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Tuesday, August 5, 2008
ACC power rankings

Posted by's Heather Dinich

ACC Power Rankings
1.Just about any coach in the league will admit these guys are loaded. There's no excuse for Tommy Bowden not to win the program's first ACC title since 1991. If they don't, it's only because they couldn't handle the hype.
2.Frank Beamer is going to have to have one of his better seasons coaching if the Hokies are going to wind up winning the Coastal Division again. The only reason the Hokies are ranked above Wake Forest is because they should be playing for the ACC title. If those two teams played each other this season -- which they don't -- Wake would be No. 2.
3.Riley Skinner has already led the Demon Deacons to an ACC title, and he can hand off to 2007 Rookie of the Year Josh Adams while they try to find a replacement for Kenny Moore. Wake Forest also has a veteran defense with a knack for turning turnovers into touchdowns. Any deficiencies these guys have will be compensated for by the coaching staff.
4.The Terps could be this year's darkhorse, as Ralph Friedgen made a smart off-season hire in offensive coordinator James Franklin and has playmakers with the potential to flourish in the West Coast offense. The key will be how he uses -- not appeases -- his quarterbacks.
5.Butch Davis has both the schedule and a watered down Coastal Division working in his favor for a premature rise to the top. The Tar Heels don't have to play Clemson, Wake Forest or Florida State. That's not to overlook the talent on his roster. Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks are among the best receivers in the league.
6.Suspensions, plus a baby-faced offensive line make the Seminoles a second-half-of the season kind of team. There is still uncertainty surrounding Drew Weatherford and Seminoles fans are already pushing for Christian Ponder.
7.As talented as they might be, they're still freshmen. They will make freshmen mistakes. The fact that there is no preseason depth chart for this team further asserts the number of question marks.
8.The front seven on defense will have to carry this team until Chris Crane gets comfortable and freshman running back Josh Haden plays in his first few football games. We'll find out how good of a coach Jeff Jagodzinski is without Tom O'Brien's premier group of seniors.
9.They've got A-back and B-backs, but will they get a bowl back? Probably not. Paul Johnson is giving his players the summer to learn the triple option, but odds are it's going to take a few games to work out the timing and the kinks. Don't be fooled, though. These guys are going to throw the ball. Just not a lot.
10.Five options at quarterback and not one answer there is the main reason for this ranking, plus an almost entirely new defense. The Wolfpack will benefit greatly from the return of tight end Anthony Hill and its plethora of experienced running backs.
11.Numerous offseason academic and legal incidents affected the Cavaliers at key positions -- namely quarterback -- and they've got to introduce the new lineup to USC in the season opener. Do college athletes make mistakes? Sure, but all it takes is a few players to throw off the chemistry of an entire team. And again, the Cavaliers failed to be
at Virginia Tech or play in the ACC championship game WITH Branden Albert and Chris Long.
12.First-year coach David Cutcliffe has already revived the energy in this program, but until he resuscitates its record, the Blue Devils stay at or near the bottom. With talented players like receiver Eron Riley and Vince Oghobasse, Duke has a legitimate chance to improve upon last year's lone win. Maybe even triple it.