Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
ESPN.com's live draft has officially ended, and my colleagues Pat Forde, Ivan Maisel and Mark Schlabach were rather kind to the ACC in their quest to trim 120 FBS teams down to 40. Here's how the conference fared:
No. 13 Virginia Tech
No. 14 FSU
No. 21 Clemson
No. 24 Miami
No. 32 Georgia Tech
No. 36 BC
Forde apologized to the Tar Heels, saying UNC made the cut on his board, and Maisel thinks the Terps should have snuck in, but overall the best of the ACC was represented.
This shows that these guys think Virginia Tech has officially replaced Miami and FSU (more so FSU since the Canes' glory days came in the Big East) as the premier program of the conference and the team to beat. The fact that half of the ACC survived this draft proves the conference isn't as irrelevant as some might think. And it also goes deeper than this list, as last year's conference race indicates.
In the big picture, though, the ACC is still overshadowed by the SEC, which had four programs in the top 10. What the conference needs is for somebody to make a push among the nation's elite and stay there. There is progress evident throughout the entire ACC.
While Wake Forest might not have the storied tradition of the programs that were chosen, it has the recent history of becoming a contender under Jim Grobe. North Carolina didn't make the cut, but it made a complete turnaround last year under Butch Davis. NC State is on the verge of something good under Tom O'Brien, but Duke and Virginia have a ways to go before truly gaining any national respect. Maryland has been muddled in mediocrity recently, and Ralph Friedgen's 10-win seasons are fading further and further into the past.
For the purposes of this project, the six ACC teams that were chosen are a great representation of the best the conference has to offer.