ACC

2010 NCAA Football ACC Preview

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It is baseball season, but there are plenty of ways to get your fill of football too. Our own Danny Hobrock is on the beat making his way across the College Football landscape exhaustively covering team after team. These previews will get you up to snuff with everything you need to know about the transition to each 2010 team.

Each team preview covers the team's outlook and projection for the 2010 season. We've got in depth coverage of each team's offense, defense and special teams. We'll cover who's in and who's out, and players from true freshmen to four year starters and pro prospects. Finally, we'll look at strategy and style of play on both sides of the ball, as well detailed information about coaches and players.

Today Danny is previewing the ACC Coastal teams - Miami Hurricanes, Virginia Tech HokiesNorth Carolina Tar Heels, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Duke Blue Devils. Clicking on each team's logo will take you right to the team's preview.

Check back often between now and the September 2nd season kick-off as new team previews are going up almost every day. Clicking here or on the NCAA Football in the right sidebar will take you to the page containing all the previews published to date.

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ACC Coastal Conference

  1. Miami Hurricanes
  2. Virginia Tech Hokies
  3. North Carolina Tar Heels
  4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
  5. Duke Blue Devils
  6. Virginia Cavaliers

Miami Hurricanes

ACC Champions

With most fans focusing on the Ohio State and Pitt matchups to begin the year, and who could blame them, many are forgetting about the conference-opening road game against Clemson, champions of the Atlantic Division last season. Miami will also have to contend with defending Coastal Division, and ACC, champs Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Sure, the 'Canes get Florida State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech at home, but road games against last seasons' ACC Championship participants will be important in deciding Miami's fate in 2010.

That said, the 'Canes return a much more experienced team this season with members of their top ranked 2008 recruiting class now entering their junior seasons and with a number of seniors returning as key members of this team. With their deepest team in years and experience across the board, Miami is in prime position to claim an ACC Championship and a trip to the Orange Bowl. The past two seasons, analysts, fans and just about anybody you spoke to gave the Hurricanes the 'youth excuse'. That stops this season.

Virginia Tech Hokies

2nd ACC Coastal

Beamer and his staff enter 2010 charged with the task of replacing the left side of their offensive line and six starters on defense. With two 1,000 yard rushers sharing the backfield, a solid wide receivers corps and a quarterback with three years starting experience, the offense is in good shape and may actually be the strength of the Hokies, who have lately relied on their defense to win games.

Replacing three members of the defensive line, All-ACC first teamer Cody Grimm at linebacker and two members of a pass defense that ranked 11th in the nation (8th in pass efficiency defense) leaves the Hokies with question marks across their defensive depth chart. They even lost their punter and kicker from a season ago. But the Hokies have done well in replacing players who graduated or left early for the NFL, and will do so again. There are plenty of talented players on the roster set to take over for the departed players, and Virginia Tech should be right there with the Coastal Division's top teams.

November 4 to November 20 will define Virginia Tech's season with games against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami. Any one of these four teams can win the division, making it one of the harder to call. The good news for Tech fans is that by the time November rolls around, any hint of inexperience on defense should be gone and the Hokies will be ready to take on their biggest conference foes.

North Carolina Tar Heels

3rd ACC Coastal

With so much experience and talent on the defensive side of the ball, UNC must find a way to move the ball on offense in 2010 if they want a shot at the Coastal Division title. There's a very good chance that the Tar Heels could be playing in the ACC Championship come December, but to get there they'll need more production out of their passing game, and their running game will have to hit a groove to consistently move the ball. They haven't shown they're capable of doing that yet, making it hard to put them ahead of the Hokies and 'Canes who, while they've struggled at times, have shown a lot of promise on the offensive side of the ball going into this season.

We should expect to see a more productive offense this season with experience all around (9 returning starters) and all of their skill position players with at least one year of experience under their belts. How the offensive line holds up against the conference's better defensive fronts and how well they are able to move the ball through the air will ultimately be the key to whether the Tar Heels go to the ACC Championship, or whether they make their third consecutive trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

4th ACC Coastal

Tech fans won't like the fourth place prediction, and few, if any, would agree with it. Georgia Tech won the Coastal last season and finished tied for the division lead with Virginia Tech in 2008, but lost the head-to-head tiebreaker. Virginia Tech has been a consistent force in the division, while Miami and North Carolina have been rebuilding and seem poised to shift the balance of power one of their ways. The Yellow Jackets could find themselves victim to a very deep division.

Tech is replacing two key players on both sides of the ball (RB Jonathan Dwyer and WR Demaryius Thomas on offense; DE Derrick Morgan and S Morgan Burnett on defense), but have some promising replacements lined up. Much of Georgia Tech's success will depend on whether players step up to fill the roles of the departed players. Will Anthony Allen run the ball as effectively to the inside as Dwyer? Will Stephen Hill emerge as a viable threat in the passing game the way Thomas was? Will the defense put pressure on quarterbacks like Morgan? And who will step into that ball-hawking role vacated by Burnett?

Duke Blue Devils

5th ACC Coastal

Last season, Duke's five wins were the most since their eight-win 1994 season that took them to a bowl game. This season, some are predicting further improvement, while others think a bit of a back-slide is in order. Quarterback Sean Renfree, replacing four year starter Thaddeus Lewis, isn't the only one who will be feeling the pressure in 2010. To make it to the bowl season, Duke must move the ball more effectively on the ground and the defense needs to stiffen up.

The Blue Devils let up an average of 35.6 points in their seven losses, and held their opponents to an average of 18.2 points in their five wins. Keeping teams out of the end zone will be important and breaking 100 yards rushing once in a while wouldn't hurt. Duke rushed for more than 100 yards just once last season when they put up 233 of their 762 rushing yards against North Carolina Central. Take away that game and the Blue Devils averaged less than 50 yards rushing a game.

Taking a look at their schedule, Duke must win their games against the ACC's softer opponents (i.e. Wake Forest, Maryland and Virginia), and must not let up another opening week loss to an FCS school (they get Elon on September 4) if they want a shot at a bowl game. That would bring them to four wins. They also need to grab the win over Army and pull off a surprise win against a team to whom they're supposed to lose (i.e. Alabama, Miami, Virginia Tech, Navy, Boston College, Georgia Tech and North Carolina). They can do it, but it's far from a certainty.

Virginia Cavaliers

6th ACC Coastal

A lot of Cavalier fans are happy to see Mike London take over for Al Groh and many expect him to take the Cavaliers back to the bowl season sooner rather than later, but as for 2010, Virginia could be looking at another last place finish in the ACC Coastal unless a few players can overachieve a bit. If London is able succeed in his goal of improving recruiting in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers will be on the right track. It just might take a couple of years before his success in living rooms translates into success on the field.

Virginia does have a few promising recruits coming in this year including running back Kevin Parks, who could see some time at running back this season with depth at the position pretty thin, and Morgan Moses, a four star offensive tackle who originally committed to Virginia last year when Al Groh was still head coach, but attended Fork Union Military Academy in 2009. The Cavaliers have already received 14 verbal commits for the 2011 class and are well on their way to rebuilding their program. - Danny Hobrock

Danny Hobrock is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.