Have a great weekend!
Jonathan in Fullerton, Calif., writes: Hi Andrea, I am a big FSU Noles fan in CA and I am just wondering how you think the team will do this year with inexperience at the QB position and some new coaches? Do you think Clemson will live up to the hype they are getting as the preseason favorite in the ACC and what are the chances the Noles will upset them this season?
Andrea Adelson: I have been on record as saying Florida State should win at least 10 games again this season, given the schedule and returning talent. I know that 11 guys were drafted, and I know there is a new starting quarterback. But there enough veteran players coming back to help ease some of the concern with a first-year starter. If the Florida State offensive line and running backs are as good as we believe they will be, then the pressure on the quarterback will not be as great. As for Clemson, I believe the Tigers deserve the preseason hype at this point. Does this mean they are going to run the table? Not necessarily. They most likely will be favored to beat Florida State, but the Noles are perfectly capable of winning up in Death Valley (even though it has been a while).
Jason Freeman in Cumming, Ga., writes:What is the likely record of the ACC after the first two weeks of college football? Considering the big matchups like Va. Tech/Bama The U/Florida, Clemson/UGA among others!!
Adelson: First, let's look at my projected record in the games against Top 25 opponents in the first two weeks of the season. So that includes the three games you mentioned, plus North Carolina vs. South Carolina and Oregon vs. Virginia. My projected ACC record for those five games is 2-3. Now, let's look at all nonconference games the first two weeks against FBS opponents. My projected ACC record is 9-4. I have some high hopes for a few ACC upsets. You'll have to stay tuned to our weekly picks for those!
Sean Linkenback in Atlanta writes: Name one big momentin the FSU/Clemson rivalry? You've never heard of the Puntarooskie? Or the dramatic come from behind win to preserve FSU's undefeated 1999 season in Bowden Bowl I? Research a little bit more. Long history here.
Adelson: Fair point, Sean. But those are not iconic moments that most fans outside Florida State and Clemson can immediately identify. Mention Wide Right, and everybody knows it's Miami-Florida State.
Jay Helms in Marrisville, N.C., writes: AA, you need to slightly adjust the info about Duke's RBs. I know Duke has been bad for so long that it's painful to even look their direction to see what's going on there. They have 100 percent of their running backs. There still have senior Juwan Thompson, who needs to be added to the list. They'll be just fine in the run game. And it is my opinion that they'd be fine regardless of what is going on at QB. They are just getting one step better each season. And that will continue this year.
Adelson: Jay, I did note that its top six return (including Thompson). The number of returning carries is not 100 percent because Sean Renfree did have some carries last year, so I factored that into the calculations.
Josh in Pittsburgh writes:You're not the only one to do this at ESPN, but since I am a fan of this blog and read it regularly, I wanted to bring this to your attention. It's really annoying that people are glossing over how Rushel Shell's transfer went down. He wanted to transfer to UCLA, then had second thoughts. He asked Pitt if he could come back. Pitt said no. Then, he went to West Virginia. So yes, the ending transaction was Shell from Pitt to West Virginia, but that's not the whole story. HE ASKED TO COME BACK TO PITT. CHRYST SAID NO. That's an important part of the story because everyone -- based on the description in your blog post on running backs -- thinks Shell spurned Pitt for rival West Virginia. In reality, Shell went to West Virginia because Pitt wouldn't have him back. That's an important distinction that's not being made clear.
Adelson: Josh, I understand your point of view, but I think you are reading too much into that one line. We very clearly pointed out that Shell was not going to be allowed back to Pitt after the UCLA situation in an earlier blog post in June. I applaud Chryst for his decision, too.
Christopher Koch in Charlottesville, Va., writes:Andrea, Has there ever been any talk about having an ACC/B1G-esque challenge in the football world? I think this would go a long way in raising the out-of-conference strength of schedule for most teams and would be fun for the fans like it is in basketball. It would also be good for recruiting and the TV ratings could bring in a pretty penny (and lets face it, isn't that what college football is about these days?). I don't see many downsides to a conference vs conference weekend. What are you thoughts on this? Thank you.
Adelson: Christopher, you are not that far off. The Big Ten did have a scheduling agreement with the Pac-12 at one point, before the Pac-12 decided to go to nine league games. The Big Ten has since decided to go to nine league games, too. The ACC stands at eight. So it is extremely difficult to enter into league-wide scheduling partnerships when there is an imbalance in the way leagues play conference games. Factor in the ACC scheduling partnership with Notre Dame, and long-standing rivalry games for Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech, and it is pretty difficult to pull off this type of scheduling arrangement between conferences. However, the ACC and Big Ten will be playing each other in more bowl games between 2014-19, and nine league schools have future games against Big Ten teams on the schedule. In fact, 2020 and 2021 could be considered a scaled-down version of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Games scheduled for those two seasons: Virginia Tech-Michigan; Miami-Michigan State; Syracuse-Penn State and Boston College-Ohio State. Here is a look at all the future games between ACC-Big Ten teams:
Virginia Tech-Ohio State (2014, 2015)
Wake Forest-Indiana (2015, 2016)
Pitt-Penn State (2016-19)
North Carolina-Ohio State (2017,18)
Virginia Tech-Wisconsin (2019, 2020)
Virginia Tech-Michigan (2020, 2021)
Miami-Michigan State (2020, 2021)
Boston College-Ohio State (2020, 2021)
Syracuse-Penn State (2020, 2021)
Virginia Tech-Penn State (2022,2023)
Virginia-Penn State TBA