Can Georgia Tech stay with Va. Tech in ACC Coastal?

 

Before we break for the weekend, let’s take a look at the ACC’s Coastal Division. Virginia Tech, the defending ACC champion, is everybody’s pick. But I just get the sense that it’s going to be tightly contested race that may go deep into November.

Again, I surveyed the five preseason magazines I use for reference tools and then made my own picks.

Have a great weekend. On Monday we will break down the SEC East.

 

ACC COASTAL

Athlon: Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia, Duke

Lindy’s: Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia, Duke

Phil Steele: Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia, Duke

Sporting News: Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Miami, Virginia, Duke

The Kickoff: Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Miami, Duke, Virginia

 

What we learned: It was a clean sweep for the top spot for Virginia Tech. And that’s understandable. The Hokies return 15 starters (8 offense, 7 defense) from a team that won the ACC championship in what was a major rebuilding year. Georgia Tech was picked second by two magazines, while two others picked North Carolina. Phil Steele is really the only magazine showing Miami some love, putting the Hurricanes at No. 2. Everybody else has Miami fourth in the division. Everybody but The Kickoff had Duke last in the division. But the Blue Devils are going to be better in the second year under David Cutcliffe.

 

TONY’S PICKS

Virginia Tech: Yes, the Hokies have to go to Georgia Tech on Oct. 17 and anything could happen there. But if QB Tyrod Taylor stays healthy and RB Darren Evans (who set an ACC record with 1,265 rushing yards as a freshman) has another big year, it’s hard to pick against Virginia Tech. We’ll know how good the Hokies are on Sept. 5 when they play Alabama at the Georgia Dome.

Georgia Tech: I think the offense is going to be better—a lot better—in year two under Paul Johnson. QB Josh Nesbitt is going to be more fluid and confident, plus the Yellow Jackets have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to men who can run the ball. And here’s an early tip: Georgia Tech will be able to throw the ball better to keep defenses honest. But I am worried about replacing those three studs on the defensive line. There is talent on The Flats, but Michael Johnson, Darryl Richard, and Vance Walker were grown men. And very talented. With a three-game stretch against Clemson (Sept. 10), at Miami (Sept. 17) and North Carolina (Sept. 26), we’ll find out about the defense.

Miami: Just call it a hunch. The offense should be dramatically improved under new OC Mark Whipple, who will turn QB Jacory Harris into a star. There is plenty of talent at running back and wide receiver. Head coach Randy Shannon has been telling us for two years that 2009 would be the year that he would finally have enough talent in place to compete in this league. After a couple of outstanding recruiting classes, he appears to be right. But the first four games (at Florida State, Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech, Oklahoma) are just ridiculous. So it may not be smart to pick the Hurricanes third, but I’m going to do it anyway.

North Carolina: If Butch Davis holds true to form, this should be the year the Tar Heels turn the corner and start looking like a contender. But quarterback T.J. Yates (Pope High School, Marietta) has to stay healthy and he’s had a tough time doing that. I’m also concerned that the Tar Heels are going to have a tough time replacing WR Hakeem Nicks (35 career starts) as their big play guy. The defense, which has been ridiculously young the past two seasons, has finally grown up and will have a bit of a nasty streak.

Virginia: It all comes down to the offense. Former Bowling Green head coach Gregg Brandon was  hired to breathe some life into the unit which was just miserable a year ago. There is a chance that can happen with the return of QB Jameel Sewell, who sat out last season with academic issues. Virginia was 5-7 in 2008 and another losing season will turn up the heat on coach Al Groh.

Duke: This time a year ago coach David Cutcliffe had only a handful of players he felt were capable of playing at the ACC level. After a year of conditioning and coaching, there are considerably more in Durham. The Blue Devils will be able to move the ball thanks to QB Thaddeus Lewis (6,735 career passing yards) and WR Johnny Williams, who had 30 catches as a freshman. Duke has a couple of studs on defense in DT Vince Oghobaase and LB Vincent Rey. They could definitely improve on last year’s 4-8 record.

