Tag:Wake Forest
Posted on: May 2, 2011 6:13 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 6:19 pm
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What I learned this spring: ACC Atlantic

Posted by Chip Patterson

With all six spring games completed, we wrap up spring practice in the ACC Atlantic Division.

BOSTON COLLEGE: One of the things that became increasingly evident this spring was how much the Eagles have riding on running back Montel Harris going into the 2011 season. Harris tore his lateral meniscus in Boston College's ACC finale against Virginia and missed the rest of the season after undergoing surgery. Even missing the last game, Harris finished second in the ACC with 1,242 yards. After one carry in Boston College's spring game (which really is more of an offense-defense scrimmage), Harris was taken out for "precautionary measures."

All spring, the Eagles' foremost concern has been the health of their prized running back, as it should be. Boston College's muddled quarterback situation does not provide a whole lot of confidence in the passing game. Chase Rettig has likely emerged spring as the starter, taking significantly more reps near the end of the practice than Dave Shinskie, and Mike Marscovetra. Rettig emerged as a freshman in 2010 and finished the season as the starter. But his 6 touchdowns to 9 interceptions on the season hardly secured him the gig for 2011. But after completing 20-of-29 passes for 182 yards in the spring game, popular belief is that Rettig will be the starter in the fall. Boston College's greatest asset still is their defense, which will be highlighted once again by Kevin Pierre Louis and Luke Kuechly, who was recently got named to the Lott Trophy Watch list.

CLEMSON: With Kyle Parker off with the Colorado Rockies for good, this spring was the time for former backup Tajh Boyd to take command of this team. The obstacle he faced heading into practice was doing it with a brand new offensive coordinator. Since taking over under Todd Morris' new system Boyd has been consistent in his effort and leadership, just inconsistent on performance. In the Tigers' spring game Boyd looked out of rhythm with his receivers, completing only 8 of 24 passes for 114 yards. Head coach Dabo Swinney hopes that Boyd will be pushed by backup quarterback Cole Stoudt, but Boyd has been the man in charge of Morris' new offense - which is reportedly only about 60% installed.

The new up-tempo offense could benefit the Tigers in the ACC, particularly with the athletes they have at the skill positions. If the spring game was any measure, Clemson should see a significant increase in their play count per game. The scheme has proven to put up big numbers, but it relies about as evenly on the run game as the passing game. Luckily the Tigers are well equipped at running back. Andre Ellington returns after collecting 686 yards and 10 touchdowns in just eight games of action before suffering a season-ending toe injury. Sitting out of spring drills, Clemson fans got a good look at his backups and - what should be - a very deep running back position. Demont Buice (18 carries, 102 yards), Roderick McDowell (12 carries, 100 yards), and D.J. Howard (11 carries, 97 yards) all had strong showings in the spring game and should make for an interesting competition once camp opens in the fall. Defensively one big surprise was the emergence of Corey Crawford. The 6-5, 275-pound early enrollee has raised eyebrows all spring, and figures to already be a part of the defensive end rotation in the fall. Wearing Da'Quan Bowers' No. 93, Crawford appears to be taking the responsibility of upholding the legacy of Bowers and the late Gaines Adams.

FLORIDA STATE: Without a doubt, the Seminoles exit the spring as a favorite to repeat as Atlantic Division Champions in 2011. With the talent returning from last year's squad and the rise of junior quarterback E.J. Manuel, head coach Jimbo Fisher has Tallahassee buzzing once again about brining the ACC title home to where it started. Florida State won in the inaugural ACC title game in 2005, and the closest they have come since then was last year's 44-33 defeat to Virginia Tech.

The hype set the bar high, but spring practice posed a different set of challenges for Fisher and his staff. The Seminoles had seven starters miss practice due to injury, so the coaches used much of the spring to sort out depth issues. The offensive line is a bit of a concern for Fisher, as they have had to do some shuffling in order to fill out the line and establish some depth. The coaches were pleased with Manuel's spring as a whole, but the junior quarterback struggled in Florida State's well-attended spring game. Fisher has said that he is mostly concerned with Manuel's development as a leader at this point, and did not seem to think much of his spring game outing.

"He was frustrated but I got more out of him today because we struggled and he didn't have a good day," Fisher said following the game. "At the end of the day we had a chance to make plays and we made a few plays."

