Sweat lodge. Peyote. Haunting Peruvian mountain flutes. Fermented shark fin. Ayn Rand. Paul Johnson's old Georgia Southern playbook. Howard Schellenberger's suspenders. Joe Pa's glasses. A ouija board. Bourbon. And the year in ACC football, all layed out before your very eyes:
ACC Atlantic Champion?
Frank: Florida State
Hash: Florida State
ACC Coastal Champion?
Frank: Virginia Polly
Frank: Virginia Polly
Hash: Florida State
Frank: Sometimes you just have to be honest and not play radio. Other teams I wouldn't be surprised by: UNC, Tech, Miami, and BC. Dark Horse - NC State
Hash: A returning senior QB, the offensive line returns for their 308th consecutive year, and like Tech, the defense will improve. An upset in Charlotte on a cold night. When little Jacory shrinks up due to the weather, bad things happen to the U.
ACC player you like the most (Tech players not eligible)?
Frank: Its gotta be Marc Herzlich from BC. Really just warmed my heart to see a bald Herzlich (undergoing chemotheropy) standing on the side line next to coach Spaziani last year, and he's back and playing this year. For a pure football reasons I'd put Christian Ponder here and Torry Smith from Maryland. Dude can straight up fly. Greg Little from UNC is a pure warrior, does whatever his team asks him to do, unfortunately that also includes free plane trips.
Hash: Since Frank is being all sentimental I'll go NC State's Nate Irving. Clemson defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins comes to mind, as does the entire BC offensive line. Greg Reid is a baller. But I'll go FSU's Rodney Hudson. Perfect technique.....
ACC player you like the least?
Frank: I'm sick and goddamn tired of "swag" at Miami. "Swag" talk makes you thoroughly unrootable. Don't confuse me with some old school s.o.b. I like some smack talk, but you gotta walk before you can talk. Then again, Jacory Harris looks like gumby when he's in uniform, and that's infinitly entertaining.
Hash: Kam Chancellor....wait he's gone. Luke Kuechly? No real reason, just wonder if he's really the anointed one. Never gotten the whole Russell Wilson thing. Used to be the UNC defense but after Twitter/Nanny-gate, you really have to love them. Final Answer: BC QB Dave Shinskie. Fucking Chris Weinke wanna-be. You shouldn't be allowed to play at 26....here's looking at you, BYU.....
Surprise ACC team?
Frank: I could say BC, or Clemson, two teams that never get respect, but if you are reading our blog you probably already know they are good. I know I'm way out on a limb, but I'm guessing a third team is going to join the race in the ACC Atlantic, and I'm betting NC State will be that team.
Hash: BC just gets no love, even from me & I should know better. A factory for offensive linemen, a solid RB (Montel Harris), and a solid defense every year. Combine that with Spaziani's mustache & you get success. Always undervalued. For what it's worth, Duke under David Cutcliffe continues to improve. They will ruin somebody's Saturday this Fall.....
Disappointing ACC team?
Frank: Not counting UNC? I'll say Miami. Not so much because I think they are bad, they could very easily win the ACC Coastal, but I like Tech and VPISU better, and anything short of a Top Five finish is a considered a disappointment in Coral Gables. Is that a cop out?
Hash: not a cop out. Carolina is easy. Clemson is my choice. They won't be bad, mind you. But there's LOADS of talent up there that is year-after-year squandered by poor coaching. Maybe this year will be different but my Brad Scott-o-meter says no....
Most under-rated ACC player?
Frank: I'd say linebacker Nate Irving of NC State. Dude missed all of last year, but when he played in 2008, NC State won. He's a difference maker. For people you can watch and actually understand what they are doing, I'd go with Montel Harris, RB from BC. Even though he pops up on some preseason watch lists, I still don't think people appreciate him. He's the only weapon BC has on offense. As the English would say, he's bloody useful. Policy wonk answer: Kyle Hill, Left Tackle, Duke and Bryan Morgan, Center, Duke. Offensive lineman are always undervalued. Particularly in preseason polls. There is no stat to show you how much production a team lost from the previous year, and lazy pollsters like numbers, but offensive line continuity is a strong indicator of a team's performance. Both Hill and Morgan have an outside chance of making the end of the year All-ACC team.
Hash: the BC offensive line. Maryland LB Alex Wucjiak? I mentioned Clemson DT Jarvis Jenkins earlier. I'll go with VPISU DT John Graves as my final selection. Holds down the fort for Bud Foster. Policy wonk answer: center Russell Nenon, Wake Forest. See Frank's reference to offensive line play as an indicator of success. Hence my FSU pick as conference champs.....
Most over rated ACC player?
Frank: Jacory Harris. You're the Miami QB, you're over rated. Not necesarrily bad, just overrated.
Hash: Harris. It's unanimous. He's not the second coming. He threw like 18 picks last year. And at the first sign of contact he folds like a rag doll. Not a bad player, but far from great.
Guy on the other team that when he is on the field you say "oh shit, this will be bad for us?"
Frank: The offense. Just kidding. Christian Ponder's the obvious answer. For a player Tech will face this year, I'll go with Tyrod Taylor every time he breaks containment on third and long. Him picking up third and long with his legs is death by a 1,000 paper cuts.
