Monday, August 14, 2006
Finally, the start of the previews are upon us. First, let's look at the ACC, which as always, looks to be extremely strong, with a couple of familiar faces up at the top. I'll look at some of the candidates for player of the year, some of the top freshman, some breakout players, some other players to watch, and the best conference games.
Player of the Year: I think this list probably starts with two guys that were young, inexperienced QBs last year and constantly grew as the year progressed. I'm talking about Drew Weatherford of FSU and Kyle Wright of Miami. If you remember the meeting between these two teams at the start of last year, they both looked real solid in all areas of the game except QB. As the year went on, however, Wright and Weatherford became more confident, made better decisions, and their natural talent came through. For other candidates, we have to look at the skill positions. The one guy that must be mentioned is WR Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech. He could be one of the best WR in the nation, and he has the senior in Reggie Ball throwing to him. A couple of other guys that deserve mention are James Davis of Clemson and Lorenzo Booker of FSU. Both are talented backs that could make some noise. In the end, however, I think the award will be won by a QB, and I think Kyle Wright of Miami will be the Player of the Year in the ACC.
Freshmen to Watch: The most exciting and explosive freshman in the ACC is probably a safety, Myron Rolle of Florida St. He's a great athlete, capable of intercepting the ball, and I'd expect him to be starting in the defensive backfield for the Seminoles, who just reload defensively. Another good freshman is CJ Spiller, a RB at Clemson. The Tigers do have good depth in the backfield, especially with the aforementioned James Davis, but I think Spiller is talented enough that he could get some carries early on in his career.
Breakout Players: There are a couple of receivers I like who are pretty well known as solid players, but I expect them to break out and be 2 of the best WR in the conference. The first is Greg Carr of FSU. He's 6'5'', athletic, productive (9 TD) and will have Drew Weatherford throwing to him. The other guy I like is Lance Leggett of Miami. He's always been a talented but inconsistent player, but now that he's in jis junior year and more comfortable, I expect him to be a consistent target for Wright and put up big numbers. Reggie Ball is another guy I like. The guy has seemingly been around forever, but he's athletic enough, accurate enough, and has enough weapons with guys like Calvin Johnson to be a Player of the Year candidate if things break right. A final guy is Lance Ball, the RB for Maryland. He is actually the leading returning rusher in the ACC, and if they can get some consistent QB play from Sam Hollenbach, Ball should establish himself as one of the best RB in the ACC.
- FSU at Miami - The season opener for the clubs usually produces a great game. This year should be no different, as both teams appear to be very strong (September 2nd)
- Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech - Georgia Tech has some talented players on offense, while Va. Tech is always a great defensive club. (September 30th)
- Virginia Tech at Miami - Like FSU/Miami, these two teams always seem to put together a tight, competitive game when they play each other (November 4th)
Projected Order of Finish
1. Florida St.
4. Boston College
5. Wake Forest
6. NC State
2. Virginia Tech
3. Georgia Tech
4. North Carolina