Many of the injuries were on the defensive end, but with all of those players getting back to 100% before training camp it should not play a major factor in the Seminoles' readiness for the season. If there is any "red-flag" from spring practice it would be a fear of complacency. There were several early practices that led Fisher to criticize his team's speed and toughness. Florida State cannot afford to be slow-starting in 2011 if they truly plan on competing for a National Championship. With Oklahoma visiting Tallahassee on Sept. 13, the Seminoles need to be competing in midseason form from the first day of camp. If Florida State is "going through the motions" at the beginning of the season, the Sooners will be a rude wake-up call after Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern.
 
MARYLAND:
There will be no surprises this year with sophomore quarterback Danny O'Brien. After being named the 2010 ACC Rookie of the Year, O'Brien's development has not been slowed due to the coaching changes at Maryland. In fact, the new system installed by former LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton has the players feeling like there could be even more passing in 2011. O'Brien took advantage of the vanilla scrimmage coverages in the spring game, completing 16 of 23 passes for 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns. New head coach Randy Edsall is very excited about the rotation of wide receivers taking shape, with Ronnie Tyler, Kevin Dorsey, and Quintin McCree all having strong springs.

With defensive coordinator Don Brown leaving to take the position at Connecticut, Maryland's defense has spent most of the spring trying to learn a new system. Edsall promoted assistant coach Todd Bradford to the position in mid-February, and the newness of the change seems to still be setting in for the players. Brown's system carried lots of blitzing packages and multiple looks, the players say Bradford's relies more on coverage responsibility. Maryland's defense is experienced, but they are still a little slow getting on the same page at this point.
 
NC STATE:
What I learned this spring is that head coach Tom O'Brien's word at N.C. State is firm and unwavering. O'Brien told Russell Wilson that if he wanted to be the starting quarterback in 2011 he needed to stay with the team instead of playing minor league baseball in the offseason. Even when Wilson, an All-ACC quarterback and 2010 Champs Sports Bowl MVP, asked O'Brien if he could return in August - O'Brien said no. So now the reigns are officially in the hands of Mike Glennon, the highly-recruited younger brother of former Virginia Tech quarterback Sean Glennon. Glennon, a redshirt junior, checks out on paper as a strong candidate for the Wolfpack starting job. The only thing that he lacks is actual game experience. The problem is that with Wilson's departure to continue football elsewhere (as opposed to sticking with professional baseball) will have an effect on the fan base's expectations from Glennon. Glennon did not have a great outing in N.C. State's shortened spring game (inclement weather), and it will be important for his confidence to get some early wins in the fall.

N.C. State lost leading rusher Mustafa Greene to injury during spring practice, but he is expected to be back in time for fall practice. Greene emerged as the answer to one of the big question marks in 2010, and he will be leaned on to help Glennon get comfortable in the starting position. This year it has been the wide receiver position that was not addressed this spring, as T.J. Graham leads a crop of wideouts that lack experience in game situations. Wolfpack fans are hoping for another Greene-type situation out of the position next fall. The linebacking corps will be strong point once again for N.C. State, led by Terrell Manning and Audi Cole. Cole moves over to Nate Irving's position of middle linebacker, and while the transition has not been easy the coaching staff seems pleased with his progress and potential heading into the new season.
 
WAKE FOREST:
We knew that Wake Forest had a long way to go to improve on last year's frustrating 3-9 season. With spring practice in the books, the Demon Deacons still are a ways away from the squad that was competing among the ACC elite a half-decade ago. Head coach Jim Grobe often mentioned how inexperience played a factor in 2010's struggles, with the Deacons having to start several freshman (especially on the defensive end) throughout the season.

"I think last year we were a soft group of freshmen, and now we're just a crusty group of sophomores,"Grobe told the Winston-Salem Journal. "I know coaches are worried about playing too many sophomores but for me, we're light years ahead of where we were last year with these guys."

Offensively, the Deacons will hope to get running back Josh Harris going behind a more experienced offensive line. The talented sophomore broke out against Virginia Tech (20 carries, 241 yards, two touchdowns) and in the season finale against Vanderbilt (18 carries, 138 yards, one touchdown). But inconsistent production during the regular season have left Wake Forest fans looking for more out of the running back from Duncanville, TX. Harris led all rushers in the spring game with 85 yards, but missed many of the workouts due to injury. If Harris can't get the ground game going there will be a lot of pressure on quarterback Tanner Price to make plays with his wide receivers, which doesn't appear very threatening at this point.
Posted on: April 14, 2011 10:48 am
Edited on: April 15, 2011 1:39 pm
 

ACC Spring Game Watch (April 16)

Posted by Chip Patterson

On Saturday, nearly half of the ACC will wrap up their spring practice with an annual spring game. Some teams will engage in game-like scenarios in front of thousands of onlookers, while other teams will engage in a more “drill-centric” display for their eager fans. Regardless of the setup, there are always pertinent questions to be answered whenever a team takes the field competitively. Here are your things to watch in the ACC spring games on April 16.

