2013 AQ Conference Profiles: Atlantic Coast Conference

 

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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

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2010 BCS Conference Profiles: Pac-10 Conference

This is sixth in a series of conference profiles as part of BCS Know How’s season preview. Today’s conference is the Pac-10.

Conference: Pacific 10 Conference (Pac-10)

Active Since: 1915

Current Member Schools: Arizona Wildcats, Arizona State Sun Devils, California Golden Bears, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Stanford Cardinal, UCLA Bruins, Southern California (USC) Trojans, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars. (10)

Bowl Affiliations: Rose Bowl (BCS), Las Vegas Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl, Fight Hunger Bowl. (6)

2009 Results:
Conference Champion – Oregon
Conference Runner-up – Oregon State/Arizona/Stanford
BCS Bowl Results: Rose Bowl – Ohio State 26 vs. Oregon 17
Overall Bowl Record: 2-5
Heisman Vote Recipients: None

2010 Outlook: A change of guard atop the conference last season shocked many around the country, but this season could be more of the same, as two programs will come into the season with a completely different feel.

Oregon will have to go without its Heisman-hopeful quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who was kicked off the team, and USC will be playing without a shot at postseason play because of NCAA violations. One of the two teams has finished atop the Pac-10 each of the last 10 seasons, but this year might just hold a different result in the cards.

Heisman candidates are scattered around the conference, from Stanford’s standout quarterback Andrew Luck to Oregon State’s small and speedy back Jaquizz Rodgers and Oregon’s backfield stalwart LaMichael James. Any of these candidates, along with Washington quarterback Jake Locker, who is considered among the best pro prospects in the country, could help lead their teams to a Pac-10 title and likely Rose Bowl bid.

And of course, USC and new coach Lane Kiffin — although decimated by the loss of a major portion of their recruiting class, underclassmen transfers and departures to the NFL — is still laden with talent, however untested it may be.

The conference may once again come down to the annual “Civil War” between Oregon and Oregon State, but unlike last season, when Masoli and the Ducks squeaked out a victory over Oregon State, the Beavers will be at home in Corvalis and Masoli will be noticeably absent.

2010 Heisman Hopefuls: Stanford QB Andrew Luck, Oregon State RB Jaquizz Rodgers, Oregon RB LaMichael James, Washington QB Jake Locker

BCS Know How’s 2010 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Oregon State Beavers
Conference Runner-up – Oregon Ducks
BCS bids – One: Oregon State – Rose Bowl
Heisman Finalists – None

2010 BCS Conference Profiles: Southeastern Conference (SEC)

This is fifth in a series of conference profiles as part of BCS Know How’s season preview. Today’s conference is the SEC.

Conference: Southeastern Conference (SEC)

Active Since: 1933

Current Member Schools: Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, Kentucky Wildcats, South Carolina Gamecocks, Tennessee Volunteers, Vanderbilt Commodores, Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas Razorbacks, Auburn Tigers, Louisiana State (LSU) Tigers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Mississippi (Ole Miss) Rebels. (12)

Bowl Affiliations: Sugar Bowl (BCS), Music City Bowl, Liberty Bowl, Chick-fil-A Bowl, Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Gator Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl. (9)

2009 Results:
Conference Champion – Alabama
Conference Runner-up – Florida
BCS Bowl Results: 2010 BCS National Championship Game – Alabama 37 vs. Texas 21; 2010 Sugar Bowl – Florida 51 vs. Cincinnati 24
Overall Bowl Record: 6-4
Heisman Vote Recipients: Alabama RB Mark Ingram (Heisman Recipient); Florida QB Tim Tebow (5th Overall)

2010 Outlook: Like clockwork, the SEC has supplied a contender in the BCS National Championship Game every year since the BCS moved to the five bowl game format at the end of the 2005 season. And even more impressive, the SEC has supplied the national championship each of these past four seasons. Can the most-feared conference in the country make it five in a row?

Any conversation about national title hopes would have to begin with the Alabama Crimson Tide, who are not only the defending BCS champions, but feature three potential Heisman trophy hopefuls, QB Greg McElroy, WR Julio Jones and defending Heisman recipient RB Mark Ingram. Last season this trio, along with a classic SEC-style attack of speed and power tore apart the SEC during the regular season, and then defeated the seemingly untouchable Tim Tebow in the SEC Championship Game on their way to a national title.

