ACC: Syracuse Orange
Addazio's name has been floated around plenty during silly season, but Eagles fans can at least rest a little bit easier knowing that his rebuilding plan is still on schedule. But clarity throughout ACC regimes remains difficult to find after Wednesday.
Pittsburgh still needs a new athletic director, in addition to a new head coach, and it is unclear which will come first, or the effect one will have on the other. As colleague Andrea Adelson wrote this week, you cannot blame the Panthers for third-year coach Paul Chryst leaving for his dream job, as he went home to Wisconsin. But it is clear now more than ever that the program needs some stability, something Chryst was able to bring to the program after so much turnover.
The Panthers have plenty of young weapons on offense and are in a much better position now than they were when Chryst took over, but the cumulative effect of a fourth coaching search -- and an AD search -- since 2010 cannot be overstated.
Here are the rest of your ACC links:
- Clemson is calling on a famous alum for recruiting purposes.
- FootballScoop has named Clemson's Brent Venables its defensive coordinator of the year.
- Duke guard Laken Tomlinson has now made six All-America teams.
- Here are Florida State's uniforms for the Rose Bowl.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Ken Sugiura has notes from Georgia Tech's bowl practices.
- Louisville linebacker James Burgess has announced he will return next season.
- Former North Carolina defensive coordinator Vic Koenning is Troy's new DC.
- Syracuse will open spring practice early in its new practice facility, Nate Mink writes in the (Syracuse) Post-Standard.
Maybe that is not such a bad idea.
While it is true outgoing AD Steve Pederson helped usher Pitt into the ACC, it also is true he had an uneven track record when it came to hiring football coaches. Though Chryst's departure for Wisconsin after three years on the job cannot be placed on Pederson's shoulders, the next hire Pitt makes will be absolutely crucial for the program. Pitt cannot swing and miss on this hire the way Pederson did with Todd Graham and Mike Haywood, the two men brought in after he fired Dave Wannstedt.
Bill Fralic, a Pitt All-American lineman, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review of Pederson:
"He could not hire a good football coach. And he fired a loyal Pitt guy who averaged nine wins his last three years, and they haven't come close to that since. He meddled with everything. He was a control freak. Hopefully, we can recover from what he's done there."
Pitt is ready to win right now. It must hire a coach who can take what Chryst did and run with it. Make no mistake -- Pitt must hire a coach who will continue on with the blue-collar tradition Pitt fans have come to expect. All the high-octane mumbo jumbo Graham sold in the one year he was in Pittsburgh is just not going to fly. An offense predicated on a strong run game must remain a priority.
Many have already laid out their lists of potential candidates. Greg Schiano and Pat Narduzzi are among the two most intriguing names. They both have recruiting ties to the area, and both would presumably emphasize a power-run game. Double plus right there. Returning running back James Conner has the potential to be a 2,000-yard rusher with the right coach calling the plays.
Having been burned so many times in the recent past, Pitt would obviously be looking for a coach to put down roots in Pittsburgh for the long-term. Whether Pitt is that type of job may be in the eye of the beholder. In any case, Pitt should not concern itself with that idea right now.
It should hire the best available coach, plain and simple. Several outlets reported that Pederson had made contact with Schiano before being removed as AD. Though Pederson is gone, Schiano should remain on the list. At least he has proven he can win on the collegiate level, though he did fail to deliver in the clutch several times at Rutgers.
It is safe to say Pitt is brimming with potential. That is why this hire has to be the right hire. Pitt cannot afford to take any more steps backward.
Here are a few more links to start your morning:
A week later, I still have a hard time understanding how Roberto Aguayo did not win the Lou Groza Award. Now, more puzzlement: the FWAA All-America team does not have Aguayo on it, either. None of this is meant to take away from the year Brad Craddock had at Maryland. He was terrific, too. But there is no real doubt Aguyao is the hands down best kicker in the country, is there?
- Congrats to the Clemson football players set for graduation today.
- Is this Georgia Tech's toughest four-game stretch ... ever?
- The Louisville Courier-Journal grades the Cards' 9-3 finish. They get an A from AA.
- Miami quarterback Ryan Williams is preparing to start a new chapter in his life.
- Bowl-bound NC State is happy not to be home for the holidays.
