Countdown to No. 1: Can No. 14 Georgia Tech win another ACC title?

We continue our countdown to our preseason Top 25, which will conclude on Friday with No. 1 through No. 5.

Today we have 11-15 and you’ll find three ACC Coastal teams: North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech. Now the round robin with those three and No. 20 Miami is going to be fun. Some smart people are telling me I have Miami rated too low. We’ll see.

Again, let me know what you think. We will have teams 6-10 on Thursday.

 

 

15. Florida State

**–It will be a good season if:  The defense improves just a little bit. Florida State struggled last season and Mark Stoops, brother of Bob, comes in as defensive coordinator. But we wonder if the Seminoles have the horses to be really good. If so, FSU can get to the ACC championship game.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: QB Christian Ponder does not bounce back to his 2009 form. The senior was averaging 321.8 yards of total offense  per game when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the ninth game against Clemson. He completed 68 percent of his passes last season and is playing behind a great offensive line.

14. Georgia Tech

**–It will be a good season if: Quarterback Joshua Nesbitt stays healthy. Nesbitt is the straw who stirs the cocktail that is Paul Johnson’s high-octane offense. Nesbitt has an adequate backup in Tevin Washington but Nesbitt can’t miss long stretches of play.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The defense does not improve. It should as Al Groh, one of the best defensive minds in the game, takes over. The Yellow Jackets also have to replace four NFL draft choices (two on offense, two on defense) who were difference makers.

13. Virginia Tech

**–It will be a good season if: Bud Foster is able to rebuild his defense. Nobody is worried about the offense as running backs Darren Evans (2008 ACC freshman of the year) and Ryan Williams (2009 ACC freshman of the year) return along with senior quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

**–It will be disappointing season if: The Hokies fall in the opener against Boise State. Last season Virginia Tech lost its first game to Alabama in Atlanta. That game exposed some weaknesses that teams like Georgia Tech were able to exploit. Beat Boise and Virginia Tech could be in the BCS title discussion in November.

 

12. Wisconsin

**–It will be a good season if: Running back John Clay can pick up where he left off last season. Clay finished the season with six consecutive games over 100 yards and finished as the Big Ten’s leading rusher with 1,517 yards.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: The Badgers lose back to back games with Ohio State (Oct. 16 in Madison) and Iowa (Nov. 23 at Iowa City). Wisconsin will be favored in every other game it plays and a split in those two games probably puts the Badgers in a BCS game.

11. North Carolina

**–It will be a good season if: Senior quarterback T.J. Yates rediscovers his 2007 form when he threw for over 2,600 yards. The defense is so good that if the Tar Heels get consistent play at quarterback, they can win the very tough ACC Coastal.

**–It will be a disappointing season if: Marvin Austin’s contact with agents keeps him out of action for an extended period of time. This North Carolina team is built around a defense that has at least six NFL Draft choices. It can’t afford to lose Austin and it can’t afford for this to be a major distraction.

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599 comments Add your comment

That Guy

August 18th, 2010
10:39 am

Back River – You are completely wrong. Sure, the caliber of talent that Navy played when Paul Johnson was there was nowhere near as high as it is at Georgia Tech. But at the same time, the guys he was playing with were 0 stars on Rivals. He was playing with guys that are nowhere near as talented as he has here, guys whose first priority at school was not to play football, but to serve their country. In order to do these, they all had to meet height and weight requirements, had extra school work and Navy work to do, in addition to football. He consistently went 8-4, 9-3 with guys that were on no one else’s radar in college football.

In summary, of course he wasn’t facing the caliber of defenses at Navy as he is now, but look who he was playing with.. Nobody.

DawgByte

August 18th, 2010
10:39 am

Agree that UNC likely wins the Coastal. Losing one of the defensive studs will still leave that D as the best in the land. Offensively they only can show upside! No way they could be worse!! Thus they will be a much improved team if the Offense improves at all! They are a threat to be in NC talk.

VPI just lost too much on defense. And has that offense ever been top notch??? Maybe once back in the M.Vick days but overall the VPI Offense has never caused Defenses to shake. It is the vaunted Bud Foster D’s and Beamer Ball that make them tough. The D simply lost too much talent. They will lose 3 games this year/ 4 or more if they lose to BSU.

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:39 am

I would much rather be murray with AJ green to throw to and king and ealey in the back field to pose a dual threat. Are you going to cover the heisman or try and stop the fresh backs coming in running down hill with experienced OLine clearing lanes.

