ACC: Maryland Terrapins

ACC spring dates

February, 26, 2014
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Goodbye, February -- and good riddance. March means spring football, and Miami and Virginia both begin on Saturday -- the same day Duke ends with its annual spring game. It's finally time to see what the 2014 rosters actually look like throughout the ACC.

Here's a quick rundown of the start dates and spring games for each school:

BOSTON COLLEGE

Spring start: March 12
Spring game: April 12

CLEMSON

Spring start: March 5
Spring game: April 12

DUKE

Spring start: February 7
Spring game: March 1

FLORIDA STATE

Spring start: March 19
Spring game: April 12

GEORGIA TECH

Spring start: March 24
Spring game: April 18

LOUISVILLE

Spring start: March 18
Spring game: April 11

MIAMI

Spring start: March 1
Spring game: April 12

NORTH CAROLINA

Spring start: March 5
Spring game: April 12

NC STATE

Spring start: March 4
Spring game: April 12

PITTSBURGH

Spring start: March 16
Spring game: N/A

SYRACUSE

Spring start: March 18
Spring game: April 19

VIRIGNIA

Spring start: March 1
Spring game: April 12

VIRGINIA TECH

Spring start: March 27
Spring game: April 26

WAKE FOREST

Spring start: March 25
Spring game: April 26

Team-by-team attendance numbers

February, 18, 2014
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Average attendance in the ACC as a whole remained steady in 2013, but there are definite issues administrators across the sport are working on to try and get more fans in the stands.

For now, here is a quick look at team-by-team attendance numbers for the 2013 season, with the percent change from 2012.

Clemson 82,048, up less than 1 percent
  • Notes: The Tigers set a new single-season school attendance record thanks to home games against Georgia and Florida State. Memorial Stadium was filled to 101 percent capacity.
Florida State 75,421, down less than 1 percent
  • Notes: Despite a lackluster home schedule, the Seminoles drew slightly fewer than the 75,601 they averaged in 2012 (when Clemson and Florida played in Tallahassee). Doak Campbell Stadium was filled to 92 percent capacity.
Virginia Tech 63,999, down 2 percent
  • Notes: The Hokies had their 93-game home sellout streak snapped against Western Carolina, ending the third-longest active sellout streak in the country. There was no marquee home game this year. Lane Stadium was filled to 97 percent capacity.
Miami 53,837, up 11 percent
  • Notes: The Hurricanes got a big bump this past season thanks to their nonconference showdown against Florida, which drew 76,968. Sun Life Stadium was filled to 71 percent capacity.
NC State 53,178, down 1.7 percent
  • Notes: The Wolfpack struggled on the field in 2013, so their numbers dipped slightly. Carter-Finley Stadium was filled to 92 percent capacity.
North Carolina 51,500, up 2 percent
  • Notes: A Thursday night game against Miami drew 56,000 fans, while the regular-season finale against Duke drew 62,000. Kenan Stadium was filled to 82 percent capacity.
Pitt 49, 741, up 16.6 percent
  • Notes: The Panthers had a blockbuster home schedule with games against Florida State (on Labor Day night), Notre Dame and Miami. Compare that to 2012, when the Panthers played two FCS teams, Louisville, Temple, Rutgers and Virginia Tech. Heinz Field was filled to 76 percent capacity.
Georgia Tech 49,077, up 10 percent
  • Notes: The Jackets benefited from a Thursday night home game against Virginia Tech and the regular-season finale at home against Georgia. Bobby Dodd Stadium was filled to 89 percent capacity.
Virginia 46,279, down less than 1 percent
  • Notes: Though the Hoos have struggled to win, attendance didn't drop that dramatically thanks to a home schedule that featured Oregon, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Scott Stadium was filled to 75 percent capacity.
Maryland 41,278, up 9 percent
  • Notes: This attendance figure counts the game against West Virginia played at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, which drew 55,677.
Syracuse 38,277, up less than 1 percent
  • Notes: The Orange hosted Clemson and Boston College but have struggled to fill the Carrier Dome for years now. The Carrier Dome, among the 10 smallest in the power five conferences, was filled to 78 percent capacity.
Boston College 33,006, down 11 percent
  • Notes: Even though the Eagles were vastly improved this past season, they did not have Notre Dame on the home schedule, and that has to be one of the biggest reasons for the attendance drop.
Wake Forest 28,414, down less than 1 percent

  • Notes: The Deacs, with the smallest stadium among the power five conferences, did fill their stadium to 89 percent capacity thanks to home games against NC State and Florida State.

