2013 AQ Conference Profiles: Atlantic Coast Conference

 

ACC-header

BCS Know How will take you through the six automatic-qualifying BCS conferences in preparation for the 2013 season. Short and sweet previews keep going with the expanded ACC. Scroll down to see our profiles of the other conferences.

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)

Active Since: 1953

Current Member Schools:

Atlantic Conference: Boston College Eagles, Clemson Tigers, Florida State Seminoles, Maryland Terrapins, NC State Wolfpack, Syracuse Orange, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Coastal Conference: Duke Blue Devils, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Miami Hurricanes, North Carolina Tar Heels, Pittsburgh Panthers, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies (14)

2013 Bowl Affiliations and Tie-Ins: Orange Bowl (BCS), Military Bowl, Belk Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, Music City Bowl, AdvoCare V100 Bowl, Sun Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl (8)

2012 Results:
Conference Champion — Florida State Seminoles (12-2, 7-1)
Conference Runner-up — Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (7-7, 5-3)
BCS Bowl Results: 2013 Orange Bowl: Florida State 31 vs. Northern Illinois 10
Overall Bowl Record: 4-2

2013 Heisman Hopefuls: Miami RB Duke Johnson, Miami QB Stephen Morris, Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, Clemson WR Sammy Watkins

BCS Know How’s 2013 Predictions:
Conference Champion — Clemson Tigers
Conference Runner-up — Florida State Seminoles
BCS Bids — Clemson — Orange Bowl
Heisman Finalists: None

Road to Glendale 2011: Conference Favorites Face Make or Break Week 11

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to Week 11 where every game is make or break for conference contenders.

Pittsburgh at Connecticut: Thursday Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m. ET

Down the stretch of the Big East race in 2009, Connecticut nearly pulled upsets against Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Rutgers. Not one of those losses came by more than four points.

Finally, after nearly knocking off the eventual Big East champ Bearcats, the Huskies ended the season on a four-game winning streak—including a PapaJohns.com Bowl victory over South Carolina.

That kind of end to a season would make any team excited about its future prospects, and Connecticut is no exception. 2010 holds unprecedented expectations in Storrs, and when Pittsburgh comes to campus in this late-season matchup, things could get very interesting.

The Panthers themselves are considered among the favorites in the Big East, but this year Connecticut could be in position to actually complete the upsets it nearly pulled off in ’09, and this might be a key game in the Huskies’ drive for a possible Big East championship.

If the Huskies defense can contain Pittsburgh’s Heisman-hopeful running back Dion Lewis for four full quarters, there’s no reason to think an upset isn’t possible.

Combine this visit from the Panthers with a visit from West Virginia to Storrs the week before, and it’s not too much of a stretch to think the Huskies could win the conference if they can protect home field.

Miami (FL) at Georgia Tech: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Two of the ACC’s most dynamic quarterbacks and Heisman hopefuls—Georgia Tech’s Josh Nesbitt and Miami’s Jacory Harris—will feature prominently in this marquee matchup of ACC Championship hopefuls in 2010.

Georgia Tech will be coming off an extended break following a matchup with ACC favorite Virginia Tech, giving it enough time to prepare for an on-the-rise Hurricanes squad led by Harris and coach Randy Shannon.

Miami’s schedule to this point is not daunting, and after a fast start brought some of that swagger back to Miami last season, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Miami back near the top of the rankings when November 13 comes around.

Injuries and small mistakes kept the Hurricanes from being more than a nine-win team in 2009, but a year of experience—and hopefully for the ‘Canes a less injury-riddled season—could spell some real success in Shannon’s fourth season.

Tech will once again be testing the ACC with its spread-option offense, which Nesbitt has become a master of orchestrating, something that the Hurricanes will need to prepare for if they hope to top Georgia Tech on the road.

South Carolina at Florida: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Forget for a moment that this will be another Steve Spurrier return trip to the Swamp and that emotions will likely run high—this game is likely to be great on its own merits.

