Posts Tagged 'acc'

College FootBlog Week 6 Recap

Mark Richt may have gotten himself off the hotseat last weekend (photo courtesy of blogs.ajc.com)

Week 6 of the college football season is in the books, and once again, College FootBlog brings you a complete recap of the week that was.  Check out our breakdown of five key bits of info you can’t do without as we continue through the 2011 college football season.

No Florida Schools in the Top 25: Florida State was supposed to be the bell cow of the ACC and the state of Florida in 2011, but after suffering their third straight loss to Wake Forest last weekend, the ‘Noles are out of the top 25.  Much hype was surrounding the Florida Gators, but back to back games against Alabama and LSU would be enough to drop anyone.  The Gators were hammered 41-11 by LSU, and the second-straight loss was too much to keep them in the rankings as well.  Miami, USF and UCF have all been mentioned in the top 25 at different points this season, but all have lost critical games this season, and all are on the outside of the polls looking in.

Red River Blowout:  Many (including myself) thought Texas was way overrated coming into this game–the Longhorns were ranked as the #11 team in the nation, but very few predicted the kind of beat down the Sooners would deliver last weekend.  The OU defense outscored Texas in this one, accounting for three touchdowns.  The fast-paced OU offense did their damage as well, on their way to a 55-17 blowout victory for Oklahoma.

Michigan off to the quietest 6-0 start in history: The dominance of Wisconsin and the implosion of Ohio State have been the main topics of discussion this season in the Big Ten.  That has overshadowed a fantastic start by first year head coach Brady Hoke’s perfect start in 2011.  Hoke has done a lot with very little, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but the Wolverines aren’t getting much love.  A win at rival Michigan State this weekend would not only make the Wolverines bowl eligible in mid-October, it would also serve as notice to the college football world that, while Michigan is still not a top 10 team, Hoke has cleaned up Rich Rod’s mess much faster than anyone could have imagined.

Mark Richt gets 100th win: After starting the 2011 season with a loss against Boise State and a heart-breaker at home to South Carolina in week 2, the Bulldogs won their third straight game last weekend at Tennessee.  The win was head coach Mark Richt’s 100th as a head coach in Athens.  Richt, who came into this season on the hot seat, has Georgia playing better than any team in the SEC East.  A win against rival Florida on October 29th could buy him an extra year and vault the Dawgs into an SEC Championship Game.

In a stunning revelation, Ohio State is the “poster child” of compliance:  I was under the impression that massive suspensions of key players, the untimely departure of a hall of fame coach amid controversy, inappropriate dealings with boosters and free tattoos and gifts from a known Columbus drug dealer were signs that an athletic program wasn’t keeping very good tabs on its student-athletes.  Fortunately, for people like me, who were completely misunderstanding the situation at OSU, their president Gordon Gee took the liberty of clearing up that slight misconception.  Gee informed the Ohio State faculty last week that OSU is the “poster child” of compliance.  In the wake of that announcement, Charlie Sheen is expected to announce that he is the poster child of child care, Lindsay Lohan is expected to announce that she is the poster child of sobriety, and Carrot Top is expected to claim he is the poster child of comedy.

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College FootBlog Week 4 Recap

Week 4 of the College Football season is officially in the books, and the dominant players and teams are beginning to separate from the rest of the pack.  College FootBlog breaks down last weekends action in the Week 4 Recap.

Sooners fall out of #1 spot:  Once a Heisman front-runner, Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has been very average the last two weeks, throwing for 4 TD’s and 4 picks.  The Sooners still won, but they didn’t exactly get the payback they were looking for against Mizzou, who upset OU last season in Columbia.  Wins against Florida State and Mizzou, who are both 2-2 with no big wins against major programs, along with LSU’s dominance against top-tier competition allowed the Tigers to jump ahead of the Sooners in the AP Poll.  Luckily for Sooner fans, LSU and Alabama square off in Tuscaloosa in a month, so one of those teams will drop a few spots.

