Noles News 03.06.12

Being that it is March and we haven't had a 'Noles news, I figured now might be a good time for one.

Basketball

I'm not going to try and outdo the excellent coverage provided by Michael Rogner, our esteemed hoops writer. Here's what you absolutely must know: FSU locked up the #3 seed in the ACC tourney and plays this Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m., assuming a win.

FSU bracketology: Latest projections on where ‘Noles may go – Chopping Block – Seminoles Blog – Orlando Sentinel

FSU Football

Here's EJ with Mark Schlabach.

Feldman

From @SlickOne716 Is WVU canceling of their game at FSU really going to hurt FSU's chance at the National Championship?

No. With FSU, it's not going to be about having enough impressive opponents. If FSU won out last year, the Noles would've been playing for the title. The pollsters are just salivating at that chance to say the Noles are back, but the team, of late, has had the tendency to shoot itself in the foot a time or three.

There's no doubt the non-conference schedule took a hit with them having to replace WVU with Savannah State, but at least UF is still on there with a road game at USF. There are a lot of top 25 teams that have a lot worse than that. FSU does need a few ACC programs to get out to fast starts and look viable (Clemson? Va. Tech? Miami?). It'd also help their cause a lot if the Gators knocked off a few top 25 SEC teams before they visited Tallahassee.

League games highlight 2012 schedule - ACC Blog - ESPN

When it comes to the best storylines of 2012, though, ACC fans will get the best bang for their buck within the ACC.

Once again, it should be a wide-open race in both divisions, contrary to the popular picks Virginia Tech, Florida State and Clemson. Florida State and Clemson play each other in September. So do Wake Forest and Florida State, Miami and Georgia Tech, Miami and Boston College, Virginia and Georgia Tech. Georgia Tech has three Coastal Division opponents in the first three weeks. With the Hokies and Jackets kicking things off on Labor Day, and Clemson travelling to Florida State on Sept. 22, two of the ACC's season-defining games will have already been played, and they will be far more compelling and meaningful than most, if not all, of the nonconference matchups that month.

Rivals

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 5 - ACC Blog - ESPN Dwayne Allen
He killed FSU. Probably the only player to make Christian Jones look human in coverage.

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 8 - Andre Branch DE Clemson
He gone.

2011 ACC postseason top 25: No. 9 - ACC Blog - ESPN
A friendly reminder that Clemson's Brandon Thompson is no longer around.

Hurricanes football open for spring cleaning -- quarterback Ryan Williams speaks | Eye on the U
Williams' arm is terrible and he is not mobile. The best case scenario is a bigger Chad Pennington type, IMO. And since Miami doesn't have 40 hours of practice time or a spread offense, that won't work too well. They need Morris to win the job.

General

Pre-Snap Read: The Year in Review: Penn State (9-4, 6-2)

O’Brien doesn’t inherit a stacked deck. The offensive line needs to be retooled. As noted, Penn State’s quarterback play has been abysmal. The receiver corps lost its leading contributor. Still leaves a huge hole in the middle of the defense. The secondary was decimated by graduation. Clearly, it’s a time of great change for the program. The good news: O’Brien will have an immediate impact on the offense. Even with those losses, the Nittany Lions can’t possible be any more inept than they were for extended periods a season ago. And the defense, while breaking in several new starters, has enough talent to remain one of the stouter units in the Big Ten. The best news? The Leaders division lacks a clear leader.

Pre-Snap Read: UGA (10-4)

Georgia’s losses are slim, but how Richt replaces the five contributors lost to graduation or the N.F.L. will decide how far the Bulldogs go in 2012. Two are along the offensive line: Cordy Glenn was a first-team all-SEC pick at left tackle last fall and center Ben Jones a 49-game starter. Orson Charles stretched the middle of the field in the passing game. DeAngelo Tyson was a two-year starter at defensive end and nose tackle. While far from perfect, cornerback Brandon Boykin gave the Bulldogs a degree of explosiveness in the return game and, at times, on offense. So why is Georgia’s succession plan for these five former standouts so vital? Because everything else is in place to make a B.C.S. run. The offense is ready to take another step forward if the new-look line gels in time for September. The defense gets better with every snap it takes in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 system. If Richt can seamlessly insert a handful of new starters into the mix, the only thing Georgia will be missing is a killer instinct.

Pre-Snap Read: The Year in Review: Virginia (8-5, 5-3)

Surprisingly, the biggest question marks heading into this season lie on the defensive side of the ball, not on offense. The Cavaliers must replace Minnifield, for starters, as well as linemen Matt Conrath — another first-team all-A.C.C. pick — and Cam Johnson. Despite those losses, however, the Cavaliers should improve defensively: the hope is that the defense as a whole is ready to take a step forward in its third season in London’s system. The offense will again be defined by a strong and experienced offensive line, though it’s unlikely that this front again remains completely injury-free. Junior quarterback Michael Rocco will be improved. The backfield remains intact. The receiver corps has promise. For Virginia, the arrow is pointing up.

Pre-Snap Read: The Year in Review: Auburn (8-5, 4-4)

Stock watch It doesn’t get any easier from here. Auburn has a new offensive coordinator, Loeffler, and a new defensive coordinator, VanGorder. Then there’s the SEC West, which should have three teams ranked among the top 10 heading into September. There is good news, however. While the Tigers lost Dyer and both starting tackles, the majority of last season’s contributors on offense are back in the fold. VanGorder inherits a youthful but experienced group on defense, albeit one desperately in need of an injection of confidence. The bottom line: Auburn can’t possibly play with less consistency than it did last season. Even with a nice improvement, however, the Tigers cannot be considered more than the fourth-best team in the West heading into next season. It’s true that Auburn has surprised before; unfortunately, there’s no transcendent, Newton-like star capable of lifting this team to the forefront of the SEC.

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