- Syracuse has signed the first member of its 2015 class.
- Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has not had contact with any other schools.
Clemson threw deep (20-plus yards) on 7.46 percent of its total plays, well above the league average of 5.93 percent, according to ESPN Stats & Info. And that was probably not the best idea either, because while Clemson went deep more often than anyone else, the Tigers also averaged the second-fewest yards-per-attempt on those throws (trailing only Syracuse) and nearly 10 yards per attempt less than what Tajh Boyd mustered last year for Clemson. That’s not exactly a recipe for offensive success.
Watson completed nearly 50 percent of his deep balls in 2014 with seven touchdowns and just one interception. He averaged 15.9 yards per attempt, which would’ve been tops in the ACC if he’d been the only quarterback throwing for the Tigers in 2014. But he wasn’t.
Cole Stoudt and Nick Schuessler completed just 15 percent of their deep balls this season with one TD, two interceptions and a woeful 5.2 yards-per-attempt average. To put that in perspective, if they’d been the only quarterbacks throwing for Clemson this year, the Tigers would’ve been dead last in the league in YPA by nearly four full yards.
That’s just one of the interesting facts we find when we dig into the ACC’s deep-ball numbers for 2014.
A few more, with deep-ball stats courtesy ESPN Stats & Info:
- No team was worse on the deep ball in the ACC than Syracuse. This is no surprise. The Orange completed just 27.8 percent of its deep balls (worst in the ACC), averaged 9.2 yards per attempt (again, worst), had just two touchdowns (13th) and five interceptions (t-12th). That’s down a bit from last year, but the Orange have struggled on those throws ever since Ryan Nassib left.
- Perhaps the most improved team on the deep ball this year was Virginia. Last season, the Hoos were just 7-of-50 on throws of 20 yards or more. This year, they more than doubled their deep-ball yards, completion percentage and TD throws.
- North Carolina had one of the ACC’s most potent offenses, but it wasn’t because of the deep ball. This is one of the reasons Larry Fedora was so high on Mitch Trubisky, but the numbers didn’t back up that confidence. Overall, UNC’s completion percentage of 28 percent on deep balls was third-worst in the league and its 9.93 YPA was fourth worst, but Marquise Williams was far better than his counterpart. Williams wasn’t great (28 percent completions, 12.2 YPA) but Trubisky really struggled (3-of-15 for 100 yards with a pick).
- Only Wake Forest went deep less often than Pittsburgh (4.28 percent of total plays), which seems a bit odd considering that the Panthers could’ve used play-action well (given the strong running game) and they actually had the highest completion percentage of any ACC team on throws of 20-plus yards (44.4 percent).
- Florida State was far less successful on the deep ball this year than last, with its completion percentage down (48.8 in 2013 to 35.7 in 2014) and TDs way off (16 last year, nine this). But FSU also threw five fewer interceptions on deep throws this year, and when it did get a completion, it’s YPC was actually improved (40 YPA this year, 32 YPA last year).
- No team was better on the deep ball than Miami in 2014. Brad Kaaya proved to be an excellent downfield thrower, matched with a good running game and speed at receiver. For the year, Miami completed 41.3 percent of its deep balls (second in ACC), averaged 14.6 yards per attempt (first) and had nine touchdowns on those throws (tied for first). It’s worth noting though that just 12 percent of Miami’s passes in 2014 were 20 yards or more, the third fewest in the league.
- No team gained a higher percentage of its total offense in 2014 via the deep ball than Louisville (15.9 percent), which is interesting given that DeVante Parker missed seven games and Bobby Petrino cycled through three different quarterbacks. Overall, Louisville’s deep-ball numbers were virtually the same as 2013, in spite of losing its star receiver for more than half the year and a first-round draft pick at quarterback. That’s a real credit to the work Petrino did this season.
- Not surprisingly, Georgia Tech and Boston College had the highest percentage of their pass attempts be deep balls. Next up though? NC State (17 percent).
- Virginia Tech wasn’t great on the deep ball (10.5 YPA, four TDs, four INTs), but it was a necessary part of the Hokies’ offense. For the year, 74.1 percent of Tech’s plays of 20-plus yards came on throws of 20-plus yards -- meaning if the Hokies didn’t look deep, they rarely had a shot at a big play. The league average on that stat was 45.6 percent, meaning the rest of the ACC got more than half of its big plays from plays that weren’t deep balls. Virtually all of Virginia Tech’s big-play threat relied on the arm of Michael Brewer. That speaks volumes about the Hokies’ season.
