Thursday, May 7, 2009

Your Atlantic Division Preseason Favorite?

Brian: Yes, it is only May. That didn't stop JPG from handicapping next season's ACC Atlantic Division race. Your 2009 Atlantic Division preseason favorite? These guys:

Here's what he had to say about Boston College's chances:
The Eagles defied the odds in '08. And I'll be the first to admit I was wrong about that.

But another coaching transition? This one without Matt Ryan at quarterback or two NFL defensive linemen? Or without an innovative assistant like Steve Logan?

BC won't fall completely off the map (yet), the schedule won't let them, but the post-O'Brien Era will truly hit the Heights this season.

Jeff: This is a great article here. Another apology about being wrong about the 2008 Eagles but he says if they don't fall apart this year they will eventually. Great analysis. We could win the ACC the next four years and finish dead last the 5th and this guy will say "I told you so." Can you stand reading stuff from this clown?

Brian: Yeah, no. Sorry. NC State is not the ACC Atlantic Division favorite. Funny to read the army of NC State sports bloggers reactions to this Giglio post here, here and here. Maybe NC State is the Atlantic Division favorite for a Raleigh-based sports writer/blogger, but elsewhere, if you took the temperature of other papers and other sports writers, a different team will be the favorite to win the division.

Ask a Tallahassee Democrat or an Orlando Sentinel writer who the Atlantic Division favorite is, and they'll tell you Florida State is finally going to rebound behind their capable QB Christian Ponder.

Ask a sports writer from The State, and they'll tell you Clemson won't miss a beat and has too many offensive weapons not to be the Atlantic Division favorite. For that matter, ask anyone in the state of South Carolina and they'll tell you Clemson is the definitive ACC Atlantic Division favorite.

Ask a Boston Globe or a Herald beat writer and they'll ask you which teams make up the Atlantic and the Coastal divisions so that they can make a prediction.

Ask the Washington Times or Baltimore Sun Terrapin beat writer who is the ACC Atlantic favorite, and ... no, just kidding.

Back to reality for a moment. I don't think there is really one clear cut favorite in the Atlantic Division next season. Last preseason, the consensus was that the Atlantic Division was much stronger than the Coastal. That didn't really come to pass. This season, the early projections are that the Coastal Division will be much stronger, as the winner of the Coastal - Virginia Tech / Georgia Tech / North Carolina - will again stream roll which ever team represents the Atlantic in the ACCCG.

I know that the newspaper industry is struggling and writers have to generate buzz and interest in their columns, but c'mon man. The clear cut Atlantic Division favorite? NC State?! No thank you. The Wolfpack could possibly have to deal with another injury-plagued season, not to mention they have the consummate over-underachieving TOB at the helm. 8 wins next season? Sure, but we are talking middle of the 'Pack finish, J.P.

Pun intended.


BC Billy 1979 said...

Tom O'Brien will make NC st. a respectable program, but just like at BC they will wind up going to lesser bowls.

Raj said...

Russel Wilson offensive player of the year, but he can't get more than 8 wins with that team/coach. Anyone think he'll want to transfer to Better Chicks?

BCMike said...

Gotta give JPG credit, he knows his audience.

Disillusioned North Carolina-based fans that need some explanation why those yankee kids keep whippin' their ass.

BCMike said...

You guys HAVE to read the user comments. They're priceless.

Pack fans are saying "well, yes...glad someone else sees it. Clearly, the TOB era is no in full swing, anything less than a conference championship will be a disappointment."

LOL...Oh yeah? Let me explain the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus as long as you're in the mood...

Brian said...

There are a lot of NC State fans and alum (third largest school in the ACC) ... leads to even more delusion:

"We had our parade last year in Chapel Hill...we'll have another on Nov. 28, 2009!
I agree wholeheartedly with the findings. Wolfpack football is going national. Tom O'Brien and staff have just begun."

Raj - no, Russell Wilson is not transferring. BC baseball > NCST baseball and we don't need Wilson's .265 batting average.
Plus Davis/Boisture have more pro potential than Wilson.

