Once again, it is Thanksgiving… so Happy Thanksgiving ACC-fans! May you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend! In honor of same, we are going to take a moment to guess what each ACC school is particularly thankful for on this 2015 edition of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Please feel free to share your opinions on Twitter or by commenting below:
BOSTON COLLEGE: Thankful to have the Northeast market cornered, blocking a school like UConn–who has much more basketball success and even a BCS-bowl appearance.
CLEMSON: Dabo Swinney. The guy has been a great coach, but primarily because he also changed the culture. Nobody sincerely speaks of Clemsoning anymore. You can credit Swinney for that. And the Tigers sit very well heading into its rivalry game with South Carolina.
DUKE: Coach K. Could there be any other answer? For the past 30 or so years, Coach K has kept Duke front and center in basketball. There are only so many coaching icons in the world… and Coach K is clearly one o them. While someone off the Coach K coaching tree will likely do well, it will certainly not be AS good. Be thankful.
FLORIDA STATE: Jameis Winston. Jimbo Fisher is one o the best coaches in football and, by all accounts, a good man. He led Florida State back to a championship, as well as a playoff appearance last year. However, as you can see this year, a football team is only as good as its QB play. Without Winston, Florida State has fallen back to the pack. The whole roster shares credit for the Championship, and Fisher certainly does, but do not discount the impact that Winston had on that season.
GEORGIA TECH: This is a tough one, as the Yellow Jackets revenue teams are having a tough year (football) and tough stretch (basketball) recently. Need some help!!!
LOUISVILLE: One word: Jurich. This man oversaw the Cardinals rise to being an ACC member and huge contributor. With top notch basketball and football, as well as the ability to bring in coaches, Louisville has a better athletic department overall than its in-state rival Kentucky.
MIAMI: Location, location, location. While the job that Jim Larranaga is doing is second fiddle to the football team’s ups and downs among alumni, the fact that Miami sits within one of the best recruiting spots in the country will ensure that coaches will want to flock there. Fans are nice, but talent wins games. Miami needs a coach who will take advantage of the location.
NORTH CAROLINA: The mercy of the NCAA. What Fedora is doing is amazing. What Roy Williams has going on in hoops is impressive. But North Carolina needs to be thankful for an NCAA that probably does not want to drop the hammer on the Tar Heels for its academic fraud issues. Maybe it is not mercy, but something more. But whatever it is, if the NCAA could do what it did to Penn State (rules be damned), it could do the same to North Carolina.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE: Like Georgia Tech, North Carolina State has been good, but not great. There is not an iconic coach to point to right now. But North Carolina State certainly does not embarrass itself. So let’s give the nod to the athletic department, who ensures that NC State gets 4 wins every year before hitting conference play. Too many other schools set their football team up for failure worrying about schedule strength. Save that concern for the big boys.
NOTRE DAME: Brian Kelly. But for history, Notre Dame would be just another program. There are much better football programs right now. But Notre Dame’s history still means something. Still, Brian Kelly has Notre Dame swaggering right now in a way that his recent predecessors have not been able to. The best recruiting classes are meaningless if you do not know how to use them. Kelly knows how to coach. And the Fighting Irish are in the playoff discussion because of it.
PITTSBURGH: Pat Narduzzi. The Panthers have had decent recruiting for several years now. Only Narduzzi has taken Pittsburgh above the Birmingham Bowl-esque heights. And in his first season. And without all-ACC RB James Conner. For all the talk of risky coaching changes and injuries, do not ignore what Narduzzi has done.
SYRACUSE: James Arthur Boeheim. While Don McPherson, Marvin Graves, and Donovan McNabb have given Syracuse fans much to cheer about football-wise during his tenure, and the Carrier Dome has been a source of pride for the school and locals, it is Boeheim that gives people outside of Syracuse a reason to talk about Syracuse. With a national championship, a few more final fours, and a long string of good-to-great seasons, things are always interesting when it comes to Syracuse hoops. Be thankful.
VIRGINIA: Thomas Jefferson. Why not? Ok, let’s go with Bennett. He has the hoops team playing very well… #1 seed well lately. It is hard to be great in football and basketball, so enjoy success wherever it comes.
VIRGINIA TECH: Frank Beamer. This man has run a good football team in the right way for a long, successful time. The Hokies will make a good hire. That man will have HUGE shoes to fill. And history says that most of the time, such shoes do not end up being filled.
WAKE FOREST: The ACC. If Wake Forest was not in the ACC right now, it would be well on the outside of the P5 conferences. And if things ever shake up, Wake Forest will certainly be low on the desire list for conferences. Be thankful for the ACC, Demon Deacons.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT ARE YOU MOST THANKFUL ABOUT FOR YOUR SCHOOL?