ACC: Vic Koenning
No doubt he’s thrown the UNC defense more of a curveball this week.
“It’s out of the gun ... and this year we’ve just got ‘em all in the backfield,” Johnson said on Wednesday. “For lack of anything better to call it, we called it a diamond formation. We can run most of the same plays we run from under center out of it. In the game Saturday we only ran a couple of plays. How much we’ll use it, who knows? We’ll see. If we feel like we need it, it’s there, available for a change of pace. We may line up in it for the whole game; we may line up and run none.”
Let the chess match begin.
“It’s a totally different style of offense,” said UNC coach Larry Fedora. “You have to prepare for the triple option, and you spend your time preparing for the triple option. Then they get into the gun and a three-back set back there, and that’s kind of en vogue right now in college football. It makes it difficult. It’s two different styles of offense, and they’re able to that because of Vad Lee. Vad’s a very talented young man who can beat you with his legs or his arm, and what they’ve done is put together pieces of both of those offenses to be very successful, and it makes it really hard on your defense.”
North Carolina’s defense, which allowed 406 total yards in the season-opening loss at South Carolina, doesn’t need things to get any more difficult -- nor does it need a reminder about what happened last season against the Yellow Jackets in a 68-50 loss, the highest-scoring game in ACC history. Georgia Tech ran for 380 yards against the Heels, and it was a breakout game for Lee, who last week threw four touchdown passes in the win over Duke.
Remember: North Carolina had a bye week to prepare for the Jackets last fall, too.
While Georgia Tech is in the midst of a grueling four-game lineup against Coastal Division opponents, the onus is on the Tar Heels’ defense to try and slow down the Jackets.
And, apparently, not throw in the towel in the process.
UNC defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said there were about five or six starters who “raised the white flag” in the first half last year.
“We don’t need that to happen again to us,” he said.
Koenning said some players have already been griping about sore hamstrings and groins this week, and questioned whether some of his players are “tough enough and man enough to play.” UNC safety Tre Boston said “Coach Vic is a firey guy” who likes to motivate them, but he need look no further than last season's score.
“I definitely think we’re up for the challenge,” Boston said. “As a team we know what happened last year. We know we don’t want that to ever happen again. It’s one of those things we take to heart and we remember what happened and we want redemption. That’s pretty much how it is on this defense. I think coach is trying to make sure we’re ready for this game, and as one of the captains on the team, our defense is definitely ready for the game and we’re ready for the hype.”
The question is if they’re ready for Lee, who is averaging 62.5 rushing yards, 157 passing yards and is responsible for eight of Tech’s 14 offensive touchdowns this season. Koenning said the keys will be eliminating big plays and not allowing Georgia Tech to sustain six or seven drives of 10 plays or more.
“We either have to create takeaways, or we have to get them off the field,” Koenning said.
Boston said the defense is ready to play a fundamentally sound, disciplined game, and they’ll have to if they want to leapfrog Georgia Tech in the Coastal Division standings.
“I think this year will be the year that we do it,” Boston said. “With the new schemes we’ve put in and the stuff we’re running, it’s pretty good. Guys have to stay disciplined and stay to their techniques because this offense is dynamic.”
No change-up in that regard.
No way, he wrote, should North Carolina be considered a top 25 team of the next three years – not when Oregon State was left out entirely.
“With all due respect to North Carolina,” Miller wrote, “the Tar Heels at No. 21 makes no sense whatsoever.”
He’s right. They probably should have been higher -- ahead of Virginia Tech and TCU.
The Pac-12 bloggers had Oregon State at No. 6 in their post-spring power rankings, while we had North Carolina at No. 4, behind Clemson, Florida State and Miami -- all teams in the college football future power ranking. Not bad company. And don’t forget that last year, in just Fedora’s first season, North Carolina would have been playing in the ACC title game if it weren’t for that pesky postseason ban. You don’t think they wouldn’t already be in the top 25?
Here are three more good reasons why North Carolina deserved that spot in the future power rankings, and why the Tar Heels will keep it over the next three years:
1. Fedora’s offense has worked everywhere he's been. Southern Miss and Oklahoma State both saw their numbers improve under his guidance. Last year, UNC set school records for total points (487) and points per game (40.6). They should be even better this fall with starting quarterback Bryn Renner returning, and an underrated offensive line.