McDawg

August 18th, 2010
10:40 am

the darlings of the college football world all seem to be in the ACC this year-FSU, Miami, & UNC-VT will whip any of them

SuperiorIntellect

August 18th, 2010
10:41 am

Right on Tony. Either the majority of bloggers on this thread are biased against UNC, or they don’t follow the team closely. UNC’s defense is as good as advertised, despite the fact that GaTech rolled over them last year. I believe Tech lost to either Miami or VaTech last year, while UNC beat both, including VaTech in Blacksburg. People tend to forget (ignore) this, as well as the fact that UNC was very banged up on offensive line last year. They played with defensive player on the O-line. They are healthy this year and the offense has played well in pre-season. In addition, they have 3 highly touted, but inexperienced receivers last year who did not know which way to run. J. Boyd and Dwight Jones are killer receivers, not to mention Little. TE Pianalto could be an All-American at that position. People don’t know about QB Renner, who was the most accurate passer in the elite 11 (Murray was in that camp) last year. He is also very mobile. He stood out in the Spring game. You have been warned (but I believe everyone already knows it, but do not want to admit it.)!

McDawg

August 18th, 2010
10:41 am

regardin gour Offensive Line-i will believe it when i see it

G8R GRAD

August 18th, 2010
10:41 am

Q Dog:

See you Oct. 30th.

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
10:41 am

LowCountry, I think y’all have a terrific backfield. But let’s be real for a second here. You and I could have rushed for a buck-fifty against Tech’s defense last year. Hell, we could have ridden a tricycle through some of the holes the line created agaist us last year.

ChildPlease

August 18th, 2010
10:42 am

Ummm… pretty sure Carolina beat Va Tech in Blacksburg last year. Short term memory issues?

G8R GRAD

August 18th, 2010
10:27 am

Carolina better than Va Tech?
Are you kidding?

UGAY in the Papa Johns Bowl

August 18th, 2010
10:42 am

I LOVE HOW EVERYONE SAYS GT IS TOO HIGH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH….GT WENT TO THE ORANGE BOWL, WON THE ACC AND FINISHED #13 OVERALL IN THE POLLS LAST YEAR. AS LONG AS NESBITT IS TAKING SNAPS, GT IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE. IF ANYONES TOO HIGH IN THIS POLL, ITS UNC. TALK ABOUT BEING OVER RATED EVERY YEAR.

Tide4u2c

August 18th, 2010
10:43 am

what?,

Alabama is rated #1 I know that but underneath it I have a hard time believing that they really believe it.This is because of the things they have overlooked I mean they should’ve seen what Saban was building and did’nt.Have they really baught in to what Saban &co have built or just ranking Alabama #1 because they have to. I still don’t think they see it. And no! I am not looking for Tebow type love just some true acknowledgment from these so called college football experts.I guess you’d just have to be an Alabama fan and to have read and heard what these so called experts have overlooked about Alabama.

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:43 am

George Stein

True, not saying A&M is any better, but they seemed to turn up the running game towards the end of the season. Both kids are very strong and talented. Having both of them fresh coming in on tired DLines will be good as well as them being a threat to take pressure of AJ Green. It will be very tough for D Coord if they turn up the running game to try and contain them as well as not leave AJ in single man coverage.

guy

August 18th, 2010
10:44 am

i thought ginger ninja was the accepted nick name for joe ‘cant throw the ball out of bounds without getting picked off’ cox?

ArkyTech

August 18th, 2010
10:44 am

Not seeing UNC at 11

jasont13

August 18th, 2010
10:45 am

Here we go again calling Aaron Murray a midget. Check your roster Tech fans, he is the same height as Josh Nesbit. By your logic the following QB’s are midgets: Josh Nesbit, Aaron Murray, Mark Sanchez, Kyle Parker, Drew Brees and many others. i’m sure the ones who call him a midget are much shorter than him.

#2 BAMA FAN

August 18th, 2010
10:46 am

Georgia fans saying Mark Richt is a better coach then Saban need to have a serious sit down
with 2 guys with white pants and shirts and a straight jack. In common language you are crazy
as hell. RTR

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
10:47 am

Completely agree, LowCountry.

I think the most untalked (is that a word?) about part of your offense though is Orson Charles. Look for a breakout year from him because he’ll be over the middle of the field where Murray will look first under pressure.

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:47 am

i thought ginger ninja was the accepted nick name for joe ‘cant throw the ball out of bounds without getting picked off’ cox?

Yes it was. I could not stand Joe Cox. He looked like an alien ginger. If I was him I would never show my face in Athens.

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:48 am

George Stein

But, key here to the whole thing is Murry. Can he play to his potential. Hopefully anyone will be better than Joe Cox.

Title #14 in 2010!

August 18th, 2010
10:50 am

The Tide is loaded again and the only good team on their schedule is Florida. But, Bama should beat them easily again in October and December and play Ohio state for the title—I’m not worried about that game at all. Mark up another title in Tuscaloosa baby!