 

So there are the magazine picks and my picks. What are yours?

 

You can also follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/MrCFB

 

 

 

270 comments Add your comment

David

July 10th, 2009
8:33 am

Miami, Va Tech, UNC, GT, Duke, UVa.

GTJumper07

July 10th, 2009
8:39 am

GT, VT, UNC, Miami, UVA, Duke

m

July 10th, 2009
8:40 am

Tony,

What you and the rest of these SEC gomers don’t realize is that Nesbit pulled a quad the day before the Pach Bowl and Dwyer had a strained oblique. That’s the ONLY reason a lousy team like LSU ( who won only 3 conference games!) could slow down the Jackets. Besides, the Jackets REAL bowl game was when they TROUNCED the mutts on their own home field.

Thank God and Greyhound the worst coach in the history of collegiate football left the flats.

m

July 10th, 2009
8:47 am

Tony,

We all knew that after yesterday’s lazy picks, you would do the same with the coastal.

There is no reason to pick Va Tech over the REAL TECH. Va Tech was plain lucky last year to beat the REAL TECH at home and to be co-champions of the Coastal Division. Ga Tech has more starters back and has a year of this offense under their belt. They also have something that was lacking last year….DEPTH.

Also, if you weren’t so dang lazy you would know that TECH played 2-deep on the defensive line all last year. Tech’s new defensive line is going to be just fine…you are just too lazy to appreciate it.

It is truly pathetic watching a sec homer-gomer like you going through the motions on the ACC. Mark it down….Paul Johnson is the real deal….Ga Tech is the real deal.

The real question is this Tony….how foolish are you going to feel when your LAZY picks of FSU and Va Tech get their arses handed to them this year and NEITHER wins their division. Will you be smart enough to realize how foolish you really look?

m

July 10th, 2009
8:48 am

Please not that the “m” at 8:40 am is a mutt imposter. They just can’t stand that their dawgs got stomped by Tech.

DawginLex

July 10th, 2009
8:48 am

The excuses have already started from m and a single snap hasn’t taken place yet. Am I surprised? No, I predicted it. Nesbit and Dwyer were hurt before the bowl game? And you ragged on UGA about 20 injured players? What a joke you truly are m. Sad part, the Tech folks don’t even like you.

The 2 techs are way overrated. VT will get whipped by Bama and GT will embarrass themselves at home against Clemson and UNC. UNC will win the division and play FSU for the ACC title. The ACC champion will have at least 2 losses.

The only reason an ACC team will get into the BCS will be because of the automatic berth. They wouldn’t qualify otherwise.

emdawg

July 10th, 2009
8:50 am

I agree with Tony in that it will be difficult to replace 3 very experienced and valuable DL starters. The loss of the two starting tackles is tough. There does not appear to be a player with the same combination of size and quickness on the flats right now.

m

July 10th, 2009
8:52 am

Just like a mutt loser to claim I didn’t post the truth.

What a loser.

m

July 10th, 2009
8:53 am

dawginlex,

You are so stupid you don’t realize an imposter when you see it.

Tech didn’t need any excuses to stomp your sorry dawgs arse.

Besides, Tech plays 3 of the pitiful sec teams this year (the only team in the nation to do that.

So Tech will be the defacto sec champs after stomping ugag, mippy pippy st, and vannnnerbilt.

m

July 10th, 2009
8:54 am

Please note that the “m” at 8:52 is a mutt imposter.

DawginLex

July 10th, 2009
8:56 am

My post was written while you were writing your disclaimer m. Doesn’t matter. Your inane drivel knows no limits. Can’t wait for more excuses for your savior CPJ when the defense can’t stop anybody and you finally figure out that Nesbitt is a RB, not a QB who can THROWN AND RUN.

