Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ACC roundtable roundup: preseason 2010

NC Stater J. Curle of Riddick & Reynolds (formerly YANCSSB) did that. Badass. Better yet, there are 12 English knnnnnnn-niggits at the table, which is totally not a coincidence. Closest thing we have to an official logo.

The return of football means the return of the ACC Roundtable! Still the best conference-affiliated confederation of bloggers in the entire blogoverse. I took the liberty of posing some questions to this electronic meeting of the minds, and as usual, they didn't disappoint. The blogs participating in this edition:

ACC Blogger (ACC in general - formerly On The B.Rink)
BC Interruption (Boston College)
Tomahawk Nation (Florida State)
From the Rumble Seat (Georgia Tech)
Testudo Times (Maryland)
Riddick & Reynolds (NC State)
Gobbler Country (Virginia Tech)
The Key Play (Virginia Tech - formerly College Game Balls)
Blogger So Dear (Wake Forest)

And I'll interject my own take on the subjects as we go. And speaking of go.....

1. At UVA we have made wholesale changes to everything this past offseason: the coaching staff, the offense, the defense, the uniforms, even the color of the equipment shed. What change or changes on your own team are you most looking forward to watching play out on the field this season?

This fell mostly into two camps: a change on the coaching staff and a change in personnel on the field.

On the "coaching" side of things, ACC Blogger is looking forward to seeing what a new staff can do at Florida State, as is Tomahawk Nation who more bluntly wants to see "a real coaching staff" in action. R&R and FTRS at NC State and GT are both looking forward to new defensive coordinators - Jon Tenuta and Al Groh, in two of the more interesting twists of fate.

BSD expects Wake's freshman crop to play a big role, and the VT bloggers are split between looking for improvement from the O-line and a bigger role for Tyrod Taylor. And the return of Mark Herzlich has BCI fired up.

But the best answer comes from Testudo Times - when asked what changed for Maryland, Ben's answer boils down to, "nothing, and I'm pissed." I would be too, if I were Maryland.

As for me, I confess to be most interested in seeing the uniforms in action. Be honest, the change to the 4-3 will often be largely transparent. I like the idea of seeing which uniform combo we'll see each week and still keep a strong Virginia identity, as opposed to, say, Oregon.

2. Who is the next ACC coach to get fired, and when? And if you think that's your own coach, who would you like to see replace him?

The bloggers are just about evenly split here, and for good reason. Three coaches dominate the discussion: 4 votes for Tom O'Brien, 3 for Ralph Friedgen (including from Testudo Times), and 2 for the suddenly embattled Butch Davis, who really needs to look into day care for the kids. Davis is seen as a wild card in this discussion, because that could happen tomorrow or December or never and have nothing to do with on-field results.

TT is in fact ready to push Ralph's ass through the door today, and grease the frame if he has to. James Franklin, too. The whole circus needs to leave town as far as Ben's concerned. Dream candidates for replacement: Jim Harbaugh from Stanford, or, a very realistic and kinda scary choice, Al Golden.

3. How excited are you about your team’s out-of-conference lineup this year? How would you grade your program overall when it comes to scheduling OOC games?

Overall, folks are pretty happy with how things stand here. At least individually. The conference guy, hard-grading Brandon at ACC Blogger, calls it only average on the whole. And the big dissenter is Tomahawk Nation, who says, and I quote: "The schedule is stupid. All FSU needs is Florida and 3 cupcakes and it wouldn't ever hear a peep about poor scheduling in the media."

J. Curle used the opportunity to go soapboxing:

If I may hop up on my soapbox for a sec, my beef with football out-of-conference schedules has always been the gap between when the games are scheduled and when they’re actually played. ... When State originally scheduled a series with Tennessee (that will finally manifest itself as a one-game deal in 2012 in Atlanta), Phil Fulmer was the coach at UT and Chuck Amato was the coach at State. It’s quite possible both schools will have gone through TWO coaching hires each before the game is played! We need to eliminate scheduling games a decade down the road when possible.
As for UVA, the admin has done a decent job in the past, but they're slipping. Two I-AA programs in one year is terrible, though at least they're instate programs**. This year's OOC lineup stinks to high heaven. And scheduling a home-and-home with UTSA - what the hell? But the upcoming home-and-homes with Penn State and UCLA are excellent. That's the kind of thing we need more of, not VMI.

**This, by the way, is something BCI has a legit concern about:

The one issue with BC's future schedule is that local, Northeast I-AA program keep shuttering their doors. With both Northeastern and Hofstra cancelling their football programs, BC is left with fewer teams to play from college football's lower division (hence playing Weber State, an FCS program located 2,400 miles from Chestnut Hill). Assuming that an annual I-AA game is an inevitability, this trend makes it harder for BC to bring in local teams that will bring a big group of fans to Alumni Stadium.
Boston U. isn't an option either. It's a shame we're at the point where a I-AA game really does seem like an inevitability.

4. What one player on your schedule (not in the ACC overall – your team’s schedule only, and it doesn’t have to be ACC) are you most worried will cause you pain and grief this year?

