ACC: 2009 preview superlatives
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Today is the ACC preview day on ESPN.com's college football page, and I've got a few additional preseason awards to hand out:
1. Offensive player of the year: C.J. Spiller, Clemson. Spiller can become the first player in school history with at least 2,000 rushing yards, 1,000 receiving yards, and 1,000 kickoff return yards. Sounds like the most versatile, accomplished back in the ACC to me.
2. Defensive player of the year: Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech. He's the ACC's leading returner in sacks with eight and tackles for loss with 18.5. He can rush the passer, stop the run and block kicks. And that's WITH an injured shoulder.
3. Newcomer of the year: Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker. He's never played in a college football game before, but was the named the starter Monday for his consistency and rocket arm. The redshirt freshman is already a standout baseball player.
4. Comeback player of the year: Miami linebacker Colin McCarthy. He started the first four games in 2008 before injuring his shoulder during a practice in late September. He underwent season-ending surgery and also missed spring practice. His return will be key to a defense that ranked last in the ACC in rushing defense (151.8 yards per game).
5. Freshman of the year: David Wilson, running back, Virginia Tech. Anyone who does eight backflips in a row has some serious skills. As long as he stays healthy, Wilson is the real deal, and he'll have the opportunity to show it.
6. Most exciting player: Russell Wilson, NC State. His ability to keep plays alive and scramble and improvise makes Wilson one of the most exciting players in the conference to watch. Unless, of course, you're watching from a defender's perspective.
7. Coach of the Year: Frank Spaziani, Boston College. He doesn't have a quarterback. He's lost his top leader and two best linebackers. And he's got to replace two NFL defensive tackles. If Spaz has BC anywhere near contention for an ACC title, he should be crowned king of Chestnut Hill.
8. Game of the Year: Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, Oct. 17 in Atlanta. This game will more than likely determine the Coastal Division winner, and it if it's as close as it was last year -- a 20-17 Virginia Tech win -- it should be a great game.
9. Surprise team of the year: Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons still have the winningest quarterback in school history, a standout defensive line, and one of the best coaches in the conference to work with. Those three factors will help overcome the losses on defense.
10. Team that will disappoint: Virginia Tech. The Hokies are supposed to be the ACC's best chance at a national title contender this fall, and with a loss to Alabama without injured star running back Darren Evans, the entire big picture would change for the Hokies and the conference.
Final East Carolina 28 17 Virginia Tech 21 Final Georgia Southern 38 Georgia Tech 42 Final Pittsburgh 42 Florida International 25 Final Syracuse 40 Central Michigan 3 Final 21 Louisville 21 Virginia 23 Final Arkansas State 20 Miami (FL) 41 Final North Carolina State 49 South Florida 17 Final Kansas 3 Duke 41 Final Wake Forest 24 Utah State 36 Final 9 USC 31 Boston College 37