Brandon Weeden continues to lead the high-octane OSU offense (photo courtesy of OSU Marketing)

LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu may be the best DB in the country:  LSU and Alabama have the two best defenses in the country–and it’s not even close.  The Tigers have forced 12 turnovers against top-flight competition, all away from Death Valley.  Their defense is full of elite talent that will be playing on Sundays in the near future, but the guy that always seems to make the biggest plays on the biggest stages is cornerback Tyrann Mathieu.  In last weekend’s bigtime match up against West Virginia, the sophomore DB had a key interception and a forced fumble, in which he literally ripped the ball right out of the hands of WV wideout Brad Starks.  That makes twice that Mathieu has brought his A-game to a national television audience–in week one, he stripped the ball from Oregon punt returner Kenjon Barner and promptly took the fumble in for a touchdown, and the Ducks never recovered.

Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden continues to light it up:  We anticipated a shoot out, and that’s exactly what we got last weekend, when Oklahoma State traveled to Texas A&M.  Weeden threw for 438 yards (a new school record) and two TDs against the Aggies.  The senior quarterback completed a whopping 47 passes in 60 attempts and spread the ball around nicely–he had three different receivers with ten or more catches, led by dynamic wideout Justin Blackmon, who had 11 catches for 121 yards and a touchdown.  Weeden currently leads the nation in passing yards per game with 398.0 per contest.

Florida could be back:  After a disappointing 2010 season, first year head coach Will Muschamp has the Gators off to a 4-0 start, 2-0 in SEC play.  Quarterback John Brantley looks much more comfortable in Charlie Weis’ pro-style attack versus Urban Meyer’s spread attack that made Tim Tebow a household name, although they didn’t need much passing last weekend against Kentucky, as both Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey rushed for over 100 yards a piece.  More importantly, Muschamp has brought his attitude to the Gator defense, who created four turnovers last weekend.  We’ll see just how far Florida has come very soon–the Gators host Alabama this weekend and travel to LSU next weekend.

The ACC is not good at tackle football:  I’m not sure how the intramural flag football programs in the ACC are, but several programs proved their conference still isn’t ready for big boy football.  After giving then #1 Oklahoma all they could handle, Florida State’s defense was gashed by the Clemson QB-WR combo of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins.  The ‘Noles gave up 455 yards to the Tigers, 366 coming through the air.  FSU was supposed to be the ACC’s hope for a title-contender in 2011, but that’s not going to happen.  Miami lost to Kansas State, NC State was destroyed by Cincinnati, and Maryland had the ugly knocked out of their uniforms by Temple 38-7.  Until the ACC can beat quality out of conference opponents, they will not be taken seriously in the BCS title talk.

Mega-Conferences: Be Careful What You Wish For

The fate of the Big 12 Conference was in the hands of the Texas Longhorns, and earlier this week, the conference was finally able to exhale.  After more guaranteed revenue, the University of Texas agreed to keep the conference intact, and they were soon followed by Oklahoma.  And despite the departures of Nebraska next fall and Colorado in 2012, the threat of the mega-conferences is on the back burner.  Now the question is how long the current situation will last.

Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns are staying with the Big 12....at least for now (google images)

It appears that this is a band-aid on an issue that could require plastic surgery.  Had Texas and Oklahoma left for the Pac 10 and Texas A&M bolted for the SEC, it would have had a domino effect in the rest of the college football world.  All conferences must learn from what could have happened and they need to prepare themselves for the same situation 3-5 years down the road.   College FootBlog takes a look at what might have been had the Longhorns set the mega-conferences into motion and weighs two potential impacts it would have had.

1.  The ACC and Big East would have been dead in the water.  The ACC thought they were going to challenge the SEC when they on-boarded Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College a few years ago.  Instead, Miami and Florida State have struggled to live up to their prestige from the 80’s and 90’s, and with huge losses in out of conference and bowl games, they have been little more than an automatic bid to a BCS Bowl because the BCS has to have a representative from their conference.

The Big East has come a long way since losing their coveted teams to the ACC.  But it hasn’t been easy.  Despite having three teams finish in the Top 25 last season, the Big East is still trying to prove they belong with the big boys.  The emergence of Pitt, Cincinnati and Rutgers has helped give them some respectability, but they are still largely considered a second-tier league.  With the depth they had last season, that is somewhat unfair, but that is still the general consensus. 

The Big Ten flirted with Pitt when they originally wanted to have 14-16 teams in their league, and much like when the ACC raided them a few years ago, the conference seemed ready to take their lumps and move on.  There is talk that if and when the SEC comes calling, they will go after Virginia Tech, but even if the mega-conferences leave the ACC and Big East alone, each conference could easily become a footnote in the BCS title hunt if the big conferences get bigger and deeper.  That would result in far less revenue and could effectively make each conference a new-aged mid-major. 

