Well, the NCAA Football Season came to a not too surprising end last evening with Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers finally wearing down the Alabama defense in the fourth quarter to pull off the 35 to 31 win in the National Championship game. It’s going to be tough living with Dabo for the next season, but the ACC performed far above the expectations of most football analysts predicted in August.
Alabama and the SEC are still power house “Power Five” level organizations, of that there is no doubt, but it’s important to have a firm grip on the reality that the Crimson Tide also dominates and overwhelms the SEC to the degree that it is now sucking the talent balance out of the mix. Players are choosing to ride the pine in Tuscaloosa for a ring and a chance at the NFL than play their rumps off for a middling “Group of 5” MAC team. Clemson and the ACC walked off with huge margin of wins.
Just take a look at USA Today’s Bowl Results listing from this morning. The ACC racked up 10 Bowl wins (including 2 for Clemson) four of which were against ACC Teams. Only Carolina and Louisville lost their bowl games. 9 and 3 (including Clemson’s two - missed the Pitt game entirely, well we beat them in the Big Ketchup so I’m not crying) isn’t something to dismiss; neither are the 5 teams sprinkled through the final Top 25. And y’all need to take notice because there is a certain, completely unpredicted, team sitting at number 16.
That’s right, Justin Fuente’s 2016 Virginia Tech Hokies landed at #16 in the Final AP Poll for 2016. The challenge is going to be, staying there and maybe getting better with a new “everything” from soup to nuts.
It’s going to be a fun challenge reporting this Spring. We are going to have new X and Z receivers, a new quarterback, several new defensive linemen, and a sprinkling of offensive linemen who will need to step up. Fuente is going to need a better running back situation combined with Bud Foster finding bigger and more complete linebackers for the mix.
Not one person on the Gobbler Country Staff thought we’d be here. We all thought that if everything fell into place and there was near perfection that we could end up with a solid start for Coach Fuente. Well, Ten wins, an ACC Coastal Championship, and a Belk Bowl come from behind Defense led victory over the SEC Arkansas Razorbacks later and we all have raised expectations and much to talk about for the next eight months.
Stand by for the Season Wrap-up first ever Gobbler Awards. The Staff Superlatives are up next for the Football Desk.