2. If he can recruit good players in the wake of NCAA sanctions, imagine what Fedora could do once they start winning consistently. Right now, they’ve got the No. 22 recruiting class in the country. North Carolina’s roster will always have talented offensive players, and the program has built a strong offensive line tradition lately.
3. Defense will be the ultimate question under Fedora, but Vic Koenning has a proven track record. I remember Koenning from his days at Clemson, where each of his four defenses finished in the top 25 in scoring, total, and pass efficiency defense. He also helped the Illinois defense improve dramatically (from 91st in the country in 2009 to 38th in 2010 and seventh in 2011.) If given the time, Koenning can build Carolina’s defense into a consistent strength.
It also can’t be ignored that the Tar Heels genuinely like playing for Fedora. He’s as up-tempo as his offense and the guys actually have fun at practice. (Who wouldn’t want to play for a guy willing to prank his own quarterback?)
If this were called the past power rankings, Oregon State would have more of an argument. Tomorrow? I’d pick UNC to win that game. Anything else would have to be called an upset.
“Ron is familiar with our staff and he brings a great deal of success and experience from his previous coaching stops,” Fedora said in a prepared statement. “He’s an excellent teacher of defensive fundamentals who gets the most out of his players. His knowledge of the ACC and ability to recruit in this area of the country will help our program.”
Fedora also named Randy Jordan as the special teams coordinator and changed responsibilities among Carolina’s defensive assistants.
Koenning, who also worked with West at Clemson (2005-08), will continue in his role as UNC’s associate head coach for defense, but will now coach the safeties. Disch continues as the defensive coordinator and will coach cornerbacks. Keith Gilmore was hired last week as the defensive line coach. All four defensive coaches have worked together at some point in their careers.
A 1979 Clemson graduate, West was an assistant coach for 10 seasons (1999-2008) with the Tigers where he worked with Koenning from 2005-08. Clemson won 76 games and played in nine bowl games during his tenure.
To see the full release, click here.
Gilmore has ties with current UNC defensive coaches Vic Koenning and Dan Disch. Gilmore and Koenning worked together during Koenning’s two seasons as the Illini defensive coordinator in 2010-11. Gilmore and Disch were on the Illinois defensive staff in 2009 and 2010.
“Keith is a knowledgeable defensive line coach who brings a wealth of experience at the collegiate level to Chapel Hill,” coach Larry Fedora said in a prepared statement. “He has previous experience with our defensive coaches and I believe he is a great fit for us. He does an exceptional job of building relationships and getting the most out of his players.”
You can read the full release here.
Tennessee vs. NC State (in Atlanta), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU: The Wolfpack will be without starting cornerback C.J. Wilson, but Tennessee will be missing all-SEC receiver Da’Rick Rogers, who transferred to Tennessee Tech. These teams haven't played each other in 73 years.
Elon at North Carolina, 12:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network: First-year coach Larry Fedora will unveil his up-tempo spread offense with quarterback Bryn Renner, and the defense will also have a new look under assistants Vic Koenning and Dan Disch. It’s one of five games against in-state opponents for UNC.
William & Mary at Maryland, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN 3: Maryland will have an entirely new look with two new coordinators following a 2-10 season, but the spotlight will be on true freshman quarterback Perry Hills, who will start in place of injured starter C.J. Brown.
Richmond at Virginia, 3 p.m. ET, RSN: Quarterback Michael Rocco held onto the starting job despite competition from Alabama transfer Phillip Sims this summer. There is plenty of familiarity between these programs, as UVa coach Mike London is a Richmond grad and former head coach. He had a 24-5 record in two seasons with the Spiders (2008 and 2009), including the FCS National Title in 2008. Richmond coach Danny Rocco, in his first season with the Spiders, is the uncle of the Hoos’ quarterback.
Miami at Boston College, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2: Both programs desperately need to start the season with a win. Boston College has won the last two meetings, including a 24-17 win at Miami in last season’s regular-season finale. BC’s offense will have a new look under first-year coordinator Doug Martin, and Miami quarterback Stephen Morris will take over the offense in his first season as full-time starter.
