Recently CBS Sports columnist Tony Barnhardt asked and answered ten questions about the ACC. I decided to answer them as well.
1: Is this the year Florida State wins another ACC championship and gets back into the discussion for the national title?
I expect them to again compete for the ACC championship and if they stay healthy at offensive tackle, defensive end, and quarterback, and get lucky, they could be in the conversation to win it all.
2: Will Georgia Tech's defense make significant strides in year two under Al Groh?
Absolutely. Groh can coach and they should not be 77th in defense again.
3: When Miami opens against Maryland on Sept. 5, will Jacory Harris be the starting quarterback?
Maryland will get its wish. Yes.
4: Is North Carolina going to be better than we think?
How good do "we" think they will be? I expect 9-3 and if they beat VT in Blacksburg on a Thursday night, I expect them to be 6-2 and win the Coastal in a tiebreak. Big if, however.
5: Can Logan Thomas pick up the mantle at quarterback from Tyrod Taylor at Virginia Tech?
Yes. He'll make some boneheaded decisions but that non-conference schedule is a joke (Marshall, ECU, Appalachian State, and
Toledo Arkansas State), which should allow for plenty of growth. I have VT at a solid 10-2 (6-2 ACC) and the favorite for the Coastal Division once again.
6: Will new OC Chad Morris make a difference at Clemson?
Yes. Clemson's set of assistants is as good as any in the country. Unfortunately for Clemson, Dabo Swinney is still the head coach.
7: Can North Carolina State challenge in the Atlantic Division with Mike Glennon as quarterback?
NC State is not going away. Just like at BC, O'Brien started with two losing seasons and then a breakout year. State plays smart, fundamental football and rarely beats itself. They will be more of a running team this year, however. I see them at 5-3 in the ACC, with FSU being 7-1, so the division will be tough for them. Note that my projection did not change when they announced Wilson was not coming back.
8: What will Maryland do under first-year coach Randy Edsall?
A disappointing 7-5. We covered this thoroughly when they hired Edsall. Maryland was an 8-4 level team with a 9-3 record last year. They got many schedule and fumble breaks along the way. This year the schedule is tougher. The hires they made were awful, particularly the enormous downgrades at offensive and defensive coordinator. The athletic director wanted to make a splash and insert excitement into the program. And he did the opposite, hiring the milqetoast Edsall. Maryland should not expect to be a better program than FSU or Clemson. They should be happy with being consistently better than BC and Wake and NC State. But they haven't even accomplished that. Where does Maryland, a school with very average talent, average fans, and average support, get off thinking it should be any better than a bowl team?
9: Is Luke Kuechly of Boston College the best linebacker in college football?
If you say he's not, you have to give a better player. And I will. Hightower for Alabama and Oklahoma's Lewis. But it is close.
10: Is Duke really getting better under David Cutliffe?
This is not debatable. Yes. And they still aren't any good.