Spurrier, who will call all of the Gamecocks’ offensive plays this season, will be looking to put a scare into the Gators on the road. And if the Gamecocks can get a couple of the finer points ironed out earlier in the season, just a scare would be a disappointment.

South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia had transformed into the SEC’s most prolific passer and will need to bring an even better effort if the Gamecocks want to improve on a 7-6 record in 2009 that ended in a disappointing loss in a January 2nd bowl to Connecticut.

Florida’s quarterback situation is also a key point to this potentially important game, as by Week 11 we’ll probably know whether John Brantley is an adequate replacement for Tim Tebow or if he has struggled to adapt to his new role in the Gator offense.

The Gamecock defense should be an especially tough test for the new Gator quarterback—one that was able to rank highly in many statistical categories despite youth and injuries in 2009.

Penn State at Ohio State: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

Perennial Big Ten contenders Ohio State and Penn State will do battle once again in Columbus in a game that could help decide—once again—the Big Ten champion.

Ohio State might have higher aspirations than a Big Ten championship this season, but it’ll have to get past a visit from the Nittany Lions if it wants to make a run at the championship game.

You know the major players here: coaches Paterno and Tressel, OSU QB Terrelle Pryor and Penn State RB Evan Royster, and just like any high quality Big Ten matchup this one will likely include some classic Big Ten rough, physical play.

Defenses and offenses will be tested all game and the winner will have a great shot at the conference title.

Expect both teams to come out fired up, and for the Buckeyes’ home field advantage to play a huge role in this one.

Georgia at Auburn: Saturday Nov. 13, TBA

This is another SEC matchup that could be a matchup of undefeated squads or one where both teams have taken a beating in early SEC action.

But despite the unpredictability of the SEC, most believe that both teams are serious contenders for their respective SEC division crowns, and this game will be key if either wants to meet that goal.

Both teams look stocked with talent all around the field, including Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, a Heisman candidate, and an Auburn offensive line that is loaded with experienced players.

In the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” Auburn holds the slightest of edges over the Bulldogs, 53–52–8, and will look to extend the lead after Georgia has done a great deal of catching up in the past couple of years.

Road to Glendale 2011: MAC and Sun Belt Positioning at Stake in Week Six

As part of BCS Know How’s 2010 college football season preview, we will be breaking down each week’s most important games that could have BCS and postseason implications in the “Road to Glendale 2011”.

Let’s move on to week six where two marquee matchups in non-BCS conferences will probably be your best bet for pressure packed college football this early in the season.

Troy at Middle Tennessee State: Tuesday Oct. 5, 8:00 p.m. ET

This mid-season Sun Belt showdown between the two conference favorites could act as a de facto Sun Belt championship game. With the skill both teams bring to the table in 2010, it wouldn’t be surprising to find these two teams at the top at season’s end.

This seemingly unimportant non-BCS conference game suddenly becomes a marquee matchup of Week 6, and could also provide high entertainment for 60 straight minutes of football.

The likely star here, Middle Tennessee State’s quarterback Dwight Dasher, is an all-around threat with the ability to pick apart defenses with both his feet and arm. Dasher will put his skills to the test against Troy, whose run of Sun Belt titles may be over this year after losing their long-time quarterback Levi Brown.

Brown, who holds many Troy all-time records, will be sorely missed in what will likely be a shootout between the two teams. However, the Trojans won’t be without any hope when they travel to MTSU’s Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in early October.

Long time Trojan coach Larry Blakeney returns star running backs DuJuan Harris and Shawn Southward, along with defensive ends sophomore Jonathan Massaquoi and senior Mario Addison, who will need to put the pressure on Dasher if they are to have any hope of pulling off the road victory.

Temple at Northern Illinois: Saturday Oct. 9, 12:00 p.m. ET

Another high quality non-BCS matchup will again feature two conference title hopefuls, this time the Temple Owls and Northern Illinois Huskies of the Mid-American Conference.

Both teams fell just short of the conference title game last season. With major changes occurring all over the conference, both teams could be right in the middle of the hunt for a berth in the championship game.

