Good luck, ACC

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

We could all use a little luck every now and then, and today is the perfect day to hand out a few four-leaf clovers to teams, coaches and players in the ACC. Nobody, though, needs more luck than this Irishman ...

NC State coach Tom O'Brien -- In 2005, O'Brien received the John F. Kennedy National Award, given to "an outstanding American of Irish descent for distinguished service to God and country." Rumor has it there's an Irish pub near his house he's a fan of, and even his children's names -- Colleen, Daniel and Bridget -- sound Irish.

O'Brien is as Irish as they come, but somehow he has been one of the unluckiest coaches in the conference. In 2007, 13 players who were starters at some time missed a total of 44 games. Six starters missed multiple games. In 2008, 13 starters had missed a total of 80 games, and quarterback Russell Wilson got knocked out in the first half of the Papajohns.com Bowl with a knee injury.

To top it off, he was supposed to be the grand marshal of the city of Raleigh's St. Patrick's Day parade this past weekend, but it rained on his parade. Literally. It was moved to Saturday, when he has practice, but he's figured out a way to make both. No wonder his staff left him some "Lucky Charms" cereal at his news conference on Monday.

Duke -- The Blue Devils could use some help getting to a bowl game this year. They came surprisingly close last year with four wins, but have back-to-back road trips to Army and Kansas in September and four of their last five games are against Coastal Division opponents.

Miami -- Anyone facing this blockbuster lineup -- Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma -- in the first four games could use a little luck. The Canes will have to redeem themselves from an embarrassing defensive performance against the Yellow Jackets on a Thursday night last season, and travel to Blacksburg before turning the calendar to October.

Virginia coach Al Groh -- It's not so much that he lost 11 starters from last year's team, it's the fact so many of them were key contributors. Considering the Cavaliers won just five games last year, though, maybe it's not such a bad idea to start from scratch -- coordinators included.

Florida State -- A four-leaf clover is perfect for the Noles -- they'll need one leaf for every year of probation. Bobby Bowden will need some luck if he's going to finish his career as college football's winningest coach.

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