Duke 26,062, down 7.5 percent

  • Notes: The Blue Devils had a historic season, but they did not have North Carolina or Clemson on the home slate this season. Wallace Wade Stadium, the third-smallest in the power five conferences, was filled to 77 percent capacity.

One more item of interest. Louisville joins the league in 2014, so that should help the overall ACC attendance numbers. Last season, the Cardinals averaged 52,914 fans, and Papa John's Cardinal Stadium was filled to 95 percent capacity.

ACC mailblog

February, 14, 2014
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Now that our weekly chats are on hiatus, feel free to send me a line in the mailbag!

Robert VT in Blacksburg, Va., writes: AA, again thanks for yours and HD's professional reporting. You ladies do a great job, no question about it! Thanks for switching Maryland over to the Big Ten and bringing in LOUISVILLE. I'm ready! I sure hate seeing Maryland leave the ACC, but I think the ACC got a much better overall sports program with LOUISVILLE. I have a bunch of Maryland friends who are really unhappy about the move to the Big Ten and feel the move was shoved down their throats, with a back-room deal in the middle of the night. They just feel their President (Wallace) Loh (from Big Ten) did not allow enough input from the school and ACC to be fair, after 60 years of ACC membership. It reminded some of them of the Baltimore Colts moving out in the middle of the night to Indy on 3 Mayflower moving vans. Ha! Have a great day.

Andrea Adelson writes: Thank you, Robert. We appreciate the loyal readership! I agree the ACC got the better end of this deal. While the Big Ten has not had a glowing national reputation over the last few years, it is difficult to see how the Terrapins will move in to that conference and have their football program thrive from the outset, especially playing in a division with Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. And let's not forget Penn State, which has hired former Maryland coach-in-waiting James Franklin. He just put together an outstanding recruiting class, sanctions and all. Now the Atlantic is tough, don't get me wrong, but the Big Ten East looks much tougher, at least on paper. There might be more money on the other side of the rainbow, but more money cannot buy you 10-win seasons or conference championships. Just ask West Virginia.


David Goldberg in Houston writes: Hi, much is being made of Rob Moore leaving for the Buffalo Bills. People forget that George McDonald lasted at Arkansas exactly 4 weeks (December 2012-January 2013) before becoming the offensive coordinator at Syracuse. I realize the timing is a little different in terms of recruiting. Nevertheless, it's just one illustration of how coaches jump from job to job ... and that's life in the business.

Adelson writes: You are right, David. Look no further than new North Carolina assistant Keith Heckendorf, who just returned to the Tar Heels after spending one month at Arkansas State. Pitt also recently lost receivers coach Bobby Engram, too. I think the biggest issue, as you mentioned, was the timing. Did Moore and coach Scott Shafer know about the move and tell incoming recruits about it before signing day? Did they have an obligation to do so? It is absolutely true that recruits should choose programs over coaches because there is so much turnover. But at the same time, there must have been a sense from these recruits that they would play for Moore once they arrived on campus, even if it was for just a short period of time.


Jeff in Boston writes: Looks like Jimbo (Fisher) might be right! Jameis (Winston) confirmed that he will be focusing on baseball instead of the 2015 draft! :)

Adelson writes: Well, sure, did any of us expect him to declare for the 2015 draft now? I think we would all be wiser to focus on 2014 before we even think about who is staying and who is leaving for 2015.


KC in Michigan writes: After reading Tim in Blacksburg's suggestion on rivalry weekend, I decided to submit my own idea. Why not realign the divisions to protect all rivalries? Atlantic: Duke, Louisville, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Wake Forest. Coastal: Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Virginia Tech. That would make all but three rivalry games divisional. Those three games could be protected crossovers. They are Boston College-Syracuse; Clemson-North Carolina State; North Carolina-Virginia. Eliminate all other protected crossover games.

Adelson: I have been a proponent of divisional realignment since I started covering the ACC not only to balance out the divisions but to also help protect a majority of these rivalry games. Because when it comes down to it, one of the biggest issues moving forward with the eight-game league format is teams such as Duke and NC State going a billion years between playing each other. We have seen too many rivalry games get lost in the shuffle during conference realignment, and I think it would be smart to protect as many as possible. But one idea that has grown on me is getting rid of the divisions entirely. There are no divisions in basketball. If the NCAA grants the ACC the autonomy to govern its championship game the way it wants, and athletic directors are in favor of having the top two teams in the league play in the title game, then why do you need divisions at all?


