1,000th Blog Entry!

Hard to believe, but this is the Confidential’s 1,000th blog entry.  The ACC may not be perfect, but it is OUR conference.

Whether you are a Florida State fan that now knows just how possible it is for FSU to win national championships as an ACC football school… a fan of one of many ACC schools that sees the basketball season a disappointment if it is not a national championship… or a fan of one of the non-revenue sports, such as lacrosse or baseball… or just a proud alum… the ACC is our home. Well, at least until the imperialistic Big 10 carves us up and leaves us for dead… ha ha ha.

In any event, thank you to all the contributors and school correspondents over the years who added great content and promoted discussion/debate on ACC and broader issues.

A special thank you to M Caffrey who has been working on this blog with me, A Caffrey, since its inception.  He and I have many new ideas to eventually roll out while we continue to suffer as Syracuse fans and co-founders of this blog.

And a most special thank you to all the readers, followers, and commenters over the years.  While the Internet allows anyone to have a voice, it is nice to have our voices heard/appreciated and disagreed with/debated.  It is more fun to consider all sides of each issue that just our own.

Go ACC!  Go Confidential!

P.S.  If you are new to the Confidential, here are some of the most popular blog entries ever:

2013-2014 Bowl Results by Conference
Way Too Early 2014-2015 ACC Men’s Basketball Rankings
Miami Hurricanes Facing Truly Unprecedented Penalties!
Huge News: West Virginia to ACC in 2014-2015!
Big XII Expansion Thoughts
ACC Expansion Thoughts: 16 teams?
Texas to the ACC?
Maryland vs Louisville: Is It Academics vs Athletics?
Signing Day, One Week Away… Predictions
Nike Uniforms Hit New Low With Georgia Tech’s Alternate Unis
B1G NEWS: Big Ten Dropping Rutgers, Searching for Replacement
Syracuse: A Flawed Team That Is And Deserves To Be 25-0
The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Louisville
ACC to 16…Navy to Get Notre Dame-esque Scheduling Deal From ACC
The ACC–a Football Conference?
ACC Fans Choice: Notre Dame or West Virginia
Wednesday Poll: North Carolina & Sanctions
ACC Revises Florida State’s 2012 Football Schedule to Accommodate TV
Syracuse Fans: Cut Trevor Cooney Some Slack
Why James Michael McAdoo Declared for the Draft
The Realignment Fallout of the Proposed College Football Union
New Divisions for ACC?
UPDATE: Louisville to ACC in 2014 not a “done deal”?
The ACC & Texas
PSU: The United States Supreme Court Notes Your REAL Option

Belk Kickoff Classic – Watch for a Carolina Victory

Just days away from what should be an exciting game in Charlotte between North Carolina and South Carolina, it’s time to preview the two teams and pick a winner.

In one of the more intriguing matchups coming Thursday night, a high powered Tar Heel offense and questionable defense meet a questionable offense and below average defense in the Gamecocks. So we’ll divide the two teams up by these two lines (and these two alone) and predict a winner.

Battle Fronts (stats from 2014 via ncaa.com)

North Carolina offense – 35th in the nation with 55 touchdowns and 429.8 yards per game.
Returns one of the most underrated dual-threat QBs in the nation in Marquise Williams.

South Carolina defense – 92nd in the nation allowing 432.7 yards per game.
Returns 8 starters

North Carolina defense – ranked 117th in the nation allowing 497.8 yards per game
New scheme under first year DC Gene Chizik

South Carolina offense – ranked 33rd in the nation with 51 touchdowns and 443.4 yards per game
Returns 5 starters and will begin with a new QB.

Expect South Carolina to improve on their defensive numbers from last year having returned 8 starters from the defensive line. Expect North Carolina to improve from their offensive numbers from last year having returned essentially an entire offensive line headlined by dual-threat QB Marquise Williams. Expect South Carolina offense to be about average in this game and/or slightly off their averages from last year given the new QB and questionable North Carolina defense. Expect North Carolina to improve slightly from their defensive numbers (or the defense that wasn’t) from a season ago.

Having said that, what happens with this game? North Carolina SHOULD win in a thriller over a new QB even though it will be a homecoming of sorts for the former Wakefield star Conner Mitch. The biggest question mark surrounding the Tar Heels is that defense. You’ve all seen the numbers and graphics from what new DC Chizik has been able to do in his first year at every team he has gone to, and if you have, you know some of us have been saying that ANY defense that isn’t last years’ will put us in position to win some games. This is one of them.

