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ACC preseason poll predicts FSU will beat Miami for ACC title

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The Miami Hurricanes are set to embark on their 14th season as a member of the ACC since moving over from the old Big East. The Hurricanes were brought in to the ACC to help give the football product a boost, but Miami has yet to play for an ACC championship. Could that drought end this season?

Miami was chosen as the ACC’s Coastal Division favorite by the preseason poll at ACC media days. The Hurricanes edged out defending Coastal Division champion Virginia Tech for the top preseason spot in the division. With Mark Richt gearing up for his second season on the job at Miami, the expectations continue to rise as he tries to emulate some of the success he had at Georgia in the SEC. Considering the ACC’s Coastal Division tends to be a division up for grabs the last few years, why not Miami this season?

In the Atlantic Division, the preseason poll is heavy on Florida State, with defending ACC and national champion Clemson coming in second place behind the Seminoles. Florida State is being hyped as a top playoff contender for the 2017 season, and the preseason poll out of the ACC seems to support that thought pretty well. Florida State will open the season with a bang against Alabama in Atlanta. If all goes according to plan, it could end up being a preview of a future playoff or national championship game this season.

Louisville quarterback and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was chosen as the preseason ACC player of the year, easily outpacing the next man in line, Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois.

ACC Championship
  1. Florida State – 118
  2. Clemson – 35
  3. Louisville – 7
  4. (tie) Virginia Tech – 3
    (tie)Miami – 3
  5. Duke – 1
Atlantic Division  
(First place votes in parenthesis)                  
  1. Florida State (121) – 1,108
  2. Clemson (37) – 1,007
  3. Louisville (9) – 843
  4. NC State – 658
  5. Wake Forest – 415
  6. Syracuse  – 362
  7. Boston College – 283
Coastal Division
(First place votes in parenthesis)                  
  1. Miami (103) – 1,065
  2. Virginia Tech (40) – 932
  3. Georgia Tech (9) – 708
  4. Pitt (7) – 673
  5. North Carolina (4) – 606
  6. Duke (4) -473
  7. Virginia -219
ACC Player of the Year
  1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville – 113
  2. Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State – 23
  3. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson – 11
  4. Harold Landry, DE, Boston College – 8
  5. Jaylen Samuels, AP, NC State – 7
  6. Eric Dungey, QB, Syracuse – 2
  7. (tie) Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami – 1
    (tie) Ahmmon Richards, WR, Miami – 1
    (tie) Daniel Jones, QB, Duke – 1

Pair of 2016 finalists headline Outland Trophy watch list

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In yet another sign that the offseason is quickly coming to an end and another season is rapidly approaching, the Outland Trophy has become the latest college football award to release its preseason watch list.

Given annually to the nation’s top interior linemen on either side of the ball, the Outland’s watch list this year consists of 81 players from all 10 FBS conferences.  Headlining that group are Washington State senior guard Cody O’Connell (pictured, No. 76) and Texas junior offensive tackle Connor Williams, two of the three finalists for the 2016 award won by Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson.

From the release, courtesy of the Football Writers Association of America:

The ACC (17) led all conferences with members on the Watch List, followed by the Big Ten and SEC (11 each), Pac-12 (10), American Athletic (9), Big 12 and Mid-American (6 each), Independents and Mountain West (4 each), Conference USA (2) and Sun Belt (1).

The list includes 24 offensive tackles, 21 defensive tackles, 20 centers and 16 offensive guards.


ACC tops as Bronko Nagurski watch list hits triple digits

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It may not be the biggest award in college football, but it’s certainly the most voluminous.

Watch List Season continued unabated Thursday morning, with the Bronko Nagurski Trophy revealing a group which consists of a whopping 103 FBA players.  Within that triple-digit preseason club, there are 30 defensive backs, 29 linebackers, 25 defensive ends and 19 defensive tackles.

Two 2016 first-team Football Writers Association of America All-Americans appear on the list — Clemson’s Christian Wilkins (pictured) and Florida State’s Tarvarus McFadden.

Conference-wise, the ACC leads with 20 players selected for the initial watch list.  The Big Ten is next with 16, followed by the SEC’s 14, the Pac-12’s 13 and the Big 12’s 11.  The AAC paced Group of Five leagues with 10, with the Sun Belt (6), Mountain West (5), Mid-American (3) and Conference USA (2) rounding out the conferences, while football independents chipped in the remaining three.

The Nagurski Trophy has been handed out annually since 1993 to college football’s best defensive player.  Last year’s winner was Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen.


Former BC, NC State head coach Tom O’Brien named Navy color analyst

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Tom O’Brien is about to do his third tour of duty with the Navy football program.

O’Brien was announced as the color analyst of the Midshipmen’s radio network on Thursday, replacing Omar Nelson, who is now Navy’s football recruiting coordinator.

“After a 25-year sabbatical from the Naval Academy I am thrilled to return to Annapolis and be a part of the radio team,” O’Brien said in a statement.  “I am honored that Chet Gladchuk thought of me for this position when it came open. Kenny and his staff have done a remarkable job over the last nine years and I’m excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the program again.”

O’Brien graduated from Navy in 1971; he also played three years on the Middies’ football squad as a defensive end. He served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps and then started his coaching career at his alma mater, coaching tackles and tight ends from 1975-81. He would go on to become the head coach at Boston College, where he compiled a school-record 75-45 record with eight straight bowl appearances from 1997-06. O’Brien left for N.C. State after the ’06 season, where he racked up a 40-35 mark from 2007-12.

O’Brien last coached as Virginia’s assistant head coach for offense and tight ends coach from 2013-14, where he was let go alongside Mike London.

O’Brien spent the past two seasons doing color commentary for ESPN3.

The Navy Radio Network is carried on 10 stations, mostly in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, but also in Jacksonville, San Diego and Seattle, and also on SIRIUSXM satellite radio.

NC State adds Tennessee transfer Stephen Griffin

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Tennessee transfer Stephen Griffin has officially transferred to NC State, the program announced Monday.

Griffin was a consensus 3-star safety prospect out of South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte and appeared in 18 games with one start in two seasons as a Volunteer.

“We’re very excited to welcome Stephen to the Wolfpack family,” NC State head coach Dave Doeren said in a statement. “We recruited him in high school at South Meck and wanted him here then. He comes from a great family and adds another top in-state player from the Charlotte area to our roster.”

Griffin is the son of former Atlanta Falcons running back Steve Griffin.

NCAA rules will require Griffin to sit out the 2017 campaign before competing as a member of the Wolfpack in 2018-19.