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ACC Buy, Hold or Sell: Week 1

September 3, 2008
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Each week I plan to take a look at the conference teams to see how their faring, and assign them a Buy, Hold or Sell ranking akin to the rankings used by stock market analysts. You’ve no doubt seen this before; I ain’t exactly breaking new ground here. But let’s give these a whirl.

Think I’m full of it? Tell me why (my wife does all the time).

Boston College: Hold
As much as I can’t stand the Boston College fanbase (supplanting Maryland fans for the time being as #2 on the sh*t list), the boys from Chesnut Hill did manage to actually win their football game, which was apparently a lot to ask of teams from the ACC this opening week. I’m still not sold on Jags as a head coach, and I think we’ll see them falter along the way this year at some point because of it, but for right now I’m keeping them as a Hold.

Clemson: Sell
Expectations for the season crushed the Tigers in week one; they had everything to lose in that game against Alabama and did. So they lose ground here, as well. The most disappointing aspect of the game for the Tigers had to be their lineplay. We knew they were breaking in four new offensive linemen, but we all expected them to at least perform up to a level that would give Spiller and Davis some opportunities to make plays. Epic fail in that regard. It would take a convincing win (like 50+ to nuthin’) in their next game against The Citadel to get them back into even a Hold status, let alone Buy.

(Continues)

Duke: Buy
Well, Coach Cut is off to a great start as Duke head coach. He’s got his players believing that they can play big-boy football for the first time in their college careers. The question is can they now take that next step: beating a I-A opponent. Luckily for the Devils, their first I-A opponent in the Cutcliffe era is Nothwestern, a very beatable team for them, and it’s at Wallace Wade. Can the Blue Devils keep the ball rolling? We’ll see…

Florida State: Hold
No sense downgrading or upgrading a team that has yet to play. They’ll kick things off against the Catamounts of Western Carolina, the football powerhouse that’s given us Brad Hoover and…

Georgia Tech: Buy
Well, at least one team in the league kicked the crap out of somebody in I-AA. And the fact that it was a collection of talent likely learning the triple option for the first time in their football lives, that has to be a very comforting sign for the folks in Atlanta. I like Georgia Tech as a school (depsite some of their hollier-than-thou fans), and I like Paul Johnson. We’ll see how Tech’s new offense fares against BC this weekend, but I expect BC to fold like a cheap napkin.

Maryland: Sell
Wow, 14 whole points against Delaware? AND you let them score? What is it about fat offensive geniuses that can’t coach college football after they get a new contract (Charlie Weiss, I’m looking at you)? After relenquishing his playcalling duties to new offensive coordinator James Franklin this year, he can’t be too pleased to see his offense only put two TDs on the board against a I-AA opponent. Maryland goes on the road(?) to Middle Tennessee State to see if they can kick start the O in week two. Until then, the Fridge is getting a Sell

Miami: Hold
This was the toughest call for me. Miami blasted Charleston Southern 52-7, but most of the high school teams in Dade Co. could post a similar score against the lowly Bucaneers. If I were doing incremental Buy-Hold-Sell ratings, Miami would be a “slight” Buy, but until I decide I need that kind of nitpicky rating, I’ll play it safe and keep it at Hold. The reason being is that I’m not yet sold on Randy Shannon as head coach. I’ve always maintained that a coach needs to show me he can win as a head coach, all things being equal, before he gets the benefit of the doubt, and Shannon hasn’t done that yet. Miami will always win 7-9 games a year on sheer talent…it’s what happens in the other 3-5 games against comparable skill that I’ll be judging him on. So for now, Miami’s a Hold.

North Carolina: Sell
Just as Shannon needs to show me he can win when the talent is equal, the same can be said for Butch Davis. To this point, he has not done that. If anything this weekend, he showed me that he can almost take a more talented football team and direct them to a loss. That’s not good. The Heels perhaps were feeling the weight of a lot of preseason hype heading into their game against McNeese St., it showed. Well, it showed on everyone but Brandon Tate, who posted 397 total yards to lead the Heels to a win. Can the Heels rely on someone to bail them out every game? Nope. If you play that way you ultimately end up disappointed (see also: N.C. State’s three losses in 2002). Davis admitted the team’s poor play was his stubborness to establish the running game at all costs. He has to show me he won’t make those kinds of boneheaded mistakes in future games before he gets any love from me as a coach. A recruiter? Hell yes, one of the best. Coach? We’ll see…

N.C. State: Sell
Woe is the life of a Wolfpack football player. If it’s not you taking a serious blow to the head, leaving you unconscious and out for the next four weeks, it’s your teammate who provided you the only hope at quarterback for the season. With Russell Wilson out for a while, it looks like the man under center will be Daniel Evans. Again. With Harrison Beck backing him up. Yikes. The game against South Carolina was closer for most of the game than the final score showed, but it brought two glaring deficiencies of the Pack to the forefront: 1) Beyond Wilson, they have virtually no answer at quarterback, and 2) They are woefully thin on the defense. The front four of the Pack is pretty stout, but with an offense that couldn’t stay on the field longer than 3-and-out, they wore down pretty quickly and the subs were pretty ineffective. State gets William & Mary at home this weekend, thankfully, and they should win easily, but the bigger questions will remain until Wilson returns, most likely before the South Florida game.

Virginia: Sell
52-7. Damn.

Virginia Tech: Sell
This wasn’t as bad a loss as folks outside the state of North Carolina may believe it to be. They see an L against East Carolina, a Conference USA opponent, and think the world has come to an end. But truth be told, the Pirates are pretty darn good and showed it against the Hokies. Nevertheless, there’s no way they should’ve lost that game, in front of a stadium 2/3 full of their fans. Sean Glennon did not look good at all, hence the decision by Beamer yesterday to put Tyrod Taylor back in the mix after planning to redshirt him for the year. Their offensive line looked bad, and if they don’t get markedly better there over the course of the year then it could be a disappointing year for the Hokies.

Wake Forest: Buy
Thank God SOMEONE from the ACC posted a solid win for the league. The Deacs pummeled Baylor at their house and continued to prove why they’re the class of the league. They just win, baby. Skinner looks solid at QB again, and at the position it counts the most on the field, the Deacs have the best trigger man in the league. Ole Miss comes to Winston this weekend, and provides a solid litmus test for this team. Win two weeks in a row against a Big 12 team and an SEC team and you’ll be the toast of Tobacco Road, for sure.

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