Chryst appears set to be named as the Badgers’ next coach, according to Benjamin Worgull of BadgerNation.com.
The Madison, Wisconsin, native and former Badgers player and assistant was the focus of Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez’s search and was identified as the likely successor to Gary Andersen a week ago. However, Wisconsin state law prevents Alvarez from making a hire until Wednesday, which left Chryst and Pittsburgh in limbo for the last few days.
Considering how the situation has played out, Chryst leaving for Wisconsin is best for all parties. His desire was to go to Wisconsin, and, with all of his ties to the university, it’s hard to blame Chryst for wanting to return. Chryst seemed to handle the situation with class, fulfilling his duties as Pitt’s coach as best he could, conducting bowl practices and recruiting visits. Reports suggest Chryst was upfront with administration and his players over the last few days about his interest in the Wisconsin job.
Pitt was in a tough situation, too, knowing it needed a resolution but also aware it would be unwise to unload Chryst financially. There is no concrete figure being reported, but it is likely Chryst has a buyout that will be owed to Pitt now that it’s only a matter of some red tape before becoming Wisconsin coach.
The Panthers were 19-19 under Chryst and underachieved in 2014, but he laid a foundation during his three years. Offensively, the new staff will inherit running back James Conner and receiver Tyler Boyd, who are two of the best players at their position in the country. Both were named to the ESPN.com All-ACC team last week. The offensive line will also return three starters that average 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds.
Colleague Travis Haney offered up a few names that Pitt AD Steve Pedersen could call upon for an interview, and Pedersen has been proactive despite Chryst still not officially being named Wisconsin’s coach. Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Pitt has contacted former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano.
Hopefully, the new Pitt coach can hit the ground running and bring some stability to a program that has had a revolving door at coach since the end of the 2010 season. With the right hire, Pitt can possibly make a run at the Coastal Division crown in 2015 as the schedule is far from daunting. The Panthers avoid Florida State and Clemson, instead getting Syracuse and Virginia (and Louisville) from the Atlantic. Syracuse and Virginia failed to reach bowl eligibility this fall.
Here’s a few more links for your Wednesday.
- Florida State defensive tackle Nile Lawrence-Stample could return for the Rose Bowl. It was thought the senior's season was over in September after suffering a torn pectoral.
- North Carolina senior safety Tim Scott said the defense practiced lazy all season, and that several players learned of defensive coordinator Vic Koenning's departure on Twitter.
- UNC coach Larry Fedora said he is not married to the 4-2-5 defense.
- Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross is entering his 10th year, and here's a look at his impact on the football program.
- Eli Harold, who left Virginia early for the NFL, wrestled with the decision, his high school coach said.
- Miami could be ending its relationship with Nike in favor of a deal with adidas or Under Armour.
- Clemson QB Cole Stoudt, who has bounced between a starting role and the bench this season, has a final chance at redemption in the bowl game with Deshaun Watson opting for ACL surgery.
- Louisville quarterback Reggie Bonnafon's knee is improving but coach Bobby Petrino is still unsure whether Bonnafon or Kyle Bolin will start against Georgia.
A Friday night opener with FCS Villanova turned into a one-point double overtime win, hardly the statement Syracuse was looking for as it embarked on Year 2 of both the ACC era and the Scott Shafer era. The victory over the Wildcats also provided an early glimpse at the turmoil that would engulf the Orange offense throughout their underwhelming 3-9 campaign.
Quarterback Terrel Hunt, who looked so promising down the stretch last season in leading Syracuse to a 7-6 season, got ejected in the first half of the opener for punching a defensive player. The offense sputtered without him, and it rarely fared much better when faced with a similar situation later in the season.
Hunt would go down with a season-ending broken left fibula in an Oct. 3 loss to Louisville. That weekend, Shafer stripped George McDonald of his offensive coordinator duties. McDonald's response was not exactly diplomatic, as he said he would not have left his previous post at Arkansas had he known he would be on such a short leash. He later apologized, but the awkwardness certainly lingered.