James C. said...

"Ask a Boston Globe or a Herald beat writer and they'll ask you which teams make up the Atlantic and the Coastal divisions so that they can make a prediction."

Well played!

If y'all can step back from your Toby Haterade for a second and listen to what JPG is saying, it's tough to argue with. EVERY team in the Atlantic is flawed in some way or another. Further, there is such parity throughout the league and within the division that one or two games could mean the difference between finishing first and heading to the title game or finishing fifth or even sixth in the division.

State's chances of winning the division are predicated on staying healthy, first and foremost. When both Russell Wilson and Nate Irving were healthy, State was a very tough team to handle. Ask Wake Forest, Miami and Carolina. (Big) IF RW can stay healthy all season long, and if our offensive and defensive lines hold up, and if Nate Irving can play all 12 games for us, I think State is the favorite to win the division.

Does that mean we certainly will? No. Too much will happen between Sept. 3 and the end of the season to make any definitive statements one way or the other. But as JPG states, if you've GOT to pick someone, it might as well be the team that returns the best QB in the league.

My two cents, and thanks for reading.

BCMike said...

State's chances of winning the division are predicated on staying healthy, first and foremost.Chris Crane waves hello, as does Alex Albright, Brian Toal, and BJ Raji two years ago when BC had it's chance for a title run.

EVERY team's hopes are based on them staying healthy. BC wasn't healthy, not by a long shot last year and we still won the division. I guess if ANY team manages to stay 100% injury-free the whole season, they're automatically my pick for finishing first.

It's how you play through the injuries, how the coaches play the team differently, how well the backups play, etc., that's what makes the difference in the end for the majority of these teams.

The Pack will once again be a good, but far from great team that will get a mid-level bowl game and finish 1 to 2 games out of first in the Atlantic.

James C. said...

The Pack will once again be a good, but far from great team that will get a mid-level bowl game and finish 1 to 2 games out of first in the Atlantic.That could very well be the case. With Russell Wilson at the helm, I think we stand to be good-to-great, and when only 1 to 2 games separate the division champ from the rest of the division, anything can happen. I like our chances.

Jeff said...

Look at NC State's schedule though. Last year they had FSU and BC at home where this year they go on the road against those teams. Even if they are improved, they didn't come close to beating FSU last year and they got a lot of special teams help and still lost to BC. What makes Pack fans think they can win those 2 games or somehow win all of their other 6? Not to mention that they have to play Virginia Tech this year.

NC State only beat one (1) uno, - are we clear? - a single atlantic division opponent last year, and only by 4 points at home. How in the world can you justify them being the favorite to win the division? I like Wilson and TOB, but c'mon!

James C. said...

Heading to FSU and BC will be challenging, for sure, but FSU loses a ton of talent due to off-the-field issues and who knows with y'all...Spaz could keep the ball rolling or the wheels could come off. I do know y'all will be fired up anytime Toby returns to town.

I keep coming back to injuries because, while every team has injuries every season, State went through one of the most remarkable two month stretches of injuries I've ever seen. At one point, State was down to 46 scholarship players and relying on a handful of walk-ons just to fill out a two-deep. It was incredible, and given that our backup QBs were a glorified walk-on (Daniel Evans) and a headcase (Harrison Beck), it's no wonder that we struggled in the first part of the year.

Depth is still an issue for us, but we're patching those holes with players who redshirted the previous season. Our backup QB this year is a five-star redshirt freshman. There is reason to believe we'll be better prepared to weather any injuries we will have this year versus last.

You ask me how I think State can win the division this year. Someone has to. I think we've got an excellent chance, and while the road schedule doesn't help us much, we do catch some breaks in getting Clemson at home later in the year when they're due for their late-season swoon and the Tar Heels, Maryland and Duke at home, as well. Win those four, and go 2-2 in the rod games, and I think there's your recipe for an Atlantic Division title.