ACC Coastal: Lookin' to Drop the Dookies
No matter how many times you say it -- the defending champion Duke Blue Devils! -- it just doesn't sound right from a football perspective.
But there they are.
The Dookies are back to defend the Coastal Division title they earned in 2013. They did finish 10-4 last season and could very well be the favorite in a weak division. The Blue Devils will be led by quarterback Anthony Boone and receiver Jamison Crowder. But if Duke want to be legitimite contenders for the overall ACC title, their defense will have to improve quickly.
Miami -- and wonder no more; you're welcome -- would've been the early favorite in the division, but quarterback Ryan Williams tore a knee ligament and then Kevin Olsen was been suspended for the first game of the season against Louisville on the road. It's an opening for Jake Heaps, transferring to his third school since being the most coveted QB in the country coming out of high school in Duke Johnson will have to carry the load from his running back position, and the Canes will definitely have to improve on defense in order to challenge for a division title.
Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech were right there last year but finished one game behind Duke, along with Miami. The Hokies lost a close 13-10 game to the Blue Devils, while the Yellow Jackets destroyed the Dookies, 38-14. This year, Virginia Tech must replace Logan Tomas at quarterback while the Jackets return Justin Thomas. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech meet in Week 3, and the winner will have a leg up in chasing Duke for another shot at the title.
Pittsburgh is hoping to improve but needs to find a quarterback. Chad Voytik could be the answer, as the Panthers seek to improve on a 7-6 campaign last year. The early season schedule is manageable; Pitt could be 6-0 heading into a three-week stretch that includes Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Duke.
Another 7-6 team last season, North Carolina, started 1-5 and finished 6-1, with the only loss being a tough 27-25 decision to arch-rival Duke. The Tar Heels have lost the Smart Kids two years in a row now, and when's the last time they seriously circled that one on their calender? Marquise Williams looks to be the leader at quarterback. He'll throw to Quinshad Davis most of the time.
Virginia brings up the rear again, as Mike London is on the hot seat. The Cavaliers finished 2-10 overall last year and didn't win an ACC game. This season, the quarterback position is up for grabs, and one of their best receivers -- Jake McGee -- transferred to Florida. The Cavs have a long way to go to play meaningful games with the big guys, but they hope to play the spoiler as they get Pitt, North Carolina, and Miami at home.