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Tuesday, July 22, 2008
ACC in the morning: How the league stacks up


Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Finally, a fresh take on expansion -- Gregg Doyel says it's not the reason the league is, um, down.

Just how bad is the ACC? Check out Tony Barnhart's numbers. Even Georgia Tech defensive tackle Vance Walker admitted the SEC has been beating up on the league. Frank Beamer will be the first to tell you the Hokies didn't do their part last year.

Can they redeem themselves this year? Maybe. Although Doug Flutie says Beamer needs to pick a quarterback. Still, the Hokies certainly have a better chance at a BCS game than Virginia, and, yes, Al Groh, we are laughing at the one reporter who gave your Cavaliers a first-place vote.  There was certainly a lot of love for North Carolina the past two days, and considering the turnouts at the free bar in the media hospitality house down here (yes, we got a whole "Presidential house," as opposed to the usual suite), Butch Davis asked a valid question.

Despite all of the hype surrounding his Tar Heels, Clemson is the better team, but good luck finding a ticket to the Alabama game.

Despite his recent struggles, Florida State coach Bobby Bowden drew quite a crowd to his interview table Monday -- much of that, though, was to answer questions about his son. So where is the pressure in the Bowden family this season? The patriarch of college football says it's on his son, Tommy. Caulton Tudor said that's because there's no fear of FSU anymore. Well, that, and as Bobby pointed out -- "(Tommy) hasn't won anything yet."

If I were Tommy Bowden, though, there's nobody else I'd rather be getting advice from than good 'ole dad. After all, father has beaten son three years in a row. One thing's for sure: Bobby Bowden ain't ready to retire, dadgummit.

Bob Thomas says look out, though, for the ACC's dark horses. Wake Forest definitely will have a shot at it, especially if Jim Grobe keeps plucking talent out of Florida. I still consider Maryland a dark horse in the Atlantic Division, but I also seem to have more faith in the Terps this season than most of the media here.Clearly Ralph Friedgen has been working to ensure another 6-7 season doesn't happen again.

The AJC also had more on Miami's turnaround. Randy Shannon seems to have a more realistic approach this time around. In order to move forward, though, the Hurricanes have to first forget about the past.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe will have his team moving up in no time, but first he had them slimming down. Don't look now, but the Blue Devils are actually looking like a football team. And they can add, too. Joe Paterno is the one who started the "Grand Experiment." It worked for him once. College football today is a different story. We'll see if Cutcliffe's version of the experiment can work.

From the looks of it, Boston College probably won't be the team changing the perception of the league this year. This just in -- the Eagles will look different.

Playoff? Did somebody say playoff? By the way, the entire time I was sitting at Randy Shannon's table yesterday, he was answering questions with questions, like he did in that article. I'll show you later. First, I must attend ACC commissioner John Swofford's breakfast at 9 a.m. Check back later for what he said, and more on the coaches.