Yesterday we took a look at some of the possible ACC breakout players for 2013. Today we conclude our ACC football Q & A by taking a look at which teams are most improved and which teams may be overrated.
We are again joined by our panel of ACC football experts, including Sean Keeley of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Pete Volk of the Maryland blog Testudo Times, Brian Lewis of the Clemson blog Shakin the Southland, Joe Micik of the Boston College blog Soaring to Glory, Robert Reinhard of the Wake Forest blog Blogger So Dear & Nick Keninitz of Shell Shocked Sports.
Sean Keeley of Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician: I’ll say Virginia Tech shows a lot of improvement coming off their 7-6 season. I just can’t imagine Frank Beamer will let this program keep sliding and the ACC isn’t so tough that the Hokies can’t get back to the 8/9 win mark.
I’d also say Boston College should likely improve from a 2-10 finish. They could catch fire thanks to an excited coaching staff and a lot of turnover in their division.
I’m gonna say Miami is being a little overrated for no real reason other than I think people are giving them the benefit of the doubt because of the name on the jersey and the supposed weakness of the division.
Pete Volk of Testudo Times: My bias is showing again, but I think Maryland, thanks to a lack of the injury bug that hit them last year, will make great improvements this season and finish with at least seven wins.
On the non-Maryland side, Mike London has been recruiting so well for Virginia that it’s hard for me to believe that they won’t have a breakout year as well.
In terms of overrated? I think Clemson. While they are the most talented team in the conference, I’m not sold enough on their consistency and lack of Clemson-ness to predict them as runaway winners just quite yet.
Brian Lewis of Shakin the Southland: Greatest improvement will probably be Virginia Tech. Everyone likes to talk about Beamer Ball and how Tech hasn’t managed to win a national title, but even with a tragedy at QB this team has to be better than their 2012 record indicates.
Going back to my first answer, I have to go with Miami. While the ACC is still waiting for the team to become the dominant force they hope, I don’t think this will be the year. A lot of the hype seems to be based around the improving performance of QB Stephen Morris , but this team will need to show more to actually live up to expectations.
Joe Micik of Soaring to Glory: My homer pick for most improved is Boston College, but I can actually defend this. One, BC now has a coach who is actually qualified and wasn’t merely hired based on loyalty and availability. Two, BC has senior leadership at quarterback, running back, linebacker, and wide receiver. Three, though I like all the assistants, Don Brown was the big home run hire of the staff. His aggressive new defensive scheme will be the complete opposite of the conservative Spaziani philosophy that did this personnel no favors, and I think it will jump up to at least average. I can’t guarantee many more wins but I’d be truly shocked if BC was a pushover again this year.
On the other side, I don’t think I’d necessarily say that any team is overrated. The Hurricanes have big talent, but seeing is believing and I need to see them get to the next level. I think they’re capable of it.
Robert Reinhard of Blogger So Dear: I believe Boston College will show the biggest improvement this year. This team won only 1 conference game last year, but they return 18 starters and bring in Steve Addazio as head coach. This team could compete for bowl eligibility this season.
I think Clemson is overrated. Had it not been for that miracle drive against LSU in the Chick-Fil-A bowl, I don’t think we’re talking about them nearly as much. That’s not to say they are bad, but while they return Tajh Boyd, they lost DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Ellington. Sammy Watkins must return to his old form.
Nick Keninitz of Shell Shocked Sports: I think Maryland honestly has the chance to show the greatest improvement over last season. If you look at their schedule they should have 10 “winnable” games, coming off a three win year. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that they get to 7 wins if they stay healthy. I also look for Boston College to have a better year than most are expecting.
On the other hand, I tend to think Miami is being a bit overrated at this point. Without Clemson or FSU, the two best ACC teams, in their division they have a great shot of getting to the ACC Championship game, but don’t buy any hype that Miami is back to their late 90’s or early 2000’s form. Furthermore, there are whispers of this being a year where Clemson could compete for a national title. They are a legitimate top 10 team, but I doubt they are a title contender. In fact, I don’t think they run through their ACC games undefeated.