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Fearless Football Predictions 2007 part 2

And now, here is what hundreds of thousands have been avidly awaiting, give or take a few hundreds of thousands, the predictions for the ACC’s Coastal Division. As always, these predictions are guaranteed to be correct unless they are not and, quite frankly, I hope the latter is the case.

6] Duke- Well, Duh! The ACC’s football version of the Italian navy, the Devils managed to ring up another 0-fer in 2006, the third of the last decade. Ted Roof now sets his sights on matching the back-to-back winless seasons turned in by previous coach Carl Franks. Also there to shoot for is Franks’ crowning achievement, being fired at halftime of a Wake Forest game.

The losing streak is now at twenty and this time there is no East Carolina looming on the schedule to break it. If there are any Duke fans left, they had better hope UConn provides an acceptable substitute, as the Devils head on the road for four straight games after the opener. As if things weren’t already bad enough, RUTS by Little Johnny’s schedule-makers could cause the roof to really cave in.

Duke’s reaction to the chronic losing was to hold a football summit last summer, remarkable in that Ted promised a bowl game [did he attend a lacrosse kegger and get very drunk?] and nobody got around to discussing the crux of the problem facing Duke football, a total lack of indifference that extends to the school’s administration.

As long as Coach K keeps winning big, which he is no longer doing and the chances of doing again fade as Ol’ Roy continues to put distance between the ACC’s two flagship basketball programs [much like Coach K did to Dean a couple of decades ago], nobody that matters on Methodist Flats seems to see the point in investing anything into football. That includes school president Richard ‘There’s quite a view from under my desk’ Brodhead and AD ‘Lackey’ Joe Aleva. Lackey Joe was given a raise and contract extension for doing a crackerjack job, which tells you how much importance is given to the underfunded Duke football program in the overall scheme of things.

Roof has brought in a handful of decent players and should have won at least two games last year, against Wake and Carolina. They should be a little better and just might win a couple this year. Then again, they might not. Either way, nobody much will care.

5] North Carolina- While Duke has virtually no chance in football due to administrative indifference, at Carolina they do it the old fashioned way, through lousy coaching. The people that brought us NASCarl Torbush and Big John Bunting now turn to Butch Davis.

Butch Davis? With apologies to Bob Lee, who had all sorts of complimentary things to say about Tech, the Clubhouse gang and me and seems to genuinely like Butch, perhaps because he has yet to see him coach, Butch Davis? This was the guy who, when he had the country’s best talent, always found a way to blow at least a couple of games. When he finally used a Michael Vick injury to luck into a big year, he hauled ass to the NFL a day after giving Canes fans ‘my solemn word’ he would not. In the League, where talent levels are much closer across the board than they were in the Big East, Butch found himself hopelessly overmatched. Now we get to see what he can do with talent that, at least this year, will be inferior to most of the opponents.

One thing about Butch, he will keep things entertaining and do much to mitigate the loss of Chuckie to those of us who enjoy making fun of coaches. I avidly await what ESPN’s PTI guys referred to as Butch’s ‘panic attacks’ and the rest of us call Butch going bonkers on the sideline and doing something stupid.

If Butch remains true to form and he did at Cleveland, with the exception of the winning as long as the opponent wasn’t any good, Butch’s postgame press conferences will be compelling. Carolina fans should enjoy Butch taking personal credit for all victories, including the ones achieved by a former assistant who took Butch’s players and turned in better records than did Butch.

Since few have as high an opinion of Butch’s coaching abilities as Butch, losses will be blamed on players, assistants, lousy facilities [not an excuse at Carolina], miserable fan support, the media [certainly not a problem at Carolina], bad weather, bad karma, the previous coach, unrealistic expectations for what had been the country’s best program until Butch got there, bad luck, good weather, that slap-on-the-wrist probation [again not available for an excuse at Carolina- Big John might have been a bad coach, but he was a clean bad coach], that mean Frank Beamer, that mean Bobby Bowden, that mean Joe Paterno, that mean Steve Logan, the Athletic Director [Butch can’t seem to win in this regard], loud fans at Lane and Bobby Doak Campbell stadiums [note to Butch: Lane is bigger and louder now], the officials, the faculty [still available as an excuse] and anything else that pops into his head on the spur of the moment. This should be fun.

4] The Hoos- Let’s get this out of the way first: Despite all of the jokes, the Hoos shouldn’t be all THAT bad. After all, this is a bunch that returns everybody from an 06 team that got better as the season progressed, although it can be argued they sure couldn’t have gotten any worse.

The schedule is certainly manageable, with Florida State, Clemson and Fredo nowhere to be found, the OOC game against traditional power Directional Michigan having been jettisoned and a week off before the Beat Tech or Else game. Most any coach worth his salt should be able to take this crowd and win eight or nine games.

