This week's ACC Roundtable is hosted by Jim Young of ACCSports.com. In addition to serving as editor of the ACC Sports Journal, Jim also associates with us blogger folk. Yeah, we don't know why either.
His questions and our answers follow.
1) Most of the ACC has now reached the halfway point of its season. On a scale of 1 (I’m rounding up pitchforks, torches and a mob to storm the football office) to 10 (I’m selling of organs to raise money for a statue of the coach) how do you feel about your team’s performance thus far?
I'll give the Eagles a 7 so far this season. Through six games, I had predicted the Eagles would be 3-3, losing to Clemson, Virginia Tech and Florida State. The win over FSU is gravy in my mind so I give the Eagles a C- so far. The reason I won't go higher right now is because of how flat the Eagles came out on the road at Clemson and at Virginia Tech. Given all the offseason turmoil, in the preseason I didn't expect to win those games, but at the same time, I didn't expect the Eagles to come out as flat as they did.
The second part of the season, however, will be the true test. Unlike the first half, there isn't one game left on the schedule that the Eagles can't win. We'll see if Spaz and the coaching staff can get this young team up for the second half of the season.
2) Give me the best case scenario for your team the rest of the way. Then give me the worst case.
Best case scenario: The Eagles win out, or, if they don't win out, they are the first Atlantic Division team to 5 wins and make their third straight appearance in the ACC Championship Game. Let's aim high though and say the Eagles rattle off 6 straight wins to end the season. That gives the Eagles a record of 10-2 (6-2 ACC) which, unless the Tigers find their offense and win 5 straight ACC matchups, gets them back to the title game. Now, because this is a best, best case scenaro, the Eagles get some help from Georgia Tech who gets religion and a little bit of help on the defensive side of the ball. The Jackets knock off Virginia Tech at home this weekend, and somehow, someway Virginia Tech and Miami (Fla.) lose to send Georgia Tech to the ACC Championship. Eagles beat the Jackets in Tampa in front of 5 fans and finally get to the Orange Bowl. Like you said, this is a best-case scenario, because even in the best of best case scenarios, I don't see BC beating Virginia Tech - or Miami (Fla.) for that matter - in the ACC Championship.
Worse case scenario: The road version of David Shinskie is the true version of David Shinskie, and the wheels fall off the Eagles offensive wagon. BC loses to NC State this weekend and the second half of the season results in a South Florida-esque October and November slide. BC loses their remaining 4 ACC games, culminating with a Ralph Friedgen win / stay of execution. Eagles do, however, beat Central Michigan at home and finally get pressure on Dan LeFevour enough to keep him off balance. BC also loses their one remaining non-conference game to a team that will remain nameless and finish the season with a 5-7, 2-6 ACC record. Not too far off everyone's preseason predictions for BC.
3) Because it’s my turn to host the roundtable and I like fantasy football, I’m going to ask a few questions with that theme. First, you’re in an ACC keeper league. Which three players on your team do you designate as keepers for next season? (Obviously this rules out seniors, except for Riley Skinner, who I assume has six more years of eligibility remaining)
If this was a fantasy football league where you played individual players on defense instead of entire defensive units, this list looks very different (i.e. Luke Kuechly, Mark Herzlich, Montel Harris). I'll assume for a minute here that this league plays team's defensive units as a whole. Therefore, I'm keeping the following three offensive skill position players:
- Montel Harris
- David Shinskie
- Colin Larmond Jr.
When it is all said and done, Montel Harris could very well break Derrick Knight's career team rushing record of 3,725 yards. Harris broke the freshman rushing record with 900 yards in his first season, and is on pace to come close to breaking the 1,000 yard mark this season. Shinskie is still a bit of an unknown quantity, and with two good recruits coming into the system next season (Rettig, Bordner), there's no telling if we have a starting QB that will start one more season or three. Of all the current BC quarterback prospects though, we'll take Shinskie. Finally, I'll take Colin Larmond Jr. as the feature wide receiver starting next season. After this year, BC loses Rich Gunnell, Justin Jarvis, and Clarence Megwa to graduation. While Ifeanyi Momah returns from redshirting this season, I see Momah as more of a possession receiver (particularly on goalline plays). I think Larmond Jr. can have a breakout season next year as the Eagles #1 receiver. That is, if our QB can get them the ball.
4) Let’s do the reverse of this, with coaches. You’re forced to drop one member of your team’s coaching staff. Who gets the axe? (Head coaches or assistant coaches are eligible here)
Speaking of unproven commodities, Gary Tranquill has to be top on the list of coaches that you'd want to see go. There's nothing personal going on here with this answer, other than he's old and he's the newest member of the coaching staff. So old that everyone else on the coaching staff other than Spaziani wasn't even born before Tranquill started coaching football.
5) Let’s say the rest of the ACC is available via free agency. Who’s the one player from the other 11 teams that you’d most like to add to your squad?
I'll go with Jacory Harris here over Raj's boy Russell Wilson. Reason is that I think this could very well be Russell Wilson's last season playing football for the Pack. He'll wake up one morning in January or February and decide that the hits he's taking in college football aren't worth it, and he could have a much brighter future playing baseball in the pros. Given the following two career choices:
A) the Doug Flutie CFL-circuit before kicking around a few NFL franchises before realizing while drop-kicking extra points that your NFL career didn't really go to plan and you could make much more money being a Disney college football commentator, or
B) kick around baseball's minor leagues, make a decent wage and have a shot at making a MLB roster.
My guess is he'll go with B. Jacory Harris is a bit risky here as he, too, is an unproven commodity and I'm not sure how much Mark Whipple, his offensive line and his athletic receivers make him better. But given the other options of underclassmen quarterbacks, Harris definitely has the biggest upside.
6) Finally, we’ll stage a mock draft of ACC quarterbacks. Who are you taking with the first pick, and why? And who would you get stuck with if you had to pick No. 12?
With our first pick, we are taking Jacory Harris, for all the reasons stated above. If stuck with the last pick in the draft, I'll go with T.J. Yates. The Heels offense looks miserable and this guy is actually my real-life backup fantasy football quarterback (in an ACC/SEC ONLY league). There's a reason why only 2% of college fantasy football owners have this guy on their roster. I have Jevan Snead as my starter and am praying that he doesn't go down at this point. Then again, if it came to that, I guess I could also grab "Uncle" Dave Shinskie or Jonathan "Straight Outta" Crompton as a walk-on ...