The game will feature two unheralded running backs in Northern Illinois’s Chad Spann and Temple’s Bernard Pierce. Both had shining seasons, including Pierce’s surprising MAC rushing title as a freshman in the ’09 season. Questionable quarterback situations will cause both teams to rely heavily on their running games.

Florida State at Miami (FL): Saturday Oct. 9, TBA

A rivalry that was once a non-conference affair has lost some of its luster after the teams joined the same conference and were unable to keep pace with the results of past decades for both teams.

However, after an entertaining edition of the rivalry in 2009, 2010 looks like it could be a reminder of what made both programs so strong during a dominant stretch of Florida football.

Quarterbacks Jacory Harris and Christian Ponder have a lot to do with it, and are early ACC Player of the Year favorites along with Heisman contenders. Coaches Randy Shannon and Jimbo Fisher, although both young and relatively inexperienced in relation to their programs’ history, have returned some youthful energy in the programs and could make the upcoming years more successful.

When the teams meet in Sun Life Stadium in Miami in Week 6, don’t be surprised if you see a game that reminds you of the “Wide Rights I-IV” and “Wide Left” that seemingly define this rivalry.

Just in case you’re wondering: Senior Matt Bosher kicks for the Hurricanes and sophomore Dustin Hopkins takes kicks for the Seminoles.

Other Games of Note: Wyoming at TCU, Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, Mississippi State at Houston, Alabama at South Carolina

Current NCAA Football Investigation Summaries UPDATED 9/2

Alright, lets take a quick break from the season preview to address a trend that has emerged just as conference media days began.

Following the conclusion of the investigation into the University of Southern California, Reggie Bush and the Trojan athletic program, a rash of allegations against other Football Bowl Subdivision schools regarding violations of NCAA regulations came to light.

The following schools are the schools under investigation and each contains a short summary of the problems/allegations facing the institution:

Miami Hurricanes

The NCAA is probing the Hurricane football program after allegations arose of improper benefits exchanged between Miami players and convicted Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro.

Update 8/16/11: Yahoo! Sports reports there were “thousands” of NCAA violations committed from 2002 to 2010 and that seven coaches from Miami football and basketball were directly involved with known booster Nevin Shapiro.

Update 8/26/11: Miami has declared a number of players ineligible in order to begin the process of reinstatement for the first game of its season. Quarterback Jacory Harris is believed to be among those suspended.

Update 8/29/11: Miami President Donna Shalala released a video stating there is no timetable for the ongoing probe into the reported violations. Miami has also delayed the release of its depth chart to await word on the eligibility of its players.

Update 8/30/11: Twelve Hurricanes have been suspended between one and six games for accepting improper benefits, according to Yahoo! Sports. Jacory Harris and Olivier Vernon are among those suspended.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Various players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, were found to have exchanged autographs and memorabilia for money and tattoos. There is some evidence that higher-ups knew about the infractions and did little to stop it. Coach Jim Tressel resigned on Memorial Day 2011.

Update 7/8/11: Ohio State has self-imposed vacation of the 2010-11 season and will await further word from the NCAA.

Update 7/22/11: An NCAA report states investigators found no new violations at Ohio State and former coach Jim Tressel was the only coach or official with knowledge of the violations and did not report them. Therefore the school will not be hit with the “failure to monitor” penalty that has hit so many of the other schools under the microscope of the NCAA.

Oregon Ducks

Controversy surrounds scout Willie Lyles and his relationship both with the university and coach Chip Kelly. Lyles has purported ties to running back LaMichael James.

Update 7/1/11: Scouting service provider Willie Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that Oregon coach Chip Kelly personally approved a $25,000 fee that may have violated NCAA rules by using Lyles as an influence on potential recruits. The investigation is on-going.

Update 7/26/11: The University of Oregon released a statement at Pac-12 media day expressing their faith in the NCAA’s investigation and coach Chip Kelly refused to address the situation head on during the news conference.

