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HOW THEY'LL FINISH
|N. C. STATE||1‚Äì7||.125||4‚Äì8||.333|
|Conference Championship Game: Dec. 1 in JacksonvilleVirginia Tech over Boston College|
PLAYERS TO WATCH
August 19, 2007
Top performersfrom unranked teams in the conference
Durant Brooks, PGEORGIA TECH
A second-teamAll-America a year ago, the senior ranked second in the country in net punting(40.7 yards per kick), was fourth overall (45.5 yards) and dropped 35 puntsinside the 20.
Calais Campbell,DE MIAMI
The 6' 8",282-pound junior is one of the best defensive ends in the nation, the type ofplayer who can disrupt an offense. In 2006 he had 10 1‚ÅÑ2 sacks and was anAll-ACC selection.
Andrew Crummey, GMARYLAND
The 6' 5",301-pound senior, a two-year starter, leads one of the better lines in theconference. He'll clear the way for the Terps' tandem of physical tailbacks,Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore.
Steve Justice, CWAKE FOREST
The 6' 4",284-pound senior started 25¬†games over the last two seasons. An OutlandTrophy candidate, he'll have to steady a line that lost standout tackle SteveVallos to the NFL.
Matt Ryan, QBBOSTON COLLEGE
As a junior the6' 5" 218-pounder was the premier quarterback in the ACC last season,completing nearly 62% of his passes and throwing for 15 touchdowns and 245.2yards per game.
BEST OFFENSIVEPLAYER Branden Ore, RB, Virginia Tech This bruising back rushed for 1,137 yardsand 16 touchdowns as a sophomore.
BEST DEFENSIVEPLAYER Vince Hall, LB, Virginia Tech The heartbeat of one of the country's bestlinebacking units led the Hokies in tackles the last two seasons.
TRUE FRESHMAN TOWATCH Graig Cooper, RB, Miami A January enrollee, he shot up the Hurricanes'depth chart in the spring.
COACH ON THE RISEButch Davis, North Carolina Optimism is high for the first time in a decade,thanks to a bumper crop of recruits.
COACH ON THE HOTSEAT Tommy Bowden, Clemson Tigers fans won't soon forget last year's 1-4finish, and Bowden's underachieving 60-37 record doesn't help.
SLEEPER VirginiaWith a soft conference schedule and 19 starters back from a 5-7 team, theCavaliers could be the most improved team in the ACC.
The first orderof business for new Florida State offensive coordinator JIMBO FISHER is toboost a running game that ranked 109th and 103rd in 2005 and '06, respectively.Fisher, who arrived from LSU, is reducing the number of four-receiver sets andcounting on a line that got a crash course in tough, physical play from newassistant RICK TRICKETT, who coached at West Virginia. . . . MICAH ANDREWS wasto be the featured back at Wake Forest last season until he tore his left ACLin the third game. The son of former Falcons All-Pro running back WilliamsAndrews, Micah is healthy again, and his return means that KENNETH MOORE willbe back at wideout. . . . At Clemson, sophomore defensive end RICKY SAPP hasthe unenviable task of replacing ACC Defensive Player of the Year Gaines Adams.The 6' 4", 220-pound Sapp is a bit smaller than Adams, but he's fast and,on a line that returns three starters, has a chance for a breakout season.