Even if the big news from college football yesterday was the NCAA handing down massive sanctions for Penn State Football, the Atlantic Coast Conference had its second day of media day, which they call the ACC Kickoff. During the day the media gave its pre season votes for the ACC races, both team and individual wise.
Nothing too surprising in these choices, Virginia Tech who has won five of the seven Coastal crowns since the conference went to divisional play in `05 seems to make total sense on that side of the ACC. On the other side media once again choose Florida State to win the Atlantic, as they did last season as well, when the `Noles came in second behind Clemson. For North Carolina the one thing that I noticed when looking at the standings is that both the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack are slotted for third in their conference, and for the arch rivals it probably means winning the game against the other in order to fulfill the media picks. Also, for those that do not care too much about these things remember that this will be the last time that you are going to see a six team race, since starting next season both Syracuse and Pittsburgh will be part of this.
As soon you can see by this voting the media is all in on the Seminoles this season. This is a lot to ask for a program that has not been on top of the conference since 2005, but on the other hand most of the national analysts and experts are also pretty high on Jimbo Fisher’s team this season. Even for someone like me, who has never believed in FSU and its hype this year it feels like it could be “the one“. And while coaches say they never think past their next game, the fun of being a blogger is that you can go past a game or even a season for that matter, which is exactly what I am about to do. If the Seminoles were to win the ACC could this be the business card they need to bolt from the conference and head to the SEC? My opinion on that would be yes, but first FSU needs to live up to the hype and win it all, and secondly we need to see how the college landscape unfolds during the 2012 season.
Looking at the individual race for Player of the Year, there was no runaway favorite as sophomore wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Clemson) beat out junior quarterback Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech) by four votes, 25 votes to 21. For North Carolina the duo of Bryn Renner and Giovani Bernard got one vote a piece. And while this is great for the back field pair, even if I think that the running back could easily have a huge season and be in contention for the POY at the end of the year, there was some bad news as well when it comes to the Tar Heel offense. After having reported in a post yesterday that the school had announced a pair of players were not with the program anymore, today head coach Larry Fedora told the media that another player, wide out Todd Harrelson, was also gone. Unlike the prior two players the receiver was slotted as a starter this season and that is going to give the spread offense a hit when the team begins its work outs. From the two deep depth chart Jheraine Boyd will now be the starter come training camp.
Finally, for those of you that want to hear what coach Fedora had to say, here is a video from WRAL. It was very interesting listening to the new man in command and his theories on how to change things around both on and off the field. Without a doubt the way he spoke to the media made it feel that he has a plan and is ready to go through it, but most of all he is very secure of the plan that he has and feels that it will work.
In the end this two day get together was a chance to see and hear a lot of things, but until the season begins all of this is just words and nothing more. There is no doubt that the North Carolina Football program has some good talent on its roster, but it’s also pretty clear that the team needs to rebound from the past regime and the hits the program took from the mistakes made. The team in my mind has the right leaders, both on the sidelines with coach Fedora and on the field with players like Giovani Bernard and Kevin Reddick (to name one from each side of the ball), but there is no doubt in my mind, as I spoke with Mike Felder, a former UNC football player, on “Pushing the Envelope“, the roster is missing players that can step up in case of injuries (or people leaving). As the season comes closer and closer make sure to come back to isportsweb for all the updates on the program.