Chappy's Clipboard - 2003 ACC Breakdown
By Tim Chapman Writer/Analyst



1. Florida State 9-3 (7-1)
2. N.C. State 10-2 (7-1)
3. Maryland 10-2 (6-2)
4. Virginia 8-4 (5-3)
5. Clemson 6-6 (4-4)
6. Duke 6-6 (3-5)
7. Georgia Tech 4-8 (3-5)
8. North Carolina 2-10 (1-7)
9. Wake Forest 2-10 (0-8)

Team most likely to surprise: Duke… The Blue Devils were 2-10 a year ago and bring back 51 of those lettermen. That's to say they only lose five players who lettered in 2002! Not bad, especially when you have a padded schedule. With a rising offense and better-than-advertised defense, expect the boys from Durham to rise from the basement and make something of themselves.

Team most likely to disappoint: Georgia Tech… The off-season occurrences in Atlanta do not instill me with confidence for this team. No proven QB or RB (no back rushed for more than 300 yards last season), to go with an injury-questioned defense and two new kickers, leads me to believe the Jackets spend the better part of the season procuring their young talent.

1. N.C. State
2. Florida State
3. Maryland
4. Virginia
5. Clemson

1. Florida State
2. Maryland
3. N.C. State
4. Georgia Tech
5. Duke

BEST OFFENSIVE BACKFIELD: NC State (QB Rivers, RB McLendon… backups- QB J.Davis, RB Blackman, RB J.Brown, RB Dennison, FB Moyer)

BEST RECEIVING CORPS: N.C. State (WR Cotchery, WR Hicks, WR T.Hall, TE Richter… backups- WR R.Washington, WR Bertrand, WR B.Clark, WR Barrett, WR Span, TE T.J. Williams)

BEST O-LINE: Georgia Tech (OT Dorsey, OG N.Robinson, C Reilly, OG Honeycutt, OT Wallace… backups- OT J. Phillips, OT Koon, OG McHargue, C Hartley)

BEST DEFENSIVE LINE: Florida State (DE Emanuel, DT Dockett, NG T.Johnson, DE Moore… backups- DE Wimbley, NG Womble, DE C. Davis, DT Bunkley, DE W.Jones)

BEST LINEBACKERS CORPS: Florida State (SLB Boulware, MLB Augustin, WLB Pope… backups- SLB B.Davis, SLB Piquion, WLB Nicholson, MLB McGrew, LB E.Sims)

BEST DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD: Maryland (CB Cox, CB Foxworth, FS M.Williams, SS D.Wilson… backups- CB Chance, CB Haigler, SS A.Smith, SS C.Kelley, FS Wimbush)

BEST SPECIAL TEAMS: Maryland (PK Novak, P Podlesh, KR/PR Suter, KR Parson, KR J.Walker

Chappy's 2003 All-ACC Team
QB Phillip Rivers (sr)- NC STATE
RB Bruce Perry (sr)- MARYLAND
RB Greg Jones (sr)- FLORIDA STATE
FB Alex Wade (sr)- DUKE
WR Jerricho Cotchery (sr)- NC STATE
WR Derrick Hamilton (jr)- CLEMSON
TE Heath Miller (so)- VIRGINIA
OT Nat Dorsey (jr)- GEORGIA TECH
OG Lamar Bryant (sr)- MARYLAND
C Hugh Reilly (sr)- GEORGIA TECH
OG Elton Brown (jr)- VIRGINIA
OT Christopher Colmer (sr)- NC STATE

DE Greg Gathers (sr)- GEORGIA TECH
DT Darnell Dockett (sr)- FLORIDA STATE
DT Randy Starks (jr)- MARYLAND
DE Chris Canty (jr)- VIRGINIA
OLB Michael Boulware (sr)- FLORIDA STATE
ILB Brad White (jr)- WAKE FOREST
ILB Freddie Aughtry-Lindsay (jr)- NC STATE
OLB Kendyll Pope (sr)- FLORIDA STATE
CB Domonique Foxworth (jr)- MARYLAND
CB Justin Miler (so)- CLEMSON
FS Madieu Williams (sr)- MARYLAND
SS Andre Maddox (jr)- NC STATE