7 out of 8
21 out of 29

m’s obsession with us continues………………………

TDone

July 10th, 2009
8:57 am

Personally, though I thought the world of Johnson, Walker, Richard, and Aliruybe (sp), I think the defensive line will be steady this year. If you noticed last year, this group sat out a lot of series, which allowed backups to get a lot of rotations and playing time last year. Morgan is the man! Anderson, Hall, Peters, and T.J. Barnes, I guarantee will be steady and solid. The linebacking corps is more mature, and the secondary will be improved.

Good times, Great white and goldies…

Go Jackets!!!

DawginLex

July 10th, 2009
8:57 am

thrown, not thrown

Thrown as in under the bus, will be what m does to CPJ after a few losses. Didn’t you like Gailey when he first got hired?

DawginLex

July 10th, 2009
8:59 am

my “n” key keeps sticking like m’s “m” key. Must be a virus.

Stumpy's Bear

July 10th, 2009
9:01 am

Tony, I have to say I’m a bit surprised you aren’t able to go out on a limb for the Ramblin’ Wreck. They barely lost last year on the road, early in the season. VT returns several starters, but we return even more and you said yourself the offense will be better. It’s not too big of a leap to pencil a W in there. Yes, we may lose to one of Clemson, Miami, and UNC but that won’t matter b/c VT is good enough to beat everyone else in the division. On top of that, whatever Tech lost at Dline, they’ve gotten back in the secondary. Besides, most teams would kill to have a star like Derrick Morgan amongst their dlineman.
As I said, I think VT is good and will finish second and I think UNC will have a down year compared to last. Miami will be up a tic.

Lonny

July 10th, 2009
9:02 am

Ga. Tech fans are reeeal uppity, considering they won one more game last year then they did the year before when they fired their coach. Nesbitt better be able to throw the ball in the ocean this year, or they will continue to have problems facing a team that has more then a week’s worth of preparation.

m

July 10th, 2009
9:10 am

dawginlex,

If you think that I ever liked chan gomer gailey then you really are a mutt.

I am the only Tech fan that said, ON THE DAY HE WAS HIRED, that the hiring of chan gomer gailey was the worst mistake in Tech history.

Thank God and Greyhound, that the worst coach in the history of the world, and of course ugag’s favorite coach, is GONE forever. You idiotic dawgs are really going to miss him…and you are too stupid to realize it.

Brett

July 10th, 2009
9:10 am

Good article. I’m a VT Alumni and I can tell you that this division could be won by any of 4 teams. Last year it was gut-check time every game. That said, VT seemed to be able to make it happen when it mattered. Also, the last few games of the season, including the ACC Championship, VT all of the sudden looked liked things were clicking. And last but not least, believe it when I say the offense will be winning games this year, not the defense. I still pick VT to win it, but will have serious problems with Miami and GT.

Ron

July 10th, 2009
9:13 am

Well done Tony. GT will be better this year and Paul Johnson is doing incredible things; however, not enough yet for it to be an easy pick to win the Coastal. VT is loaded this year and there is no reason to think they wont repeat. Especially given the inexperience that they won with last year. UNC and Miami are both tough this year. The division is turning into a tough one.

Alex H.

July 10th, 2009
9:15 am

I agree with Tony. Until someone can step up and finally beat out Virginia Tech, they are the team to pick. As a Jackets fan though, I hope we pull it off this year. The defense oughta be at least decent. We have some stud returning starters that should help the others pick it up. Go Jackets.

DawginLex

July 10th, 2009
9:17 am

As long as Richt is coaching and not Goff or Donnan, you techies know that our talent and coaching will always be a notch above yours.

Richt 7-1 vs Tech and ran Oliary out of town.

7 out of the last 8

21 out of the last 29

m’s obsession with us continues………………………

keepinitreal

July 10th, 2009
9:18 am

Hey m….you guys playin cards?Tech’s lineup this year looks like a Division III football team…maybe you can get Flounder to play for you…he’d fit in with you nerds! I see five loses this year…start your whineing now!

