Now that we have roughly a month to go in the regular season, we are going to bring you a weekly installment look at the race for the top individual awards in the ACC.
Offensive Player of the Year
1A. Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson. Boyd has been on a tear of late, with over 700 yards passing and 10 touchdown throws in his past two games. Overall, Boyd leads the ACC with 2,680 yards and 25 touchdown passes and has an efficiency rating of 170.2 to rank No. 4 in the nation. He also has run more this year as well, making him an even bigger threat for the Tigers offense.
1B. Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina. Bernard was off this past week, so he could very well find himself in the No. 1 slot depending on how he plays this week against Georgia Tech. So often these awards take into account how a player finishes up the season, and Bernard is doing an excellent job of closing. He ranks No. 3 in the nation in all-purpose yards with 214 per game, and leads the ACC in rushing and punt return average.
3. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State. Manuel is having a career year and the quarterback of the best team in the ACC. He is on pace to set career highs for passing yards and passing touchdowns, and ranks No. 2 in the nation in passing efficiency with a rating of 174.03. The major reason why is his decision making -- he is completing 70 percent of his passes and only has thrown four interceptions.
Defensive Player of the Year
1. Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State. I think the race for offensive player of the year is a lot closer than the race for defensive player of the year. Werner should be the favorite in this category, with a league-leading eight sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss to rank No. 2 in the league.
2. Joe Vellano, DL, Maryland. Vellano has been nothing short of terrific for the Terps this season, leading the league with 14 tackles for loss, while being a major reason why Maryland ranks No. 2 in the ACC in rushing defense and total defense.
3. Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State. Carradine has been thoroughly impressive since he entered the starting lineup in place of All-American Brandon Jenkins. He is tied with Werner for the ACC lead with eight sacks and the Noles front has not missed a beat with him in the lineup.
Coach of the Year
1. David Cutcliffe, Duke. The Blue Devils are going bowling for the first time since 1994 and still have a shot at winning the Coastal Division if they win out. Same team that was picked to finish last in the Coastal in the preseason media poll. That is reason enough for Cutcliffe to win this award.
2. Al Golden, Miami. If the Hurricanes win out, they would clinch a spot in their first ACC championship game. Nobody expected much out of Miami, picked to finish fifth in the preseason media poll. No question the Canes are ahead of schedule.
3. Larry Fedora, North Carolina. The Tar Heels are the best team in the Coastal Division and have the best player in the Coastal Division but are ineligible for the postseason. Still, North Carolina has bought into what its first-year coach has asked of them and has a good shot at a nine-win season.