Auburn Tigers

Multiple sources are reporting that Heisman hopeful junior transfer quarterback Cam Newton has been implicated in a scheme to secure his commitment signature in return for a payment by Auburn. The investigation has been ongoing since July of 2010, and Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, has submitted financial documents to the NCAA in response.

Newton has moved on to the NFL.

Update 11/11/10: Kenny Rodgers, who allegedly had sought the funds necessary for Mississippi State to sign Newton, told ESPN Radio in Dallas that Cecil Newton put a price tag on Cam’s commitment in the range of $100,000 to $180,000 — although he does not know if Cam Newton knew of the arrangement.

Update 7/14/11: The New York Times reports that the Tigers are still under investigation regarding the recruitment of Newton.

Central Florida Knights

The NCAA is investigating the involvement of Ken Caldwell, a former AAU basketball coach, in Central Florida’ recruitment of both basketball and football players.

Update 8/17/11: ESPN reports UCF has been served its official notice of allegations for the matter and that Caldwell and his son, Erik, might have committed violations.

North Carolina Tar Heels

The NCAA is investigating whether defensive tackle Marvin Austin and wide receiver Greg Little received improper benefits from an agent. Neither player has made any comment regarding the situation, however Tar Heel coach Butch Davis was expected to make his first comment on the investigation during upcoming media appearances.

The NCAA has already visited Chapel Hill to begin their investigation.

Coach Butch Davis has been fired.

Update 8/26/10: The NCAA has expanded their investigation to include the possibility of academic impropriety. Austin, defensive end Robert Quinn and linebacker Bruce Carterf are alleged to have received ineligible tutoring from coach Davis’s nanny.

Update 9/17/10: Austin will appear before the Secretary of State’s office to give testimony after he was subpoenaed by the office on September 5. Austin will be testifying about whether agents violated the Uniform Athletes Agents Act.

The act prohibits agents from giving any athlete not under contract with an agency from furnishing said athlete with anything of value. The act also requires notification of a school’s Athletic Director within 72 of reaching an agreement with any athlete.

Update 9/23/10: Among the 12 players under investigation by the NCAA, the first two have received their punishments. Kendric Burney will receive a six-game suspension, while Deunta Williams will receive four. The NCAA found that Burney received improper benefits equivalent to $1,333 and Williams received the equivalent of $1,426.

In order to regain eligibility, Williams and Burney must repay their benefits in full.

Update 9/30/10: A Yahoo! Sports investigation has revealed ties between former North Carolina assistant coach John Blake and NFL agent Gary Wichard which seem to indicate that Blake was paid to steer Tar Heels in the direction of Wichard’s firm.

Update 10/1/10: Williams and Burney’s appeals to the NCAA were unsuccessful and both will serve out the entirety of their suspension.

Update 10/11/10: Marvin Austin has been dismissed from the North Carolina football team. Greg Little and Robert Quinn have been ruled permanently ineligible.

Updtae 11/11/11: The University of North Carolina has released a letter stating that student athletes were provided “impermissible” financial and academic support by Jennifer L. Wiley, a family friend of coach Butch Davis, who had been tutoring his son.

Update 6/16/11: UNC will release important phone records in the case, as requested by a variety of media sources.

Update 7/26/11: At ACC media day, UNC coach Butch Davis said he took responsibility “fully and completely” for the events that led to UNC being served its notice of allegations last month. Davis, however, said he has no plans of quitting the position.

Update 7/27/11: UNC has fired coach Butch Davis just two days after he said he had no intention of leaving the job.

Boise State Broncos

Boise State’s football program is being investigated for improper benefits given to potential recruits.

Update 5/2/11: The benefits allegedly given to potential recruits adds to $4,934 for housing, transportation and meals provided to 63 potential Broncos, reports the Idaho Statesman.

Update 9/2/11: Three Broncos will be forced to miss the Broncos game against Georgia pending a review of the three player’s eligibility.