Boston College - 1 p.m. Alumni Stadium
Judging by the statistics and observations from the last two scrimmages, new offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers has been dialing up the passing attack for all three of his quarterbacks. The play of Chase Rettig (the starter for now), Mike Marscovetra , and Dave Shinskie has been spotty; with different signal-callers shining at different times. Once the season has Montel Harris is expected to be the foundation of the Eagles’ offense, but the ACC’s second-leading rusher in 2010 has remained quiet this spring. Boston College’s spring game will be made up of situational drills, so it will be difficult to judge much from the play in the trenches. Keep an eye on the Boston College secondary, as the Eagles look to improve their passing defense that gave up over 226 yards per game a season ago.

UPDATE - We will be streaming the Boston College spring game LIVE.  You can watch it HERE on Saturday.

Florida State - 4 p.m. Doak Campbell Stadium
Despite all the hype and anticipation, head coach Jimbo Fisher has been frequently frustrated with Florida State’s effort and attention to detail during scrimmages. When asked about his thoughts on last Saturday’s scrimmage, Fisher felt the Seminoles still have “a long way to go." E.J. Manuel in a jersey will be nothing new for FSU fans, but it will be his first spring game after missing the last two due to injury. It will be intersting to see if the Seminoles tighten up on a bigger stage or continue the small mistakes that have been frustrating their coach. Also, this is the only ACC spring game receiving national coverage (ESPN3) so you might as well sneak a peek since you can.

Miami - 12:00 p.m. Lockhart Stadium
New head coach Al Golden has made it a point to change several aspects of Miami’s preparation since taking over back in December. On Saturday fans will get to see the results of Golden’s first offseason and spring practices. Golden has kept the depth chart in constant rotation since the beginning of spring practice, encouraging open competition at nearly every single position. Despite the exciting improvements on the defensive end, Hurricanes fans will likely have their eyes set on the skill positions in the backfield on Saturday. Miami boasts a loaded running back corps of Mike James , Storm Johnson , and Lamar Miller ; who should all receive significant opportunities on Saturday. Also, Jacory Harris and Stephen Morris will get to go head-to-head in the “fantasy-style” scrimmage between two rosters picked by fans. Miami held a charity auction for the right to pick the teams in the spring game, and two Miami alumnus made their selections earlier this week. With no first-team or second-team alignment, the game should be ripe for some outstanding plays on both sides of the ball.

N.C. State - 1 p.m. Carter-Finley Stadium
Head coach Tom O’Brien prefers to focus on improving as individuals during spring practice. Instead of focusing on elaborate scheme’s or sets, the Wolfpack have spent their spring workouts with a focus on fundamentals. With many key positions to fill, that makes Saturday’s spring game particularly interesting on an individual level. New starting quarterback Mike Glennon has shown his chops to the Wolfpack fans during spring games, but he will be throwing the ball to fresh crop of wide receivers. Also with Mustafa Greene undergoing foot surgery, Saturday should be an opportunity for the now-healthy Brandon Barnes to make an impression on the coaching staff. Also keep an eye on the secondary, where this staff is notorious for swapping personnel.

Wake Forest - 1 p.m. BB&T Field
Last season Wake Forest’s inexperience burned them on both sides of the ball. The good news for the Demon Deacons is that 17 of those starters will get a chance to prove themselves again in 2011. The number one thing to watch out of Winston-Salem will be signs of improvement from all the underclassmen. From quarterback Tanner Price to a (rising) sophomore-laden secondary, Wake needs to get better all over the field. With the coaching staff jumble sparked by Brad Lambert’s departure, look for more individual improvement as the team has yet to dive into much heavy scheming this spring.


Posted on: March 16, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: March 16, 2011 1:07 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Wake Forest

Posted by Chip Patterson

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Wake Forest, who starts spring practice Thursday
.

How will Wake Forest's recent coordinator shuffle effect the productivity of spring practice? Will they be able to take advantage of the 17 returning starters?

Wake Forest knew they had a lot to improve on from 2010. There were all sorts of issues on the field that were going to require attention during the offseason. But plans to improve were thrown off momentarily with the surprise departure of Brad Lambert to UNC-Charlotte. The former defensive coordinator had been in Winston-Salem as long as head coach Jim Grobe, and been a crucial piece to the program. He was linebackers coach of the 2006 ACC Championship team, and helped develop Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry, now with the Seattle Seahawks.

