This series looks at one good reason each school in the ACC will win this year, and, just to make sure we cover both sides of the story, one good reason why it won’t. For most schools, the focus is on winning the ACC title. For the programs that missed out on the postseason entirely last year, the focus is on getting back to a bowl game (at least it is here in the blogosphere). We’re going in alphabetical order.
The series continues today with one good reason why …
Miami will win the Coastal Division: Al Golden. Around this time a year ago, Golden was blindsided by an NCAA investigation that put Miami in the middle of a firestorm. He didn’t flinch. Golden worked with what he knew and the players he had and somehow managed to get the team bowl eligible in what was a tumultuous first season. Many thought he would leave, but Golden showed no signs of turning his back on the program. Now, with the NCAA investigation still looming, Golden is tasked with rebuilding a roster that lost 12 starters. In a season full of change, Golden remains entrenched in his plan for the program and has recruited well. There will be plenty of opportunities for his highly touted recruiting class to make an immediate impact. While some still question whether Golden is the right man for this job, his experiences at Temple have helped him prepare for the ongoing obstacles at Miami.
Why it won’t. Seven new starters on offense. Talk about a clean sweep. No team in the ACC lost more talent from 2011. Between graduation and early entries to the NFL, Miami has to find a new starting quarterback, receivers, leading rusher and replace three starting offensive linemen. The days of Jacory Harris and Lamar Miller have passed, now Stephen Morris will try to assert himself as the full-time starter and Mike James will try to win the job over some talented younger players. The Canes also need to find some big-play receivers to replace Travis Benjamin and Tommy Streeter, who combined for 11 touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch might have to scale down the playbook to help some of the younger players transition into more prominent roles.