If they don’t want that to happen, representatives from each conference need to take advantage of the new three-year window and fight for stability and/or growth.  Otherwise, FSU, Miami and Virginia Tech could easily look to jump ship before it goes down.

2.  The Mid-Majors would have dropped further into obscurity.  Even with Boise State making the move to the Mountain West, they simply will not be able to compete in terms of revenue and overall respectability vs a 16-team Pac 10.  Add to it that Utah is likely jumping ship from the MWC to become the Pac 10’s 12th team, and they will continue to fight for some well-deserved attention in college football.  Should the Pac 10 increase to a 16-team league in the future, all hope of having a representative in the BCS National Championship will be gone.

The conference already had an uphill battle due to the lack of television coverage and the perception that they, along with the other mid-majors are the little brother of the bigger, more traditional BCS conferences, but one or two mega-conferences would effectively shut the door on their chances for a title.

That would be a shame, considering what Boise State and Utah have more than represented themselves and their conferences on the big stage of a BCS bowl game.  A one-loss or even a two-loss team from a mega-conference could easily get the nod from voters to play in a title game over an undefeated mid-major team.  Considering the strength of schedule from a 16-team SEC and/or Pac 10, it would be very difficult to keep a conference champion from a dominant conference out of the National Championship.

The other major issue facing the non-BCS Conferences would be their ability to schedule decent out of conference games.  Boise State and TCU are already teams that present a no-win situation for a major program.  If the larger program wins, they were supposed to win.  If they lose, the upset becomes an instant classic.  A 16-team conference would provide more than enough competition and national recognition without scheduling a couple tough out of conference games, leaving the cupboard bare for the mid-majors to challenge the big boys.

College FootBlog wants your input.  Let us know your thoughts on the Mega-Conferences and the pros and cons if they become a reality.

2010 College Football ACC Preview (Coastal Division)

In case you missed it, earlier this week, we unveiled our initial power rankings for the ACC’s Atlantic Division (see link).  College FootBlog continues our breakdown, this time with the teams from the Coastal Division.  From all indications, the Coastal Division is much deeper than their friends from the Atlantic.  Let’s take a look at what we should expect this fall.

Va Tech's Ryan Williams finshed fifth in the country in rushing yards per game last season (google images)

1.  Virginia Tech:  Although the Hokies lost a lost a lot on defense from last season’s squad, they were able to retain defensive coordinator Bud Foster despite him being on several programs’ wish list during the off-season.  Even with the youth and inexperience, it would not be wise to count the Va Tech defense out as long as Foster is running the show.  Offensively, the Hokies may have a running back tandem that can rival any other tandem in the country, including Alabama.  We already know what to expect from Sophomore Ryan Williams, who rushed for over 1,600 yards last season, but the Hokies also return Darren Evans, who missed last season with an ACL tear. 

2.  Miami:  After a 9-4 season in ’09, the Hurricanes are looking for an ACC Championship this season.  Randy Shannon’s team benefited greatly from a coaching overhaul last spring, and the results spoke for themselves last fall, especially on offense.  Jacory Harris returns at quarterback and will try to pick up where he left off last season, when he completed nearly 60% of his passes for over 3,300 yards.  Linebacker Sean Spence leads the ‘Canes defense, which was young but talented last season and still ranked 29th nationally in total defense.  The November 20th match up at home against Va Tech will have major implications on who represents the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship Game.

3.  North Carolina:  Butch Davis has done wonders in Chapel Hill, especially on defense.  The Tar Heels ranked sixth overall in total defense last season.  Linebacker Quan Sturdivant is a legitimate potential first round draft pick in next spring’s NFL Draft.  As great as the UNC defense was last year, the offense was anemic.  The ‘Heels ranked a dismal 108th in total offense last year, and that must change if they want to challenge Miami and Va Tech for the Coastal Division crown.  That means quarterback TJ Yates must improve on his 14 TD/15 Int’s from a season ago.