Murray State at No. 7 Florida State, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN3: ACC fans are waiting to turn the page, but this will give the Noles’ new-look offensive line a tune-up. This should be a glorified practice run for Florida State, as this year’s team has combined to start 420 collegiate games.
Liberty at Wake Forest, 6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3: The Deacs get four of their first five games at home and have to take advantage of that. They’ve got 13 starters back from last year’s team, which came within a field goal of winning the Atlantic Division.
FIU at Duke, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3: The Blue Devils managed to beat FIU on the road last year, but this is going to be a tough game again. FIU was the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference this year, and it received points in the USA Today Coaches preseason poll for the first time in school history. FIU is coming off back-to-back bowl games.
Auburn vs. No. 14 Clemson (in Atlanta), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN: The defending ACC champs could help further distance themselves from that disappointing showing in the Orange Bowl with a win over an SEC team. They’ll have to do it without suspended receiver Sammy Watkins, who will miss the first two games.
Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN: The winner of this game has gone on to win the Coastal Division in each of the past seven seasons. The Hokies’ defense will be their strength while a young backfield and offensive line is introduced. Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington ran for three touchdowns against the Hokies last year.
This series gives one good reason why each school in the ACC will win this year, and, just to make sure we cover both sides of the story, one good reason why it won’t. For most schools, the focus is on winning the ACC title. For the programs that missed out on the postseason entirely last year, the focus is on getting back to a bowl game (at least it is here in the blogosphere). In North Carolina’s case, the goal is to survive a transition year that includes an NCAA bowl ban. We’re going in alphabetical order, and the Tar Heels are up next.
The series continues today with one good reason why …
North Carolina will play the role of spoiler. There is plenty of talent to work with offensively. First-year coach Larry Fedora has it made. He inherited one of the ACC’s best offensive lines, he has one of the country’s leading returning rushers in Giovani Bernard and he has an experienced starting quarterback in Bryn Renner. As long as the players can comprehend and execute Fedora’s up-tempo, spread offense, North Carolina will put up enough points this year. Four starters return on the offensive line, but how they adjust to the increased pace remains a question. They’ll pave the way for Bernard, who accounted for 1,615 yards rushing and receiving last fall, the second-best total by a freshman in ACC history. The offense is in good hands with Renner, an underrated player who played some spread offense in high school and has a chance to flourish in this system.
Why it won’t: More changes than motivation. No bowl game to play for. No division or league title on the line. And they’re starting from scratch. Again. The Tar Heels have been through a lot in the past three seasons, as Fedora is their third head coach during that span. Butch Davis was fired just days before the start of fall camp last year, and interim coach Everett Withers was not retained. The players have spent the offseason learning Fedora’s fast-paced spread system, led by first-year offensive coordinator Blake Anderson. UNC will be looking for balance in the pass and run games. Defensively, North Carolina also made changes under first-year coordinator Dan Disch and assistant head coach for defense Vic Koenning. UNC is transitioning to a 4-2-5 scheme. It has talent at wide receiver, but is there enough depth to make it work? The same can be said for the defensive backs, a group that has to replace three starters and will need the most work on defense this summer.
More in this series
1. Duke coach David Cutcliffe. It’s time for Cutcliffe to prove his program is still heading in the right direction, and the most obvious way for him to do that is to lead the Blue Devils to a bowl game. Cutcliffe will be entering his fifth season in Durham, and while he’s been painfully close to a breakthrough winning season -- losing eight games over the past two years by seven or fewer points -- he will ultimately be judged by the win column.
2. North Carolina. The Tar Heels have to prove they can run Larry Fedora’s new offense. They have to prove they can run defensive coordinator Vic Koenning’s new 4-2-5 scheme. But most of all, they have to prove that once again, they can overcome change and the NCAA. There is no bowl game to play for this year. They’ll have to prove they can find their own motivation.
3. Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Al Groh. It will be the third season in Groh’s 3-4 scheme, and Georgia Tech fans are looking for more improvement from the group. That could be tough to come by, considering the Jackets have to replace two starters up front.
4. Miami quarterback Stephen Morris. We learned this spring that Memphis transfer Ryan Williams can and will challenge Morris. With Morris sidelined this spring with a back injury, Williams had his chance to shine -- much like Morris has had his opportunities at the expense of former starter Jacory Harris. It’s up to Morris to reassert himself as the leader of the offense.
