The Confidential’s ACC Standings Poll: Week 13

It is now mid-November.  The season is down to its final weeks.  The Atlantic is clear, the Coastal is essentially down to two teams.  Here is how the correspondents view the top 10 in the ACC:

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Way to Go Boston College! Weekend 1 in College Hoops.

The ACC had a good opening weekend in basketball, as 14 of its teams went undefeated for a combined 20-0!    The only outlier was Boston College, who lost to UMass to finish the weekend with 1 win and 1 loss.   C’mon Eagles… get with the times!  It’s not like you lost to Kansas.  Sheesh!

It could be worse.  The Big 10 has two teams with losses, as Minnesota and Rutgers lost.  The latter lost to George Washington, showing just how far the Scarlet Knights have to come.  Then again, it’s surprising that George Washington was not Rutgers’ primary OOC opponent in football.

The Pac-12 suffered a few losses, as USC lost to Portland State (ouch) and Washington State lost to UTEP.

The SEC showed it is all about football and not the bouncy ball, as it had four of its teams losing opening weekend.  Missouri, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Tennessee all have losses already.

The Big XII went 13-0, continuing a very good run in 2013-2014.  In fact, the Big XII is the only conference without a loss.

Well, the ACC would have, if Boston College had handled its in-state rival.  Granted, none of this matters at all.  The long regular season and the Big Dance will sort it out.  But let’s give Boston College a little needling this week…

 

 

Fantasy Football Entry Page: Week 13

Remember, the Confidential’s Fantasy Football game is structured to allow late entries.  THERE IS STILL TIME TO ENTER !

OVERALL CONTEST:

We don’t go by total points for the whole season; rather, we just allow teams to win the week or not.  Whoever wins the most weeks, wins the overall prize.

Here are the standings:

OVERALL PRIZE STANDINGS:

1. Brian & Lenville Cards 3

3. MCaffrey & ACaffrey  2 wins

5. Josh Vickery  & Mr. Tar Heel 1 win

7.  The other billions of people on the planet  0 wins

For Week 12 results, see here.   For rules, see here.  As a reminder, to enter, simply comment below with an ACC QB, RB, WR, Flex, Defense, and Coach.  We’ll do the rest.

 

Entries due before kickoff of the first ACC/Notre Dame game…

Week 12 Fantasy Football Results

The Confidential is running a fantasy football contest each week and during the regular season.  Here are the rules.  Remember, you can enter in Week 13 and still be eligible for the overall prize–which is given to the entrant who wins the most weeks.  But, for now, let’s recap the Week 12 results:

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Confidential Survivor Pool Update: Week 13

An then there were six.  With Duke and Notre Dame losing, 10 entrants were eliminated, leaving only six in the running for the prize.

Here are the folks still in the running, as well as the picks that they have used to date:

1 CDWHIT09 BC DUKE PITT NCST VTC FSU ND LOU CLEM
ND
MIA
CLEM
LOU
NCST
FSU
2 DREW_WMS GT CLEM PITT NCST VIRG LOU ND DUKE BC
ND
MIA
CLEM
DUKE
FSU
NCST
3 JFLIPPEN NCST LOU MIA DUKE VIRG FSU ND CLEM BC
MIA
ND
CLEM
FSU
NCST
UNC
4 MSU_DAWGS02 SYR WF ND BC VIRG FSU MIA LOU CLEM
ND
MIA
CLEM
DUKE
FSU
NCST
5 TWOHOOS SYR WF ND NCST VIRG LOU MIA CLEM BC
ND
MIA
DUKE
FSU
FSU
NCST
6 WAHOO 88 SYR WF GT BC VIRG CLEM ND LOU MIA
MIA
ND
DUKE
FSU
NCST
UNC

Randy Moss & FSU… What Could Have Been?

This week I set some time aside to watch ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 documentary: “Rand University.” I generally enjoy these films, as they often provide both an entertaining and enlightening perspective on athletes and teams.  I even enjoyed the famous “The U” film in the series.  My only gripe with the series is that the name no longer fits… we are well past the 30th anniversary for ESPN, and certainly past 30 films in the series.  Regardless, the films have generally been good, and its most recent installment was solid.