First Cardinal Landing Spot, the ATL

petrinoA hyped Bobby Petrino

Not that anyone is counting, but in less than 4 days (even less for the fans of other select teams) the long awaited 2015-16 college football season will begin. Selfishly I gear my focus on the Louisville Cardinals who will flock toward the south and descend upon the city of Atlanta to take on the preseason number two nationally ranked Auburn Tigers this Saturday. It seems like an utter eternity since I last flipped on a college football game, but the wait for its return is always worth it.  In this particular blog, the first since checking in periodically over the summer months, I’m going to give a few opinions and predictions regarding the Cards as well as the ACC conference. Near the conclusion, I will also give out a few other tidbits and share some thoughts regarding Louisville basketball.

First up for discussion, the 2015 Louisville Cardinal Football team. In my mind, there are 5 lingering questions that remain unanswered that will determine this team’s success or demise on the gridiron this season.

  1. Will Brandon Radcliffe have a break out year and build off a strong end to the 2014 season?
  2. Who will be UofL’s starting quarterback and will that guy be effective?
  3. Will DeVonte Fields live up to the hype?
  4. Is this the year that James Quick becomes a go to receiver?
  5. Can the UofL defense stay healthy especially up front?

Most of those questions probably won’t be answered until, at the earliest, mid season. But I certainly like UofL’s chances of returning to another bowl game If the answer is “yes” to the majority that I have posed?  In short, I predict another solid year for the Cards. At this juncture, I am picking Will Gardner as the starting QB against Auburn. He appears to be healthy and has the size and arm strength to be effective against a stout SEC defense in the Tigers. I do also think, however, that we could see Reggie Bonnafon play a few series as well. He brings another dimension to the table in his ability to leave the pocket and use his legs to punish defenses (see Notre Dame).

gardnerWill Gardner

In regards to James Quick, I would like to see him finally get more balls thrown his way, in light of his move to the slot receiver position. I am confident that his speed and overall play-making abilities are an asset that could provide this year’s offense with a much needed boost in light of the departures of phenom DeVante Parker and Eli Rogers. One thing that does make me feel better is that even if Quick were to have only a modest year, there are some studs-in-the-making at the WR position just  to showcase their skills. By studs I am referring to guys like Javonte Bagley, Devante Peete and true freshmen Traveon Samuel and Emonee Spence. As for Brandon Radcliffe, I absolutely believe he will explode back onto the scene and have a monster year. With that said, I also look for LJ Scott to also do some damage and provide some high quality back up carries. Last but not least, my fingers are crossed that Devonte Fields, the one time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year (as a freshman), does indeed fill the shoes of the departed Lorenzo Mauldin and anchors a defense, that despite losing multiple players to this past sunmer’s NFL Draft, that could wreak havoc on opposing offenses. I am giddy at the prospect of watching newcomers Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins roam the UofL secondary

wiggins                                                                     Shaq Wiggins, Georgia transfer

I am equally as excited to watch Sheldon Rankins and the ACC’s top group of linebackers (Kelsey/Burgess/Brown/Fields) make multiple big play and attempt to slow down Auburn’s ground attack. The bottom line is that Bobby Petrino’s teams are almost always better in year two and I think that trend will hold true in 2015.  Oh, and since becoming a D-1 head coach it cannot be overlooked that Bobby Petrino is 19-1 in season openers……..not too shabby.

My season prediction sure to go wrong: 9-3 (not including bowl game)

Projected losses: Auburn, at FSU, at NC State

Key wins: Clemson, Houston, at UK (5 in a row)

Two of the losses I am predicting are still winnable games, especially at NC State. However, I look for tge Wolfpack to be much improved from last season and tough to beat on their home turf especially when you add the revenge factor from a stinging loss at PJCS last season.. As for Auburn, I am predicting a loss while maintaining a high level of optimism. Win the turnover battle, avoid special teams disasters and establish ball control via the running game and UofL absolutely CAN beat Auburn. The only thing really holding back UofL aside from it’s opponent on Saturday in my opinion are their new helmets…..not a fan. But, I’m not on the roster or a potential recruit so matters not.