So Grobe was forced to act quickly and unexpectedly to even get spring practice off on time. Grobe began by promoting from within, calling on Brian Knorr (wide receivers) and Tim Billings (outside linebackers) to be co-defensive coordinators. Knorr, who served as a linebackers coach under Grobe at Ohio University, will split both the coordinating and linebacker coach duties with Billings. The move promotes two seasoned assistants with head coaching experience, while also returning Knorr back to the defensive side of the ball.

But in filling Knorr's old role as wide receivers coach, Grobe got a chance to enhance his staff. West Virginia receivers coach Lonnie Galloway was officially announced on Tuesday as the latest hire in Wake Forest's coaching shuffle. Galloway was a four year letterman at quarterback for Western Carolina University. He graduated in 1994 second on the school's career passing list with 5,545 yards. Galloway should also help with recruiting, serving on staffs at Elon, East Carolina, and Appalachian State before West Virginia.

So now that the coaching staff is finally in line, the Demon Deacons can turn their attention towards 2011. Which is good news for Wake Forest fans, who have been looking forward to forgetting the 2010 season for some time. After the exhibition season-opener against Presbyterian and and a 54-48 footrace victory against the lowly Duke Blue Devils, Wake Forest dropped nine straight games. Thankfully, they were able to finish the season with a 34-13 victory over Vanderbilt, but it was a frustrating 1-7 ACC campaign for the Demon Deacons. They were consistently overmatched, being outscored in conference play on average 38.5-16.875.

Granted, it was a rough initiation for true freshman quarterback Tanner Price (pictured). Price, who has shown potential at times, was thrown into the mix early in the season and finished with nine starts under his belt. As expected, the consistency was lacking in the freshman's efforts. But with 1,349 yards passing and a year of experience with offensive coordinator Steed Lebotzke (one of the only coaches still in his 2010 role), Wake Forest fans are hoping that Price's growth will help improve the entire offense.

But Price's learning curve is no explanation for the poor defense. In 2010, the Demon Deacons were last in the conference in scoring defense, and only ranked higher than Duke in total defense; giving up 429.6 yards per game. Grobe sang Lambert's praises as he departed for UNC-Charlotte, but where was the proof on the field?

The difference between 2010 and Grobe teams of old came down to experience. Wake Forest finished the season staring 8 underclassmen on defense, including 3 freshmen in the secondary. The defenses during the postseason run from 2006-2008 were led by a core group of juniors and seniors. Grobe and his staff are known for their ability to develop talent, but unfortunately most of the Demon Deacons had to go through on-the-job training.

Which interestingly enough is one of the greatest strengths Wake Forest has moving towards 2011. With 17 returning starters, the Demon Deacons are the second most experienced team in the ACC. The players should enter spring practice with little/no learning curve. While the coaches might be shifting, the players are all back.

Regardless of the assistant coach jumble, Jim Grobe is still the head football coach at Wake Forest. He will have the same message and same expectations as always, and there should be no misunderstandings on the rosters with this large crop of returning players. Grobe has proven he can win with experience before, but Wake Forest fans are hoping to see that on the field sooner rather than later.

Wake Forest begins Spring Practice Thursday March 17

Click here for more Spring Practice Primers


Posted on: February 28, 2011 6:16 pm
 

UNC Charlotte to name Brad Lambert head coach

Posted by Chip Patterson

The last time a football game was played at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was 1948.  On Tuesday, the athletic department is expected to make one of their most important moves towards bringing back football in 2013.  According to David Scott, of the Charlotte Observer, the rebranded Charlotte 49ers will introduce Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brad Lambert as the first head coach of the revitalized program.  

Lambert, 46, will be allowed to begin recruiting players immediately for an inagural 2012 class that will redshirt prior to the first season in 2013.  He will also be allowed to hire up to two assistant coaches this year, before filling out the staff in 2012.  Charlotte will initially be playing at the FCS level, competing against a mixed schedule of FCS and Division II opponents.  Scott remarked that the 49ers plan for building seems to be following in the footsteps of Old Dominion, which got started in 2009 and has gone 17-5 in their two seasons of existence.  

But it all starts with the head coach.  Lambert's track record at Wake Forest is impressive, both as defensive coordinator and as a linebackers coach.  In 2008, his first season as defensive coordinator, the Demon Deacons had one of their best defensive seasons in the program's history.  They held opponents to under 300 yards of total offense per game, and benefited from the leadership of linebacker Aaron Curry - now a standout with the Seattle Seahawks.