The part of the film I had the most interest in was of course his brief stint at FSU. If you know your college football or watched the film you know that Randy Moss’ was not permitted to attend Notre Dame for being involved in a fight where is friend beat up a kid who allegedly left some racially charged comments for Moss’ friend.  As a result of this fight he was charged with a felony (reduced to a misdemeanor), and sentenced to 30 days in jail which was served under a work release program in 1996.  Despite signing his letter of intent to the Irish he was allowed to go to FSU in 1995, and had to sit out that season as a redshirt freshman.  As the film recounts he regularly burned great FSU defensive backs in practice, and even recorded the second highest 40 time in school history… only behind Prime Time himself.  Unfortunately, as a result of smoking some “herbal remedies” during his work release in 1996, he was kicked out of FSU.

It was at this point of the film I began to participate in a common practice among many Seminole fans, which is to wonder: “What could have been, if Randy stayed out of trouble and remained a Nole?” Trust me when I tell you, that any FSU fans over 25 will discuss this scenario amongst themselves at least once a season. Even Lebron James lamented on the fact that Moss could not continue his FSU career beyond being a redshirt freshman.

So how different would history have been if Moss was able to play as a Nole through the late 90’s? I mean, he is just a wide receiver, right?  Well… yes and no.  Yes, he is just a wide receiver, but he is not just any wide receiver.  Remember what he did on the field in college and NFL throughout the late 90’s.  As a wide receiver at Marshall, his next stop after FSU, he was a top 4 finalist for the 1997 Heisman.  You know, the Heisman race with the most stacked finalists in modern history with likely three future NFL Hall of Famers in it (Woodson, Manning, Moss… and well yeah Leaf was the black sheep in that bunch).  Side Note/Trivia Question: Is there another group of Heisman Finalists that can match that season?

Once Moss was done with college, he left early for the NFL. In 1998 he proceeded to turn a regular wild card caliber team of the Vikings under Green, into a Super Bowl caliber team.  If you doubt me, look at what he did in that year.  His numbers were staggering, the team was 15-1 in the regular season, and he was essentially the only major addition to an established team.  If it was not for a major upset by the Falcons, I think Elway may have one less ring on his finger.  Does anyone doubt that the 1998 Vikings would match up a heck of a lot better against the Broncos than the Dirty Bird Falcons?

During this same time FSU was in its Golden Era. From 1996 to 1999, what could have been Moss’ four years of playing time at FSU, the Noles had just 4 losses.  Also, the school effectively played in 3 national titles games (96, 98, 99), and in 1997 FSU only lost on the road at the Swamp or it would have been 4 straight shots at the title in Bowl games (actually 5 because the 2000 team also went to the title game… of course there is no way Moss could have played that year).  FSU also had its wire to wire national title run in 1999.

Now, perhaps Moss would not have stayed all five years (including the redshirt 95 season), after all he did leave Marshall after the 1997 season in reality. I tend to think he would have a hard time leaving such elite teams that winning titles, and a major reason he likely left Marshall was the fact that at the time he was trying to get out of the state of West Virginia.  Remember he never considered WVU as an option (if you want to ever piss off a Mountaineer… just say Randy Moss), and looked to schools in other states.  So, I tend to believe he would have played the full 4 non-redshirt seasons at FSU, but I am also a biased Seminole fan… so yeah.

In considering how much better FSU would have been in the 4 years of 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999, one has to look at the players on those teams. The defenses, which were elite during that era, would be the same, so we will only focus on the offenses.  In 1996 a solid QB in Thad Busby would be throwing him the ball, and the best there never was Dan Kendra (look up this guy’s story, talk about could have beens) would also throw some balls that season.  Warrick Dunn was the running back that year.  Peter Warrick and EG Green would have been fellow receivers.  In 1997 you would have a much improved Busby, Minor at running back, and Laveranues Coles/Warrick/Ron Dugans/Snoop Minis as fellow receivers.  In 1998 you would have the same teammates, but Weinke would be QB.  In 1999 it would again be the same team, minus Coles most of the year, and add a young Anquan Boldin.  In a nutshell, you would have some stacked offenses, with the current UGA coach calling the plays.

