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Musical chairs for ACC hot seats

10/3/2011

Heading into this season, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was the one coach in the ACC facing the most pressure. He was coming off the program's first losing season since 1998, and had lost to rival South Carolina. Again.

Now? Now Swinney is looking like the ACC's Coach of the Year, while two of his Atlantic Division colleagues are looking for help.

It's a game of musical chairs in the ACC, and there are two new coaches trying to stay off the hot seat: NC State's Tom O'Brien and Boston College coach Frank Spaziani, who are currently a combined 3-7 with no wins against FBS opponents and trail in the Atlantic Division standings.

O'Brien, in his fifth season at NC State, is 27-28 heading into Saturday's game against Central Michigan, and during his overall career, he is 27-42 (34 percent) against ACC opponents. He only has winning records against three ACC schools: Duke, Virginia and North Carolina. He has had one bowl win in two postseason appearances at NC State. An unusually high number of injuries to key players has played a part in NC State's troubles, but the recruiting hasn't helped offset that with depth.

Spaziani is currently 17-15 in his third season with the Eagles. He inherited significant recruiting problems, especially at quarterback, and staff turnover has been a legitimate problem, as there have been three different head coaches in a span of five years. Spaziani is still looking for his first bowl win, but this year, just getting to the postseason seems to be an unreachable task.

Both coaches and programs have their excuses, but both also know this is a business and the bottom-line number is wins. So far for Spaziani and O'Brien -- two coaches and friends who used to roam the sideline together at BC -- it's not adding up.