The 49ers will play their first game on Aug. 31, 2013.  For more information about the program visit www.Charlotte49erFootball.com     
Posted on: February 14, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2011 6:21 pm
 

2011 ACC regular season schedule released

Posted by Chip Patterson

The ACC lost their chance at one of their last big recruits of 2011 when Jadeveon Clowney left Clemson hanging at the altar on Monday morning.  Perhaps a reason to sweat that matchup with the Tigers a little bit less.  Go ahead and start projecting your favorite team's win count, because the 2011 regualar season schedules were released today.

OBSERVATIONS

- As recently as last week, there was buzz about Florida State and Miami opening their seasons with a primetime showdown on Labor Day in Tallahassee.  We mentioned some of the scheduling complications, and one of those reasons likely kept the game from making the final slate.  Instead new coach Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins will host Miami on Labor Day evening, facing a Miami team also in their first year under new head coach Al Golden.  The two relocated coaches will provide a decent storyline for the national media, and it will provide the stage for Maryland to make a statement in 2011.

- Many people believe that Ralph Friedgen left the pieces for a bright future under Randy Edsall, and the Terps will have a chance to prove their worth in the first month of the season.  Maryland does not have to leave College Park until October 8, and there will be several opportunities for big wins in that first month.  In addition to the home opener against Miami on Labor Day, West Virginia and a Steve Addazio-led Temple squad should both be good tests for the new look squad.  I think Maryland is a team to keep an eye on in 2011, but we'll know for sure by the end of the September.  

- Dabo Swinney pulled several big wins for Clemson on the recruiting trail in early 2011, but the Tigers may find wins more difficult near the start of their regular season schedule.  After hosting Troy and Wofford, Clemson faces Auburn (defending National Champion), Florida State (defending ACC runner-up), and travels to Virginia Tech (defending ACC champion) with no break between games.  Swinney has some fresh faces on staff and one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, but with that schedule the new talent may not be able to prevent a 2-3 start for Clemson.   


PREMATURE PREDICTION

- If Florida State can upset Oklahoma and beat Clemson in Death Valley, they will be in the national title hunt on November 1.  The Seminoles have already been slated by many as a Preseason Top 10 team already, and knocking off the Sooners will be a fast way to jump up a few spots.  After Clemson (and an open date), Florida State will face Wake Forest, Duke, then host Maryland and N.C. State.  Under Jimbo Fisher's leadership, the Seminoles could start 8-0.  But Oklahoma should be very tough to beat in the coming season, and there are very few free road wins in the ACC.  But if Florida State can pull off both wins, they should be a national contender as the season winds down.

Click here to see the .PDF from the Atlantic Coast Conference



Posted on: December 29, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 1:41 pm
 

BCS football turning bigger profits than ever

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

To boil this report from CNN Money down to one simple question: What recession?
The profit for the 68 teams that play in the six major conferences was up 11% from the prior school year, according to a CNNMoney analysis of figures filed by each school with the Department of Education.

In the school year that ended in 2010, the vast majority of the schools in one of these deep-pocketed conferences posted a profit. Four of them broke even and only one -- Wake Forest -- reported a loss.
Way to ruin the shutout, Demon Deacons.

But seriously, folks: that 11 percent increase (fueled by rising ticket sales and prices and juicy new television contracts) pushed BCS conference profits up over the collective $1 billion mark for the first time. Contrast that with the profits turned in by, say, the nation's swim teams, and it's easy to see why -- charges of hypocrisy notwithstanding -- the NCAA and its member schools are willing to do so much to protect its interests on the gridiron.

Of course, that business model doesn't work nearly as well at the non-AQ level. Even after their 2009 Fiesta Bowl berth and the largest set of profits in the country at the mid-major level, for instance, TCU only broke even. We've heard plenty of horror stories the past few weeks about the amount of money smaller schools are burning through on their bowl trips, thanks to ticket guarantees and the like; in 2009, eight of the 53 bowl-eligible smaller-conference schools wound up losing money on the year.

With the line drawn so firmly between the sport's haves and have nots, it's no wonder access to the big-money BCS games and television's never-ending contract coffers have become the sources of so much acrimony. (Given that even the best possible year for them in the Mountain West still amounted to chump change for most Big East teams, is it any wonder the Horned Frogs jumped ship?) With no sort of NFL -style revenue-sharing agreement forthcoming (in fact, the angry comments from BCS commissioners like Jim Delany make clear that such an agreement would be less likely now than ever), don't expect anything to change anytime soon. The rich of college football are only going to get richer, and the poor will simply have to make themselves attractive enough to join them.

