Friday, July 31, 2009

preseason balloting

Well, I'm not back from vacation, not exactly. But I promised I'd try and roll out a little somethin' somethin', so. As you're probably aware, the ACC had its media week this week, and I don't really find a lot of value in obsessing over every question-and-answer session, but the voting that results, you know, the projected standings and the preseason all-conference team, those things are worth a look. And the Real Serious Media guys aren't the only ones who get to have all the fun. Gobbler Country hosted a blogger vote as well, with everything the media does minus a full-out all-conference team. So: Media results are here, blogger results are here.

They're not surprising, really, as far as the UVa representation. Fifth in the division, ahead of Duke, both times. The writers tossed us a bone and named Ras-I Dowling to the preseason team. If Vic Hall were still a cornerback, we might have swept that position: UNC's Kendric Burney, the other CB, had the fewest votes of any selection. By the sounds of it, though, Hall is the likely starter at quarterback come September 4.

You're probably wondering what my own ballot looked like when Gobbler Country came calling for inputs. Even if you're not, here you go:


1. FSU
2. NC State
3. Clemson
4. Wake
5. Maryland
6. BC


1. GT
2. VT
3. UNC
4. UVA
5. Miami
6. Duke

Conference champ: Georgia Tech

Offensive POY: Jonathan Dwyer
Defensive POY: Dekoda Watson
ROY: Tajh Boyd

For whatever reason, I'm really bullish on Georgia Tech this year. I was actually about to vote for Morgan Burnett for DPOY, too, but I thought of those votes as a prediction, basically, and if there's a comparable front seven player in the running the media tends to go that route over selecting a safety. GT returns basically all their key players. VT seems to be the more or less consensus pick to win the conference no matter what subset of pundits you ask, but they have plenty of warts and question marks of their own and I think the reasoning tends to go "well I can't figure out how it could be anyone else." Fair enough, I suppose. Last year Clemson was supposed to have their year, and they didn't, and this year, what have you got? Same as last year, basically: eight or nine teams that would all be third or fourth best in any other major conference in the land. So you pick the team with a defense that probably won't fold too often and at least has a proven coach. Unless you're me, then you go with the team whose performance last year surprised everyone but you because you sort of predicted they'd do that.

Anyway, all this comes without having yet done any of my season previews, which are as much to educate me as they are you, so I reserve the right to change my mind.

A couple other tidbits:

Getting cautiously optimistic that Jeff White's move into the athletic department is going to work out nicely after all. His stories are good stuff. For example:

- Might have mentioned it already, but DE Kevin Crawford is off the team now as well as previously-noted TE Rod Wheeler. The scholarship crunch is coming to an end. My depth chart file isn't on this computer, so I'll count later, but I think that brings us to 86.

- The freshmen are way behind on their conditioning - that's to be expected, of course - but S&C coach Brandon Hourigan noted a few that are in good shape: Tim Smith, Perry Jones, Quintin Hunter, Javanti Sparrow. Those are the guys you'd want to watch out for in fall camp, especially Smith (obviously) and Sparrow, who play a position where suddenly we can't have enough depth. With the tremendous trop in DE depth we've taken this offseason, it's too bad a DE wasn't on that list somewhere.

Also, the 2011 recruiting class already has its first member: WR Adrian Gamble. No, I have no intention of starting the 2011 recruiting board. And no, I have no idea if this guy's any good. He's fast, they say. Great. Actually, what it tells me is that we're probably going to sign a full 25 in 2011, if Groh's already got that class cranking up. We didn't have our first '09 commitment til December '07 (that was Owah, who decommitted eventually) and we didn't have a '10 commit until February this year. Gamble's way ahead of the curve. Guys who do that usually fall into two categories: either they're committing to their dream school and getting it done early, or they have no idea of the attention they're going to get just for playing football, and decommit once they see some offer letters. It'll be interesting to see what kind of schools will try and pry Gamble out of our clutches.

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