Spring football: The next elite team, more burning ACC questions
Stop me if you've heard this one.
So the ACC hasn't become the football goliath everyone predicted it would five years ago when the conference pilfered Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College from the Big East. The ACC also hasn't been as horrendous as everyone seems to think. From 2003-07, the conference finished third out of the six BCS leagues in
In 2008, ACC members provided a few clues that the conference may finally have turned a corner. Virginia Tech broke the league's ignominious eight-game BCS bowl losing streak by beating Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl. Meanwhile, nine other teams also played in bowls. North Carolina improved from 4-8 in 2007 to 8-4 in the 2008 regular season. Georgia Tech befuddled teams with coach
Now, the league must take the next step. A few elite teams must emerge and compete for the national title. Which brings us to the first of five burning questions as the ACC kicks off spring football. We promise, the word "bubble" will not appear even once.
Here's the problem with a league that put 10 teams in bowls last season: No one stands out, because everyone can beat everyone else. For the conference to get the respect it deserves, one or two teams need to break away from the pack. This season, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina and N.C. State all should improve, but defending champ Virginia Tech seems the most likely candidate. The Hokies will have to put in the work this spring to make the leap, but they have the raw materials. Last spring, Virginia Tech coaches weren't entirely sure who would throw, run or catch the ball. This spring, those questions have answers. Quarterback
The offense belongs to sophomore
The Florida State legend, who will turn 80 on Nov. 9, has said he knows when he'll retire. He just isn't telling anyone. The Seminoles' recent dip in quality weighed on Bowden, and he wants to leave behind a healthy program. Still, it's unclear whether the plan will change now that the NCAA's committee on infractions has declared that FSU must vacate wins from a period when the Seminoles used players involved in an academic scandal involving an online music class. Before that decision, Bowden stood one behind Penn State's
I sure hope so. When a man appreciates the nickname "Spaz," you want him to succeed.
Swinney, who received a battlefield promotion from receivers coach following
firing resignation, never acted like an interim coach, which probably explains why Clemson athletic director