So let us look at the individual seasons, specifically the losses, to see how much difference Randy Moss would have made. FSU went unbeaten during the 1996 team then was blown out in the 1997 Sugar Bowl in a rematch against UF.  Odds are Moss is not worth 32 points in that Sugar Bowl, but one has to wonder if Moss played in that last regular season game at FSU against the UF team if it would have led to a much bigger win.  FSU only won by 3 against unbeaten number 1 UF in that game.  If Moss plays, I think FSU likely wins by at least 10, probably 17, if not 24 points.  You have to remember FSU jumped out to a 17-0 lead in that game, and Moss is the exactly the big play guy who could continue to put the pressure on and not letting UF back in the game.  If FSU wins by 17 or 24 points it likely drops UF much further than 4th before its Alabama game, and it is unlikely UF could jump up to 3 before the Sugar Bowl.  In that case, perhaps UF doesn’t get a rematch against FSU in the Sugar Bowl.  Generally Bowls hate rematches, but the 1996 regular season UF vs. FSU game was such a classic I am sure organizers didn’t mind the rematch that year.  Well if FSU destroys UF in that last regular season game, odds are FSU is facing a different opponent that bowl season. ASU was unbeaten, but was going to the Rose Bowl due to the Pac 12 tie-in.  The likely team FSU would face then would have been Nebraska or maybe BYU (yeah they were good then).  FSU would likely match up well against both teams, and with ASU losing the Rose Bowl, FSU wins another title.  I will admit of all the seasons in play, this is the one least likely to have been greatly aided by Randy Moss playing.

1997 is where the fun would really begin. FSU only lost by 3 on the road to UF that season.  I have to believe if Moss plays, that is a Seminole win.  FSU was number 1 going into that game, and likely remains number 1 with a win.  That would mean they would have the inside track to a championship game against other unbeaten teams.  That regular season would have had three unbeaten teams, Michigan (3), Nebraska (2), and FSU (1).  In that scenario odds are FSU plays Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, instead of going to the Sugar Bowl.  That Nebraska squad was good, but struggled with an okay Missouri team that season.  I think FSU wins that game, and probably gets a share if not takes the title outright from fellow unbeaten Michigan.  Remember, Michigan only played Washington State, not even a top 5 team.

1998 would add Weinke as QB, and FSU’s second ACC loss. NCSU would upset FSU by 17 early in the season, so odds are Moss does not make enough of a difference for a different score.  Despite the upset, FSU would go on to play in the first BCS National Title game against Tennessee thanks in large part to one of the craziest finishes to a regular season in history.  FSU only lost to Tennessee by one score in that game, and the Volunteers were arguably one of the worst teams to have ever won the title.  I think Randy Moss gets FSU another title that season.

Obviously FSU won it all without a loss in 1999, but could you imagine how much better an already elite offense would be with Moss? The Virginia Tech game would not have even bewn close.  Weinke would have had an even more impressive season.

Perhaps history works out the same with Moss playing, but I think he is good for at least one more title at FSU. If Moss plays and maxes out his college career at FSU, the Seminoles likely have at least 1, and maybe as much as 3 more titles.  FSU could very well be a three-peat or even a four-peat champion, and 5 straight title appearances.  How different would have the 2000’s been with that legacy?  Would recruiting have been better? Maybe not different, but I would have loved to have witnessed the games in the late 90’s with Moss as a player.  I especially would have liked to have witnessed how much fun that offense would have been to watch.  Of course, this pondering is nothing more than fantasy, but hey isn’t that part of being a fan?

ACC Basketball Confidential Roundtable: Season Preview

As we have done with football, the Confidential plans to get some or all of the Confidential contributors together weekly during the season to provide a summary of their school, the ACC, and other topics of note.  This week is the preview session:

Q1: What are your expectations for your team this season–best-case scenario, worst-case scenario, and reasonable expectations?

John (North Carolina): I have huge expectations for my team this season. With the collection of talent that North Carolina has, there’s no reason to think that a return to the Final Four isn’t possible. With 6 McDonald’s All-Americans, 5 Mr. Basketballs (including Joel Berry, a three-time winner in the State of Florida) and a two-time National Championship Hall of Fame coach, the Tar Heels may finally be poised to live up to the lofty expectations set upon them.

