Roundtable: Who should win ACC coach of the year?

Can UNC upset Clemson?

ESPN's Danny Kanell and Paul Finebaum explain if they think North Carolina can pull off an upset against Clemson in the ACC championship game.

Several conference awards are being announced Tuesday, including the ACC coach of the year.

ACC writers Andrea Adelson, Matt Fortuna, David Hale and Jared Shanker offer their choices for coach of the year, as well as top offensive and defensive rookies.

Adelson: Generally, this award goes to the coach whose team has surprised the most. But what happened to rewarding the coach who wins all his games -- one of the rarest feats in college football? I have advocated for Jimbo Fisher as coach of the year in the past, so I am now advocating for Dabo Swinney as coach of the year. Clemson is one of two unbeaten teams in the entire country. It has completed just the second 12-0 season in school history, has been No. 1 in every College Football Playoff ranking and has rewritten the old stereotypes that have unfairly trailed this program. The Tigers have answered every single question: about Deshaun Watson and his knee, about a completely rebuilt defense, about beating Florida State and South Carolina in the same season. Larry Fedora deserves credit for a job well done. But Swinney and Clemson have truly had a special season.

Offensive ROY: Clemson OT Mitch Hyatt

Defensive ROY: Pittsburgh safety Jordan Whitehead

Overall ROY: Hyatt

Fortuna: Mike Williams suffered a serious neck injury in Week 1. Ryan Norton suffered an MCL injury two games in. Korrin Wiggins tore his ACL in camp. D.J. Reader took a leave of absence that kept him out the first half of the season. Korie Rogers quit football in camp. Ebenezer Ogundeko was dismissed in May. Isaiah Battle entered the supplemental draft.

All this on a team that had to replace seven NFL players from the nation’s No. 1 defense, was dealing with plenty of questions on its offensive line and had to replace its prized offensive coordinator, Chad Morris.

All Clemson has done since then is win 12 in a row on its way to the ACC title game and the doorstep of the College Football Playoff. Forget ACC coach of the year; Dabo Swinney might be the national coach of the year when all is said and done.

Offensive ROY: Hyatt

Defensive ROY: Whitehead

Overall ROY: Hyatt

Hale: What’s tougher to do: win eight to 10 games with good players or 13 games with great ones? It’s a reasonable debate, but most coaches would agree it’s the latter. So while Pat Narduzzi and Jimbo Fisher have had nice seasons, the debate really comes down to Larry Fedora and Dabo Swinney. Although I can’t argue Swinney has been spectacular in how he has handled the pressure of being No. 1, Fedora has utterly reinvented his team. From the hiring of Gene Chizik to the clear-the-air meeting in January to his deft handling of Marquise Williams after some early struggles, Fedora has earned coach of the year honors.

Offensive ROY: Hyatt

Defensive ROY: Florida State safety Derwin James

Overall: Hyatt

Shanker: I never understood why the award typically goes to the coach who made the biggest turnaround. What if the reason for the turnaround was that the coach didn’t do a good job the season prior? Or he isn’t a good recruiter? I'm not saying that is the case with any of the ACC candidates, but it never made sense to me to discredit a coach at a winning program.

Dabo Swinney went 12-0 and has Clemson positioned as the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff. While there certainly are other candidates for coach of the year, it is a no-brainer that Swinney should be the choice.

It’s not as if this was expected from the Tigers. Despite being the media’s pick to win the ACC, Swinney has dealt with a lot of turnover and distractions this season. There is no point in rehashing what others have said earlier, but the Tigers weren’t just living up to expectations by going undefeated.

Clemson went 12-0. Give its coach the proper due.

Offensive ROY: Hyatt

Defensive ROY: James

Overall ROY: James