Today we look in-house and talk to our very own BCHysteria about the upcoming season.
1. Most ACC programs are hitting the snooze button for the first two weeks of the season before hosting four preseason top 25 programs in week 3 -- #1 Oklahoma, #18 Ohio State, #23 Auburn and #24 West Virginia. How's week 3 in the ACC go down? Can the conference win a majority of those four high-profile games on Sept. 17?
I hate to be the guy that takes the middle road, but I have to here. The biggest game in Week 3 has to be Oklahoma and FSU, which I think the Noles are going to take. Doaks will be rocking, E.J. Manuel will put up points, and Jimbo Fisher's defense will shut down Landry Jones and Co. I also think Clemson will beat Auburn. Remember last season, the National Champions barely beat a 6-6 Clemson team at home. This year CU is much better, and I don't buy into Auburn as a contender especially without Cam Newton and Nick Fairley. From there things will go downhill for the ACC. Miami will be a complete mess by Week 3 and get their tail handed to them by Ohio State, and I don't buy into Maryland this season. West Virginia will beat them, and the ACC will leave Week 3 2-2 against Top 25 teams.
2. What's the one game on the schedule that your respective fan bases have circled on this year's sched? (Conference-wide bloggers -- what are the handful of can't miss games on the regular season sched?).
As a Boston College fan, the gut instinct is to say Notre Dame. But I don't think the Irish is the must see game this year. I am really looking forward to the Thursday night game against Florida State in November. FSU is the unanimous favorite to win the ACC Atlantic, and could be National Title Contenders. A pretty lousy BC team played them very well at Doaks last season, and if Chase Rettig can turn the corner they could derail the Seminoles title hopes and steal the division.
3. Name one ACC program that's not Florida State or Virginia Tech that has a legitimate shot at winning this year's ACC football title. Your ACC's football champion dark horse is:
I want to say Boston College. I really do. And believe me if the marbles drop the right way they could be the dark horse. But that is one killer schedule they have. Right now my dark horse team is Clemson. They finally have a QB in Tahj Boyd, a dynamic running back in Andre Ellington and a defense that if they click could be dominant. I truly believe they could come out of nowhere and win the Atlantic and stun VT in the title game.
4. It's been an offseason to forget with major NCAA infractions / investigations into the North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami programs. Can the conference as a whole move forward from this whole mess? How do you expect this all to shake out?
After a season of laughing at the Big East, the gods of Karma definitely turned their wrath on the ACC. This off season was ugly to say the least. UNC had a good run at football, but they are a basketball school first and foremost, so I don't think this step back will be that big for the conference. GT got a slap on the wrist, and they still have Paul Johnson at the helm, so they will be fine. This death penalty talk with Miami is nonsense, I see the U getting knocked into the stone age, but it won't be to the level of SMU. The health of the conference as a whole won't be effected by Miami. The U hasn't really been relevant since they joined the ACC, so losing them and their weak fanbase isn't going to be negative for the ACC. As long as FSU, Clemson and VT stay clean the ACC will always be a strong conference.
5. You can also add conference realignment rumors to the 2011 offseason to forget. With A&M set to divorce the Big 12 and move to the SEC, rumors swirl about a 14th program coming from the ACC. Now's the time to pledge your allegiance to John Swofford and the ACC. Or don't. Either way, tell us what you think the endgame is for the next round of conference musical chairs.
OK, here we go. Texas A&M and Virginia Tech to the SEC, BYU and some scrub school like Houston to the Big 12, Syracuse to the ACC. No super conferences. No more additions to the Big Ten and Notre Dame will remain independent.
6. Last one, and recycled from last year. 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?
BC has a difficult schedule so I see the team taking a step forward but running into very good opponents. Chase Rettig will turn it around this season, a stellar defense, and a solid running game will lead BC to a 7-5 season. 8-4 and I will be bouncing off the walls and anything worse than last year (7-5) and I'll restart my call for Spaz's head.