Best Case Scenario- Marcus Paige continues his run as ‘Mr. Clutch’ and is the nation’s best point guard once again. Forward Brice Johnson thrives under his increased minutes, and someone on the team finally learns to shoot a three-point shot. With high-scoring, and the fast-tempo that is consistent with a signature North Carolina team, the Tar Heels win the third National Championship of the Roy Williams era. Also, Duke flames out in the first round of the tournament again, this time, losing to local rival NC Central. There are riots in the streets of Durham, NC (but no one is hurt).

Worst Case Scenario- The NCAA decides that the information in the Wainstein Report is bad enough for them to take away the Tar Heels’ 2005 National Championship, a first for the governing body. Bogged down by sanctions, scholarship reductions and the early retirement of Coach Roy Williams, North Carolina limps to a 20-loss season where Marcus Paige regresses, Brice Johnson and Kennedy Meeks tear their ACL and no one figures out how to hit a three-point shot. Duke wins their fifth National Championship, passing the Tar Heels non-vacated number of championship seasons and Justin Jackson leaves early for the NBA. There are riots in the streets of Chapel Hill, NC (multiple injuries are reported).

Reasonable Expectations- It seems reasonable enough that with the talent Roy Williams has this year, that the Tar Heels 1) Contend for the ACC Regular Season Title 2) Advance to the Semi-Finals of the ACC Tournament and 3) Qualify for the Sweet Sixteen. But those expectations are almost too reasonable. North Carolina has a great shot at both the ACC Regular Season and Tournament titles, and has the skill to make it to college basketball’s final weekend. But will they? The Tar Heels have underperformed the last few years, struggling under the weight of the academic scandal, the PJ Hairston saga and their own inability to hit free throws. Time will tell.

Len K (Louisville): The Cards brought in a 6 men class so they will be young this season. The class was loaded with much needed size and came with a top 5 ranking but only two have shown to be a factor as of now. Two are 7′ foreigners who will need time to develop their game and physically. One arrived in school in August so he is behind while another is still waiting to be cleared by the NCAA. The good news is that two who should make an early impact are the Cards top rated PG and C. We know who the starting 5 will be and these two freshman will be the first to off the bench. Best case they compete for the conference championship. Worst case they finish mid-pack in the ACC. There’s 20+ wins on the schedule so a top 5 ACC finish is perfectly reasonable. We will learn a lot more about the Cards on Friday, 11/14, when they open the season in Puerto Rico against Minnesota. Yup, Rick vs Richard in a battle of the Pitino’s to start the season.

Brian (FSU):

Best Case: FSU shocks the world and wins the ACC, after all this is the best team FSU has had since it won the ACC Tournament.  Then gets to the Tourney, and then finishes in the Final 4. Am I dreaming? Probably, but this is a best case scenario… if you want a more reasonable best case scenario I would say this team is capable of winning the ACC, not likely, but not inconceivable.  In that scenario FSU could be good enough to get to the Sweet 16.

Worst Case: FSU goes to a third straight NIT tournament, and doesn’t even get to host a game.  I will admit odds are far better this scenario happens than FSU being a Final 4 squad. 

Reasonable: I think FSU getting to the Semis of the ACC tourney is not out of the question, and then gets to the Sweet 16.  I just have a good feeling about this year’s team.

Mike (NC State):

Best case:  Senior Ralston Turner fills the scoring void left by TJ Warren, a slimmed-down BJ Anya dominates in the paint, and Chris Corchiani Jr. lives up to his genes.  The Pack finishes in the top 5 of the conference and makes a deep NCAA run, perhaps Elite Eight.

Worst case:  Turner can’t fill those big shoes and Anya suffers a relapse.  Corchiani proves to be just another walk-on benchwarmer.  State struggles and misses the Big Dance.
Realistically, the Pack should have the guns to finish in the upper half of the conference barring major injury trouble. Scoring will likely be an issue early on as the team figures out their roles After TJ, but if Cat Barber continues to improve everybody should get chances.  The Wolfpack should make the NCAA tournament field without a play-in, though two wins may be the limit once they arrive.

