Hokies' Beamer the lone constant in ACC Coastal
Jul 23, 2013
To sum it up in two words, I picked Virginia Tech’s football team to win the ACC Coastal Division because of Frank Beamer.
Among the other ACC Kickoff voters, my opinion about the Coastal didn’t wash.
Miami was a clear pick with 65 first-place votes – more than twice Virginia Tech’s 27 totals.
But the nature of ACC football these days is such that at least 10 of the 14 teams could finish 5-3, 4-4 or 3-5 in conference play, including the Hurricanes and Hokies.
It’s just that muddled – or as Beamer put it Monday “balanced.”
“Balance” – in this case – may be a big ACC problem but should work in Virginia Tech’s favor.
Other than overwhelming conference and Atlantic Division favorite Clemson and its Atlantic cohort Florida State, there’s no definitive power structure as the league begins its first season of 14-team play.
There’s not even an obvious third top-25 national preseason suspect.
“There are a lot of (ACC) teams right now thinking about how high their ceiling could be,” Miami coach Al Golden said.
And that being the case, the most predictable landing place is somewhere in the middle, which is why my gut hunch is to pick the team with the most established coach. In the Coastal, that has to be Beamer.
True, he’s completely remodeled his offensive staff.
True again, the Hokies are coming off a bad season by their standards (7-6).
And true yet again again, they have to open the season with a near-certain loss against Alabama on Aug. 31 in the Atlanta Georgia Dome.
And finally, the Hokies will end with three road games (Boston College, Miami and Virginia) and only one (Maryland) in Blacksburg.
But when you rank the Coastal coaches, here is what I see:
1. Beamer: Solid, established and at age 66, thinking about his legacy. Maybe it’s just me, but I think the old pro’s going to make a late-life statement.
2. Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech: Through five years, his ACC record is 26-14 and his option offense is getting tougher to stop_ not easier _ for ACC foes.
3. Larry Fedora, UNC: I’m not sure he’s a great coach or even a coach who wants to stay put, but Fedora has done a remarkable job with quarterback Bryn Renner.
4. David Cutcliffe, Duke: He’s excavated Blue Devil football, which seemed an impossible challenge upon his arrival in 2008. The Devils now are one of those teams completely capable of going 3-5 or 5-3, rather than a perpetual 0-8.
5. Golden: Seemingly a good guy in a seemingly bad job.
6. Paul Chryst, Pitt: Who knows? Went 6-7 in his first season with an easy win over Virginia Tech and an ugly loss to Youngstown State. He does have Brooks Bollinger to coach quarterbacks.
7. Mike London, Virginia: League coach of the year in 2011 but maybe he worst quarterback procurer in ACC history. Hopefully, the addition of Tom O’Brien will help stabilize the program.