2010 college football preview
Around the ACC
Staff writer Eric Prisbell's picks and predictions for the upcoming season:
Atlantic Division (predicted order of finish)
|1. Florida State||2. Boston College||3. Clemson||4. N.C. State||5. Maryland||6. Wake Forest|
Coastal Division (predicted order of finish)
|1. Virginia Tech||2. Miami||3. North Carolina||4. Georgia Tech||5. Duke||6. Virginia|
Newcomers to watch
Robert CrispTackle | North Carolina State
The second-best high school offensive tackle in the country last season, according to Rivals.com, stands 6 feet 7, weighs 299 pounds and is a season removed from collecting 75 pancake blocks. Coach Tom OíBrien already has told local media members that Crisp has the talent to be an all-pro in the NFL someday.
LaMarcus JoynerCornerback | Florida State
A shutdown cornerback, Joyner wanted to play defense despite putting up impressive numbers as a wide receiver during his senior year. Joyner could figure into the mix this season for the Seminoles, who needed help at cornerback because their defense struggled mightily last season.
Latwan AndersonSafety | Miami
Anderson was cleared to play only in mid-August, but his arrival should be celebrated by íCanes fans. Rivals.com ranked Anderson, who had 14 interceptions last season, as the No. 2 safety prospect in the country.
Upperclassmen to watch
Robert QuinnDefensive end | North Carolina
Quinn is one of several North Carolina defensive players who figure to have a bright NFL future. At 6 feet 5, 270 pounds, the junior is an athletic freak. He broke Julius Peppersís UNC lineman record in the 40 by turning in a time of 4.38 seconds. He led the ACC last season with 19 tackles for a loss and finished fourth in the country with six forced fumbles. You wonít find a quicker player off the edge in the ACC.
Ryan WilliamsRunning back | Virginia Tech
Williams and Darren Evans make up Virginia Techís dynamic running back tandem. Williams was a stud last season filling in for the injured Evans. He became the first freshman in ACC history to lead the league in rushing and scoring. His season rushing total ó a school-record 1,655 yards ó was the sixth-highest in NCAA history by a freshman and third-highest by any ACC player.
Christian PonderQuarterback | Florida State
The senior is being touted as Florida Stateís first Heisman Trophy candidate since 2000. He was the only ACC quarterback to average more than 300 passing yards per game before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that forced him to miss the final three games last season. That injury virtually guaranteed the Seminoles of having Ponder back for his senior year; the NFL would wait.
Games to watch
Boise State vs. Virginia Tech
SEPT. 6: This is the early call for national game of the year. The loser likely will see its national title hopes dashed. The winner will be propelled to the forefront of the conversation. At No. 3 in the Associated Press preseason poll, the Broncos, who return 22 of 24 starters, are in prime position to become the first non-BCS team to play in the national title game. The Hokies have a star-studded backfield, but they are replacing key players defensively.
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech
NOV. 4: This is the key game, among many, in the stronger division of the ACC. Four teams ó North Carolina and Miami are the others ó have a chance to win the Coastal Division. But everything could very well hinge on the Nov. 4 game in Blacksburg. Like running games? Expect to see strong ground games from both sides. Remember, the Yellow Jackets completed just one pass in last seasonís victory over the Hokies. Also remember, Georgia Tech has won six of its past eight November road games.
Miami at Ohio State
SEPT. 11: Are the íCanes really back? This is the game that will answer that. Itís Miamiís Jacory Harris against OSUís Terrelle Pryor in a matchup of athletic quarterbacks. Itís a rematch of the great 2003 Fiesta Bowl in which the Buckeyes won the national title. But itís also an opportunity for Miami to walk into the Horseshoe and get its swagger back. Not an easy task, but worth watching.