With a starting quarterback sidelined, and an assistant coach angered, things hardly got better for Syracuse. Backup quarterback Austin Wilson suffered a head injury. Backup to the backup, A.J. Long, suffered a nerve injury to his throwing arm. Three different signal-callers started a game -- Hunt and Long started five, while Wilson started two -- and four ended up playing. The fourth man of that group, Mitch Kimble, said after the season that he intends to seek a transfer upon semester's end.
When your punter (Riley Dixon) is tied for second on the team in touchdown passes (1), you know you have a problem.
The offense sputtered throughout. Syracuse ranked 100th or worse in a number of different categories, most notably scoring (17.1 ppg), total offense (329.3 yards per game), yards per play (4.9), passing yards (184.08 ypg), first downs per game (16.8), third down conversion rate (34.1 percent) and red zone efficiency (40 percent).
The Orange's raw QBR (33.1) and adjusted QBR (39.5) both ranked among the nation's worst as well.
The disappointing part is that the offense undid a defense that was good enough to win at least a few more games. Syracuse ranked in the top 30 nationally in total defense (349.2 ypg) and yards per play (5.0). The Orange's rushing defense was stout, too, giving up just 3.39 yards per carry, good for 19th nationally.
The offense was hardly helpful even when at full strength, unable to make a five-loss Notre Dame team pay for five turnovers in a 16-point loss. That came one week after losing to five-loss Maryland at home by 14, in a game the Orange out-gained the Terrapins by 220 total yards. (Two turnovers did the home team in.)
Later in the year, Syracuse turned it over three times, including an 82-yard pick-six, to lose by seven at home to an NC State team that had not won a league game since 2012. The Orange also wasted a four-turnover effort by Clemson in a 10-point loss one week earlier.
Where Syracuse goes from here will be telling about the future of the program. The Orange entered this fall talking eight-win seasons but took a big step back, winning just one league game and ending the season on a five-game skid. Things will only get more difficult now, too, in an Atlantic Division that includes a rising Louisville team that is knocking on the door of the conference's heavyweights.
Throughout our evaluations we come across many players who show promise and based of their upside for development or scheme fit are great additions.
Here are five unheralded commitments in the ACC worth keeping an eye on.
OG Wyatt Knopfke, Boston College
While Knopfke is an ESPN 300 player, he’s not as well-known as other interior linemen in the rankings. The big man out of Florida is a physical, strong player with the tools to be a good well-rounded player. And while listed at guard, he could be a candidate to develop at center as well. With an Eagles line that was loaded with seniors this season, head Coach Steve Addazio, an O-line coach himself, has a player who can develop into a key contributor in Knopfke.
DE LaSamuel Davis, Clemson
Four-star prospects like OT Zach Giella and athlete Van Smith are talented prospects and still rated highly, but they could be overlooked in a Tigers’ class that features double-digit ESPN 300 prospects. Another prospect in that group is Davis who notched over 100 tackles and 16 sacks this season. A rangy defender with wiry strength, he can use his hands well, flashes a good first-step and displays the tools to at least develop into a productive edge rusher. He needs to work to fill out his frame and be more consistent with his motor, but among this great collection of talent, Davis could emerge in time as a productive defensive contributor.
So what’s left to boost the optimism around Coral Gables?
Well, according to the Sun-Sentinel, Al Golden is giving plenty of practice reps to the young players in preparation for Miami’s Duck Commander Independence Bowl date with South Carolina, and that’s probably a good step in the right direction.
There will be plenty of turnover at Miami after the season, and as much as Johnson says he’s still undecided on the NFL, it certainly feels like these practices are the beginning of the Canes turning the page.
"It was very important to us," freshman tailback Joseph Yearby told the Sun-Sentinel. "The veteran guys were sitting back, watching and coaching us so the younger guys could get their feet wet and be prepared for next year."
And for a 6-6 team that wrapped up the year with some serious questions about its motivation, that’s a good attitude to have.
If Johnson does depart, Miami will lose its top rusher, leading receiver (Phillip Dorsett), star tight end (Clive Walford), top tackler (Perryman) and leader in sacks (Thurston Armbrister). But Yearby and Gus Edwards, Jermaine Grace and Braxton Berrios, Stacy Coley and Brad Kaaya all will be back, giving an injection of new blood to a program that is probably much better off looking to the future than the past right now.
