1. We've been looking through the ACC this past week, mostly prodded by SMQ's relentless dissection of the conference. As bad as they were in aggregate last year--or should we say, as mediocre as they were--the logical cyclical optimists thinking would be to say that they'll necessarily better this year.
Contrarily: there's no reason to say they'll be dramatically better, though. Coaching turnover has hit in gouts: Tom O'Brien to NC State, Jags to BC, FSU's breaking in a whole new brain trust, Clemson remains ever-mercurial on the way to 8-4ish, Butch Davis has some serious flooring issues, and let's not even talk about the roof...even at Miami there's a new head guy, which means the whole thing actually got more disorderly and unpredictable over the offseason.
2. Meaning that when people say there's no reason Wake Forest could duplicate an ACC championship, there's little actual structure to the argument. Jim Grobe returns 16 starters, an often baffling Chinese box of an offense run by the fake-named Steed Lobotzke, and the little quarterback who could in the form of Riley Skinner. They've got people to replace on d, but keep in mind that Wake actually pulled off the accomplishment of running the zone blitz effectively at the college level last year. Schedule, schmedule. They're still good, and according to Tony Barnhardt on CSS a few days ago, Grobe thinks they're better this year.
3. Finished Potter Saturday. Lesson learned, without spoilers: don't fuck with Molly Weasley. We've decided our Patronus would be Danny Wuerffel running with a knee brace and flak jacket.
4. Got the first taste of NCAA 2008 on the XBox, and whoa holy hell hello sweet tar heroin. The playbooks for strategy whores have been beefed up considerably, and on offense, you're forced to be a lot more patient. Unless you're playing someone completely incompetent, the big scores happen just like they do in real life: because someone fucks up, and you take advantage. Take away the minor irritation of the occasional framerate shudder, and we're content as ticks on a fat dog, even if the fans leap up and down like mad monkeys for four quarters at sedate venues like Notre Dame.
5. Big Daddy Drew's preview of the Vikings on Deadspin is the balls, and none of you can deny it. He is the true Stairmaster.
6. Polling note: open for discussion here is the matter of Arizona State. Erickson's very good on the front end of a program's life span, and Arizona State's got reasonable amounts of talent on offense. Defensively...um, Arizona State's got reasonable amounts of talent on offense. Are they worth a 24 spot in the polls just to nab the possibility of them experiencing the early Erickson buzz...er, bump.
7. Song of the day: "Hang Me Out To Dry," Cold War Kids. Bass-a-licious.
8. Reading: The Economist's article on "The Enigma of Iran." Phil Steele, natch.
9. Stellar name of the week: Mister Simpson, Cincinnati running back and transfer from Michigan.
10. Team we're beginning to suspect won't be as good: FSU's terribly overweighted in the progress department. Phil's gaga over their potential, but the offensive line and skill positions have been so badly mismanaged that their watershed season seems, to us at least, that it will take a complete purge at some positions to undo the damage done by Jeffy "the Unready" Bowden. The mismanagement wasn't just in terms of instruction and strategy--it was done on the recruiting trail, as well.
9-3's possible. 11-1 is, to be polite, improbable.
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