ACC: ACC green day 090317

Spread the wealth

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
3:01
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Everyone is concerned about their wallets in these struggling economic times, and St. Patrick's Day is the perfect time for a fiscal review of how the ACC is spending its green. Here are three good -- and three not-so-good -- ways of spending or saving the green:

1. Whip-ing Miami's offense into shape -- However much green was spent to bring in offensive coordinator Mark Whipple was worth it. Regardless of how Miami's offense fared on the field, clearly Patrick Nix and Randy Shannon weren't on the same page when it came to philosophy. Shannon and Whipple are.

2. Upgrade in Durham -- David Cutcliffe gave his football team a makeover, now it's time to do the same with the facilities. The practice field, which looked like it was used by the local parks and rec department, is getting an overhaul. The artificial turf field is being extended from about 75 yards to 120 yards, and the school is currently rebuilding the visiting locker room. In the stadium, two bathrooms and a concession stand are being renovated.

3. Robbing Peter to pay Paul -- While it might seem a little premature to make Paul Johnson one of the highest-paid coaches in the conference before he's even won a league title, the Yellow Jackets can't win the ACC crown unless they dish out the money to keep him. Kudos to athletic director Dan Radakovich for staying competitive with the SEC salaries.

4. The cost of offense in College Park -- In 2006, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen bought a $240,000 Pro Simulator, a complex computer program designed to help the athletes learn the playbook and read defenses in real-time. Considering Maryland hasn't finished better than sixth in the ACC in scoring offense since then -- including ninth in 2008 -- they might want to stick with Madden.

5. Commonwealth Cup overfloweth in Charlottesville -- Virginia Tech can't let rival Virginia get away with paying Al Groh more. Not when Frank Beamer is winning a BCS bowl and Groh is home for the holidays. It's time for athletic director Jim Weaver to ante up.

6. Spread the wealth -- Is Miami really in such a financial hole it needs to bus to the in-state games this year? Other coaches are sure to use even that tiny detail against the school in recruiting because it doesn't project the image of a big-time program.

You look a little green ...

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
1:30
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

They're young. They're inexperienced. They're ... green.

In keeping with our St. Patrick's Day theme, here's a look at the "greenest" units on each team in the ACC:

BOSTON COLLEGE -- If Dominique Davis wins the starting quarterback job, he's got a whopping three full games of starting experience to fall back on, and that's three more games than Justin Tuggle, who is also competing for the job.

CLEMSON -- The Tigers will be youngest at quarterback, where either sophomore Willy Korn or redshirt freshman Kyle Parker will inherit the offense.

DUKE -- The Blue Devils have to replace three starters on their offensive line and returning sophomore Kyle Hill moved from guard to tackle.

FLORIDA STATE -- Without Preston Parker, Greg Carr and Taiwan Easterling (for the spring) and Corey Surrency, the Noles will depend heavily upon a green group of receivers.

GEORGIA TECH -- Having lost three of four starters on the defensive line, it's easily one of the greenest groups in the whole conference.

MARYLAND -- Maryland lost five starters from its defensive front seven, but defensive tackles Travis Ivey and Dion Armstrong ended the year as starters and linebacker Adrian Moten had three starts.

MIAMI -- The Canes are still young everywhere, but remember quarterback Jacory Harris has only started two games and his backups have no collegiate experience.

NORTH CAROLINA -- The Tar Heels lost their top three receivers and will be counting heavily on inexperienced players to replace Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate and Brooks Foster.

NC STATE -- The Wolfpack needs to replace both offensive guards in John Bedics and Meares Green, who combined for 43 starts.

VIRGINIA -- Outside linebacker Denzel Burrell is the only returning starting linebacker in the Cavaliers' 3-4 defense.

VIRGINIA TECH -- The Hokies have to replace two starting linebackers in Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant.

WAKE FOREST -- The Demon Deacons have to replace three starters at linebacker, including Butkus Award winner Aaron Curry.

Good luck, ACC

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
12:00
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

We could all use a little luck every now and then, and today is the perfect day to hand out a few four-leaf clovers to teams, coaches and players in the ACC. Nobody, though, needs more luck than this Irishman ...

