SI Vault
August 17, 2009
How They'll Finish
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August 17, 2009


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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% 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 (left), 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.


Best offensive player
Jonathan Dwyer
RB, Jr., 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, Sr., 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 (left) instead led the Yellow Jackets to nine victories and a share of the division title.

Coach on the hot seat
Al Groh
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.

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