Mark in Orlando, Fla., writes: No mention of Duke Johnson in your ACC top 25 players? Almost 1,000 yards and he missed a third of the season? No Stacey Coley? A freshman who scored on pass plays, a kick return and a punt return? The only player in the nation to do so? Both of those guys will be NFL first-rounders, yet your only mention of a Miami player is a third- or fourth-round linebacker who got a bunch of tackles because his D-line was porous? Do you actually watch any games or just read year-end stat sheets?

Adelson writes: I wondered how long it would take to get a note like this one. First, as you point out, Johnson missed a large chunk of the season. So we eliminated him from consideration, much in the same way we eliminated Stefon Diggs from consideration. Johnson and Diggs are two of the most dynamic players in the league, but they got hurt. And the 2013 final player countdown takes into account performance throughout the entire 2013 season. To that point, we do not count NFL projections in the countdown, either. Denzel Perryman was a first-team All-ACC selection by both the media and the coaches. I think the coaches watch the games. As for Coley, receiver was an incredibly deep position in the league this year. We had six receivers make the countdown -- and that does not include Michael Campanaro from Wake Forest, also left out because of injury. Coley was great, and will more than likely be in the 2014 top 25 preseason player countdown, but his overall numbers do not compare to the guys who made the list. It is tough to rank somebody with only 33 total receptions for 591 yards in the top 25. You mentioned his all-purpose production. Tyler Boyd and Jamison Crowder were better, and they were bigger contributors on offense. It is interesting that you are upset about Coley being left off, but not 1,000-yard receiver Allen Hurns. I thought for sure Miami fans would be screaming at us for that one.

ACC and the NFL combine

February, 11, 2014
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The NFL draft combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis will be held from Feb. 19-25 and will feature workouts, medical examinations, psychological testing and interviews for the 335 invited prospects. The ACC has a total of 46 players who will participate, including at least one player from every school (we included Maryland and not Louisville in this post, because it is from the 2013 season). National champion Florida State led the league with eight players heading to the combine, but UNC was right behind with seven. Don't cry ... you're gonna miss some of these names next year. Good luck to these guys.

Here is the official list of the ACC attendees:

BOSTON COLLEGE (5)
CLEMSON (4)
DUKE (1)
FLORIDA STATE (8)
GEORGIA TECH (2)
MARYLAND (1)
MIAMI (5)
NORTH CAROLINA (7)
NC STATE (1)
PITTSBURGH (3)
SYRACUSE (2)
VIRGINIA (2)
VIRGINIA TECH (4)
WAKE FOREST (1)

ACC's lunchtime links

February, 11, 2014
Feb 11
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It's moving day for Maryland. From now on, catch all the Terps coverage over on the Big Ten blog. Louisville moves into this space Thursday.
So just what should we expect from Maryland as the Terrapins enter the Big Ten? To get some answers, I turned to our in-house expert, Heather Dinich. She covered the program for the Baltimore Sun before joining ESPN.com's ACC blog. And Heather still lives in Maryland.

As we take the Terps off Heather's hands, she was kind enough to answer a few of our pressing questions about the Big Ten newbie-to-be:

Heather, how competitive should Big Ten fans expect to the Terrapins to be when they enter the Big Ten?

[+] EnlargeRandy Edsall
AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyRandy Edsall and the Terps will face a brutal schedule in their first foray into the Big Ten.
HD: Think Hoosiers. Somewhere around not quite as good as Penn State and not as bad as Purdue. And nowhere near the likes of Ohio State. Average at best. The schedule is brutal, with Ohio State and back-to-back road trips to Wisconsin and Penn State, plus a trip to Michigan. The travel and stadiums alone are going to be a culture shock for the Terps. It’s a good thing Rutgers joined the Big Ten so the Terps have somebody they can match up against. (Though former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen is going to be a wee bit motivated for that one as the Scarlet Knights’ new OC.) I think it’s going to be a long season for Randy Edsall, and it’s going to be a dose of reality for athletic director Kevin Anderson. Then again, ADs are paid to see the big picture and follow the money. I have football tunnel vision and it looks like a huge train coming at the Terps through this one.

How solid is Randy Edsall's standing as head coach, especially now that he'll have to compete against Friedgen and former Maryland coach-in-waiting James Franklin (the new head coach at Penn State)?