GT coach Paul Johnson will rely heavily on QB Josh Nesbitt to keep the 'Jackets rushing offense among the nation's best (google images)

4.  Georgia Tech:  We will see how much the loss of running back work horse Jonathan Dwyer will affect the offense, but quarterback Josh Nesbitt returns for his third season as the engineer of Paul Johnson’s tricky, triple option offense.  Running back Anthony Allen appears to be up the challenge of filling Dwyer’s role, but defensively, the Jackets must replace first round draft pick DE Derrick Morgan and long-time starter at safety, Morgan Burnett, which could be a daunting task.

5.  Virginia:  First year head coach Mike London has his work cut out for him, but Cavaliers fans are hoping he can bring the same results that he has produced throughout his career, specifically when he was their defensive coordinator from ’06-’07.  In that short amount of time, London’s defenses were among the nation’s finest, and handed the Miami Hurricanes their worst ever loss at the Orange Bowl when they shut them out 48-0.  With his ties to the Hampton Roads area and his tenacity as a coach, Virginia should be better, but it will likely take a couple of years before we see the Cavs making serious waves in the ACC.

6:  Duke:  The Blue Devils round out our power rankings for the Coastal Division.  After a couple of season’s head coach David Cutliffe has made strides and last season coached them to a 5-7 record, which is quite an accomplishment, considering that is the best record in Durham since 1994.  The departure of quarterback Thaddeus Lewis will hurt Duke quite a bit, and there appears to be no one who can fill that void.  Look for Cutliffe to be under .500, but he will likely be rewarded with another head coaching opportunity after this season.

Next week, College FootBlog will take a look at the Big Ten in another two-part breakdown.  Let us know your thoughts on our ACC breakdown and our power rankings that will be published in the next couple of weeks.

2010 College Football ACC Preview (Atlantic Division)

The summer time is rapidly approaching, and that means fun in the sun for most, but for college football enthusiasts, it’s like entering a bit of a black hole.  Summer workouts begin, but until two-a-days begin in August, coaching staffs are not allowed to be directly involved with the player drills and workouts (unless, of course, Rich Rodriguez is at the helm…sorry, we couldn’t resist). 

As we enter this dead period, College FootBlog will take a look at each major conference and will provide preliminary power rankings.  Our first conference breakdown will be the ACC.  We first take a look at the Atlantic Divison, and we will take a peek at the Coastal Division later in this week. 

All-American guard Rodney Hudson anchors FSU's offensive line, which will be one of the top OLs in the nation (google images).

1. Florida State:  After several years of underachieving, look for FSU to back it up this season.  The Seminoles return all starters on the offensive line, which has two All-American candidates in guard Rodney Hudson and tackle Andrew Datko.  The issue that needs to improve is the Seminole defense, who finished last season 108th nationally in total defense.  While a revamped coaching staff on that side of the ball will probably not lead to a top 25 defense, there is every reason to believe that they will be much improved this fall.  Throw in Heisman Trophy candidate Christian Ponder at QB, and the ‘Noles should have the inside track at representing the Atlantic Division in this year’s ACC Championship Game.

2.  Clemson:  The loss of the electric running back, CJ Spiller will leave a huge void in the Tigers offense.  We will find out in a few weeks whether or not quarterback Kyle Parker will be taking snaps this fall, or if he will pursue a professional baseball career.  The question marks on offense are somewhat offset by the playmakers on the defensive line, most notably DE Da’Quan Bowers.  The other thing going against Clemson is that they play ACC Atlantic favorite Florida State in Tallahassee this year.

After missing all of last season, Mark Herzlich is now cancer-free (google images)

3.  Boston College: The big story out of BC is the return of 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Mark Herzlich, who is now cancer free.  The offense that struggled quite a bit last season returns four of five starters, and after some growing pains last season, quarterback Dave Shinskie will be looked upon to provide more consistency to an offense that ranked 93rd in passing offense last season.  Everyone will be rooting for Herzlich to have a good season, but it may be difficult to return to his ’08 form this quickly after aggressive treatment of the illness that forced him to miss all of last season.  Still, he should provide a jolt to a solid defense that ranked 26th nationally last year.

4.  NC State:  Defensively, the Wolfpack lose seven starters, which includes all four starters on the defensive line.  The good news for the ‘Pack is that linebacker Nate Irving, who missed all of last season due to injuries sustained from  car accident is back and participated in spring ball this year.  His absence last year, however, actually helps the depth going into this year, as some younger players gained valuable experience filling that void.  The strength of NC State should be at quarterback.  Head coach Tom O’Brien already knows what he will get from althetic QB Russell Wilson, and because Wilson used this spring to focus on baseball, back up Sean Glennon got valuable reps all spring to help with depth.