That, of course, does not take into consideration the algroh Factor. While it seemed to have been overlooked by Hoo AD Craig ‘Tubby, if that boob algroh has another losing season I will need you to hire me’ Littlepage when he handed out that fat contract that made Frank that much richer, quite a few high-dollar Hoos and the state’s high school coaches have noticed that, for all the great recruiting, algroh’s records have gotten steadily worse since the last of George’s players departed the Grounds. Those exciting Tire bowls are becoming a distant memory. The Great NFL Legend may be talking Boise or Bust, but Carl and his cronies are expecting a bit better for their largesse. algroh is running out of time to deliver it.

Although algroh persists in operating under self-imposed handicaps such as forgetting to recruit any wide receivers and continuing to entrust his offense to boygroh, this Hoo team SHOULD be pretty good. If not, the broom that sweeps through the McCue Center will be much larger than the one Sally used in Monticello.

3] Miami- These certainly are happy times around Coral Gables. Not only have the Canes promoted from within the staff fired for not winning enough to the Job Nobody Wanted, the Dwarf Dyke of Miami has pulled the college equivalent of NFL franchise relocation by leaving the Orange Bowl. Was this what Little Johnny and that Denver consultant had in mind?

Randy Shannon moves into the big office and onto the hot seat, taking over the Canes program. He was finally given the job after Paul Dee’s pronouncement of “I don’t care how bad the facilities are, the next coach has to win every game every year anyway” proved to be something other than an irresistible lure to every single coach offered the job. While the in-house promotion made the last time Phat Paul couldn’t foist off the job on anybody else worked out pretty well at least for a while, Shannon brings precious few qualifications for running this kind of high-profile program.

At least he won’t have to worry about the decrepit Orange Bowl collapsing during games. After this season, the Canes will be moving up I-95 to Dolphins Stadium, going from the worst stadium in college football to the worst in the NFL. At least the surrounding neighborhood will be better for the Dwarf Dyke to squire around Jan the Man and the rest of her buddies from the Clinton Administration.

There is a win-win situation created by the move. Shannon will now be able to actually show recruits the stadium in which they will be playing, provided he doesn’t get lost during that long drive from campus. Positive news also comes from a projected increase in those sagging ACC television ratings. The audience will be boosted by all of those Cane students watching on the tube since they will be too far away to make the games in person. One thing you can say about Little Johnny: when television says do something, it gets done!

2] Virginia Tech- Call this the anti-weauxf. Aside from the problems on the offensive line and the depth at running back, deficiencies not often cited among conference championship favorites, has anybody taken a hard look at the schedule? It would seem to temper wild optimism.

There is the early game at LSU, one that has very little bearing on anything other than the annual MNC fever created by the Jamerson hype machine. It is the ACC games that really count and their examination does not create warm and fuzzy feelings.

There is a serious trap game lurking at Death Valley, at least as tough an environment on visiting teams as Lane. The Tigers will be eager to return what Tech did to them last year, wreck their season, and are good enough to do just that.

Finally making an ACC appearance on Tech’s regular season schedule is Frank’s personal nemesis Bobby Bowden. While the odds would seem to favor Frank finally besting the elder Bowden one of these days, until it actually happens it can’t be assumed. Then, a week later the Canes come calling for what has quickly become the ACC’s most vicious rivalry. Who plays FSU and the U back to back?

Then, to boot, there are games at Georgia Tech, still pretty good and the closer in Hooville for algroh’s Beat Tech or Else game. In both instances, the Jackets and Hoos will have had the previous week off while Tech played. That will be a huge advantage for the home teams. Yikes! Obviously, Little Johnny didn’t consult Jacksonville hoteliers before saddling Tech with this killer schedule.

Yes, this Tech team will be good, perhaps very good. But Frank’s legendary fondness for the easiest possible schedule is not evident with this one. The coaches and players are invited to prove me wrong, but it is difficult to imagine Tech or any other team emerging from this scheduling gauntlet with an ACC championship.

As an aside: hopefully the clown who found it amusing to roam around the Drill Field last Sunday during the memorial dedication to the thirty-two fallen Hokies while wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with Bad Newz Kennels will opt for a wardrobe change during the ECU game. If not, the ESPN cameras will find it and they are going to provide enough footage of that jersey hanging in the NEZ as it is.

1] Georgia Tech- It goes to the Yellow Jackets by process of elimination. When your toughest ACC road games look to be the Hoos and Canes, things are looking pretty good, unless you are in the Jacksonville hospitality industry.

GT does lose some folks of significance, such as all-world receiver Calvin Johnson and his sidekick, QB Reggie Ball. Despite many Jackets considering the loss of Ball to be a good thing, the ACC can be tough on new quarterbacks.

Still, the ACC’s other great DC Jon Tenuta is still around and you can rest assured he will field another good defense, good enough to win some games on its own while the offense finds its way. Combined with a much easier ACC schedule than that facing the other Tech, it might be enough. Chan Gailey will continue to be the best coach most unappreciated by his own fans, at least as long as Tenuta hangs around.

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