Brian: This past weekend, one-third of the slate of BC's 2010 football opponents completed their spring football games - Clemson, Duke, Florida State and Virginia.
In Clemson's spring game, the Tigers White team defeated the Orange team 17-0 in a game largely devoid of big plays. There were 18 punts in the game, including one punt that was fumbled. Quarterback Kyle Parker completed 15 passes for 79 yards, while freshman Tajh Boyd (remember that name?) finished just 8-of-25 passing for 132 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions.
In Durham, Duke's Blue team defeated the White team 24-3 in a game that showcased the young Blue Devils speed. Starting quarterback Sean Renfree missed spring ball with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Filling in for Renfree were redshirt freshman Sean Schroder (4-of-20, 23 yards) and freshman Brandon Connette (8-of-19, 67 yards). The Duke running backs led the way with a collected 232 yards rushing.
During Florida State's spring game, the Gold team defeated the Garnet 29-17 in front of 51,000+. Quarterback Christian Ponder impressed, throwing for 2 scores and compiling 266 yards through the air. Seminole fans were also introduced to 6'6" wide receiver Rodney Smith, who caught three passes for 69, 41 and 14 yards.
Finally, under first year coach Mike London, the Virginia Cavaliers finished up spring with a strong defensive effort. That is to say, a poor offensive effort, something that eventually doomed Al Groh's time in Charlottesville. Cavalier quarterbacks combined to go 17-for-37 passing. The frontrunner for the position, senior Marc Verica threw 2 interceptions. The takeaway from UVA's spring game is that the defensive effort was solid, as London tries to move the program from playing a 3-4 to a 4-3.
So after reading about these results, which of the four programs do you expect to be the biggest surprise next season? And which of the four do you think will be the biggest disappointment?
Jeff: I am liking what I'm seeing. Not that I wish bad things for our opponents but I do like that Virginia and Duke still look like easily winnable games. While Florida State seemed to have a lot of offensive success in their spring game, remember that the Noles had a weak defense last season which couldn't have improved much by this spring. You'll remember that FSU gave up 37 or more points five times last season and every ACC team scored at least 26 on the 'Noles. Therefore, even if Ponder is looking to be in midseason form already, I am not to worried about the Seminoles winning the Atlantic Division just yet.
The most significant game this weekend for the Eagles was the Clemson spring game. For BC fans, it was Clemson who kept us from going to a third straight ACC Championship game. It was also a big game because the Tigers were so dependent on C.J. Spiller last season. From the looks of it, they have not yet found a way to create offense without him and this could end up being a season where Clemson is not a factor in the Atlantic Division race. But remember, people have counted out BC recently for graduating certain players so the game against Clemson on October 30th will probably still have a lot of meaning for the Atlantic Division.