Paul Finebaum

July 10th, 2009
9:18 am

Virginia Tech…are you kidding?!?! They will never survive the first game against the Thundering Tide, the Crushing Crimson, the Rampaging Red Elephants! Why, they will all faint on the Georgia Dome floor at the mere sight of the Mighty Saban!!! He is so sexy! I’ll bet ol Lyin’ Urbie never had a song written for him by the Beatles, “Sexy Sabie”. I’m so glad that Almighty Alabama has a coach with such integrity, one who would NEVER mislead others about his future intentions unlike that lyin’ scumbag Meyer! Long live the Sons of Saban!!!

quaildawg

July 10th, 2009
9:21 am

Tech should get more respect for the conference and league title. ACC has been and still is down in terms of upper echelon quality. Very competitive within the league mind you but has shown they are not quite in the league with SEC,Big 12 (see BCS bowl results)
Bottomline key for Tech will be when turnovers occur (which will happen with this offense) and against who. For validation I give you the NC game last year.
I hope Tech is leading the league when the Dawgs hit town! Finally nice to have some excitment for the game.

Finebaum's a tosser

July 10th, 2009
9:23 am

24 arrests under his watch.

Yeah, Urban has tons of integrity

Gen Neyland

July 10th, 2009
9:23 am

Wanna hear something scary..? Last weekend at my in-laws, my ma-n-law used the phrase ‘thank God and Greyhound’…I sat up like I had a rattlesnake under me and thought, is she or isn’t she THAT poster…Oh and regarding the topic, I’ll let the Little Sisters of Football South Academy debate it today…

KG

July 10th, 2009
9:24 am

Dawgnlex, you may be right about “m” being a moron but I don’t think either one of you know anything about TECH football. The “D” will be alot better than we think and the offense is going to be great. The O-Line is and will be the only question that we have throughout the year, their health will determine the entire season.
As far as the situation with Nesbit, call him a quarterback or whatever you want, any game that has him throwing over 200yds in is a win. If he is at 45%, you lose… Sounds stupid only to the people that haven’t studied this offense. They will “pass” alot more, and if their even a little bit successful it’s gonna get ugly. Not talking smack, just posting facts!

The Jackal

July 10th, 2009
9:30 am

KG

July 10th, 2009
9:34 am

Dawginlex, I take that back, if you think that UGA has a history of better coaching than TECH, you are an idiot. You should do some fact checking. Your officially a moron, just like “m.” How many UGA coaches have gone on to great careers after UGA? How many have coached in the NFL? How many have trophy’s named after them? How many have been offered jobs by Notre Dame? How many have NC’s? Wake up man!

Huh?

July 10th, 2009
9:36 am

To answer your question Tony, no, Georgia Tech cannot keep up with Virginia Tech in the Coastal. Not this year at least. Georgia Tech is a bit of media darling right now. They’ve got a flashy offense that puts up big numbers and the media geeks eat that stuff up and ignore everything else. Defense and overall depth are huge question marks though. I think Virginia Tech is a more complete team from top to bottom. They’ll win it over the long haul.

I don’t buy that Georgia Tech will magically find a passing game this year either. Nesbitt is an absolutely horrific passer and couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn if his life depended on it. If you look at Paul Johnson’s career, this notion that he phases a passing game in to his offense over time simply isn’t true. Its a figment of the Techies’ imaginations (couldn’t resist). Its been run, run, run, and run some more every where he’s been. That’s fine if its working, and most of the time it will, but there will be times that it doesn’t work. There will be times when Georgia Tech either kills itself with turnovers or runs in to vastly superior athletes that have been well prepared to stop it, like LSU.

Prediction for the Techies in 2009: 8-4.

East Cobb Hokie

July 10th, 2009
9:40 am

Tech will beat the Jackets on 10/17. No reason to think otherwise until until the Jackets prove they can beat Tech. Last years game in Blacksburg was the first time PJ faced a real defense, and it showed. It was also Tech’s first time to see it. Bud Foster now has it figured out. Why else would the Dawgs have brought the Tech coaching staff down to Athens to figure out how to stop the Jackets O. Unfortunately, the only reciprocal advice Tech received back was to not schedule a blackout when Tech plays Bama in the Dome.

