Last week I gave you the five ACC football storylines I was tired of hearing this offseason. Here are five I think are flying under the radar and deserve more attention. Add your own in the comments.
Virginia Tech's lack of depth on the lines.
One or two key injuries on the offensive or defensive line could seriously derail the Hokies' ACC title aspirations. And it's happened each of the last two year. In 2008, tackle Ed Wang was injured in the preseason and missed the first half of the year. This led to a complete lack of continuity on the offensive and the Hokies' run game struggled until the last few games. Last year, tackle Blake DeChristopher was injured early in Tech's loss to ECU in the opener. His absence led to more struggles in the run game. On defense, the Hokies have a lot of unproven players after their starting four.
The Coastal is now better than the Atlantic.
Last year the talk before the season was how much better the Atlantic Division was than the Coastal. Well, a year later I think that's completely changed. The Atlantic has two teams (FSU and Clemson) that I think have a realistic shot at winning the division. NC State and Wake have questions on defense and Maryland and BC will be bad this year. In the Coastal, you have two favorites in VT and GT and two bad teams in Duke and UVa. The difference is in the middle. Miami and UNC are better than NC State and Wake in my opinion and have a much better shot at contending for a division crown. The Canes and Heels have two very good defenses.
This league already has some really good running backs.
Of the top 13 in yards per carry in the ACC last year, only two (Cedric Pearman and Antone Smith) were a seniors. Freshman and sophomores dominated the rushing leaderboard in a primarily rushing league. Those backs are back and are joined by another youngster who I think will star in the ACC in 2009, FSU's Jermaine Thomas. Thomas averaged seven yards per carry last year as a freshman while splitting time with Antone Smith.
Most of the ACC quarterbacks are veterans.
The league has seen some terrible quarterback play in recent years but I think that trend is shifting. Gone are inconsistent guys like Sean Glennon, Drew Weatherford and Reggie Ball. Nearly all of the teams in the ACC return their starting quarterback from last year and most are juniors and sophomores. If guys like Jacory Harris and Tyrod Taylor can play more consistent, the league will have an excellent crop of quarterbacks this year and next.
The ACC had a winning record against God's Conference in 2008.
The league went 6-4 against the SEC last year. The problem is most of the losses were painful and on national TV. The Hokies helped get one monkey off the ACC's back by winning the Orange Bowl. They can get rid of another big one if they can upset Alabama on Sept. 5.