A few more links:
- For Tyler Murphy and Ian Silberman, a bowl bid as starters at Boston College means a lot more than it did as backups at Florida, writes the Boston Herald.
- A Syracuse defensive tackle is planning to transfer, writes Syracuse.com.
- UVa’s offensive line coach has been hired to head up the VMI football program, writes the Richmond Times Dispatch.
- Tony Elliott brings a blue-collar approach to Clemson’s offense, writes The Post & Courier.
- No surprise here: Louisville’s Gerod Holliman is headed to the NFL draft after the Cardinals’ bowl game, writes The Courier Journal.
- Both Oregon and Florida State have offenses fueled by freshmen, writes the Orlando Sentinel.
But since we don’t want to ignore those near-misses entirely, here is a quick look at some of the toughest decisions we had to make for this year’s All-ACC team.
Quarterback: The bottom line is that there is no better player in the conference than Jameis Winston when he’s on, but unlike last season, he had his share of struggles, too. Meanwhile, Marquise Williams emerged as a tremendous dual threat for UNC, helping to overcome a lot of the Tar Heels’ defensive struggles with some huge performances on offense, and Justin Thomas injected new life into Paul Johnson’s old option offense at Georgia Tech. Both Thomas and Williams were deserving candidates for first team — and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson would have been, too, if he had stayed healthy all season. Overall, it was a stellar year for quarterback play in the ACC.
Offensive guard: The problem with debating the merits of offensive linemen is that there aren’t many stats to use to break a tie, and when it came to our top three choices at guard -- Laken Tomlinson, Shaq Mason and Tre Jackson -- there was ample debate. In the end, we went with the first two, but Jackson’s contributions -- particularly with the revolving door at center for FSU this season -- shouldn’t go unnoticed. He might have been the Seminoles’ best offensive lineman.
Tight end: In the end, numbers set Clive Walford apart here. He led all ACC tight ends in yards, touchdowns, first downs, yards-per-catch and receptions per game while working with a true freshman quarterback. Still, it’s hard to ignore Nick O'Leary’s fine season (plus bonus points for taking on a bus and winning). Bucky Hodges, Gerald Christian, David Grinnage and Cam Serigne all had fine seasons as well.
Defensive end: OK, we cheated here. Vic Beasley was the obvious choice, but for the opposite side of the line, the debate between Dadi Nicolas and Mario Edwards Jr. was intense, with viable arguments made for both players. Edwards was a crucial cog on FSU’s defense, one of the most dynamic mixes of size and speed in college football. Nicolas was a force throughout the season and stepped up when interior lineman Luther Maddy went down with an injury. In the end, we followed the playoff selection committee’s precedent and avoided the tough question altogether by making our defense a 3-4 unit instead. Sorry, Dadi and Mario -- but now you know how Baylor and TCU feel.
Linebacker: There probably isn’t a more stacked position in the ACC than linebacker. Denzel Perryman and Stephone Anthony were exceptional. David Helton led the ACC in tackles. Lorenzo Mauldin was the most dynamic pass-rusher on Louisville’s stout defense. They all made the cut, but it meant a host of deserving options were left out, including BC’s Josh Keyes, Virginia’s Max Valles and Henry Coley, Syracuse’s Cameron Lynch and Georgia Tech’s Paul Davis.
Olsen, who posted the news on Instagram, will be hoping for a fresh start at Towson after a brief Hurricanes tenure that went about as poorly it possibly could have. The former four-star recruit and brother of ex-Miami star TE Greg Olsen had several run-ins with the law and eventually left school this past September. He would be eligible to play for the FCS Tigers in 2015. Here's hoping he is able to turn things around off the field and resurrect his promising career.
Kimble, meanwhile, will likely be taking the FCS route as well. The redshirt freshman told Syracuse.com's Nate Mink that Illinois State, Eastern Illinois and Western Illinois are among the schools he is considering. Kimble had entered the season as the Orange's No. 4 signal-caller and saw limited time with the rest of the reserves after Terrel Hunt went down for the season in October.
Kimble is a Jerseyville, Illinois, native, which would help explain some of the programs he is looking at.