5. Virginia Tech’s offensive line. Yes, all of the hype is around who will be the next great running back after the early departure of David Wilson, but they’ll all be going nowhere fast if the guys up front don’t get it together. The good news for the Hokies is that this group had a good spring. The key now is to build upon that in summer camp.
6. Virginia’s secondary. This group has to replace three starters from a year ago and more than 90 combined career starts. The Hoos will depend on young players this year, and Demetrious Nicholson, who has 13 starts, is now the veteran of the group.
From Southern Miss, Fedora hired defensive coordinator Dan Disch, defensive assistant and special teams coordinator David Duggan, defensive line coach Deke Adams, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Blake Anderson, tight ends coach Walt Bell and offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic.
Gunter Brewer, who coached five years at Carolina from 2000-2004 and was most recently the offensive coordinator at Mississippi for two seasons, returns to Chapel Hill to coach wide receivers and serve as UNC’s passing game coordinator. Brewer has coached several outstanding wide receivers in stops at Marshall, Oklahoma State, UNC and Mississippi, including three Biletnikoff Award finalists.
Vic Koenning will serve as Carolina’s associate head coach for defense. He recently led Illinois to a 20-14 win over UCLA in the Kraft FightHunger Bowl as the interim head coach. Koenning is a 24-year college coaching veteran who served three years as Clemson’s defensive coordinator from 2005-08. Each of his four Tiger defenses finished in the top 25 in scoring, total, and pass efficiency defense. He also was head coach at Wyoming in the early 2000s.
Fedora will retain strength and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski, who recently completed his first year in Chapel Hill.
Carolina has hired eight of its nine on-field assistant coaches. Fedora plans to hire a running backs coach in the near future.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Over the past three seasons, Clemson cornerback Chris Chancellor had earned the nickname "little Vic" because of his close relationship with former defensive coordinator Vic Koenning.
Koenning had become like a father figure to Chancellor, so when Koenning left for Kansas State because he wasn't guaranteed a spot on Clemson's new staff, it hit Chancellor hard.
Kevin Steele helped make the transition easier.
Steele, Clemson's new defensive coordinator, brought an aggressive scheme with him to Death Valley, but he was also a familiar face. He's known Chancellor since Chancellor was a sophomore at Miami Edison Senior High School and Steele, then a member of Florida State's staff, was recruiting him.
"Me and him go way back," Chancellor said. "When they said they were thinking about getting Kevin Steele I was like, 'what?' Me and coach Steele, we real cool, we connect. When he came, we sat down and talked a little bit, he told me about everything."
Steele inherited an already talented defense and he is working to make even better. Last year, Clemson's defense ranked in the top 20 in the nation in scoring defense, total defense and pass defense. The secondary has been a strength for the Tigers, and it might be the strength of the entire team in 2009. Although it lost its leaders in safeties Michael Hamlin and Chris Clemons, the Tigers return veteran cornerbacks Crezdon Butler and Chancellor.
"We pretty much learned the defense this spring and so far we're liking it," Butler said. "We can be more aggressive at the corner positions. We're looking forward to this year. It's going to be exciting. Last year we were more of zone, and we had the principle of don't get beat deep, so we couldn't play as aggressive. This year it's going to be exciting. It's going to be a different type of defense."
And Butler and Chancellor will be leading it. The two of them have started together in the secondary for each of the past 26 straight games. Butler has 10 career interceptions for 196 yards, tied for the most interceptions and the most return yards among active ACC players. Both of them had four interceptions each last season.
Although their coordinator has changed, their motto has not.
"Me and Butler, we've got a motto: Every time the ball is in the air, if it's not a pick, it's a PBU," Chancellor said. "That's our motto. Every time we hit the field we say that and go out there and give it our all and try to lock people down."
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Here is a look at the ACC's most overrated of 2008:
MOST OVERRATED PLAYER: Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper. He was picked as the preseason Player of the Year and the first-team quarterback. He was benched, won his job back, and finished as the ACC's leading passer, but was too inconsistent, didn't always make smart decisions and didn't earn first OR second team all-conference honors.
