ACC: Death Valley

ACC in the morning: Hokies to play in Atlanta in '09

July, 17, 2008
7/17/08
7:08
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The hype surrounding this year's Clemson/Alabama game in the Georgia Dome looked too good to pass up for Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver, so the Hokies are looking for a similar matchup next season. Here's another piece on it from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

* Just how important is Cullen Harper to the Tigers? They're only as good as his shoulder.

* Here's something that will make you laugh, dadgummit.

* Uh oh -- there may be some angry wealthy ticket holders in Death Valley. There's nothing worse than an influential booster who forks over cash and doesn't get what he wants -- seats, coaches and ACC titles included.

* Here's the inside scoop on former FSU tight end Jonathan Hannah, who apparently wasn't much of a loss for the 'Noles.

* Speaking of FSU, for those of you who had issues with my placement of their offensive line, I told you Rick Trickett will earn his money this season. (Great lead to this story, btw).

* Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe and his staff plucked another one out of the state of Florida.

* Can Duke coach David Cutcliffe win the season opener against James Madison?

Top 5 questions for the Atlantic Division

July, 9, 2008
7/09/08
3:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Every team has holes to fill, question marks, intangibles we won't know until the season is finally here. But why wait to try?

1. Will Clemson be good enough to win a BCS game? Forget about the ACC title. The Tigers are talented enough to win that. The real question is how well they can represent the ACC on the national stage, where the league is just 1-9 in its BCS games.

2. Will this be Bobby Bowden's last season? Bowden told me this spring he'd like to turn the program around, win 400 games and get another shot at a national title before he leaves. Clearly, that's gonna take more than a year. My guess? He's done after the 2009 season.

3. How will Jeff Jagodzinski fare without Tom O'Brien's top players? This will be his first true coaching challenge. After a warm welcome into the league with an 11-3 record and first-place finish in the division, Jagodzinski's transition from the NFL to college was seamless. Now, Matt Ryan is gone, and reality has set in.

4. Who can ruin Clemson's perfect season? Wake Forest and Maryland. Ralph Friedgen loves playing in Death Valley, and Terps fans haven't forgotten Dan Ennis' game-winning field goal in 2006. (Then again, the Tigers probably haven't either). As for the Demon Deacons, they got whupped there last year, 44-10. This time around, they've got home field advantage and possibly the best team Jim Grobe has had there.

5. Does Tom O'Brien know something we don't? It's his second season. He's a proven coach. And yet the outlook is still grim. After a 1-5 start last year, it seemed as if the players started to buy into his system, as they earned four straight wins. There are plenty of reasons for concern heading into the summer -- namely at quarterback. Yet overall, O'Brien thinks his team has improved.

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