Here are the rest of your ACC links:
- The ACC led all conferences on USA Today's All-America team.
- Vic Beasley is one of the few proven entities among pass-rushers in the 2015 NFL draft, Aaron Brenner writes in the (Charleston) Post and Courier.
- FSU landed four players on CBSSports.com's All-America team.
- Georgia Tech may have fared off nicely without Vad Lee, but he's done pretty good for himself this year, too: The James Madison QB was named the Dudley Award Winner, given to the top Division I player in Virginia.
- Flipper has chosen Georgia Tech to win the Capital One Orange Bowl, so that's a nice start for the Yellow Jackets.
- The NFF's Josh Ellis profiles Laken Tomlinson and how the Duke guard is living his dream.
USA Today released a comprehensive list of college football assistant coaches' salaries Wednesday, and there is a name familiar to readers of this space at the top.
Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster took home more than any other assistant across the country this past year, clearing a total of $1,369,500. He is not alone near the summit, as three of the nation's six highest-paid assistants come from the ACC: Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris -- who was hired as SMU's head coach last week -- is No. 5 ($1.3 million), while Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is No. 6 ($975,000).
Foster's ranking this year comes with some fine print: The longtime Hokies defensive coordinator will receive an $800,000 longevity payment for four-plus years of service if he remains in his position through Dec. 31, according to the paper.
It's important to note that most of this information comes from public records request, which private schools don't have to abide by. So you won't see any numbers from the staffs of Boston College, Duke, Miami, Syracuse or Wake Forest. The same goes for Pitt, which is covered under state law exempting it from releasing such information.
Another way of looking at this may be through the salary pool programs afford their assistant coaches.
Those ACC rankings, with the national ranking in parantheses, are:
1) Clemson $4,448,225 (4th)
2) Virginia Tech $3,583,250 (8th)
3) Florida State $3,386,000 (11th)
4) Louisville $3,225,000 (18th)
5) Virginia $2,908,670 (24th)
6) NC State $2,692,560 (32nd)
7) Georgia Tech $2,233,600 (44th)
8) North Carolina $2,051,667 (53rd)
Here are the rest of your Thursday links:
- Our Chris Mortensen clears up any confusion about David Cutcliffe and Michigan.
- Deshaun Watson will undergo knee surgery Friday and miss Clemson's bowl. Watson's predecessor, Tajh Boyd, shares his thoughts on Watson playing on a torn ACL.
- On the subject of former Clemson quarterbacks: Chad Kelly tweeted that he is Ole Miss-bound.
- With BC readying to play Penn State, the (Harrisburg) Patriot-News' David Jones thinks out loud about what could have come from the Northeastern sports league that Joe Paterno had once dreamed up.
- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is critical of UNC, his alma mater, in the school's academic fraud scandal, CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd writes.
- The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Jerry DiPaola says AD Steve Pederson should extend Paul Chryst's contract in light of the Wisconsin job opening again.
Likewise, Clemson defensive end Vic Beasley one again took home defensive player of the year honors, while Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya was named both overall and offensive rookie of the year. Virginia safety Quin Blanding was again named defensive rookie of the year.
Coach of the year? That would be Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, who received 10 of the 14 votes from his peers.
Defending national champion Florida State led the way in all-league teams, tallying 18 players across the three teams.
The team with the second-most? Virginia, surprisingly enough, as the Cavaliers landed nine players on the all-league teams despite finishing with a 5-7 record.
WR: Rashad Greene (FSU)
WR: Jamison Crowder (Duke)
WR: Tyler Boyd (Pitt)
TE: Nick O’Leary (FSU)
T: Cameron Erving (FSU)
T: T.J. Clemmings (Pitt)
G: Laken Tomlinson (Duke)
G: Tre' Jackson (FSU)
C: Shane McDermott (Miami)
QB: Jameis Winston (FSU)
RB: James Conner (Pitt)
RB: Duke Johnson (Miami)
K: Roberto Aguayo (FSU)
SP: Jamison Crowder (Duke)
DE: Vic Beasley (Clemson)
DE: Mario Edwards Jr. (FSU)
DT: Grady Jarrett (Clemson)
DT: Eddie Goldman (FSU)
LB: Denzel Perryman (Miami)
LB: Stephone Anthony (Clemson)
LB: Lorenzo Mauldin (Louisville)
CB: Kendall Fuller (Virginia Tech)
CB: Garry Peters (Clemson)
S: Gerod Holliman (Louisville)
S: Jalen Ramsey (FSU)
P: Wil Baumann (NC State)
To see the full roster, click here.
