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College Football '05

The Acc

September 01, 2005|By Heather A. Dinich

Who's hot

Boston College - The Eagles will make their ACC debut fresh off a 9-3 record, good for a share of the Big East championship. Boston College beat North Carolina, 37-24, in the Continental Tire Bowl last season, becoming the nation's only team with bowl wins in each of the past five seasons.

Virginia Tech - The Hokies closed the regular season with eight straight wins en route to the ACC title in their first season in the conference. If quarterback Marcus Vick lives up to the hype, a repeat could be possible.

Who's not

Maryland - The Terps are looking to turn around a 5-6 season, and they are relying on a quarterback who has started only one game. Injuries during preseason camp hindered learning and forced coach Ralph Friedgen to toy with his lineup.

North Carolina State - After four straight bowl appearances under the direction of quarterback Philip Rivers, the Wolfpack dropped to 5-6 last year without him. Now it has to deal with the departure of tailback T.A. McLendon, the team's leading rusher.

Key games

Florida State at Clemson, Nov. 12 - The Tigers' Tommy Bowden has only one win in five against his father, but the Bowden Bowl is already sold out.

Miami at Florida State, Monday - The season opener pits a perennial conference power against ACC newcomer Miami, which finished its inaugural season 9-3 overall.

Maryland vs. Navy, Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium - The two teams haven't met since 1965, and the question remains whether Navy's discipline and determination will outweigh the Terps' talent.

Virginia Tech at Virginia, Nov. 19 - The late-season matchup between the rivals could have postseason implications.

Florida State at Boston College, Sept. 17 - The Eagles will begin their first season in the ACC at home against a conference power.

Big shoes to fill

North Carolina senior quarterback Matt Baker - Has never started a game and is taking over for Darian Durant, who was third in the ACC in passing efficiency.

Florida State kicker Gary Cismesia - Will try to replace Xavier Beitia, who made 16 of 25 field-goal tries last year (64 percent), including one for 52 yards.

Clemson linebacker Nick Watkins - Steps in for Leroy Hill, the team's leading tackler (98) and ACC's Defensive Player of the Year in 2004.

Miami sophomore quarterback Kyle Wright - Will try to compensate for the graduation of Brock Berlin, who threw for 2,680 yards and 22 touchdowns last year and is now with the Miami Dolphins.

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