SeminoleUprising

August 18th, 2010
10:52 am

UNC is garbage…they are luck if they go 8-4 but more likely 7-6..tech sucks too..

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:52 am

Mark up another title in Tuscaloosa baby!

-Here we go. Guess he forgot about the curse of #1 pre-season ranking.

5IML

August 18th, 2010
10:53 am

TR & Tide4u,

Why spend your time replying to the delusional ramblings of bloggers like Q Dog?

On a programming note: Be sure to catch the two one-hour specials on BAMA tonight at 7 on ESPNU and tomorrow night at 8 on ESPN.

jasont13

August 18th, 2010
10:53 am

Paul Johnson’s Navy team on beat 4 teams with winning records in 6 years. I wouldn’t say that is all that great.

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
10:54 am

I think Murray will lose a couple of games this year for UGA just because he’s a freshman who hasn’t played in three years (he was hurt his senior season, I think). But for the most part, you’ll probably see progress throughout the season. I mean, hell, Stafford was awful for his first few games and by the end of his freshman season you could see he had turned the corner. Expect much of the same from Murray.

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:54 am

SeminoleUprising

-I didn’t know FlaState still had a program? Thought your program disappeared?

Spiker

August 18th, 2010
10:54 am

FSU will KILL those Georgia Tech nadlickers this year. You have their positions switched at best… tech should actually be down around 22. But I understand… you live in Atlanta and all.

Paul is a Johnson

August 18th, 2010
10:55 am

As a UGA fan I am tired of hearing both UGA and Tech fans say how they are going to hands down beat the other this year. The last two years have shown that either team can beat the other and I see no reason why this year will be any different. Both teams are overhauling their defense and both have big question marks on offense. UGA with the QB and Tech having to replace big pieces losing one of their best running backs and receiver. Reality is that no fan on either side would put up their life savings to bet who would win the game coming up in November. The good thing is this is actually a series again and that might help one or the other if we can both be highly ranked at the end of the season. Both of these teams could have a really good year or a mediocre one depending on how fast they can grow up.

5IML

August 18th, 2010
10:55 am

BTW, UNC should be lower. Virginia Tech will be a top-ten team.

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
10:55 am

C’mon, jasont13, he inherited the worst D1-A program when he got there and then won as much as anyone possibly could at Navy.

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:56 am

Stein,

I really hope he is better than early Stafford for Green’s sake. That kid has so much potential but has endured terrible qb’s. Much like Calvin at Tech. SC will be interesting in the first hostile enviroment SEC game.

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
10:56 am

Spiker – they won’t play unless it’s in the ACCCG.

Sam Warren

August 18th, 2010
10:56 am

What are you smoking Tony? VT at 13…???!!!! LOL!! Do you even follow college football because your rankings of the top 25 is horrible. You need to reevaluate your thinking because VT and Wisconsin are both top ten teams. VT should be at 6 if not 5 with one of the hardest schedules as well. Second, the fact that you have four acc teams from 10-15 is not possible at all. Please get sober when you write the next rankings.

jasont13

August 18th, 2010
10:56 am

George Stein, I disagree. Murray is a different QB than Stafford. Murray is more of an all around QB. He can run and has a decent arm. Stafford was more of a gun slinger and tried to use his arm more than his brain.

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
10:57 am

Side note: Does anyone know if we have a new bulldog?

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
10:57 am

Haha. I think I know the feeling of having an all-world WR and QB who can’t get him the ball. Unless it’s 4th down in Athens and said all-world WR is 25 yards out of bounds…

Tech Sucks

August 18th, 2010
10:57 am

Tech will finished the season unranked.

Lewis Grizzard

August 18th, 2010
10:59 am

Guy, am I mistaken, or did ginger ninja beat the faggy-jackets last year?

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
10:59 am

Fair enough, jasont13. I can’t honestly say I know that much about Murray’s game but we’ll have a pretty good idea in a couple weeks.

G8R GRAD

August 18th, 2010
11:00 am

Athlon?
Seriously?
They ranked USC #3 and Boise State #4 for cryin’ out loud!
They’re drinkin’ Jonestown Juice!

LowCountryDawg07

August 18th, 2010
11:01 am

If Murry can be smart enough to just throw it away when in doubt, he will already be better than Cox.

gdawginkalamazoo

August 18th, 2010
11:02 am

tide4u2c, I wouldn’t argue with Saban’s success, the man has won two NC’s, gone undefeated against a tough SEC two years running. Meyer has had better success than that. Doesn’t mean we have to like those guys. Respect what they have done? Yes, like them no. I also have to agree with Q Dog too. The media loves scandal and causing trouble. Richt isn’t that guy. Vanilla but he wins. He will have his shots at titles just like he has in the past, close but no close enough. Once he figures out that you play hard all 60 minutes of a football game and never let up for one second on either side of the ball he will get his. Saban and Meyer already know that.

jasont13

August 18th, 2010
11:03 am

Stein- Murray dislocated his ankle and broken a bone in his foot late in the season his senior year and came back to win a state championship. This is the only reason he redshirted last year. Richt wanted him to be 100% and not 85 or 90%. I believe people will be suprised of how good Murray is. A ton of people want to knock his height, however he had over 70 D-1 scholarship offers and Urban Meyer wanted him real bad. He has a strong arm, makes good decisions and has speed (4.5 40yd).

guy

August 18th, 2010
11:03 am

grizzard: didnt think youd be able to see the game from the inside of a coffin?

