Last year, I predicted Miami's Matt Bosher would win the Lou Groza Award, marking the second straight season an ACC player would be named the nation's top place-kicker. FSU's Graham Gano won it following the 2008 season.
Well, I was wrong, but it remains a very real possibility again this season. And Bosher isn't the only one with a shot at it.
After a season filled with inexperienced place-kickers, the ACC now has some legitimate talent returning. Here are the top five Groza candidates this year in the ACC -- and yes, Bosher is my front-runner again this year:
Matt Bosher, Miami: Bosher, who doubles as the Canes' punter and place-kicker, leads all returning place-kickers nationally in career field goal accuracy, having made 32 of 36 attempts, an average of .889. He missed only two field goals in 2009 -- both against Georgia Tech in the season’s second game -- and finished the year having made 12 consecutive field goals. Bosher hasn't missed a PAT in 90 tries.
Robert Randolph, Virginia: He was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist last year after finishing second in the ACC in field goal percentage, making 17 of 19 attempts for an .895 percentage. He made his first 11 field goal attempts and converted on all six of his PATs.
Josh Czajkowski, NC State: He has only five misses in 31 career field goal attempts (.839). He made 10 of 12 last fall and enters 2010 with a streak of six straight field goals without a miss. He has made 77 of 78 PATs, including the last 73 in a row with the lone miss coming on a blocked PAT. He has made 24 of his last 27 field goal attempts (.889).
Casey Barth, North Carolina: He led the ACC in field goals and finished 12th nationally, making 21 of 25 field goals and 34 of 35 PATs for 97 points. Barth ranks 13th among all returning place-kickers in career field goal accuracy (31-40, .775).
Will Snyderwine, Duke: In his first season as Duke's starter, Snyderwine was a Groza finalist. He converted on 17 of 20 field goal attempts (.850) and made all 24 of his PAT attempts. He ranked second in the ACC in field goals and fifth in field goal percentage.