Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ACC roundtable: midseason

Time for another edition of the ACC Roundtable, the #1 gathering of college football blogs anywhere. Your host this week is From The Rumble Seat, which works out even better than usual because FTRS has four writers and therefore a case of multiple personality disorder. They can answer their own questions and yet be surprised at the answers. And speaking of answers....

1. Half the regular season is now kaput. Has your team exceeded, met, or fell short of your preseason predictions?

Met, I guess. Really, 2-3 shouldn't surprise anyone. Early games exceeded expectations, causing them to be raised a bit too high for the following ones. Honestly, if you'd have told me in August UVA'd be 2-3 after five games, I'd have said, "Well, duh."

2. The ACC finished the first half of the season 23-14 in out-of-conference play. If we took out the I-AA games, that'd be a lowly 12-13 record. If we took out the non-BCS squads, that'd be a 3-10 record against BCS opponents. If we further removed the Big East, we'd have ZERO wins in out of conference play and 9 losses against the SEC, Big 10, Pac 10, and Big 12... There are nine more out-of-conference games for the ACC including 6 games against BCS opponents. Is there any hope for rehabilitating the ACC's tarnished image?

Wait til bowl season. People have a way of attaching too much weight to the results of a single bowl season. A few favorable matchups there and the ACC's faceplant against good competition will be forgotten.

3. The Atlantic and Coastal divisions are knotted up at 5 wins apiece in interdivision play. Which division is better top to bottom?

At the bottom, the Atlantic is clearly better. Wake and Maryland both beat Duke, which establishes Duke as the worst team in the conference to date. Florida State looks like the best team so far, what with that housing of Miami last week. So the Atlantic is best top and bottom, but I don't think it's the best top to bottom. Pick two reasonable choices for #1 and #6 in each division, and I'll take the Coastal's #2 through #5 over the Atlantic.

4. Who is the ACC's first half of the season offensive MVP? Defensive MVP? Any comeback player of the year nominees or predictions for ACC Rookie of the Year?

I'm actually more impressed by Chris Thompson's 9-odd yards per carry, leading FSU in yardage despite being third in carries, than with the obvious choice of Russell Wilson and his 17 touchdowns. But MVP means "most valuable," not "best." NC State has surrounded Wilson with a cast of questionable talent, so their unexpectedly impressive start is all Russell. He's the choice.

On the other hand, NC State might be doing even better if not for Jayron Hosley of VT. Hosley's interceptions have paved the path of salvation for the Hokies after their loss to James Madison, which I don't know if you heard about that but the Hokies lost to James Madison. Hosley is your defensive MVP so far, edging out BC's Luke Kuechly and his 71 (!) tackles so far.

As for comeback player of the year, yes I'm going the homer route. I'm contractually obligated to at some point. Keith Payne spent three and a half years slipping further and further into Al Groh's doghouse, mostly through his own fault. Then he left it through the back door, quitting the team early in 2009. When Mike London was hired, Payne wanted back, and jumped through every hoop required of him. Who's your ACC touchdown leader? Keith Payne.

5. What games are still circled on the schedule as must win games for your fan base and program?

I'm choking on the very words, but VT isn't an attainable goal just yet. During a rebuilding project you've got to see forward progress, and you've got to get the easy ones under your belt. That means EMU and Duke at a minimum. Maryland will be seen as winnable and nobody wants to lose that one at home. And it's hard to say whether or not UNC is out of reach at the moment, but there's a streak to protect.

6. Let's say your university invented a device capable of transporting one individual from your program's past. And then the machine would collapse into itself due to the sheer greatness of said individual. What one player from your long and storied history would you cherrypick to instantly upgrade your team?

This team is in desperate need of an offensive line. I'd go get a scrambling quarterback like Aaron Brooks or Marques Hagans to alleviate some of the problems caused by the fact that Marc Verica's pocket sense is lousy, but instead I think we'll get a bulldozing tackle who could block for both the pass and the run reasonably well - that'd be top-five NFL pick D'Brickashaw Ferguson - and then, because that's just one lineman out of five, I'll borrow another important piece of scientific progress.....


7. Now that you've seen ~29% of the scheduled ACC games, who will be in the 2010 ACC Championship Game?

Florida State and Virginia Tech, because that is what will piss me off the most.

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