Among the biggest differences between the coaches' and media's voting: Boston College center Andy Gallik was relegated to the second team this time around, with Miami's Shane McDermott taking the top spot on the coaches' team. McDermott received only honorable mention status from the media last week. Louisville linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin was also a first-team newcomer, replacing Duke's David Helton, who made the media's first-team and who took home some pretty impressive hardware of his own Tuesday night in New York. Clemson cornerback Garry Peters was also a first-team addition, leaping the media's selection of FSU's P.J. Williams.
Louisville receiver DeVante Parker made the coaches' second-team after playing in just five games. Parker had made the media's third-team. The coaches flipped the media's second- and third-team quarterbacks, putting Georgia Tech's Justin Thomas on the second-team and North Carolina's Marquise Williams on the third-team.
The coaches' third-team ended up containing five linebackers, as four tied in the voting, as well as two cornerbacks and two punters.
To see the media's All-ACC picks from last week, click here.
I hope that's how Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson first addressed high school student Chandler Riggs, who doubles as Carl on "The Walking Dead." Johnson, while out recruiting in the Yellow Jackets' home state, came across Riggs, who is in his fifth season acting on the popular AMC show about
Will this photo swing recruiting in the Peach State to the Jackets' favor?
It's pretty hip of Johnson to tweet a photo of himself with Carl, who has a dubious history on the television show. Recruiting is all about connecting with teenagers, although posing with Riggs isn't going to light up social media for a college program the way Kentucky basketball players taking notes with Drake or esteemed rapper Bun B shouting out your quarterback would. But hey, it's better than A-Rod being on your sideline.
As Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out, the oft-surly Johnson does show another side on his Twitter account. One of his pictures includes Miss America. Just make it a selfie next time, CPJ.
- Speaking of Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets will bring in $27.5 million of the ACC's $83.5 million bowl payout.
- Originally, it appeared Clemson true freshman Deshaun Watson would play in the Tigers' bowl game against Oklahoma before undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL. However, Aaron Brenner of The (Charleston, South Carolina) Post & Courier is reporting Watson will undergo surgery before the bowl now, which will end his season. Clemson spokesperson Tim Bourret told ESPN.com in an email there was no update on Watson's surgery plans.
- Here's three things to know about Oregon for Florida State fans.
- A Virginia Tech commitment is in serious trouble after being charged with armed robbery. He allegedly robbed two victims at gunpoint.
- Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft. He should be a mid-round pick.
- Former UNC star cornerback Dre' Bly was inducted into the College Football Hall and current Duke linebacker David Helton and athletic director Kevin White were honored Tuesday night.
- Miami is physically and mentally recharging before practice for its bowl game. The Canes need it after finishing the regular season on a three-game skid.
I might have been overcomplicating things.
Colleague Brad Edwards took to Twitter to show a far simpler scenario for the Yellow Jackets to get in.
Discussed Ga. Tech playoff hopes with @MarkBradleyAJC and came up with a simple path: 1, 2 & 3 win; 4, 5 & 6 lose— Brad Edwards (@JBradEdwards) December 4, 2014
In this scenario, as Edwards mentioned, No. 9 Kansas State would also likely find itself in contention for that No. 4 spot, as it would be a conference co-champion with No. 3 TCU after beating No. 6 Baylor.
And while No. 10 Mississippi State might have an argument after watching all of the chaos unfold in front of it, the Yellow Jackets would have the advantage of being a champion of a Power 5 conference, something Edwards thinks would ultimately give them the edge.
Is it that big of a stretch to think that No. 1 Alabama beats No. 16 Missouri, No. 2 Oregon beats No. 7 Arizona and No. 3 TCU beats Iowa State? And that No. 5 Ohio State, with its third-strong quarterback, falls to No. 13 Wisconsin, along with No. 6 Baylor falling to No. 9 Kansas State? I don't think it's all that wild.
