NCF Nation: Richard Goodman

ACC power rankings

August, 10, 2009
8/10/09
10:40
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Summer camp has officially begun in the ACC, and there's a sense of urgency throughout the entire conference as the opening kickoffs are less than a month away. Things have changed since spring ball ended -- Nate Irving's status is questionable, Boston College found a quarterback, and FSU's receivers have been cleared by the law. Here's the latest ACC power ranking:

1. Virginia Tech -- Until somebody unseats them, the Hokies are the team to beat. Virginia Tech's opener against Alabama will determine whether or not it is a legitimate national title contender. There are no excuses for the offense not to improve, and the defense should again reload.

2. Georgia Tech -- Don't forget they were the co-Coastal Division champs a year ago, and return a league-high 19 starters from last year's nine-win season -- including nine on offense. The backfield is the deepest in the conference, and the offensive line should be better, but not even Paul Johnson knows what to expect from his defensive line.

3. Florida State -- One by one, the receivers have started to come back. Felony battery charges against Richard Goodman have been dismissed, Bert Reed should have completed his community service by the end of August, and Rod Owens' DUI case has been closed.

4. NC State -- The Pack is already better than it was a year ago because of its quarterback situation, but this year it needs to start strong instead of making a desperate push at the end. The absence of Irving and the transfer of safety Jimmaul Simmons leaves question marks for the defense.

5. North Carolina -- Until we see how the passing game unfolds with the new receivers, the Tar Heels will have to work their way up the ranking, especially with three positions on the offensive line still unsettled. The defense will be the strength of the team while the offense literally catches up.

6. Miami -- It's simply impossible to ignore the fact the Canes are under the direction of a third defensive coordinator in as many seasons, are learning a new offensive scheme, have a brutal schedule, and are still young. But Jacory Harris has matured as the team leader, and he's surrounded by speed and skill.

7. Clemson -- Yes, the offensive line will be better, but how much better remains to be seen. It's the same group that paved the way for a whopping four yards against Nebraska in the bowl game. The starting quarterback has yet to be named, and the defense will be depended upon to win some games.

8. Wake Forest -- This is my darkhorse candidate in the Atlantic Division (last year it was Maryland). The offense is in place. The defensive line is in place. It's the linebackers and secondary that remain a question mark. You can't go wrong with the winningest quarterback in school history, but replacing those defensive playmakers will take time.

9. Maryland -- They think they're better. They're confident. But if Maryland couldn't do it last year with a senior-laden team or in 2006 when it was one win away, why should anyone outside the program have confidence it can do it with such a young, typically inconsistent team?

10. Boston College -- They found a quarterback. The question is, can he throw? The reports from Chestnut Hill say yes, but Dave Shinskie hasn't done it in a college game yet. Is the 25-year-old minor league pitcher the answer? He's got the supporting cast.

11. Duke -- Coach David Cutcliffe said he won't be satisfied with anything less than a bowl game, and this man means business. He's got one of the best quarterbacks in the league to work with, a dynamic rusher in Re'quan Boyette, and some big-name players on D. But you don't turn around two decades of losing in just two years.

12. Virginia -- The linebackers are gone. The receivers are gone. The leading rusher is gone. The offensive coordinator is gone. This is going to be a big transition year, and a bowl game should be considered a good season.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

There were plenty of scrimmages this weekend, so around the ACC we go ...

"I've never worked with somebody this big," Eric Ciano, Georgia Tech's strength-and-conditioning coach told the AJC. "I've never seen somebody this big."
  • It might be impossible to replace former UNC receiver Hakeem Nicks, but 12 players tried in UNC's spring game on Saturday.
  • Clemson's offense stole the show in the first scrimmage on Saturday. That didn't bode well for the Tigers' defense.
  • Miami offensive coordinator Mark Whipple is getting creative -- "way more creative" than last year, according to safety Randy Phillips.
  • Florida State receiver Richard Goodman is finally back to full speed.
  • Maryland offensive lineman Phil Costa could help fill the void left at center by Edwin Williams.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

One more member of the Wolfpack just got voted off of Quarterback Island. Freshman Mike Glennon will redshirt this year to learn the offense. What started out as a five-man competition is now down to two -- Russell Wilson and Daniel Evans.

