Posted by ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich
There was a time this year when North Carolina was ranked No. 19 in the country. Now the glaring ranking is 113 -- how the Tar Heels’ stack up in total offense compared with the other 120 teams.
There was a time this year when Florida State was ranked No. 18 in the country. Now the Noles are ranked 112th in the nation in pass defense.
Both teams have 0-2 records in ACC play and have been the biggest disappointments in their respective divisions so far. But which one has been the bigger letdown to the entire conference?
Florida State gets my vote.
Not only have the Seminoles struggled on the field, but they’re stuck in a swirl of controversy off it, as there’s a division amongst fans, boosters and those within the program about what direction Florida State is headed. UNC offensive coordinator John Shoop can rest easy so long as Bobby Bowden is in the spotlight.
Florida State was picked by the media this preseason to win the Atlantic, while North Carolina was picked to finish third behind Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. After an eight-win season, UNC was supposed to at least contend for the Coastal Division title, but everyone knew how difficult it would be to replace the standout receivers who left, and it’s hard to find another offensive line that lost so much depth this past offseason. There are reasons behind North Carolina’s struggles.
Florida State, however, is just young, but it’s been young for years.
“But nobody buys that anymore," Bowden told the Tallahassee Democrat. "Of course, I don't buy it. Not anymore."
Both of these programs were expected to take another step forward this fall, but both of them appear instead to be regressing. The difference between the two of them in is leadership -- UNC has it in Butch Davis, and Florida State is floundering without it.