ACC: Houston Nutt

ACC's lunchtime links

December, 18, 2008
12/18/08
1:11
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

  • Boston College has made a profit from joining the ACC, regardless of what bowl it winds up in, and despite the fact that the Eagles are likely to sell about 2,000 of their 10,000 tickets for the Music City Bowl.
  • Wake Forest corner Alphonso Smith isn't just an All-American, he's a riot, and Houston Nutt can vouch for that.
  • FSU receiver Corey Surrency is looking for another second chance, but this time, he must petition the NCAA to get it.
  • Not a lot of Maryland fans are expected to make the trek to Boise, but can you really blame them? Heck, Georgia Tech didn't even bring 250.
  • Every now and then, Victor "Macho" Harris can't help but think he's getting closer to possibly being a millionaire.

Week 2 predictions

September, 4, 2008
9/04/08
9:15
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

With the exception of Miami and Wake Forest, who both face legitimate FBS opponents, this should be a relatively pain-free week for the ACC. Boston College and Georgia Tech are facing each other, so an ACC team has to win that one, and everyone else is playing what Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen likes to call "Sisters of the Poor." Himself included. So they had better win. Duke? That game could go either way.

Here's the guessing game for Week 2:

Boston College 24, Georgia Tech 21 -- This one is based on the fact that the Eagles played Navy two seasons ago and won 25-24 on a last-second field goal. BC's defense remembers that game and knows it can't afford to get into a shootout with Paul Johnson. Plus, it has seasoned defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani and home field advantage.

Virginia Tech 38, Furman 17 -- This game is in Lane Stadium against a team from the Southern Conference that doesn't have any players who have ever beaten a FBS team. The question here is how the two-quarterback system will be used, and how the offensive line will fare without Blake DeChristopher.

Maryland 21, Middle Tennessee State 14 -- With Chris Turner and Josh Portis leading the way, the Terps should score more points this weekend, but they're still settling into their offense and have a tendency to keep these nonconference games a little too interesting.

Wake Forest 35, Mississippi 28 -- Dexter McCluster, who works out of the shotgun the same way Darren McFadden played under Houston Nutt at Arkansas, is tough to defend and can change the pace of the game, so Wake's ability to adjust on defense will be key. Wake has the experience, though, to win this one.

Clemson 38, The Citadel 17 -- The Tigers have something to prove, and they're going to take it out on these guys. Well, they should. The Citadel is 1-13 in games played in Clemson and the No. 23-ranked team in the FCS Coaches Poll.

Virginia 21, Richmond 17 -- Upset watch? Richmond coach Mike London was Virginia's defensive coordinator a year ago, so look for DE Sherman Logan to smother Peter Lalich. London has 16 starters back for a team that won a school-record 11 games and the CAA title before falling to Appalachian State in the national semifinals.

Florida State 41, Western Carolina 17 -- The suspensions shouldn't matter for this game and Christian Ponder has already played in an ACC game, so this should be a warmup for him. WCU coach Dennis Wagner is in his first season and trying to snap the Catamounts' 13-game road losing streak that dates back to 2005.

NC State 28, William & Mary 17 -- Considering the fact that the Wolfpack hasn't scored in its past two games, there's no reason to anticipate a blowout against anyone. Then again, the Tribe has 19 starters back from a team that won just two games in the CAA last year.

Northwestern 28, Duke 21 -- Both teams are coming off wins (gasp), but the Wildcats are a better team than they were last season because of senior running back Tyrell Sutton and first-year defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz. Then again, Duke is also a better football team and beat Northwestern last year.

Florida 45, Miami 27 -- One is a national-title contender, the other coming off the program's worst season in 30 years. One has a Heisman Trophy quarterback, the other a rookie who has never thrown a pass in a collegiate game. The odds and the Gators are stacked against the Canes, but Miami might put up a better fight than expected.

North Carolina is off.

Three questions for Wake Forest

August, 1, 2008
8/01/08
4:52
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

1. Can Wake Forest improve upon last year's nine-win season?

It's not going to be easy, and it's the first half of the schedule that's the most daunting. Baylor's been at the bottom of the Big 12 and has another new coach, but the best thing the Bears will have going for them on Aug. 28 is home field advantage. Mississippi is a tough game to call -- Houston Nutt knows what it takes to win in the SEC, but he took over a program that had four straight losing seasons. In order for Wake Forest to better its 2007 mark, it would appear wins against Clemson and at Maryland would be the key.

2. How will long will it take Trey Bailey to step out of Steve Justice's shadow?

Jim Grobe said he's "semi-comfortable" with Bailey at center right now. Bailey had a good spring, but the Demon Deacons got spoiled with Justice because he never committed any turnovers. Whether or not the snaps were out of the shotgun, Justice handled the ball well. Bailey has the intangibles -- the grit, the work ethic, and is often the dirtiest player coming off the field. The biggest issue is game experience, which can only come with time.

3. With only five starters returning on offense, who will be the Deacons' playmakers?

The guys on defense. Wake's entire secondary is back, including star corner Alphonso Smith. They've also got linebacker Aaron Curry, who led the nation in interception return yards last season. That's not to say running back Josh Adams -- the ACC's 2007 Rookie of the Year -- won't have another outstanding season, or that tight end Ben Wooster won't build upon his spring success, but Wake's defense accounted for a few touchdowns last year, too. Nine starters return to a defense that led the nation in defensive touchdowns last year. And those are the guys who are back.

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