Odds are both play. (Where have we heard that before this summer? Miami, Maryland, Virginia Tech ...)

Smart move, especially considering Glennon has guys in front of him who know the offense better. While I trust Tom O'Brien's judgment on his quarterbacks, the fact that he withheld passing stats from the media (and in turn Steve Spurrier) for the second straight scrimmage is a little much. Either you've got a quarterback or you don't.

FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has three, and he's prepared to wait longer if he has to before he names the Seminoles' starter for the season opener.

Nobody in Tallahassee seems to be willing to wait, though, for late-arriving running back Tavares Pressley to learn the offense. 

The offense isn't the problem for senior wide receiver Richard Goodman -- his knee is.

Here's more from around the league:

* Wake Forest corner Alphonso Smith is trying to fuel the rumor that his team is pretty darn good. One more winning season would certainly help.

Wake Forest fans have been asking about Skylar Jones. Well, he's a heck of an athlete, but barring something crazy happening, he's not going to play this season. Here's further evidence why -- they don't need him to.

* Miami is practicing at 5:30 a.m. on Friday. Wake-up call, anyone?

* Keep an eye out for Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich this season. The NFL certainly is. Not only is he an incredible athlete, but he's also well-spoken and a good guy.

* If Virginia fans are looking for some sort of a sign that everything is going to be OK this season, they might want to look outside the stadium. The university just banned signs at games.

* Clemson beat writer Paul Strelow sat down with the university president and asked some important questions about Tommy Bowden and the football program. Here's a lighter Clemson story with a neat twist on the Alabama game.

* This future Hokie might have earned a scholarship by not following directions, and he couldn't be happier.

* Terence Moore and I are on the same page when it comes to Paul Johnson -- it's only a matter of time. 

* Here's a more extensive breakdown of Deacon Tower, one of the places I got to visit this summer.

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

The ACC football kickoff must be getting close (well, that and college baseball is long done in the state of Florida) -- there's more of a buzz in the business today:  

J.P. Giglio of the Raleigh News & Observer's ACC Now blog has his preseason predictions up this morning, and for the most part, we're on the same page. He gave the Seminoles a little more credit than I did, and I agree that team could be better than people think. Still, I don't think we'll see how good FSU can really be until the second half of the season. Maryland might be better than people think. Giglio also had NC State ahead of Boston College, which could very well happen, too.

Speaking of rankings ... You guys aren't the only ones who freaked out about Friday's stadium rankings.

Andrew Carter of the Orlando Sentinel, who is an NC State grad, was among the many who were displeased with my spot for the Wolfpack, so he came up with his own ranking in his blog, the Chopping Block. I like his list.

Carter also had a story on the overall health of FSU's athletic department. The biggest challenge new AD Randy Spetman has is to usher the department through the lingering effects of the academic fraud case. In that respect, I'd say Bobby Bowden has it tougher.

Speaking of the 'Noles ... The Tallahassee Democrat wrote about the healing process for fullback Marcus Sims and receiver Richard Goodman. The Democrat also wrote about how FSU offensive line coach Rick Trickett will earn his money this season.

It wasn't exactly Miami-FIU, but it was a brawl nonetheless. If Miami and Florida State are high on any of these recruits, it could be indicative of problems to come. It was bad enough that one of the coaches was taken to the hospital with what appeared to be a dislocated knee. And he wasn't even playing.

Speaking of recruits ... nearly 200 recruits were in Blacksburg, Va., according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. It was the second of two camps this summer for the Hokies.

Rob Daniels of the Greensboro News-Record had this take on ACC expansion. It's all about the Benjamins, and Virginia Tech -- so far -- has been the biggest winner.

Speaking of winners ... why wait until October to break down the Clemson-Wake Forest game? Larry Williams of the Charleston Post and Courier has it now.

Elsewhere in the ACC, the Duke football team is up to more good deeds under David Cutcliffe. You've got to register for this one, sorry.

And, finally, here are eight reasons to be excited about ACC football this season, according to the Charlotte Observer.

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