HD: I think it’s tenuous at best. Look, considering all of the injuries they’ve had, Edsall gets a bit of a pass. Two seasons ago his quarterback position was completely decimated by injuries, to the point where he had a backup linebacker throwing the ball. Last season he lost his top two receivers to injuries, including Stefon Diggs, one of the most exciting playmakers in the country. But he lost the bowl game to Marshall last year -- in Annapolis. That’s unacceptable if you’re the top team in the state. The Terps lost five of their last seven games. They lost to Wake Forest and Syracuse, you think they’re gonna beat Wisconsin and Penn State? On the road? Maryland is going to be haunted by its past, with those games against Franklin and Friedgen, and losses against those two programs will further fuel the fire for Edsall’s critics. Playing the first season in the Big Ten could buy him some time, but it shouldn’t buy him much.

As you mentioned, injuries have been a big problem for the Terps lately. How good can they be if everyone stays healthy?

HD: Even at full strength, I still don’t think they can match up with the best of the Big Ten, but Maryland should look like a better team than what fans saw in 2013. They should be expected to beat Indiana, Iowa and Rutgers and be able to steal one or two they’re “not supposed to win.” The question is if they can handle winning on the road in a new conference. This could actually be a pretty decent team with Diggs and WR Deon Long healthy for the season, and a veteran quarterback in C.J. Brown. Overall, they lose only four starters, and last year was a very young team. The whole defensive line returns and the entire defense should be an experienced group. They should pick up at least two more wins in the nonconference schedule, but they’ve got to win at Syracuse, a team they lost to last year. So while it might be a better team overall, it might not necessarily be reflected in the win column. Still, if everyone stays healthy, fans should expect a bowl game.

Have Maryland fans come around to the idea of leaving the ACC, or does it still seem weird to think of Maryland in the Big Ten?

HD: Weird. Very weird. I live in Maryland and can’t get used to it, and a lot of fans, of course, are focused on the impact it has on the hoops season. Many fans are indifferent, and even more are still trying to understand it.

Finally, what are some must-see attractions/traditions for visiting Big Ten fans who come to College Park?

HD: I cannot tell a lie: Gameday traffic will be created by Ohio State fans. I recommend checking out Cole Field House, which is right behind Byrd Stadium, for some historic hoops scenery, and Comcast Center, for the modern version. On the field, the statue of Testudo is said to bring some good luck, and of course, the pride this state takes in its flag is, well, dizzying. As for places to eat and consume adult beverages downtown, sources say R.J. Bentley’s and the Cornerstone Grill & Loft are the local institutions.

ACC's lunchtime links

February, 10, 2014
Feb 10
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Bravo, Michael Sam. Bravo.

Signing day wrap: ACC

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
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Signing day is known for the crazy. Condense an entire college football season into 12 hours and that offers a glimpse -- albeit minimally -- into the first Wednesday of February.

It began with ESPN 300 defensive lineman Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield), arms folded and chest out, announcing his intention to sign with Michigan State. His intention to sign. A glare from his parents and whispers in the gym let it be known this saga was not going to end at 10 a.m. in front of a microphone.

Both of McDowell’s parents would like to see their son, No. 60 in the ESPN 300, at any school in his top four not nicknamed the Spartans. Florida State is among those finalists, and several predicted the Seminoles would land McDowell considering his parents' distaste for all things Green. So Jimbo Fisher and those inside Doak Campbell are keeping the fax machine plugged in, offering a few more hours' respite from the storage closet for the condemned technology.

Ultimately, McDowell, whether of his own volition or executing his parents’ will, did not fax a letter of intent to Michigan State as of 8:00 p.m. ET, and the Noles finished signing day with the No. 3 class sans another elite lineman.

Compared to the McDowell drama, the rest of the morning was tame for the ACC. There were some tense moments, but signing day pretty much went the way most expected.

[+] EnlargeDerrick Nnadi
John Albright/Icon SMIGetting ESPN 300 DE Derrick Nnandi on Wednesday helped make national signing day successful for Florida State.
No team had more of an opportunity to close strong than the Noles, and Fisher did a fine job closing. It was unrealistic to expect Florida State to land every recruit on the board, five-star Lorenzo Carter (signed with Georgia) and No. 1 receiver Malachi Dupre (LSU) among them. However, into the fold for Florida State was ESPN 300 linemen Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes), Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden), who was poised to sign with Florida but gave his commitment at the 11th hour.

