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A.C.C. First Year Coaches’ Report Card

It’s report card time for the newbies. Which coach did better than expected, and which coach left their fan base shaking their collective heads?

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

There is but one game left on the A.C.C. slate. Clemson and Virginia Tech are the two programs that will decide who hoists the championship trophy. At the beginning of the season, we all try to forecast what will happen. That’s what we do. I gave the penultimate nod to Miami and Mark Richt. I have witnessed first hand what Richt did at Georgia, and thought with Brad Kaaya, they would win the Coastal. Justin Fuente didn’t have enough resume for me to pick the Hokies. Dino Babers inherited a dumpster in Syracuse, and Bronco Mendenhall inherited a dumpster fire with that school up north. Here are the grades:

Dino Babers A

Dino’s Orange were a USAToday #95 in the preseason. Think about that for one red hot minute. Syracuse was a never ran in the media polls at media day. Take a clutch win against Virginia Tech, and the Orange are primed for a big 2017. Art Briles may not have a job in ‘17, but Babers is the student becoming the teacher. 4-6 is not exactly an amazing start, but when we grade coaches, it was very serviceable. While the Orange don’t go bowling, the transition is clearly in place. USAToday has the ‘Cuse at #91, but look for bigger and better things from Syracuse next season.

Justin Fuente B+

Justin Fuente inherited a laundry list of issues and Blacksburg. He only managed to get the Hokies into the A.C.C. title game. He also won the A.C.C. Coach of the Year Award. So why didn’t he garner an A? The Hokies lost to Tennessee in a game they couldn’t possibly win. That’s fine. What is absolutely unbelievable is that they lost to Syracuse and Georgia Tech. There was enough talent on that sideline to beat both those teams. It will be interesting for Fuente and company to see if the Hokies can improve on an amazing 2016. The Hokies were a preseason #57 in the USAToday rerank. They head into the A.C.C. title game #20. That’s 37 spots people.

Mark Richt C

I picked Mark Richt to win the Coastal this year. That simply didn’t happen. Brad Kaaya and the rest of the ‘Canes simply didn’t perform. Miami had Florida State dead to rights, and watched it disappear. That kind of set the tone for the entire season for Miami. Too much talent, not enough results. The recruiting war wagon hasn’t started for Richt, so this will be my hot take playoff team in ‘17.

Bronco Mendenhall D+

On paper, Mendenhall looks like the perfect fit. B.Y.U. has special parameters, and so does #LOLUVA. Unfortunately, the Wahoos looked miserable at times, culminating with a beat down in Blacksburg. I think that Bronco will get the ship righted, but it may take some time. Have patience Cavaliers, this is about as good as it gets at Thomas Jefferson U. Blue skies ahead *if he recruits.