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Posted: Wednesday August 19, 2009 10:07AM; Updated: Monday August 24, 2009 10:20AM
SI Conference Report: ACC
 
How They'll Finish
  Conference Overall
ATLANTIC W-L PCT W-L PCT
7-1 .875 9-3 .750
4-4 .500 8-4 .667
4-4 .500 7-5 .583
4-4 .500 7-5 .583
2-6 .250 5-7 .417
2-6 .250 4-8 .333
COASTAL
7-1 .875 11-1 .917
6-2 .750 9-3 .750
5-3 .625 9-3 .750
4-4 .500 7-5 .583
2-6 .250 4-8 .333
1-7 .125 4-8 .333
SI's ACC Championship Pick: Virginia Tech over Flordia State

UVA's Ras-I Dowling and Clemson's Jacoby Ford. :: Rex Brown/Getty Images
 
Players To Watch From Unranked Teams
Ras-I Dowling
CB, Jr. :: Virginia
With good size for a corner (6-foot-2, 200 pounds), Dowling ranked third in the ACC last season in passes defended, with 14.
Jacoby Ford
WR, Sr. :: Clemson
The NCAA champion in the indoor 60 meters, Ford is second among returning ACC players in receptions, with 87.
Jason Fox
T, Sr. :: Miami
A candidate for the Outland and Lombardi awards, the 6-7, 314-pounder has made 36 starts on the offensive line.
Riley Skinner
QB, Sr. :: Wake Forest
He's the winningest QB in school history (26 victories as a starter) and the ACC's career leader in completion percentage (67.3).
Russell Wilson
QB, Soph. :: N.C. State
After throwing for 1,955 yards last year, he became the first freshman to be named the All-ACC quarterback.
 
ACC Notables
Best Offensive Player
Jonathan Dwyer :: RB :: Georgia Tech
The ACC's leading returning rusher (1,395 yards) is a perfect fit in coach Paul Johnson's flexbone offense.
Best Defensive Player
Dekoda Watson :: LB :: Florida State
With his blend of speed and power, the 6-2, 228-pounder is a prototypical NFL outside linebacker.
True Freshman to Watch
Ray Ray Armstrong :: S :: Miami
At 6-5, 220 pounds, the five-star recruit from Sanford, Fla., is already drawing comparisons with former Hurricane Sean Taylor.
Coach on the Rise
Paul Johnson :: Georgia Tech
Picked to finish last in the Coastal in his first season, Johnson instead led the Yellow Jackets to nine victories and a share of the division title.
Coach on the Hot Seat
Al Groh :: Virginia
He's 82-84 as he enters his ninth season and was 5-7 in two of the last three years. Groh probably won't survive if he has another losing season.
Extra Points
Maryland has only 12 scholarship seniors, the lowest total in the nine-year tenure of coach Ralph Friedgen. But at least the Terps are experienced at quarterback, where senior Chris Turner has started 20 games. In his first two seasons Turner completed 59.7 percent of his passes, with 20 touchdowns and 18 interceptions ... Duke's average home attendance of 28,727 last season was its highest since 1994 -- the last time the Blue Devils appeared in a bowl game. Coach David Cutcliffe is predicting his squad will be bowl eligible, and the reason for his optimism is senior Thaddeus Lewis, who threw for more yards last season (2,171) than any other returning ACC quarterback ... New Virginia offensive coordinator Gregg Brandon, formerly the coach at Bowling Green, is installing a no-huddle spread offense. It's the same fast-paced attack employed at Florida by Urban Meyer, who along with Brandon developed the offense at Bowling Green in 2001 ... Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich, the 2008 ACC defensive player of the year, learned in May that he had Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in his femur. He's undergoing chemotherapy and hopes to return in 2010. -- Lars Anderson
 

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