My colleague Mark Schlabach has revealed his pre-spring top 25, and the ACC has five representatives:
No. 5 Virginia Tech
No. 17 Florida State
No. 18 North Carolina
No. 23 Miami
No. 24 Georgia Tech
Mark and I did not collaborate on our rankings, but we have the same top four teams in the same order, which means I'm not the only one who thinks this could be the season for change in the Coastal Division. Bruce Feldman, though, says Clemson is one of 10 programs being overlooked heading into 2010. Here's what Feldman had to say about the Tigers:
Losing C.J. Spiller will hurt, but the Tigers have some talent in their backfield in the explosive Andre Ellington and Jamie Harper. Young QB Kyle Parker has a lot of talent and now has some game experience. But if he opts to go all in on his baseball career, I wouldn't have Clemson anywhere near this list. Because he hasn't bolted yet, the Tigers stay on the radar.
Four starters return on the O-line, and Da'Quan Bowers leads what should be a salty D-line. Safety DeAndre McDaniel also is back. The bad news is the Tigers have to go to Auburn, FSU and UNC -- three programs that all should be much improved in 2010.
Feldman is spot-on in this analysis, and Clemson has the potential to surprise some people this season. One question remains, though: If the Tigers couldn't win the ACC title with Spiller, why should its chances increase in the first season without him? That's one big reason why Clemson needs to work its way back into the rankings.