MOST OVERRATED COACH: In all fairness, I don't think there WAS an overrated coach or coordinator in the ACC. In fact, I think the coaches in the ACC did some of their best jobs this season. You could argue that former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden was overrated this season, but so was his team. And the coordinators who are no longer in the league certainly weren't overrated, but I would argue Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning falls into the underrated category.
(SECOND) MOST OVERRATED TEAM: North Carolina. The Tar Heels were picked to finish second in the Coastal Division and came close at third, but never lived up to the preseason hype or the regular-season ranking. UNC popped and out of the top 25 and finished the season out. Granted, there were numerous injuries and it was a heck of an improvement from a year ago, but it wasn't the championship-caliber season some might have envisioned.
MOST OVERRATED LOSS: Alabama 34, Clemson 10. It seemed as if the world -- and the ACC -- was caving in, but clearly, the Crimson Tide were better than everyone thought. So was the ACC.
MOST OVERRATED UNIT: This is a toss-up. Is it Maryland's veteran offensive line? Virginia Tech's, which had two juniors and two seniors? Or Georgia Tech's defensive line? Well, the best defensive line in the ACC turned out to be at Boston College, and the best offensive line was either at Florida State or Boston College. I'm going to go with Maryland's offensive line, which had three seniors and a junior and allowed 28 sacks this season.
WHO TO WATCH: Clemson's coordinators. Coach Dabo Swinney, who will be coaching in his first bowl game, will also be calling the plays. And the Tigers will depend on linebackers coaches David Blackwell and Ron West to coordinate the defense. How the defense -- particularly the secondary -- responds to its first game without former defensive coordinator Vic Koenning will be important against Nebraska's productive offense.
WHAT TO WATCH: The clock. Nebraska is No. 2 in the nation in time of possession, controlling the clock for 33:60. In order for Clemson to have a chance at winning, they've got to have their playmakers on the field. Clemson's defense should match up well against quarterback Joe Ganz, but it can't be on the field all day.
WHY TO WATCH: It's a matchup reminiscent of the 1982 Orange Bowl, when Clemson beat Nebraska 22-15 for the school's only national title. It's the first bowl game since 2006 that will feature two first-year FBS head coaches. It's also the final game for one of the most talented groups of seniors to come through the program.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Overview: The Tigers went from preseason No. 9 to desperate to qualify for a bowl to the Gator Bowl. And they lost their head coach and both coordinators along the way. It was a wild ride for Clemson, which replaced former coach Tommy Bowden with receivers coach Dabo Swinney on Oct. 13. Swinney guided the Tigers to four wins in their final five games and his interim tag was officially dropped on Dec. 1, when he was named Clemson's next head coach.
One of the things that contributed to the 3-4 start was injuries to key players on both the offensive and defensive lines. Clemson started seven different offensive line combinations in the first nine games. The Tigers have had 42 different players start a game this season, and only eight started all 12 games. One of the main reasons for the preseason hype was the plethora of playmakers on offense, but Clemson didn't start to make use of them until the final few weeks of the season. The difference was a healthy offensive line, and a new offensive coordinator combo in Swinney, who fired Rob Spence, and Billy Napier.
Offensive MVP: Tailback/returner C.J. Spiller. Since he returned from a pulled hamstring he suffered Oct. 9 at Wake Forest, Spiller has had 845 all-purpose running yards. Over the past five games, he has contributed an average of 169 yards. He leads the ACC in all-purpose running yards per game. He leads all ACC running backs in receiving yards, and finished with 430, a single-season school record.
Defensive MVP: Safety Michael Hamlin. He ranks sixth in the nation with six interceptions, and his 111 interception return yards ranks second in the ACC. Hamlin is second on the team with 102 tackles and has had at least six tackles in every game and a combined 41 tackles in the past four games.
Turning point: Clemson 27, Boston College 21, Nov. 1. This was Dabo Swinney's first win as head coach, and it was the first time the Tigers beat BC since the Eagles joined the ACC. Both receiver Aaron Kelly and Spiller set school records, a sign that the Tigers' offense hadn't disappeared. The road win snapped a three-game losing streak.