Crow

July 10th, 2009
9:44 am

I don’t get it. Everyone is saying that GT’s offense is going to WAY better than we were last year. I completely agree – so why is everone also saying that despite the offense being better… we aren’t going to beat VT in OUR HOUSE when we only lost by 3 points in their house last year. Bama is going to crush VT – and on Oct 17 Bobby Dodd Stadium is going to be rockin. VT is going to be chasing US for the title this year.

doctortug

July 10th, 2009
9:46 am

Anyone who saw the Hokies in the ACC Championship game, the Orange Bowl, and the spring game knows how much the offense improved and how viable they will be in 2009. This is with a defense that will be as strong as always. No one in the nation will have a better stable of running backs than Evans, Williams, Oglesby, and Wilson. And, VT’s newly found offensive line will allow them to ramble over, around, and through Bama. Mark it down, 2009 is going to be a special year for Virginia Tech. Mark it down you elephants, wrecks, tar heels, and huskers!

DawginLex

July 10th, 2009
9:49 am

Where did I say anything about the history of UGA coaching?

I said “as long as Richt is coaching and not Goff or Donnan”

Use that fine Tech education and read.

That being said, you really want to compare Gailey,Oliary,Lewis,Curry, Fulcher and Rodgers to Dooley, Donnan, goff and Richt?

Richt is the best we have had in my lifetime(including Dooley). That is why I made the statement about him.

MyWhiskeyClear

July 10th, 2009
9:51 am

quaildawg, I share your sentiments on the ACC. I think it really needs some teams to step up and be the spiritual descendants of the 90’s-era FSU and Miami. Only then will the rest of the country give respect to a conference that has some very historic and exciting teams (albeit alongside a few that no one’s ever cared about).

I’d like for the two heavyweights that slug it out every year in this awaited era to be GT and VT. It’d really make my day if both teams could prove everyone wrong and make some NC-game appearances in the next 5 years. Maybe it’d make the league better…I’d settle for the Tech Bowl equating to something like UGA-FL or TX-OU. But unless this year surprises us all that will stay a dream…

Here’s hoping Oct. 17th is full of fireworks on Grant Field!

The Doob

July 10th, 2009
9:52 am

GT is a dark horse contender to make it to the MNC game. But a shade darker than VT. If VT manages to get by the Tide, GT is the one game that can really derail the Hokies’ season. The winner of that game, if still undefeated at the time, will have a decent shot at the title. Of course, GT will need to be well-placed in the rankings at the time in order to make the climb. Ultimately, the GT-VT game will come down to a couple of variables: Is VT QB Tyrod Taylor healthy/upright for the entire game? Which is related, of course, to how much of a dropoff there is on D for GT. Also, the play of VT’s young LBs. Foster is the best DC in the game today, bar none. His teams play aggressive yet disciplined defense, and that discipline is what makes them so tough against the triple option. But will his new starters in the middle of his defense be astute/experienced enough to maintain their discipline on the road against a formidable GT O? I think the VT offense is improved just enough to play keep away from GT and burn the clock. I’m predicting a very close VT win, something like 27-24.

Burdell

July 10th, 2009
9:55 am

DawginLex….gotta give you credit…. Oliary. That’s funny! Never heard that one….love it.
I was pissed when he tried to leave for greener pastures. Duck Notre Fame and THWG!

MiltonDawg

July 10th, 2009
9:57 am

GT Fans: agree with TB…your offense is stout..but the D has questions and not a single person on here, including myself, won’t know squat until you play your ACC rivals for 3 straight games. Still think VT and Miami (darkhouse) will win the division.

MiltonDawg

July 10th, 2009
9:57 am

darkhorse rather

Crow

July 10th, 2009
10:00 am

Doctortug – “No one in the nation will have a better stable of running backs than Evans, Williams, Oglesby, and Wilson”

GEORGIA TECH – Dwyer, Nesbitt, Jones, Allen, Cox, Peeples, Wright… – it goes on and on baby!

