The ACC football roundtables are back for the 2010 season. Brendan from From Old Virginia decided to head up the first ACC Roundtable of the 2010 football season. Check out our answers to his questions below.
1. At UVA we have made wholesale changes to everything this past offseason: the coaching staff, the offense, the defense, the uniforms, even the color of the equipment shed. What change or changes on your own team are you most looking forward to watching play out on the field this season?
Over the offseason, Boston College announced that they signed a new, six-year deal with Under Armour, replacing Reebok as the outfitter of all BC varsity sports apparel. So the uniforms will change, but it doesn't look like there will be wholesale changes to the BC football uniforms.
Aside from the uniforms, clearly the most anticipated change for the 2010 Eagles is the return of All American LB Mark Herzlich. It will be great to see Herzlich get back on the field and play alongside stud sophomore LB Luke Kuechly. Other than the return of Herzlich, not much else has changed for BC in 2010. Many of the skill position players return. The only other change I'm intrigued to watch play out on the field will be the position battles in the receiving corps. Hopefully one of the young receivers steps in to contribute right away. With the loss of Larmond Jr., wide receiver remains one of the biggest holes to fill on the Eagles' roster.
2. Who is the next ACC coach to get fired, and when? And if you think that's your own coach, who would you like to see replace him?
Spaz's job security is on the high side compared to a few other coaches in the ACC. The two coaches whose seat is hottest going into the season have to be Ralph Friedgen and Tom O'Brien. If I had to pick one over the other, I'd say Friedgen is the next ACC coach to get fired. With the uncertainty surrounding the next Athletic Director and University President at Maryland, depending on those two hires, Fridge could easily find himself out of work after the season. I think with Debbie Yow moving to N.C. State, O'Brien might get another year to make a go of things with the Wolfpack.
As for Friedgen's replacement, how about UConn's Randy Edsall? He has had coaching stops with multiple ACC programs -- Boston College DB coach from 1991-1993 and Georgia Tech DC in 1998 -- and is a local guy with roots in Pennsylvania. Plus Edsall's wish of playing Boston College annually would finally be granted. Win, win.
3. How excited are you about your team's out-of-conferece lineup this year? How would you grade your program overall when it comes to scheduling OOC games?
Setting aside for a moment the fact that Syracuse and Notre Dame enter the season with low expectations, I'm actually pretty excited about BC's out-of-conference lineup this season. The non-conference schedule may appear weak on paper, but both Syracuse and Notre Dame are traditional rivals of BC and it's great to see both on the schedule in 2010. BC went through some lean years in the non-conference scheduling department in the years immediately following the move to the ACC, but going forward you have to like BC's OOC games. A rivalry game with Syracuse to end the season over the next ten years is a great addition to the schedule for when other ACC programs are playing their in-state SEC rivals. Combine the Syracuse series with games against our Holy War rivals Notre Dame, BCS academic peer school (Northwestern, USC, Stanford) and a traditional rival Army, and you have to be pretty happy with BC's future non-conference opponents.
The one issue with BC's future schedule is that local, Northeast I-AA program keep shuttering their doors. With both Northeastern and Hofstra cancelling their football programs, BC is left with fewer teams to play from college football's lower division (hence playing Weber State, an FCS program located 2,400 miles from Chestnut Hill). Assuming that an annual I-AA game is an inevitability, this trend makes it harder for BC to bring in local teams that will bring a big group of fans to Alumni Stadium.
Overall, I'd give BC's future non-conference schedules a B. The overall grade will improve once Doug Marrone returns the Syracuse football program to respectability.
4. What one player on your schedule (not in the ACC overall - your team's schedule only, and it doesn't have to be ACC) are you most worried will cause you pain and grief this year?
Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams. Last year, Williams went off on BC's defense, rushing for 159 yards on just 18 carries. BC is traditionally strong against the run, but Williams pretty much had his way with the BC defense last season. Now with Darren Evans back, the Hokies have one more weapon in the backfield to use against BC.
5. Conversely, provide us a little bulletin board material. Which team on your calendar are you absolutely positive that not only will you stomp their guts to China, but you'll gain the warmest, fuzziest feeling of immense satisfaction out of doing it?
Let's stick it to the roundtable's host this week. I'm most confident that BC will stomp out the Cavaliers in our late November home game against UVA. BC will catch the 'Hoos looking ahead to their annual beat down at the hands of the Virginia Tech Hokies. I'm fully expecting BC to win by more than 4 points this year. I have a ton of respect for first year coach Mike London -- a former BC staffer to boot -- and think he'll be able to return the Virginia program to respectability, but not this year.
As for the warm and fuzzy feeling, call it Mathias Kiwanuka's revenge.
6. It's been a loony offseason in the conference membership department, but the ACC sat out this round. Do you think the ACC is set at 12 teams for the long term? If not, which team(s) is/are most likely to be added, and which would you like to see?
I think the ACC is set at 12 teams for the long term. The only way I see the ACC moving beyond 12 teams is if the SEC decides a move to 14 or 16 teams is in their best interest. The Big Ten will be the first to set the mega-conference wheels in motion, and if the SEC thinks that they need to expand to keep up with the
Joneses Delaneys, then I think you'll see the ACC also reluctantly make expansion plans.
Ideally I'd like to see Notre Dame (won't happen), Syracuse or Pittsburgh added to the conference, probably in that order.
7. Standard question for the finish: a) What do you expect out of your team, b) What kind of season would keep you content and happy, c) What kind of season would be a disappointment?
A lot of things break BC's way this year. Everything from avoiding three preseason ranked teams in the Coastal Division -- Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Miami -- to playing some of their toughest opponents at home (Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Clemson). Add in some great storylines including Herzlich's return, Anthony Castonzo's Rhodes Scholar candidacy and the emergence of LB Luke Kuechly, and you have all the makings of a dream season.
The question becomes can BC capitalize on all the advantages that the 2010 season affords them. I would say a 9-3 season or better will keep me content. Anything less is probably a disappointment. Not improving on last year's 8-4 regular season record should be viewed as a disappointing season, especially given all the advantages.
I'll be a bit disappointed if BC isn't playing in Charlotte for the ACC Championship, but if they get to 9-10-11 wins and lose the Division to Florida State or Clemson, you can't be too disappointed with a season like that.