Regarding the ACC Conference as a whole, I have had limited time to completely comb over each and every roster. Thus, a good rendering of my pre-season research can be summed as such…….

acc papers

With that said, here is my pre-season top 10 ACC team rankings

  1. Florida State
  2. Georgia Tech
  3. Clemson
  4. Louisville
  5. VA Tech
  6. NC State
  7. PITT
  8. Boston College
  9. Miami
  10. Duke

Rankings aside, It’s shortly time to go to work and put the hype behind us. Only one things matters going forward – winning games and making my annual season ticket purchase worth my investment.

work

Moving on now to the Louisville Basketball team that recently spent a week playing the Junior and National Puerto Rican basketball squads down south. The games were rugged and rough but sure to have given this young crop of Cards plenty of valuable real-world playing experience. I’m not a columnist so I’ll save any detailed overview analysis other than to say a few words about each of the players on this year’s roster based on what I watched via the web (and Periscope one game via Kenny Klein)

Trey Lewis: tough, mature kid with good handles. Streaky shooter that can heat up and not afraid to dig in on defense

Dion Lee: offensive juggernaut and good shooter; can get to the rim and will be counted to score in bunches

Quentin Snider: steady as usual, great ball handling and decision making; still needs to shoot it better

Mangok Mathiang; bulkier and more confident yet still struggles to make 2-4 footers; needs to cut back on fouls

Ray Spaulding: showed the highest ceiling of anyone in Puerto Rico; great athlete with awesome natural instincts

Chinanu Onuaku: lighter and more active; I actually like the underhanded FT style; was solid defensively

David Levitch: people like to rib about his PT, but kid does understand how to play; has to get stronger with the ball

Deng Adel; natural scorer; long and quick; loved how he can consistently make 10-15 footers; future stud

Jaylen Johnson: still looks a step slow but yet productive on the glass and around the bucket on offense

Ryan McMahon: two years away, but will be a knock down perimeter threat; must gain 15-20 lbs to bang in the ACC

Donovan Mitchell: great athlete but must really improve on ball handling and passing; love his upside

Anas Mahmoud: very frustrating to watch – talent is there but intensity still is not; hoping it’s matter of time

Matz Stockman: showed marked improvement on offense; still a step slow on defense; must work on gathering in paint

As in years passed, predicting what Louisville Basketball will produce is about as easy as becoming the Executive Director of NASA. However, I do like what I saw down in Puerto Rico and for once I whole heartedly agree with Rick Pitino on something – these kids appear to be phenomenal teammates……supportive, team oriented, and focused on getting better. As always, a tough early non conference schedule followed by a brutal slate in the ACC will both challenge this squad to the point of being battle tested and ready for play in March. And anything can happen in March. Last year’s UofL team came within one possession of losing to a Georgia Tech team that only mustered up two league wins the entire season to being one made free throw away from going to it’s 11th Final Four a few months later. Coaching matters, player development matters, and most of all keeping one’s eye on the prize matters. It should be another fun ride starting in November

Here’s to hoping that Coach Petrino & Co get off to a 1-0 start after departing from Atlanta. I’ll be watching from afar unlike the 30,000+ Card fans who are making the trip. Safe travels everyone, drink responsibly and War Damn Cardinal!

wpid-1404228220685.jpg

ACC College Football Fans: Free Fantasy Football With Prizes!

If you are a fan of ACC football… and a fan of fantasy football… then you have two FREE options to compete against other ACC fans in ACC fantasy football contests.

If you prefer an individual-player fantasy football league, see this page: http://atlanticcoastconfidential.com/2015/08/13/acc-fantasy-football-contest-2015/.  It is a weekly game, rather than a pre-season draft game.  We had fun with it last year and this year will be even better.

If you prefer a survivor-league, we have this:

We are limiting this to the first 100 entrants.  Winner gets $50.00.  See the official rules here:

http://www.officefootballpool.com/pools.cfm?poolid=115035&p=2&pwd=n%2Arbaa

Pool ID Number: 115035
Pool Entry Code: n*rbaa

Games start this week, so get your entries in ASAP!

Free (with prizes) College Fantasy Football Options for ACC Fans!

If you prefer a survivor-league, we have this:

We are limiting this to the first 100 entrants.  Winner gets $50.00.  See the official rules here:

http://www.officefootballpool.com/pools.cfm?poolid=115035&p=2&pwd=n%2Arbaa

Pool ID Number: 115035
Pool Entry Code: n*rbaa

 

If you prefer an individual-player fantasy football league, see this page: http://atlanticcoastconfidential.com/2015/08/13/acc-fantasy-football-contest-2015/

Games start in just over a week!

18 Days to Kickoff–Limited Time to Enter the Free ACC Survivor Pool!

The Confidential’s Survivor Pool is back for 2015!  Sign up today:

We are limiting this to the first 100 entrants.  Winner gets $50.00.  See the official rules here:

http://www.officefootballpool.com/pools.cfm?poolid=115035&p=2&pwd=n%2Arbaa

Pool ID Number: 115035
Pool Entry Code: n*rbaa

With thousands of ACC fans, sign up today!