Sam Warrenesque

August 18th, 2010
11:03 am

VT is Grambling -EAST

UGAY REALLY STANDS FOR JOE DIRT

August 18th, 2010
11:04 am

Dustin and jb, you are both idiots. Dustin, we beat clemson not once but TWICE last year moron, why couldn’t we beat them this year and ford and spiller are gone also for them! Their defense had no answers for our offense. Do you watch football dude??

JB, you mean kinda like how we ran it down your throat in the cesspool called athens the year before? We spanked you 33-14 right off your field in the 2nd half and would have scored again as we had the ball in your territory as time expired…Would have hung 52 on you defense! Be glad the time expired jb. Also, didn’t kentucy run it down your throat in athens last year too? Face it, you had a bad game vs kent and we played nearly a half without nesbitt who makes our offense go and only a dropped pass on 4th down saved you in atlanta after all that RUNNING DOWN OUR THROAT. You hung on FOR DEAR LIFE AT THE END! I don’t recall your defense stopping us at all in the 2nd half unless we missed a fg or turned it over jb. Hardly anything to bragg about having to hang on for a victory in the last seconds after you ran wild all game. You didn’t stop us in the 2nd half either.

Round 3 in the cesspool JB and dustin, get ready for the names ANTHONY ALLEN ( AVERAGED OVER 9 YARDS PER CARRY LAST YEAR) , RODDY JONES (WHO TORCHED YOU IN 08, I’M SURE YOU REMEMBER HIM) STEPHEN HILL ( WHO TURNED DOWN A UGAY OFFER TO PLAY AT GT) AND JOSHUA NESBITT. You will be seeing the back of their jerseys in the cesspool just like 08 all over again! I can’t wait to thump you overrated clowns with a freshman at qb this year. Al groh will light this kids up like a virgin on prom night! We got a defensive coordinator who has won a super bowl in the NFL coaching defense, you got a DC who was run out of cleveland and was a product of another coaches system in dallas! You paid 750k for an unproven DC! Enough said there.

I guess you can’t fix stupid dustin and jb as both of you clearly are!

Have fun chasing GT in the polls all year, i didn’t see you ahead of us at the end last year and history will repeat itself at the end this year with you leghumpers nowhere in sight of the top 25. Murray was what 8-22 the other day with 2 picks? You have no depth behind him and think you deserve to be ranked ahead of GT who has 15 starters back and the 2 time ACC coach of the year, defending ACC CHAMPS and with a new DC who has won on the elite NFL level??? Dustin and jb, feel free to put down the kool-aid for goodness sake and if you live anywhere near athens, please get checked for herpes! I’m just sayin…..

P.S….. I heard lindsay lohan is going to enroll at the cesspool when she heard you guys were #1 in throwing a party. Congrats guys even though it won’t translate into wins on the field, just keep having top 5 classes though in recruiting and adding players like lemay who is a failure and not even playing this season because he has character issues or adding wilder to your glorious class so that teams like us and KENTUCKY with 3 star kids can beat you in your own backyard! UGAY WILL BLOW A** IN 2010, BANK ON IT!!!!!!!!!!!

THWG

Lewis Grizzard

August 18th, 2010
11:06 am

Guy said: didnt think youd be able to see the game from the inside of a coffin?

Just shows you what Bulldogs are made of… badasses – even from the grave! :-)

George Stein

August 18th, 2010
11:08 am

Oh ok. I knew he got hurt. I just thought he missed his entire season.

And look, I don’t think height will be a big issue at the college level. The good news for UGA is that he’ll probably be there for four full years.

And if he’s good enough to be recruited by UGA, he’s probably a fine football player. Most of the kids there are.

JW

August 18th, 2010
11:08 am

You’re starting a RS freshman QB with ZERO gametime experience

nuff-said

I don’t root against uga, but you’re insane if you think you will have less than 4-5 losses this year

G8R GRAD

August 18th, 2010
11:09 am

Oh, and since I missed the opportunity to say this yesterday:

Bobby Petrino is a tool.

As is whoever canned her over wearing a hat to stay dry in the rain.
It’s a HAT people!