What's next: Clemson will face Nebraska in the Gator Bowl, a matchup reminiscent of the 1982 Orange Bowl. It was the only other time these programs have faced each other, and Clemson's only national championship. This year, the Tigers are in the midst of staff changes and will face a tough Nebraska offense without former defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, who resigned earlier this month.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
No conference compared to the ACC this season in terms of depth, competitiveness and unpredictability. The ACC redefined parity this season, as 10 of the 12 teams finished either tied for first or within a game of first, and an NCAA-record 10 teams are going to bowl games. The ACC had the lowest percentage of losing teams (2 of 12) in any conference in the history of college football.
For all of the chaos during the regular season, though, the ACC championship game reeked of familiarity, as Virginia Tech and BC met for the second straight season before a barely-there crowd, and the Hokies won their third ACC title in five seasons. Both teams epitomized the strength of the ACC this year -- defense.
More than half the league -- seven teams -- finished the regular season ranked among the nation's top 25 in total defense, including BC and Virginia Tech, which were both in the top 10. The offenses, though, struggled behind subpar offensive lines and inexperienced quarterbacks. There was an infusion of youth from Coral Gables to Chestnut Hill, and flashes of potential that should have ACC fans excited about the near future.
Two first-year coaches -- Paul Johnson and David Cutcliffe -- didn't need more than a year to make a difference.
|Kim Klement/US Presswire|
|Mark Herzlich led the Eagles with 105 tackles and had 11 tackles for loss.|
The league fared far better than many originally thought it would in the days after Clemson lost to Alabama, as the ACC went 6-4 against the SEC, its first winning record against the powerhouse conference since 2003.
Here are this year's awards for the ACC:
Georgia Tech B-back Jonathan Dwyer: He led the ACC with 110.7 rushing yards per game, but would have succeeded in any offense. He rushed for at least 100 yards nine times, and is tied for second in the ACC with nine touchdowns. He had 128 yards and two touchdowns in the first HALF of a critical Coastal Division win over Miami. Dwyer ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-42 win over rival Georgia.
Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich: On a team that relied so heavily upon its defense, Herzlich's playmaking abilities were invaluable to the Eagles. He returned two of his team-high six interceptions for touchdowns, and had two fumble returns -- both of which were in the ACC title game. Herzlich led the Eagles with 105 tackles and had 11 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and seven pass break-ups.
Newcomer of the year
NC State quarterback Russell Wilson: Wilson was the difference in the Wolfpack's turnaround, and the biggest reason they're in a bowl game. Wilson led NC State to four straight wins to end the season, and has thrown just one interception all season. In his last eight starts, Wilson has thrown 16 touchdowns and no interceptions, a national-best and school-record streak of 226 passes without a pick. Wilson leads the ACC in pass efficiency at 134.3.
Coach of the year
Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson: Not only does his offense "work" in the ACC, it beats the SEC, too. Johnson enters the Chick-fil-A Bowl against LSU with a 2-0 record against the SEC, including the league's most impressive nonconference win, as he beat rival Georgia. His nine wins were the most by a first-year coach at Georgia Tech. He did it with an entirely new offense, a new defensive coordinator, injuries to 11 starters, and without the maximum 85 scholarships.
Boston College. Who would have thought that the Eagles would be playing for the ACC title in their first season without Matt Ryan, and without a proven running back? The Eagles lost their leading rusher and receiver from 2007, their punter and five starters on defense. BC was picked to finish fourth in the league and didn't get a single vote in the preseason Top 25. The Eagles lost five starters to injury en route to Tampa, including their quarterback.
Clemson. In the beginning, the Tigers disappointed their own fans. In the end, they disappointed many college football fans by sneaking into the Gator Bowl with five losses. Preseason No. 9-ranked Clemson started the season 1-4 in the conference and lost coach Tommy Bowden along the way. The Tigers lost one of the better defensive coordinators in the league in Vic Koenning after his defense helped propel them to a bowl game.
Game of the year
Georgia Tech 31, Florida State 28 -- This game came down to the final minute, when FSU's Marcus Sims fumbled in the end zone, ending the Noles' four-game winning streak and their chances at what Bobby Bowden said would have been one of the best comeback wins of his career. It was Georgia Tech's first win over Florida State since 1975, and the Yellow Jackets ended a 12-game losing streak to FSU.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Well, that didn't take long. Kansas State scooped up former Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, who recently resigned from Clemson. The move makes sense, and he'll join former Maryland defensive coordinator Chris Cosh there.