Anthony (Syracuse): Some of Jim Boeheim’s best runs in the Big Dance have been with teams with very low expectations.  This 2014-2015 team may not have NIT expectations, but nobody is talking about the ‘Cuse right now.  The upside for Syracuse is always a Final Four run.  This can happen if the freshmen are as advertised and the sophomores take the next step… and if Trevor  Cooney/Rakeem Christmas become consistent.  The downside for Syracuse is the aforementioned NIT.  That is less likely than a Final Four run, but far from impossible.  If the sophomores do not develop, and Cooney/Christmas continue to be “no shows” too often, it is not clear that the freshmen will be able to carry the load.  The reasonable expectations are that Syracuse will do well in November/December… but then come back to reality as the ACC schedule hits.  One would expect a Big Dance seeding in the #5/#6 range.   

Q2: Who do you think the top 3 and bottom 3 teams in the ACC will be at season’s end?

John (UNC): I expect the top three of the ACC to be North Carolina, Duke and Louisville in no particular order. Virginia has a good team, but I’m not sure I see them maintaining the same level of momentum without mainstays Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell. Other teams like Syracuse, NC State and Pittsburgh will be good, but I don’t think there will be any surprise winners like Miami in 2013. The bottom three teams are actually harder to predict. Will new coach Buzz Williams make an immediate impact on Virginia Tech, leading the Hokies out of the basement? Or will they be stuck there with Boston College, an almost lock for the cellar? I’m betting on quick improvement in Blacksburg, and regression in Atlanta and Clemson. My bottom three- Boston College, Georgia Tech, Clemson.

Len K (Louisville): How can you not put Duke and North Carolina atop the ACC? The battle will be for #3. The top candidates here are Virginia, Louisville and Syracuse. Louisville plays NC, Pitt and Miami twice while also getting Duke at home. With all the young talent on the Cards roster I will put Virginia at #3 for now. My bottom 3 would be Wake, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Manning will do will at Wake but it will take some time.

Brian (FSU):Duke, 2) UL, 3) UNC (I am sorry; I think UNC is overrated).  13) Wake, 14) BC, 15) GT

Mike (NC State): I like Duke to win the conference with UNC coming in a close second.  Louisville, my #1 in the preseason poll, should be third at season’s end.  As for the bottom 3, let’s say Georgia Tech, Miami and Virginia Tech.

Anthony (Syracuse): As much as I would like to add Syracuse to the top three, Duke is just too loaded.  North Carolina has the next most talent.  And Louisville’s Rick Pitino will have the Cardinals ready for the ACC.  It is possible that the Cards will develop slow and come on late, in which case Virginia’s system is more likely to put them in that spot than Syracuse or the rest of the field.  The bottom three are likely to be the usual suspects–Georgia Tech, Boston College, and Clemson. 

Q3: What ACC coach enters 2014 on the hot seat?

John (UNC): Brian Gregory has been the coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for four years now, and has not led his team past a 9th place finish in conference. Even though the fans in Atlanta are not known for their basketball fandom, Gregory’s predecessor, Paul Hewitt, led the team to 6 postseason appearances in 11 years and was much more successful in his early tenure, bringing players like Chris Bosh and Thaddeus Young to town. Four years is usually enough to tell the direction of a program. If Gregory can’t show visible progress, his time will be done in the increasingly competitive ACC.

Len K (Louisville): Being new to the ACC I wont put any coach on the hot seat this early but the situation in Chapel Hill will be worth monitoring. His performance on the sidelines certainly hasn’t warranted a removal but will a change be forced by the NCAA?

Brian (FSU): Mike Brey of ND.

Mike (NC State): Brian Gregory has to be feeling posterior-area warmth after three straight losing seasons at Georgia Tech.  If a fourth follows, and I think it might, the Jackets will soon be looking elsewhere.

Anthony (Syracuse): It has to be Brian Gregory, who joins Tom Crean of Indiana in being a coach from the Tom Izzo coaching tree that is in trouble right now.  Which reminds me… take a look at the Rick Pitino coaching tree over at ESPN.  Pretty impressive.  Of course, Pitino is part of the Boeheim coaching tree.