5.  Wake Forest:  As great as head coach Jim Grobe has been at Wake, he has his work cut out for him this season, after the loss of Riley Skinner, who started four years at quarterback in Winston-Salem.  The Deacons also have to replace three senior starters on the offensive line and five senior defensive players, including cornerback Brandon Ghee who went in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft.  Grobe is a great coach and has added some talented recruiting classes, but this year’s youth and inexperience will be a difficult hill to climb.

6.  Maryland:  There is a very good possibility the head coach Ralph Friedgen will not make it to see the 2011 season, at least in College Park.  Much of Maryland’s issues last season could be attributed to the poor play of their offensive line, which gave up three sacks a game last season.  The outlook for this season is pretty bleak, with the loss of Bruce Campbell.  The ‘Terps are coming off a miserable 2009 campaign that resulted in a 2-10 record, and unfortunately for Maryland fans, all signs point to another sub-.500 year this fall.

Look for College FootBlog’s breakdown of the ACC Coastal Division later this week!

Heisman Dark Horse?

Heading into summer workouts, the Heisman buzz for the 2010 season has already started.  While everyone seems to have players like Mark Ingram, Ryan Mallett and Terrelle Pryor on their watch lists, one name  that you will not see is Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder.  Look for that to change early in the season.

Despite a great season in ’09, college football fans outside of Tallahassee don’t really know about Ponder for two major reasons.  The signal caller  injured his throwing shoulder against Clemson and missed the final four games, which included FSU’s bowl game.   The other reason was that as good as Ponder was, the Seminole defense was worse, making FSU a .500 football team.

Before his shoulder injury last season, Ponder led the ACC's second-ranked offense (google images)

1.  Stay Healthy:  Although the shoulder injury in last season’s rivalry game at Clemson was by far the most severe, the fact of the matter is that Ponder has played most of his FSU career with at least one or two nagging injuries, ranging from a knee sprain all the way to cracked ribs.  That toughness is a key component of why his team looks to him to lead them, but this season, he doesn’t have to prove it.  In fact, head coach Jimbo Fisher has lectured Ponder several times on sliding more instead of taking hits when he is out of the pocket.

Will it happen?  With all five returning starters on the offensive line that includes two 4-year starters and three, 3-year starters, Ponder will be protected by the best O-line in the ACC and one of the best in the country.  More depth at running back should also help keep the pressure off.  Also, Ponder will run if needed this season, but look for Coach Fisher to get the message across this year (i.e. if Ponder lowers his shoulder during a run in 2010, he will get more than an ear-full from his coaches).

2.  Wideouts must step up:  Ponder’s numbers were far superior to last year’s Heisman finalist Tim Tebow, but his statistics could have been much better if his receivers had brought their A-game. 

Junior WR Bert Reed was probably FSU's most consistent receiver last season (google images)

Other than Bert Reed, who returns as a junior this season, every FSU wideout had a severe case of the drops at one point in the season or another.  The Seminoles lost two senior WRs this season to graduation, but the core of the group is talented and diverse, ranging from Reed, who is known for his speed and quickness, to junior Jarmon Fortson, who has drawn comparison to former ‘Nole and current Baltimore Raven Anquan Boldin because of his size (6’3″ and 221 lbs) and athleticism.

Will it happen?  It should.  For the first time since Jimbo Fisher’s arrival, he has solid depth and a nice blend of size, speed and quickness.  If Fortson struggles early on with his consistency as he did last season and during the spring, sophomores Rodney Smith (6’6″ and 220 lbs.) and Willie Haulstead (6’3″ and 215 lbs.) could easily assume his role.  The most consistent players will play.  Look for true freshman De’Joshua Johnson to compliment Reed as another speed receiver who is dangerous in space.

3.  The FSU defense needs to at least be average:  Had the ‘Noles fielded just an average defense last season, they likely would have gone to the ACC title game and had a 9 or 10-win season.  FSU was equally bad against the run and the pass last year, ranking near the bottom in the FBS in each category.  If the defense can’t keep the opposition out of the end zone, Florida State’s record will suffer, and so will Ponder’s hopes for a Heisman Trophy.  Think records don’t matter for the Heisman?  Look at Jimmy Clausen’s numbers from last year.  Despite being on national television countless times and putting up huge numbers, Clausen did not even receive a plane ticket to the ceremony last December.

