The Coastal Division has been getting all of the love lately -- in the polls, from the fans and in the media. That’s because Coastal teams have won the past three ACC titles, combined for a 12-6 record against the Atlantic Division last year (not including the championship game), and should be favored in a majority of the matchups again this season.
But the Coastal hasn’t always been the stronger of the ACC’s two divisions. In fact, as Lindy’s preseason magazine points out, fifth-year seniors in the Atlantic Division are 39-33 overall against their Coastal counterparts. Can they help the Atlantic Division redeem itself from last year’s record? It will probably take a little longer than that for the cycle to swing back in the Atlantic Division's favor.
Aside from the obvious (NC State, Maryland and Wake Forest need to play better), here are three things that need to happen in order for balance to be restored in the ACC:
1. Maryland needs direction. It needs a quarterback of the future good enough to contend for ACC titles. It needs leadership answers in the football office and in the administration. The recruiting has taken a positive step under offensive coordinator James Franklin and needs to continue to build on that.
2. Staff stability. Clemson had a coaching turnover. Boston College has had several. Florida State is in the Jimbo Fisher era. Maryland has seen enough new coordinators and assistants, and another change could be imminent. Everyone can take a lesson from Wake Forest in this category.
3. Frank Beamer has to retire, and Ryan Williams needs to leave early for the NFL. Look, the Hokies have had a stranglehold on the ACC since joining the league, and until the program undergoes some sort of major overhaul, it’s going to be tough for an Atlantic Division team to defeat them in the ACC title game. Just ask BC. Maybe that means the fourth thing that needs to happen is Florida State needs to reassert itself as a league contender. After all, FSU and Clemson are the only two Atlantic Division opponents with winning series records against the Hokies. (The Terps are 15-15).