KO Matt Wisnosky (jr)- WAKE FOREST
PK Xavier Beitia (jr)- FLORIDA STATE
P Ryan Plackemeier (so)- WAKE FOREST
KR Leon Washington (so)- FLORIDA STATE
PR Steve Suter (jr)- MARYLAND

DEFENSIVE MVP: MD FS Madieu Williams
DEFENSIVE NEWCOMER: NCSU DT DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler (fr)

TOUGHEST SCHEDULE: Florida State…The 'Noles bring non-cons Colorado and Miami (FL) to Doak Campbell, while traveling to Notre Dame and Florida. Those four teams combined for 39 wins a year ago and, again, all look formidable. FSU also must play ACC heavies Maryland and NC State at home, leaving alert road trips to Virginia and Clemson. "Swing teams", North Carolina and Duke, are also away from DCS.

WEAKEST SCHEDULE: Duke… The Blue Devils have a reason to hope for a .500 season in 2003, thanks in large part to their friendly schedule. The "(Wallace) Wade Wackies" welcome (I-AA) Western Carolina, Rice and Northwestern to their humble abode early. They also host winnable games against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, with FSU and NC State coming as well. Any are long-shot, potential upset games. If they can steal one or two games against the conference's top dogs, the Devils may very well sneak into a bowl.

BEST COACHING STAFF: Maryland… These guys know what they're doing. Ralph Friedgen was like the "middle child" of college football for so long - admired and attractive to some, yet never got the attention he deserved. Finally, he landed a coaching spot at his alma mater and has accounted for a 21-5 record with an ACC title in that span. Along with his own offensive ingenuity, he has OC Charlie Taaffe teaming to give the Terps an offense that is rather confusing but, if executed properly, very hard to defend. DC Gary Blackney, who has given the Terps a respectable defense the past two years, leads that crew.

MOST TO PROVE: Florida State QB Chris Rix. Rixy really is a good QB, but that classification seemed to slip from him last season and left 'Nole fans questioning a position that has been so solid for so long. If he can erase all the garbage, both inside and outside, he will step up and have a superb junior season. If he doesn't, he'll be about as a popular as a rainstorm at kickoff.

MOST TO GAIN: NC State WR Tramain Hall. Here are the defensive priorities of the Pack's opponents this year: 1. Phillip Rivers, 2. Jerricho Cothcery, 3. T.A. McLendon. Where does that leave Hall? Right where he wants to be. He had a solid spring and is an electrifying presence on the field, both as a receiver and a runner. Look for Hall to cash in as the #2 receiver and etch himself a beautiful aesthetic of statistics.

OVERRATED: North Carolina TB Willie Parker. It was said that he was to be the next great Carolina back, but four years later he really hasn't much to show for it. He only picked up 236 yards on the ground last year and 1 TD. He currently sits #2 on the depth chart and might move down ever further with the emergence of true frosh Ronnie McGill and Kentucky-transfer Chad Scott's addition to the team.

UNDERRATED: Duke RB Chris Douglas. This guy could break through and become an All-ACC back. He has been one of the nation's best all-purpose men the past two years and has the speed to be a real game-breaker. What will really help accommodate him is an improved passing game for the Devils. As long that keeps up, Douglas will get his due.

BEST PLAYER NOBODY KNOWS: Wake Forest WR Jason Anderson. Sure, he may be known to most ACC fans, but nationally, you won't see his name pop up on many (if any) lists. He's got great size for a receiver and his speed often separates him. He had a very fruitful off-season and should be the most valuable player on the Wake Forest offense.

1. Nov. 15th N.C. State at FLORIDA STATE
2. Sept. 6th Maryland at FLORIDA STATE
3. Nov. 22nd Maryland at N.C. STATE
4. Oct. 18th Florida State at VIRGINIA
5. Nov. 1st Virginia at N.C. STATE
(Team in caps is Chappy's pick to win)