NC State coach Tom O'Brien -- In 2005, O'Brien received the John F. Kennedy National Award, given to "an outstanding American of Irish descent for distinguished service to God and country." Rumor has it there's an Irish pub near his house he's a fan of, and even his children's names -- Colleen, Daniel and Bridget -- sound Irish.

O'Brien is as Irish as they come, but somehow he has been one of the unluckiest coaches in the conference. In 2007, 13 players who were starters at some time missed a total of 44 games. Six starters missed multiple games. In 2008, 13 starters had missed a total of 80 games, and quarterback Russell Wilson got knocked out in the first half of the Papajohns.com Bowl with a knee injury.

To top it off, he was supposed to be the grand marshal of the city of Raleigh's St. Patrick's Day parade this past weekend, but it rained on his parade. Literally. It was moved to Saturday, when he has practice, but he's figured out a way to make both. No wonder his staff left him some "Lucky Charms" cereal at his news conference on Monday.

Duke -- The Blue Devils could use some help getting to a bowl game this year. They came surprisingly close last year with four wins, but have back-to-back road trips to Army and Kansas in September and four of their last five games are against Coastal Division opponents.

Miami -- Anyone facing this blockbuster lineup -- Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma -- in the first four games could use a little luck. The Canes will have to redeem themselves from an embarrassing defensive performance against the Yellow Jackets on a Thursday night last season, and travel to Blacksburg before turning the calendar to October.

Virginia coach Al Groh -- It's not so much that he lost 11 starters from last year's team, it's the fact so many of them were key contributors. Considering the Cavaliers won just five games last year, though, maybe it's not such a bad idea to start from scratch -- coordinators included.

Florida State -- A four-leaf clover is perfect for the Noles -- they'll need one leaf for every year of probation. Bobby Bowden will need some luck if he's going to finish his career as college football's winningest coach.

SEC: Super Enviable Conference

March, 17, 2009
3/17/09
10:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Admit it. You look around and see the big, bad SEC playing its conference championship game while the ACC hands out free Super Bowl tickets hoping somebody, anybody besides me will come watch this rerun of last year's game and it makes you drool with envy. Green envy.

You see that man with the bum knee shuffling around Happy Valley, and wish that your coach in Tallahassee was the winningest coach in college football, while quietly mumbling curses on the NCAA. You see Bradfords and McCoys throwing for more yardage than you drive to work and wish you, too, had a Heisman Trophy candidate to talk about over the water cooler.

That's what we're all about here today in the blogosphere. Anything green, anything Irish, and envy tops the list. Happy St. Patrick's Day, my envious ACC friends.

Here are three things the ACC envies about other conferences:

1. The Big 12 and SEC conference title games -- Imagine, the ACC championship game not only drawing a packed stadium, but essentially featuring two teams in a play-in game for the national championship. The SEC's title game has drawn capacity crowds in 15 of its 17 games. There were 75,892 fans who saw Florida beat Alabama last year, and the ACC had 27,360 for the repeat of Virginia Tech vs. Boston College. And the Big 12? That title game generated more attention than the ACC championship before Texas, er, Oklahoma even took the field.

2. The SEC and Pac-10 BCS bowl records -- The ACC was overjoyed to win its second BCS bowl game in 11 tries last year. Baby steps, ACC, baby steps. The SEC is 12-5 in BCS bowls and the Pac-10 is 9-4. They both have had at least six different schools play in BCS bowls while the ACC has had four. Florida State, Maryland, Virginia and Wake Forest have all represented, but the once mighty Seminoles are 1-5 and the Hokies are 1-2.

3. Heisman hopefuls -- It goes beyond Big 12 quarterbacks. The Big Ten had Shonn Greene and Javon Ringer, the SEC had Tim Tebow and Knowshon Moreno, the Pac-10 had Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart. Even the Big East had Pat White and Donald Brown to throw in the mix. Heck, Ball State quarterback Nate Davis got some consideration. Meanwhile, ACC fans are still talking about Chris Weinke and Charlie Ward. Somebody cue up "Glory Days" from the Boss.

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