame, Wake Forest/Vandy, Clemson/USC, GT/Georgia, and FSU/Florida. We went 3-2 in those games last year, and then 2-5 in bowl play (with the only wins coming over Michigan State and UConn). How do you feel we as a conference will compete against the rest of the NCAA in the final weeks of the season, and are you confident in our bowl play?

The only game of those five where I like our odds is Wake/Vandy. BC may beat Notre Dame, and GT has a shot against UGA, but Wake would be the only favorite, and Clemson and FSU are getting crushed. See answer #1 for my thoughts on the bowl season.

4. As far as Tech fans are concernced, ACC officiating is absolutely atrocious, both in conference (helmet-to-helmet, lack of holding calls) and out of conference (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tobqLJlxDBs). Are you in agreement? List any specific, obvious grievances, or use this opportunity to verbally assault ACC refs.

The lack of holding calls is a problem all across the conference. I really don't think anyone's watching the backfield. I've noticed it in a couple games now, where I thought for sure a hold would be called, and it wasn't. I don't think the ACC is actually worse than any other conference, but I still think there are at least one or two plays per game that make you go "huh?" and that shouldn't happen.

5. Every college football fan has a favorite player not on their team. Who is that player for you in the ACC?

This year? Nobody, really. If I were a UNC fan I'd probably really love Shaun Draughn, he's got that Big Ten hoss-style that I grew up watching and am now seeing from Cedric Peerman, so I'll go with him. But at the risk of being accused of sucking up to the hosts, I'll go back just a couple years. Calvin Johnson was a favorite of mine even before my Lions drafted him and dropped a totally sweet nickname on him. Hell, even I used to get mad watching Reggie Ball fail again and again to see him wide open downfield.

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