Tennessee Volunteers

The NCAA is reportedly investigating the single season former Volunteer coach Lane Kiffin was in Knoxville — specifically his recruiting practices during his short stay. Previously the school was being investigated for the use of “hostesses” to attract players to the team, however now the investigation has asked to talk with former Volunteer Bryce Brown.

Brown was recruited to Tennessee under Kiffin, but decided to rescind his commitment after Kiffin took a job with the University of Southern California in January 2010. The NCAA hopes to question Brown about Kiffin’s recruiting practices.

Update 6/11/11: The NCAA has begun its hearing on the case.

Update 8/24/11: The NCAA announced it had insufficient evidence to hand down punishment for major infractions, but was “troubled” by the plethora of secondary violations under former coach Lane Kiffin.

Georgia Bulldogs

Georgia and former USC linebacker Jarvis Jones was named in a police report saying he received benefits from a state Parks and Recreations officer with ties to Jones’ AAU basketball team. These benefits are estimated to be worth $828.40, which might have been used to fly Jones from Atlanta to Los Angeles.

Update 7/18/11: Jones is still eligible to play, and it is unclear whether or not the NCAA is in fact investigating. Georgia is handling its own investigation at this time.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Demaryius Thomas’ eligibility had been called into question following an apparent gift of clothing valued at $312. Morgan Burnett, who was allegedly at the event at which Thomas recieved the gift, did not receive any himself. Both deny either received any improper gifts.

Update 7/14/11: The NCAA has placed Georgia Tech under four-years probation and vacated its 2009 wins. The school was also fined $100,000. The punishment stems from what the NCAA called “uncooperative and manipulative” behavior during their investigation into the claims.

Update 7/28/11: The university will file an appeal to the NCAA to restore it 2009 ACC title.

LSU Tigers

The NCAA is investigating whether the recruitment of a certain play violated NCAA regulations. An assistant coach is being investigated for providing the recruit with transportation, lodging and a phone.

Update 7/19/11: The NCAA has placed LSU on a one-year probation and classified the violations as major, also hitting LSU with recruiting and scholarships.

South Carolina Gamecocks

Gamecock tight end Weslye Saunders, who is good friends with Tar Heel Marvin Austin has been questioned in regards the inquiry into North Carolina.

No immediate allegations were levied against South Carolina, sources told ESPN that they were looking into the time Saunders and Austin spent in Florida this spring, seemingly in relation to the party Georgia’s Green was present at.

Update 8/13/10: Further investigations have taken place into the living arrangements of certain players, especially those who may have stayed at the Whitney Hotel in Columbia, South Carolina. Saunders is among the at least three players with rooms at the Hotel.

Update 8/16/10: The NCAA is insisting its investigation is squarely on Weslye Saunders, and not the Gamecock program as a whole, reports The Big Spur.

Florida Gators

Both Florida and NCAA investigators are looking into suspicious relationships between former Gator offensive lineman Maurkice Pouncey and an agency representative or “runner”. The alleged activity includes a $100,000 payment made to Puncey between last season’s SEC Championship Game and the Sugar Bowl.

If the charges hold, the Gators may be forced to vacate their victory over Cincinnati in the 2010 Sugar Bowl.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus is alleged to have attended the same party as A.J. Green, Marvin Austin and Weslye Saunders and both NCAA and Alabama investigators are looking into the situation. The investigators aim to determine who supplied or paid for food, transportation and accommodations during the extended weekend stay of the players.

Update 10/3/10: Further Yahoo! Sports reports have alleged that former North Carolina assistant John Blake recommended agent Gary Wichard to Dareus during the summer of 2009. This would further earlier allegations of Blake steering college players to Wichard and his Pro Tect Management agency.

West Virginia Mountaineers

On August 5, West Virginia admitted that it was under investigation for hiring practices and the activities of “graduate assistant” coaches. The time period in which the investigation is looking spans from 2005-2009 and includes both current coach Bill Stewart and former coach Rich Rodriguez.