MyWhiskeyClear

July 10th, 2009
10:02 am

Wasn’t Nesbitt injured last year against VT? And wasn’t there a much-debated facemasking call that may have changed things. Now, as much as I hate excuses and realize that this year is NOT last year, shouldn’t these things factor into the discussion?

I respect Foster as well as Beamer’s special teams and the athleticism of Tyrod Taylor. I hope they have all indeed improved, and I hope they beat the Tide. BUT so also have our Jackets gotten better. The in-game coaching of CPJ and the intangible element of experience sould make this the closest thing the ACC has to a battle of the titans. And I hope the Jackets show well.

East Cobb Hokie

July 10th, 2009
10:02 am

Crow, so the real question is IF the Jackets were to manage to still be competitive against Tech this year, will there be any Jacket fans left in Bobby Dodd Stadium to see it in the 4th Quarter? Last 2 times all of your “fans” left with only the players families left. Except for the Tech fans that came to see the Hokies win again.

Engy

July 10th, 2009
10:12 am

Even if all other things were kept equal, home field advantage would be enough to carry the day for GT when the Hokies come down to play us on the Flats.

Otto

July 10th, 2009
10:13 am

GT IMO drops 3-5 games. It all depends on how the DL steps up with new players. GT also has a tough run for the ACC. Clemson, at Miami, UNC, at Miss St., at FSU, and VT all without a week off. They’ll drop atleast 2 in that run.

The good news is FSU and VT both play BC the week before the GT game. I do think BC will be down mostly due to the offense dropping off with the coaching change.

Miami will continue to improve but IMO the problem is more Shannon than the OC. Nix was not a bad OC. I firmly believe Chan held him back at GT and he was progressing with a young team at Miami.

IIRC FSU returns the entire OL. If they can stay out of trouble they will win the ACC but this is FSU someoone will get suspended. Weren’t they in the driver’s seat last year before suspensions hit? If they do win the ACC Bobby retires.

Clemson has the talent to be a spoiler just as they always are but I don’t think they can get over the hump.

DawginLex

July 10th, 2009
10:17 am

GT will beat VT. UNC is the best team in the division talent wise and coaching wise. UNC will play FSU for the title.

East Cobb Hokie

July 10th, 2009
10:19 am

Engy, where has the home field advantgae been so far? Doesn’t that require that fans stay to watch the 2nd half? Players families don’t count.

Hokies bought more tickets to Bama game in ATL than GT fans bought their own season tickets. Sad, very sad.

Otto

July 10th, 2009
10:22 am

Crow VT’s offense will be one of the better of the ACC. I don’t think Bama crushes VT like they did Clemson and Beamer will get the team back on track (unlike Bowden). VT is looking to have a stronger defense than GT at this point giving VT the edge.

I don’t like either team and would honestly rather see GT win unlike many UGA fans I want GT to win every nonSEC team they play. It is the preseason we’ll have a better idea after week 2.

RAMBLE ON!!!

July 10th, 2009
10:24 am

GT should have won at VT last year (was robbed). What we have returnig, far out-weighs what we lost.

Fashion picks, that’s all you got.

The Doob

July 10th, 2009
10:26 am

Whiskey – I agree on all points. This may be the de facto ACC Championship game. I guess I see the biggest potential delta between this year and last is the improvement of VT’s O. Even more than GT’s O with another year under CPJ. And that delta is attributable to just how anemic VT was for most of the season. The Hokies were ranked about 110th in total offense when they played GT. Add another 12-15 yards per quarter (call it one first down) and things look very different for VT. So the relative improvement could come from the original baseline being so horrendous. Just a gut feeling; looking forward to a GREAT game. If the Hokies can’t win, GT is my fave.

Coach O'Leary

July 10th, 2009
10:27 am

GT beats VT. Finishes top 10 in the country! Undefeated versus UGA under Paul Johnson! Then Paul Johnson takes the Notre Dame job and brings back old fashion Football to the Irish. Please check the resume Paul Johnson.