ACC mailblog: FSU's defense, Georgia Tech's future & coaches in the 80s


Who's up for some mail-bagging? Let's get to it…

No doubt, this would be a tremendously fun matchup, and add to it that Jimbo Fisher spent plenty of time patrolling the sidelines for LSU, too. To make it happen though, it would probably require both teams collapsing down the stretch.

If LSU doesn't make the playoff, it would almost certainly get a Sugar Bowl nod, and FSU can't land there. That means both teams would need to slip out of New Year's Six action, which leaves two possibilities: The TaxSlayer Bowl or the Belk Bowl, which are both ACC-SEC matchups.

The former is actually a reasonable landing spot for the Seminoles, given that the Russell Athletic Bowl might have misgivings about nabbing FSU since the Noles open in Orlando in 2016. The problem with that is, the TaxSlayer Bowl would be no better than fifth in line for SEC teams (assuming one makes the playoff), and it doesn't look like LSU would fall that far.

In other words, don't get your hopes up for a Dalvin Cook-Leonard Fournette showdown this year. In the playoff next season though? That could be a different story.

It's come to this, Tech fans. We're talking 2016 already. Injuries and scheduling killed this Georgia Tech team, and ideally that won't be such an issue next year. Plus, you'll have Justin Thomas back for another year, and in spite of all the problems this season, every coach I've talked to has said the same thing about Georgia Tech: If Thomas is in the backfield, they're dangerous.

The big concerns at North Carolina would be losing some essential pieces in Landon Turner, Jeff Schoettmer and Shakeel Rashad. But that skill group on offense will be back, and UNC has one of the most talented back-up quarterbacks in the country in Mitch Trubisky. And given another year of recruiting and practice, Gene Chizik's defense should improve overall. The linebacker group would be my biggest worry, but if the coaching staff stays in place, the Heels should expect another good season in 2016.

At least five starters will be gone, and if DeMarcus Walker continues to progress, it'll be interesting to see how he views the NFL at year's end. The young core of Josh Sweat, Derrick Nnadi, Derwin James and Jacob Pugh should be a good mix with veterans like Nate Andrews and Marquez White, and if other backups like Demarcus Christmas and Tarvarus McFadden make progress, it could be a very good unit next season.

The truth is, the ACC as a whole is pretty bad this year. And as reputations go, until Virginia Tech and Miami get back to winning consistently, it's unlikely the ACC is going to change many hearts and minds. But what the real battle cry should be is that elite teams can still come from bad conferences. How Georgia Tech or Wake Forest perform is independent of the talent on Clemson or North Carolina's roster, and it should be viewed as such. Was Albert Einstein any less brilliant when he worked as a patent clerk? Of course not, he just had fewer opportunities to showcase his brilliance. That's what conference affiliation is, really. It doesn't restrict a team's greatness, just the number of opportunities it has to showcase that greatness.

Trevone Boykin's implosion against Oklahoma State probably sunk his hopes, which puts Deshaun Watson front and center among the quarterbacks. And the last time there wasn't a quarterback in the top three in Heisman voting at year's end was 1980, when Purdue's Mark Herrmann finished fourth. Essentially if Watson keeps up his current pace, he'll be in New York. But if he gets shut down at any point, there are enough great running backs this year to make history.

Dabo Swinney as Howlin' Mad Murdock is a given. Every episode of “A-Team” was a B.Y.O.G. episode.

Dave Doeren is Ralph from "Greatest American Hero," because he's enduring plenty of ups and downs while trying to figure out the potential of his program. Plus, red uniforms.

Pat Narduzzi is Rebecca Howe from "Cheers." He took a stagnant but relatively successful show and injected some much needed new energy.

Frank Beamer, Shane Beamer and Bud Foster are the guys from “Full House.” You figure out who's who.

Given Scott Shafer's look in the 1980s, he's a dead ringer for Wayne, the bratty brother on “The Wonder Years.”

This isn't necessarily a TV character, but Jimbo Fisher certainly talks as fast as the Micro Machines guy.

Dave Clawson is Sam from “Quantum Leap,” dropped in an impossible job but determined to make right what's gone wrong at Wake Forest.

Steve Addazio is Tony from “Who's the Boss." Blue collar, lovable, lives in the Northeast.

Bobby Petrino is Bobby Ewing from “Dallas,” gone for a bit, then suddenly back.

Larry Fedora might be Dan Fielding from “Night Court,” which I guess puts Gene Chizik in the Harry Anderson role.

Given the Miami connection, Al Golden and Larry Scott have to be Crockett and Tubbs, right?

Matt Fortuna suggests Mike London would be Carl from “Family Matters.” Did you know he used to be a police officer?

Andrea Adelson notes that Paul Johnson would be an exceptional Cliff from “Cheers.”

And David Cutcliffe is definitely Mr. Belvedere — way too qualified for this job, but eventually his sophistication began to rub off on his underachieving employers.