Thursday, July 3, 2014
By Andrea Adelson
One quick dip into the mailbag before we start warming up the grill.
Have a spectacular, and safe, July 4 weekend!
Tim Griffith in Christianburg, Va., writes: I don't twitter, but regarding #thingsTimHowardcould save... Hokies version. He could have tipped away Matt Ryan's last minute pass back on a cold, rainy night in 2007 leading to a Hokie victory (and probably a No. 2 finish in the BCS that year just ahead of, gulp, LSU. 48-9 ring a bell?) He could have tipped away the last minute pass completion from Boise State at the beginning of the 2010 season. That probably negates the awful JMU loss the next week as well, and the Hokies run the table, again, missing a BCS MNC chance.You mentioned the last second Michigan loss. Not sure he could have done much more than Bud Foster and his gang did in that one. Ah, to have Tim Howard for just the opportune moments..............a guy can dream, can't he?
Andrea Adelson: Could he have willed Ernest Wilford to catch the 2-point conversion against Miami in 2001? Dreamers always welcome here!
Tim in Louisville writes: So, Louisville is officially in the ACC. Which school do you think the Cards will develop the most tense rivalry with over the next few years? It seems a long shot but I'm really hoping for it to be Miami. We need a new trophy game to replace the battle for the Keg of Nails. A Schnellenberger Pipe trophy would be a more than suitable replacement.
Adelson: I am all in favor of a pipe trophy, but it will be hard to develop that rivalry with Miami, considering the teams will be playing once every blue moon. Louisville's Coastal crossover opponent is Virginia. The Hoos do not exactly have rivalry written all over them. In the Atlantic division, there are some former Big East teams. Do Syracuse or Pitt do anything for you? Florida State and Clemson already have much more established rivalries but if the Cards can be competitive against both, I think Louisville fans would view them as their biggest rivals. That would not be the case in reverse, though.
Barry Rose in Tallahassee, Fla., writes: Okay, I realize I'm from Tallahassee and the Seminoles are my team, but, seriously, Clemson with the best Defensive Line! Did you watch the Clemson vs. FSU games this past year? The only time (Vic) Beasley got off the line was when Cameron (Erving) wasn't blocking him. I've watched the game a couple of times and it is amazing what Beasley didn't do. Boston College's defensive line played us better than Clemson. I also realize that we had a really good offensive line last year and it should be somewhat better this year and for Clemson to win the ACC they have to beat FSU. I don't think it will happen this coming year, either.
Adelson: I have heard this argument used against the Clemson defensive line repeatedly. But the position preview is not a breakdown of specific matchups won or lost last season. It is a projection of the potential the position group itself has headed into 2014. Clemson has the most starters back, and the best collection of depth back in the league off an extremely productive group in 2013. It also has the best defensive player in the league back in Beasley, regardless of how you viewed his performance against Florida State -- a game that got away from everybody on the Tigers' sideline within the first 10 minutes of the game. Again, this is all based on potential. The first big test comes before Florida State -- in the opener against Georgia. Clemson will need its defensive line to be dominant to have a shot to win.
Jonathan Peak in Pike Road, Ala., writes: Maryland is a member of the exclusive Association of American Universities. Louisville is a third tier academic institution. But who cares about academics, right? Oh, Maryland also has 47 National Championships. And we have people like Kevin Plank (founder of Under Armour), Sergey Brin (founder of Google), Jim Henson, and a lengthy list of notable sports journalists with careers more prominent than yours will ever be who actually went to Maryland. Jennifer Lawrence didn't even attend Louisville. You should be writing for the National Inquirer.
Adelson: Looks like one Terps fan can't take a joke! Lighten up, Jonathan! You guys are in a waaaaaaaay better conference now, amIright?
Luke Fletcher in Byron, Ga., writes: Well Georgia Tech's Ryan Bramford (in charge of scheduling) obviously would never be hired at Notre Dame, as the athletic department not only wants to keep the BCS scheduling model of playing a FCS and G5 in the same season, we played two FCS opponents in the same season in 2008 and 2013!!!!!!!! ... No one is saying to schedule Bama yearly, but there are enough P5s to replace one of the FCS/G5 games! ... I guess I need to write to the ACC office about how 9 game schedules makes more sense for the league since Mr. Bamford thinks scheduling FCS teams is the same draw as scheduling an SEC team!
Adelson writes: I appreciate your frustration, Luke, but let me clarify a few things here that will hopefully make some sense to you. Bramford takes his cues from the athletic director, who ultimately decides on the vision for nonconference scheduling. As for the multiple FCS teams on the schedule last season, Georgia Tech was put in a tough spot. When the league decided to move to nine conference games a few years ago, ACC teams started dropping nonconference games to make room. Then when the Notre Dame scheduling agreement forced the ACC to move back to an 8-game schedule, it was too late to find an FBS team to put back on the schedule. Clemson, by the way, also was forced to play two FCS teams last year. That is not a scheduling practice Georgia Tech wants to continue moving forward. Because Georgia is already locked into the schedule, Georgia Tech has opted for a more conservative nonconference scheduling approach. The Jackets are not the only school that plays FCS on an annual basis. Florida State, Miami and Clemson do -- just to name three. They also are not the only ones to play teams outside the power-5 conferences. Look at Miami's schedule this year. You will see one FCS, one tough power-five (Nebraska) and two outside the power five (Arkansas State, Cincinnati). Georgia Tech has future games set up against Vanderbilt and Ole Miss, so that should at least ease some concerns. Notre Dame also is on the schedule every three years. In those years, you won't see Georgia Tech scheduling more difficult opponents because it already will have the Irish and the Bulldogs. There has to be a balance in nonconference scheduling. Just how you achieve it is one of the tougher jobs an athletic director has to do.