HT: GTP .
Posted on: December 7, 2010 1:33 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 2:55 pm
 

Michigan players enthusiastically support RichRod

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It doesn't happen all that often -- usually college football players are fully behind their coach come bowl-less hell or high water -- but occasionally when a head coach comes under fire, the lukewarm response from the players (or even more rarely, outright hostility, as in the case of Mike Leach at Texas Tech) gives away the fact that even they aren't really sold on the coach being retained.

Given their comments this week , it's safe to say the situation at Michigan with the beleagured Rich Rodriguez is not one of those times. Junior wideout Darryl Stonum:
"I love my coach ... I committed to Coach (Lloyd) Carr and Coach Rod came in. Coach Rod treats us like his own kids. Like Denard (Robinson) said in his MVP speech, we're all brothers and we're all family. I'd be pretty devastated if anything happened."
That's one thing. But maybe the best indication of how badly the Wolverines want A.D Dave Brandon to keep Rodriguez at the helm is Ryan Van Bergen' s defense of his coach's now infamous Josh Groban -soundtracked appeal at the team banquet. Van Bergen:

The pressure he's subjected to, especially over the course of his three years here, I think he's been handling it with as strong a front as you could possibly have. I think it was really appreciated by some of the seniors. That was directed toward them. The guys who stuck around -- there's not too many of them -- they were his closest supporters."

As for some public ridicule, Van Bergen said: "He wasn't doing that for them."

Bear in mind that even Groban himself thought RichRod's banquet presentation went too far in the direction of corny. If his players are willing to not only look past but even embrace that kind of decision, give Rodriguez credit: they really will follow him anywhere. That won't do as much for him as beating Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl or, say, not losing quarterback commitments to Wake Forest, but it's something.

Posted on: November 8, 2010 9:53 am
Edited on: November 8, 2010 4:25 pm
 

The ACC Atlantic is 128 kinds of crazy

Posted by Chip Patterson

Sitting down this morning, I figured I might start the week off by trying to sort through the ever-muddled ACC Atlantic Division.  With Florida State having dropped two in a row, the division has turned into a complete toss-up between the Seminoles, N.C. State , Maryland , and to a lesser extent, Clemson .  Quickly running out of room in the legal pad, it became quickly obvious that the free-for-all in the ACC was going to be a difficult puzzle to solve.  Thankfully, we have people like Patrick Stevens at D1scourse.com .  Stevens has gone through and charted all 128 possible scenarios in the ACC Atlantic Division race.  Of the 128 scenarios, Florida State wins in the 38 of them, N.C. State in 33, Maryland takes the division in 31, and Clemson gets the nod for the ACC Championship Game in 25 of the scenarios.  Which leaves one scenario, one which Stevens has dubbed the "trainwreck" scenario :  

Suppose Florida State loses to Clemson but beats Maryland. And the Terrapins upend Virginia and N.C. State. Oh, and the Wolfpack has to beat Wake Forest and North Carolina. Finally --- and perhaps least likely --- Clemson has to lose at Wake Forest. Then again, it's Clemson, so nothing should be counted out. That creates a three-way tie at 5-3 between Florida State, Maryland and N.C. State. The group would be 1-1 against each other, and all three teams would have the same division record, losses to Clemson, wins against Boston College and Wake Forest and no common games against non-division teams.

That takes things down to step No. 7 on the eight-step tiebreaker list, which is the team with the highest ranking in the BCS standings at the end of the conference regular season --- unless the teams are within five spots of each other. Seeing as how none of the three are in the top 25 of this week's BCS standings, hilarity could ensue.

Step No. 8, by the way, is "the representative shall be chosen by a draw." Fun times.


Click here for a full chart of each scenario and the division winner.  Clemson's 25 division-winning scenarios can be wiped off the board quickly with a loss at Florida State on Saturday night, but the rest of the contenders still have at least a long-shot chance regardless of the outcome of their next contest.  How Maryland fares against Florida State and in the season-finale against N.C. State will likely determine the division winner.  Of course having those games left on the schedule is what makes a headache like the aforementioned "trainwreck" scenario possible, but it also is adding some much-needed excitement to a conference that has not had most impressive season.  ACC fans may have been disappointed with the lack of elite competition in 2010, but at least they will get a photo finish.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com