Florida State was involved with a handful of signing day flips, but none that caught the Noles’ staff off-guard. No. 7 dual-threat quarterback Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) switched to Florida and Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) signed with South Carolina, but the Noles flipped Ja'Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen), No. 117 in the ESPN 300. Harrison was committed to Virginia Tech for 18 months before his signing day change of heart. Harrison, ranked as an athlete, finalized what could be the best receiver class in the country. It was one of the best classes nationally, too.

“We’ve had large numbers this year, got needs all the way across the board and filled it with great players and everyone position across the board we had somebody in,” Jimbo Fisher said at his signing day news conference. “We were excited about that.”

Miami’s flipping efforts went for naught, but it prevented one of its own from changing allegiances. Local defensive end Chad Thomas (Miami/Booker T. Washington), ranked No. 3 among Hurricanes commits, took late official visits to Alabama and Florida State. There was some panic from fans when Thomas’ fax did not roll through exactly at 9 a.m., but Canes coach Al Golden said Thomas’ mother reassured him the 65th-ranked player in the country would stay near South Beach.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney would scoff at the claim FSU has the best receiver class. The Noles received the signing day pats on the back for landing No. 2 receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) and Harrison on Wednesday while the Tigers had three four-star receivers already on campus. ESPN 300 receivers Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) and four-star Kyrin Priester (Snellville, Ga./Fork Union) enrolled in early January. ESPN 300 receiver Trevion Thompson (Durham, N.C./Hillside) signed Wednesday.

“It was a critical need for us ... and we are excited about all four,” Swinney said at his signing day news conference.

Mike London had a quiet signing day in his Charlottesville office, but that is all he could have hoped for following a winless ACC campaign. The Virginia coach did most of his 2014 recruiting work before the 2013 season, and he was able to secure the signatures of five-star Quin Blanding (Virginia Beach, Va./Bayside) and ESPN 300 recruits Jeff Farrar (Upland, Calif./Upland), Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan) and Steven Moss (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor High).

“Obviously keeping the class was important when the season didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to ... but the in-state kids wanted to play together and build a brand together,” London said on the ESPNU signing day telecast.

While the day was quiet for Duke, it was still most the shocking signing day Durham has ever seen. The Blue Devils, coming off a 10-win season and an ACC title game, signed its first ESPN 300 recruit and four four-star recruits overall. Between 2010 and 2013, Duke signed only one four-star prospect -- a kicker.

While the ACC did not touch the SEC in the number of teams toward the top of the class rankings, for the most part the conference as a whole improved, and Florida State went a long way in challenging Alabama to become college football’s next dynasty.

Bold predictions: ACC 

February, 4, 2014
Feb 4
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video
It is becoming a bit cliché, but the saying holds true every year on the first Wednesday of February: Expect the unexpected on signing day.

With the direction signing day and recruiting have been going, a prospect simply signing his letter of intent to the college he has been committed to for months qualifies as a mild surprise.

Here are five bold predictions for ACC signing day.


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Maryland's 2014 Big Ten schedule just got even more interesting.

On Nov. 1, the Terps will travel to Penn State, where they will face their former offensive coordinator, James Franklin, who is now head coach of the Nittany Lions.

On Nov. 29, Maryland will end its first regular season in the Big Ten with a home game against Rutgers -- and former coach Ralph Friedgen, who was just hired by Rutgers as offensive coordinator.

That might be a little, um, awkward.

Friedgen, who was replaced by Randy Edsall after the 2010 season, will go back to Byrd Stadium for the first time since he was fired by athletic director Kevin Anderson. Odds are he'll have a wee bit of motivation going into that game. Maryland is his alma mater. He earned two letters as a guard. And then he was fired after winning nine games and being named the ACC's Coach of the Year. No wonder he's not convinced there's much loyalty left in his business.

So, instead of moving forward in a new conference and looking ahead at a clean slate, Maryland will have little choice but to face its past along the way.

ACC's lunchtime links

January, 31, 2014
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Enjoy Super Sunday, gang.

ACC's lunchtime links

January, 30, 2014
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Less than a week till national signing day. I'm sure all will remain calm.

ACC class rankings analysis 

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
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video
National signing day is one week away, so this is the time of the year when schools hope to be trending up in the class rankings. As the final elite uncommitted prospects wrestle with decisions, another highly-rated recruit picking a particular school could influence others to do the same.

Momentum works both ways, and any bad news could snowball in the final few hours.


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ACC's lunchtime links

January, 29, 2014
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Seeing Super Bowl media day not at the stadium was an odd sight, no?

ACC's lunch links

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28
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Can't play much better than Duke did Monday.

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