Update 7/12/11: The NCAA has approved West Virginia’s self-imposed punishment for their violations: two-years probation and the elimination of two graduate assistant positions.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Capsules Week Ten

accsecpac10Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Clemson (Atlantic Division; 6-3, 4-2), Georgia Tech (Coastal Division 9-1, 6-1)

Lurking: Boston College (Atlantic Division; 6-3, 3-2)

Game of Last Week: Georgia Tech 30 vs. Wake Forest 27. Josh Nesbitt’s rushing TD in overtime helped keep Georgia Tech among the best in the country, outlasting a tough Demon Deacon team.

Game of Next Week: Georgia Tech vs. Duke. The surprising Blue Devils at 3-2 in conference face off against the equally surprising and class of the ACC Yellow Jackets

Bowl Eligible Teams: Boston College Golden Eagles, Miami Hurricanes, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Virginia Tech Hokies.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (7-2, 5-1)

Lurking: Arizona (6-2, 4-1)

Game of Last Week: Stanford 51 vs. Oregon 42. Coming off a huge, program-changing victory over USC, the Ducks failed to follow it up, falling to the unranked Cardinal in Palo Alto and seeing their seemingly easy track to the Rose Bowl made a whole lot tougher.

Game of Next Week: Stanford vs. USC. The Cardinal will next get a shot at the Trojans, who now trail the Cardinal in the Pac-10 standings, but the meeting will be in LA.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, California Bears, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon State Beavers.

SEC

Conference Leaders: Florida (East Division; 9-0, 7-0), Alabama (West Division; 9-0, 6-0)

Lurking: Both Florida and Alabama have clinched their divisions, and will face off in the SEC Championship Game.

Game of Last Week: Alabama 24 vs. LSU 15. LSU was looking to make a run at the West Division title, but the Tide put the Tigers away late, mostly on the legs of Mark Ingram, and clinched the West title.

Game of Next Week: Tennessee vs. Ole Miss. Both teams are looking to get to .500 in conference, although Ole Miss looks on its way down as the Volunteers look to be on their way up the SEC rankings.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Running Rebels.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Capsules Week Nine

accsecpac10Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Clemson (Atlantic Division; 5-3, 3-2) Georgia Tech (Coastal Division; 8-1, 5-1)

Lurking: Boston College (Atlantic Division; 6-3, 3-2)

Game of Last Week: Miami 28 vs. Wake Forest 27. Down early, and looking nothing like the team that nearly broke into the top five earlier this season, the Hurricanes pulled off a great comeback win to escape the upset.

Game of Next Week: Florida State vs. Clemson. Both still have a shot at a good bowl bid, and for Clemson, a win in this home game would help their bid to make it to their first ACC Championship Game.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Boston College Golden Eagles, Miami Hurricanes, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (7-1, 5-0)

Lurking: Arizona (5-2, 3-1)

Game of Last Week: Oregon 47 vs. USC 20. A meeting of the top two teams in the Pac-10, and two teams in the top ten of the BCS, the Ducks looked like the higher ranked team, and went a long way in securing a Pac-10 title.

Game of Next Week: Oregon vs. Stanford. Fresh of a huge victory over the Trojans, the Ducks will now have to travel to Palo Alto, and make sure they don’t fall flat on their faces, with a chance to further their Pac-10 title hopes.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, California Bears.

SEC

Conference Leaders: Florida (Clinched East Division Title; 8-0, 6-0), Alabama (West Division; 8-0, 5-0)

Lurking: LSU (West Division, 7-1, 4-1)

Game of Last Week: Mississippi State 31 vs. Kentucky 24. 252 yards and two touchdowns from Wildcat running back Anthony Dixon helped the Bulldogs take a step closer to .500 and possibly a bowl bid from the SEC.

Game of Next Week: LSU vs. Alabama. Coming off a bye week, a victory here would clinch the West Division for the Crimson Tide, and reaffirm their place among the nation’s best. A victory for the Tigers would possibly reinsert them into the national title chase, and tie them atop the SEC West.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers.