Clemson is the toast of the ACC. But who is the toast of the Coastal?
After the win on Monday, Clemson is the toast of the town. The ACC isn’t far behind with a 9-3 bowl record, best in the country.
The ACC has now won the National Title twice in the past four years. They have been in three of the Championship games. The SEC has only one title, as does the Big Ten.
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The Pac 12 has missed the playoffs once in three seasons, the Big 12 twice.
The biggest issue for the ACC is the Coastal Division. The Atlantic has established three title contenders. The Coastal has not had a repeat champion since 2010/2011 when Virginia Tech did it.
With so much roster turnover once again, here are three things to take away from the Coastal in 2017.
Young or inexperienced quarterbacks
Last season the Coastal was well established with quarterbacks. Three of the top five ACC quarterbacks in passing yards played in the ACC. Six of the top ten ACC quarterbacks in passing touchdowns also played in the Coastal.
2017 will be different. With the graduations of Justin Thomas and Nate Peterman, as well as the early departures of Mitch Trubisky, Brad Kaaya, and Jerod Evans, the Coastal will look much different behind center.
The Coastal’s senior leader will be Virginia’s Kurt Benkert who threw 11 interceptions last season. The next most experienced QB will be Daniel Jones a sophomore at Duke. Both those teams were a combined 2-14 in ACC play last year.
That doesn’t mean the Coastal won’t be good at quarterback, it will just be unknown. Thomas Sirk will be back at Duke as a sixth-year senior. Pitt is adding graduate transfer Max Brown from USC into the mix. Plus there is still Malik Zaire’s impending decision.
Regardless with all these questions, it will be hard to determine a clear Coastal leader.
Lack of Coaching Turnover
Sep 24, 2016; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora walks down the field during the second quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Last season the Coastal brought in three new coaches.
The year before one.
For the first time since the 2014 season, the Coastal will have no first year coaches in it’s lineup.
Paul Johnson and David Cutcliffe are the senior coaches. Larry Fedora is next.
However, less seasoned coaches, Pat Narduzzi, Justin Fuentes, and Mark Richt showed success early and hope to continue to build on that.
This allows for better game preparation as well as closer games as it is harder to surprise teams with game tape.
It may make for better games, but once again makes the Coastal even less clear.
What most people call parity, in the ACC Coastal, it’s called Chaos. The aforementioned reasons are just some of the things that lead to the Chaos.
The lack of an obvious contender does as well.
It is not crazy for the bottom of the conference to rise to the top. And often the team everybody picks often fails to live up to the hype.
Just ask Carolina.
So to ask again, what will the ACC Coastal look like in 2017? Who knows?
Ask me again in September. Though that will probably still not be right when it hits December.
Of course , it’s the Coastal, so what else is new.