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Justin Fuente, Mark Richt, Bronco Mendenhall: The A.C.C. Coastal Just Got Real.

The Influx Of New Talent Will Make the Path to Charlotte Even Harder

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The A.C.C. Coastal as of late has been a cast of supporting actors.  Larry Fedora and his crew from North Carolina were a Ron Cherry-esque bad call from possibly being a part of the final four.  David Cutcliffe has put life in a Duke program that gave F.S.U. all in wanted in 2013.  Paul Johnson made his statement by almost beating the #2 'Noles in 2014.  The Ramblin' Wreck dropped that game 37-35, but made enough impressions to be voted by the A.C.C. media the favorite to win the Coastal this year.    Pat Narduzzi somehow made the Pitt Panthers relevant this year, and as we close the season, the Coastal is ripe with intrigue.

"Three huge hires have transformed the "stepbrother" Coastal division into one of the most competitive divisions in all of college football."

The Frank Beamer conundrum clouded the Virginia Tech landscape.  That uncertainty was finally resolved.  The Hokies announced that former Memphis coach Justin Fuente would be the man that would replace the legend. Fuente has the chops to do the job, and once again Virginia Tech was a contender. If you haven't met Coach Fuente yet, check out our preview here. The Beamer in and out puzzle needed to be solved. Whit Babcock stepped up and made the right call on this one.  About week 8 during this season, "Fuente Mania" was gripping the college football collective.

Since Miami was all in on the Fuente sweepstakes, you know others had something to say about getting the hottest commodity since sliced bread:

Then Babcock got him. That's a win. Then Whit Babcock talked Bud Foster into staying in Blacksburg. That's just implausible. Whit Babcock is smarter than me for sure. I'd be willing to bet that he's smarter than most of us. So now that Virginia Tech has its home run hire....Who else wants to play?

Damn. Every time we try to get away from the 'Canes, they pull us back in. Was there some buyer's remorse at the Fuente hire? Nah, I've seen the Richt ceiling, haven't seen the Fuente version. I can tell you Miami got one hell of a coach, but not sure if I will be seeing The U Starter jackets anytime soon. I will tell you that the product seen at Joe Robbie/Landshark/SunLife Stadium will be much improved next year. We are in a slugfest folks. We hit a home run, the 'Canes answered. Certainly there wouldn't be any more killer hires this year. Thank God we have "that school up north" to make sure we look good. At last look we have owned the state for over 4000 days. Nothing to see here folks. Mike London has a master plan, and we appreciate him for that....

Shut the front door! Now T.J.U. (Thomas Jefferson U) suddenly cares enough about the barbaric sport of football to make a decent hire? The VT message boards were more blown away with this hire than our own. That enough tells me it's trouble. He might get around to recruiting. He might start getting around to sourcing the 757. Hell, he might even win a game here or there. The point is, even Virginia is suddenly relevant. That's not an automatic win people. The fireworks have blasted. The big dogs have taken their turn plucking coaches to become serious contenders. There was another coaching decision in the A.C.C. that might just be biggest. It was quiet down here. Up north it was a neutron bomb. Syracuse football might have found a leader.

This one scares me the most, as Syracuse might actually live up to the "Sleeping Giant" moniker. While the Orange aren't in the Coastal, I have a bad feeling we might be seeing them in Charlotte. The offenses in the Coastal will only get better. I can guarantee you that Mendenhall, Fuente,and Richt are not defensive guys. Look at at what Dabo has done at Clemson and that will be the blueprint moving forward. When 3 out of 6 coaches in your division are brand new, then we will see the true fireworks.