Hash: Ryan Williams. Kid can play & we're thin up front. Every time he touches the ball I'm waiting for a huge gain. I hate tight ends & historically we just pretend they don't exist when we play defense. That said, NC State's George Bryan, when not high as hell, scares me to death.
Guy on the other team that when you see him on the field you lick your chops?
Frank: TJ Yates. Can't move, can't pass, and they can't block for him. Anyone from Maryland's secondary would also qualify, and Marc Verica, QB for Virginia.
Hash: I shouldn't let you go first, you steal my thunder. Yates is the obvious answer. He's an offensive albatross. Seeing Nigel Bradham on the field for FSU will make me smile after last year's bitch slapping/fumble recovery by Joshua Nesbitt. Oh, seeing an opponent's punter this year would be novel & cause a mighty ruckus amongst our section.
ACC Offensive POY?
Frank: Joshua Nesbitt. I think he rushes for 1,000 and throws for 2,000 this year.Non-Jacket addition: Christian Ponder, Montell Harris, Tyrod Taylor (Williams and Evans are going to cancel each other out if VPISU has a good year). Russell Wilson, because he'll have ungodly numbers.
Hash: Ponder. It's heresy but he would have won it last year if he hadn't gotten hurt. Other than Ponder, Nesbitt has the best shot. I agree Joshua goes for 1,000 rushing & 2,000 passing, making him the second best QB I've seen at Tech.
ACC Defensive POY?
Frank: with all the UNC players being disqualified? Allen Bailey, DE, Miami is the early favorite. Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel (DeAndre being a traditional Scotch-Irish first name) is another possibility.
Hash: If he's remotely healthy Herzlich gets it. I'll take a gamble & say FSU DB Greg Reid brings home the hardware. Kid is a real ball hawk & the best DB in Tallahassee since you-know-who.....
ACC Program on the Rise?
Frank: Duke for sure, but I think you could really put four teams from the top half of this conference (FSU, Miami, Georgia Tech, and UNC, if they survive the investigation) in this catagory. At the end of the year we'll have to re-access NC State. UVA is a few years away.
Hash: Agree on Duke & UVA trending upward. I'll go homer & say this is the year people realize Tech is here to stay with CPJ at the helm. FSU still has cache & will be a force with the staff Jimbo Fisher has assembled.
ACC program on the decline?
Frank: Maryland....Maryland... Wake will take a step back this year and we'll wait and see if they can ever get back to the way they were now that the conference is really taking off. UNC's problems could be a boom to them.
Hash: NC State & UNC. Trading Lee Fowler for Debbie Yow is like stepping on a land mine versus a grenade: either way, your fucked. O'Brien leaves, and the Pack must start over again. Butchie is in real trouble and the beginning of the end is nigh.....
ACC Coach of the Year?
Frank: Thats tough, because it kind of depends on who over-achieves, my guess is it comes out of the Atlantic. NC State or Wake make a run, making O'Brien or Grobe the choice. Possibley Jimbo Fisher if FSU's defense jumps to life and they have a monster year.
Hash: Jimbo Fisher. All hail the resurrector.....One of these years Cutcliffe will win....
Favorite ACC Coach other than CPJ?
Frank: Dave Cutcliffe. In a defensive league, its fun to see one guy say screw it, we're throwing it 40 times a game, if we loose 45-42, awesome. Also appreciate Jim Grobe.
Hash: Jim Grobe. Never any bullshit. Believes in the cut block. Adjusts his scheme to suit his talent. Redshirts every freshman. Does a lot with so little....
Least Favorite Coach in the ACC?
Frank: Dabo Swinney. Generally, he reminds me of Jim Mora Jr. In interviews, he always mentions some lame ass book he's reading like Rick Patino's "Winning is a Choice." Maybe he can coach, but that's a hard peanut core surrounded by a mountain of fluffy motivational BullShit. I'm still waiting for the day he does double duty as Eight-Ball the Tiger and head coach.
Hash: Butch Davis. Can't stand Beamer's relentless whining but I respect what he's built. That and I respect his fierce loyalty to Brian Stynespring, the annual "Patrick Nix Incompetent ACC Offensive Coordinator Award" winner. But when all is said & done it's Davis. Arrogant, smug, cheatin' ass bastard. And believe me when I say that CPJ & staff haven't forgotten 2008 when Davis, up by 21 with two minutes to go, threw the ball into the endzone instead of taking a knee. CPJ's country ass doesn't forget that kind of shit. I promise I'm not reveling in the chaos in Chapel Hill....really....
Player Likely to Step Up This Year?
Frank: I'll say Jacory Harris. I know I hit him up for being overvalued, but thats based on what he's done on the field. I think he may make a real leap this year, and then become wildly overrated like Ken Dorsey.
Hash: Duke QB Sean Renfree. Kid can throw the pill, and they ain't got much else....
Player whose production you think will fall of?
Frank: Robert Quinn, UNC, DE. If he doesn't get hit with the scandal, and so far his name has barely come up, then Quinn is going to suffer with the extra attention he'll get with Austin out. Really, its not an easy question to anwer.
Hash: BC running back Montel Harris. He'll get all the attention. BC's wide receiver corp makes Tech's look like the Skins' old Fun Bunch. It's funny a team with a pro-style offense could have worse wide outs than we do.....
Tomorrow we have rooting interests and some thoughts on college football in 2010.....