Ryan Williams of the Hokies is the most popular answer, and mine too. Other choices:

Robert Quinn (R&R, who might not have to worry about this if the UNC scandal hits worst-case.)
Kellen Moore of Boise State (both Hokies made this selection, as did ACC Blogger.)
Ricky Dobbs of Navy and West Virginia's Noel Devine, two running backs on Maryland's schedule.
Allen "I kill alligators with shovels" Bailey at Miami, FSU's nemesis.
Georgia Dawg A.J. Green, a slot receiver that FTRS fears will exploit the "Grohfense."

5. Conversely, provide us a little bulletin board material. Which team on your calendar are you absolutely positive that not only will you stomp their guts to China, but you’ll gain the warmest, fuzziest feeling of immense satisfaction out of doing it?

Against all protocols of decorum and good manners, no fewer than three bloggers answered "UVA" when this question was put to them, in full view of and with no consideration for the dignity of the host. This calls for justice. I glare sternly in their direction and bang my gavel. I expected this from the Hokies (in fact, I'd be disappointed if they didn't) but the BCers apparently are still pissed about Brad Butler. The Key Play, a blog of VT persuasions, took the directive to "provide us a little bulletin board material" literally and stuck in the William & Mary knife.

Everyone else is kind of picking on each other. Wake blogger BSD "loves beating Maryland" (at least somebody knows what the host likes to hear), and Tomahawk Nation thinks Wake is toast. If crab cakes and football are what Maryland does, beating Clemson is what Maryland football does. The GT boys have Miami on their radar and use the same kind of wording they normally use for UGA, so you know it's serious. And you just know NC Stater R&R is salivating at the thought of a UNC team in severe disarray.

6. It's been a loony offseason in the conference membership department, but the ACC sat out this round. Do you think the ACC is set at 12 teams for the long term? If not, which team(s) is/are most likely to be added, and which would you like to see?

Two major consensuses (consensi?) dominate the discussion here: one, the ACC won't do anything until its hand is forced by either the Big Ten, SEC, or both; and two, the "blue hairs on tobacco road," as Gobbler Country calls them, will drive the talk. (GC also wants to add West Virginia for the specific purpose of pissing them off, which wouldn't be a bad idea if I didn't kind of agree with the bluehairs when it comes to WVU.)

It's also interesting how much this question ended up playing to the stereotypes. The new blood (that is, the VTers) are all for proactive expansion, while the old guard (with the exception of Testudo Times) generally prefer to stay put. The northerners at Maryland specifically want northern-ish schools. BCI was practically the only one to mention Notre Dame. Tomahawk Nation, representing a football school, doesn't see any candidates that "the Carolina schools would accept due to academics that I'd want for Sports."

The full list of schools, with # of votes and a star next to the ones I'd choose if the ACC absolutely had to expand:

Syracuse (6)*
Pittsburgh (4)*
Connecticut (3)
Rutgers (2)
Notre Dame (2)
West Virginia (2)

About the only surprise here is the general lack of support for Rutgers. Fine by me. I'd also note that both VT blogs included Syracuse, which seems......ironic. I mean, we could have had Syracuse, though technically VT wouldn't have enjoyed the fruits of that particular choice.

7. Standard question for the finish: a) What do you expect out of your team, b) What kind of season would keep you content and happy, c) What kind of season would be a disappointment?

We'll go blog-by-blog here:

ACC Blogger: "I expect three 10+ win teams and six teams in the final top 25 – and I’d be disappointed with much less with all the talent stockpiled in the ACC."

BCI: "I would say a 9-3 season or better will keep me content. Anything less is probably a disappointment."

TN: "Against a schedule like that of Boston College I'd expect 10-2, but against FSU's schedule I'd expect somewhere in the range of 7-5 to 9-3. If FSU is healthy and goes 7-5 or 6-6 I'll be very disappointed."

FTRS: "I expect Tech to win 8-9 football games and beat Georgia. A great season would include a 10+ win season, a win over Georgia, and a bowl win. A disappointment would be less than 8 wins, a West Coast bowl, and/or losing to Georgia again."

TT: "5-7 seems pretty reasonable. At least 8-4, with one big name upset [would make me happy.] [Disappointing would be] any season which is in that limbo area of 5-7 to 7-5. It's not good enough to revitalize the fanbase and program, but it's not bad enough to get Friedgen and Franklin fired for good, either. That's the worst possible outcome for next year."

R&R: "A bowl appearance of any kind [would keep me happy.] Our schedule is brutal. Five or fewer wins [would disappoint.]

GC and TKP: Unanimous in wanting 10 wins and an ACC title for VT - the only bloggers for whom it's ACC title or bust.

BSD: "I expect growth and improvement throughout the year. I touched on this above, but I just want the guys to stay positive, get better and have something to hang their hat on at the end of the year, whether it is a strong finish, a big upset over a good team, or god willing, a bowl game. As long as they do that, I'll be happy. Conversely, if the team gets down on themselves, regresses, there are a lot of injuries, fighting amongst the team, questionable coaching decisions or a complete collapse ending in 4 straight blowouts, well then I'd be disappointed."

And that's it. Or, to coin a phrase: That's all, folks! Look for the Richmond game preview tomorrow. It's basically football season, officially. So close I can smell it.

1 comment:

James C. said...

Well done! You've now put the onus on the rest of us to step up and contribute from here on out.