This season, although Tebow is gone to the NFL, the SEC continues to feature the great conference depth from top to bottom, making Alabama’s road to repeat as difficult as one might expect.

Traditional contenders Auburn and Georgia are on their way back to the top of college football after some sub par seasons, while SEC strongholds Florida and LSU continue to thrive despite losing skill all around the field every year to the NFL.

Florida will be hard pressed to replace Tebow and may struggle early with a new quarterback at the helm of the Gator offense. This may leave the SEC’s Eastern Division — the domain of Florida during the Tebow years — up for grabs. Georgia seems to be ready to make that move and return to the SEC Championship Game after an extended absence, led by wide receiver AJ Green.

Arkansas and QB Ryan Mallet will challenge for the Western Division crown, which Alabama and LSU have held to tightly the past few seasons — and the race there could go undecided until the final weekend, when LSU takes on Arkansas at the Razorback Stadium.

2010 Heisman Hopefuls: Alabama RB Mark Ingram; Georgia WR AJ Green; Alabama WR Julio Jones, Arkansas QB Ryan Mallet.

BCS Know How’s 2010 Predictions:
Conference Champion – Alabama Crimson Tide
Conference Runner-up – Georgia Bulldogs
BCS bids – Two: Alabama Crimson Tide – 2011 BCS National Championship Game; Georgia – Sugar Bowl
Heisman Finalists – Alabama RB Mark Ingram

Georgia Tech and Iowa Make Orange Bowl Sweet

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Iowa Hawkeyes (10-2) vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-2)

Many might take this matchup between the ACC champion Yellow Jackets and the Big 10 runner-up Iowa Hawkeyes as the forgotten BCS bowl, but there is certainly a lot to be interested about in this match up.

For a while there, it looked like Iowa was the class of the Big 10, as the Hawkeyes crept into the BCS top-five during a string of close victories earlier in the season. However, the Hawkeyes were unable to complete an undefeated season, falling to Northwestern and Ohio State down the stretch to finish second in the conference.

The Hawkeyes also had lost their quarterback Ricky Stanzi along the way, but he will return for the bowl.

For the Yellow Jackets, the ACC seemed a cinch after losing to Miami to open their ACC schedule, and after holding off a scare from Clemson in the ACC Championship Game, Georgia Tech claimed the conference’s automatic BCS bowl bid.

Offense: Yellow Jacket quarterback Josh Nesbitt runs the triple option unlike any other quarterback in the nation, and the confusing offense scheme has done wonders for the Tech offense this season, as they finished the season with the 11th best scoring offense in the nation. Running back Jonathan Dwyer, who rushed for 1,346 yards on the season, also contributes to the offensive firepower that the ACC had to deal with this season.

The Iowa offense, although not nearly as flashy as the Yellow Jacket attack, was still very productive on the season, and was especially good at driving late in games under the watch of Stanzi for game winning drives. The Hawkeyes never really plastered any opponent this season, but in their victories Stanzi and the offense did just enough to pull out wins.

Defense: Iowa’s main task here will be how they can react to the Georgia Tech triple-option. So far this season when its working, the triple option has been nearly unstoppable as Paul Johnson’s scheme has been run to perfection at times under the watch of Nesbitt. However, the Iowa defense was tenth nationally in scoring defense, giving up just 10.5 points per game, which the Yellow Jackets cannot hope to score if they want to win this game.

Georgia Tech’s defense will have the opportunity to take advantage of the sometimes reckless Stanzi, who threw plenty of interceptions to go along with his game-winning drives this season. Iowa wide receivers Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos must be stopped if the Yellow Jackets hope to contain the Hawkeye offense. Both receivers had more than 650 yards on the season and both are capable of breaking big plays down the field.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 33 vs. Iowa 17. Iowa’s offense always needed extra help from their defense in order to win earlier this season, and this time the defense is faced with a completely foreign offensive package that even an entire month of preparation can not completely prepare for. Nesbitt and the Yellow Jackets will run away with this one early, and forced to throw the rest of the game, the rusty Stanzi will likely make mistakes.