Insider's Sharon Katz created a table for Georgia Tech that can serve as somewhat of a "who-to-roof-for" guide for Jackets fans this weekend, with scenarios big and small.
So it appears that the stakes may be that much higher for No. 11 Georgia Tech Saturday against No. 4 Florida State. Who would've ever guessed that? (Other than ace Spreecast viewer John, of course. Well done.)
Here are the rest of your ACC links ...
- College Sports Madness released its All-ACC teams Thursday.
- Duke's David Helton, Syracuse's Sam Rodgers and Notre Dame's Corey Robinson made the Capital One Academic All-America teams.
- Georgia Tech is taking confidence from its 2012 ACC title game loss to FSU into Saturday, Ken Sugiura writes in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The (Louisville) Courier-Journal's Jeff Greer looks at the Cardinals' finalized 2016 schedule.
- Surprise, surprise: Former Miami players are opinionated on the Hurricanes' season, per the Palm Beach Post's Matt Porter.
- The (Syracuse) Post-Standard's Nate Mink and Stephen Bailey grade the Oranges's defensive players.
(You can catch a replay said Spreecast, complete with colleague Jared Shanker's impeccable Christmas fashion choice, here.)
Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson was asked a similar question Wednesday by Paul Finebaum, who wanted to know if Johnson and his staff had done the numbers and seen what it might take to sneak into the final four. Johnson, for his part, did not take the bait, but he did mention that, with a win in the ACC title game, Georgia Tech would have closed its season by beating the then-No. 19 (Clemson), the then-No. 9 (Georgia) and the then-No. 4 (FSU) teams in the country.
Johnson also mentioned earlier on the show that he thought FSU should be ranked No. 1, as the Seminoles are the defending national champions and remain unbeaten.
Shocking, we know.
Still, it's a question at least worth exploring, even if none of us have a sense yet for what the selection committee truly seeks. As colleague David Hale noted Wednesday, the ACC probably isn't winning any beauty contests among two-loss teams with the SEC or the Pac-12, so No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon winning is probably the safe scenario for their two games, if only to completely eliminate a three-loss Missouri team and a three-loss Arizona team.
As for the other two scenarios: A No. 13 Wisconsin win would knock out No. 5 Ohio State, which would have two losses and which would be without its starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, entering bowl season. That would be one domino to fall into place for Georgia Tech. That would also probably be the only victory that qualifies as a signature win for the Badgers this season, considering they have yet to beat a team that is currently ranked by the committee. A potential two-loss Baylor team may also suffer the same fate, although the Bears are currently No. 6 and would be losing to No. 9 Kansas State, while also boasting a win on their resume over No. 3 TCU. Still, it is not unreasonable to think No. 11 Georgia Tech would move up further if it could, in fact, beat the No. 4 team in the country.
Here's the one matchup left out of that discussion -- and admittedly the most far-fetched of any of the scenarios we are discussing (one I couldn't help but mention in the Spreecast): No. 3 TCU losing to Iowa State. Hey, the Cyclones have thrown a late-season wrench into the title picture before. Just ask 2011 Oklahoma State.
So, to recap, that would leave us with the Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 teams in the country losing, and with No. 11 beating No. 4. It would also give us No. 9 beating No. 6.
Is that enough for Georgia Tech to move up seven spots in one week? It is admittedly unlikely, but crazier things have happened, and we don't have a precedent here, so it's worthy of a discussion.
Here are the rest of your Thursday links:
- AJerseyGuy.com's Mark Blaudschun says BC should pursue Ohio State's Braxton Miller for a fifth year. (He makes a great point.)
- NBC's Joe Posnanski looks at how close Bobby Bowden was to coaching ... Alabama?
- With doubts fueling him, Paul Johnson is thriving at Georgia Tech, Dan Wolken writes in USA Today.
- Speculation about the future of Miami's coaching staff appears to be just that, as there is no sign of change coming, Matt Porter writes in the Palm Beach Post.
- The (Syracuse) Post-Standard's Nate Mink looks back at the performance of the Orange's offensive line this season.
11:00 AM ET Nevada Louisiana-Lafayette 2:20 PM ET Utah State UTEP 3:30 PM ET 22 Utah Colorado State 5:45 PM ET Western Michigan Air Force 9:15 PM ET South Alabama Bowling Green
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State