Will it happen?  After the worst season of his career, legendary defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews (who many credit as much or more than Bobby Bowden for FSU’s dominance in the 90’s) retired.  While Andrews’ resume demanded respect, the others on the defensive staff did not.  Immediately after being named head coach, Jimbo Fisher completely revamped the coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball, most notably hiring two defensive coordinators to turn things around.  Mark Stoops, known for his zone schemes that produced several NFL defensive backs from Miami is the ‘Noles new defensive coordinator.  And former ECU defensive coordinator Greg Hudson takes over as the coach for the linebackers.  While these changes probably will not result in a Top 20 defense next season, there is every reason to believe it will be improved this fall.

Final Analysis:  With an improved defense, one of the nation’s best offensive lines and a deep and talented receiving corps, all signs are positive for Christian Ponder’s race for the Heisman.  As usual, the Seminoles have a difficult schedule, playing non-conference games at Oklahoma and at home against BYU and Florida.  If Ponder can lead his team to an ACC Championship and a 9 or 10-win season, the sportswriters will be forced to take notice, and Ponder’s ability and leadership will be known outside of the Tallahassee and the ACC.

2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings Part 1

With the 2009 football season now officially in the books, College FootBlog will tackle the ongoing debate of which conference is the best in the FBS.  In this three-part breakdown, we will rank the six major conferences from the BCS in 2009, and we will also provide an outlook for each conference for the 2010 season. 

In our first of three articles, we will take a look at teams five and six in the power rankings of the major BCS conferences, although it should be noted that Boise State and TCU could make us rank eight conferences at the conclusion of next season. 

Oregon State's Quizz Rodgers has his sights set on a Pac 10 Title (google images)

6.  Pac 10 

2009 Recap:  For the last several years, USC has brought respect to the conference, but last year’s fall from grace left put the pressure on the other teams in the conference to step up.  No one else did–at least not consistently.  The Pac 10 was a dismal 2-5 in bowls last season and one of those wins was USC’s victory over a very mediocre Boston College team in the Emerald Bowl.  Losing three linebackers and quarterback Mark Sanchez in the first day of the NFL Draft last season proved to be too much for Pete Carroll to overcome. 

After a promising start, Cal fell far below expectations, and Oregon started and finished with huge losses on national television.  Toby Gerhart led the Stanford Cardinal on the college football map, but overall, the Pac 10’s 2-5 bowl record was very underwhelming. 

2010 Outlook:  All signs point to the Pac 10 having a big turnaround next season.   Conference Champ Oregon returns quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and running back LaMichael James.   Oregon State will have the Rodgers brothers returning key running backs coming back next year, Arizona is emerging after an 8-5 record, and Jim Harbaugh and Steve Sarkisian have Stanford and Washington out of the cellar of college football. 

5.  ACC

 2009 Recap:  The ACC barely made the cut for the fifth worst conference in college football last season.  For the

VT's Ryan Williams exploded on the scene in '09, rushing for over 1,500 yards and 19 TD's (google images)

second year in a row, the Atlantic Coast Conference was consistently inconsistent.  Paul Johnson once again proved to critics that the triple option can (and does) work in major college football, but they could not get things going against Iowa’s defense in the Orange Bowl. 

Virginia Tech racked up ten wins, but once again, Frank Beamer was unable to get his team over the hump as one of college football’s elite teams.  For what seems like the fifth straight year, Clemson failed to live up to all of the hype as well, losing five games, including one against a very average South Carolina team.  Overall, ACC teams finished with a 3-4 bowl record in ’09. 

2010 Outlook:  Like the Pac 10, the ACC should make significant strides in 2010.  Georgia Tech may take a step back with Jonathan Dwyer departing to the NFL, but several teams should be much improved.  Virginia Tech returns running back Ryan Williams and QB Tyrod Taylor, and we may actually see Miami and Florida State get back on the map.  Each of the traditional power houses from Florida showed signs that they may be on the cusp of regaining greatness, but they were up and down for much of the season.  Look for Miami and FSU to make a serious run at Va Tech next season. 

Note:  Look for Parts 2 & 3 of College FootBlog’s 2009 BCS Conference Power Rankings later this week.