Because half of the ACC’s teams were off, including Georgia Tech, I spent some time mulling the end-of-the-year conference awards.
I won’t vote, but it’s fun to give my opinion on who will likely win the big awards. I also made up some awards because this is my blog and I can do that. So there.
I'm also going to change the rules so that the leading vote-getter isn't automatically the player of the year.
Player of the year
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. I expect with 99 percent certainty that Louisville’s Lamar Jackson will win both this and the offensive player of the year awards because he is dominating most statistics in the ACC. It's so much easier to make a case for Jackson.
Having said that, I could see Watson winning this for the second consecutive year because he leads Jackson in the one category that truly matters: Wins.
Clemson is still undefeated.
Clemson still controls its fate in the College Football Playoff scenarios.
Clemson, behind Watson, is undefeated because it defeated Jackson and Louisville.
Watson is why.
Though not as spectacular as he was last year, Watson is responsible for the third-highest average in yards per game (318.4) behind Jackson and Syracuse’s Eric Dungey. Watson is fourth in touchdowns (21).
He's not Trent Dilfer, an average quarterback on a great team. He's a great quarterback on a great team.
All of this could change if Clemson loses to Florida State this weekend, though.
Should the Tigers win, I think it will be interesting to see what happens when it's time to vote.
Honorable mention: Jackson.
Offensive player of the year
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals are the top scoring team in the conference (52.6 points per game). Jackson leads the ACC in rushing (129.7 yards per game), scoring (13.7 points per game), total touchdowns (34) and total offense (438.4).
There is precedent for the player of the year not being named the offensive player of the year. In 2001, Maryland linebacker E.J. Henderson was named the player of the year, while Terps running back Bruce Perry was named the offensive player of the year.
Honorable mention: Dungey, Syracuse receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (134.2 yards per game).
Defensive player of the year
Not a lot of stand-out candidates in this one, so I’m going with Virginia’s Micah Kiser, who leads the conference in tackles (77) and is tied for the leads in fumbles forced (4). Pitt’s Ejuan Price has cooled off after his torrid start.
Honorable mention: Price, FSU’s Tarvarus McFadden.
Rookie of the year and Offensive rookie of the year
Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois. He is averaging 288.6 yards per game in total offense, and has 13 touchdowns. Both are top 10 in the ACC.
Honorable mention: Georgia Tech B-back Dedrick Mills, who is averaging 10 points per game, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, who is averaging 255.3 yards per game.
Defensive rookie of the year
I'm going to go crazy and give to the trio of Miami linebackers Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud.
Coach of the year
This will make folks in Atlanta and Arkansas sick, but Louisville's Bobby Petrino seems likely to win, solely because of the development of Jackson. However, the coaches typically vote for whomever wins the conference. So, Dabo Swinney may take it for the second consecutive year.
Now, on to the made-up awards.
Game of the year
There have been two outstanding games in the conference this season: Clemson vs. Louisville, and Florida State and Miami. Because of the stakes, I’m leaning toward the Tigers’ 42-36 win over the Cardinals. The teams had more than 1,000 yards in offense. There were eight turnovers, which added to the drama. Of course, Watson had two touchdowns in the final seven minutes to secure the victory.
That Wake Forest is 5-2 shows that nobody was paying attention to the Demon Deacons in the offseason. I know I wasn’t. Things could go up in smoke pretty quickly in Winston-Salem (get my little joke?) with games against Army, Louisville and Clemson remaining. For now, let’s allow the suffering Wake fans to enjoy what’s going on. It seems a bowl may be likely.
Georgia Tech. Coach Paul Johnson was bullish on this team’s chances before the season, but things just haven’t come together for the Yellow Jackets on offense or in key moments for the defense. The offensive line has under-performed for the second consecutive year, which affects everything. The defense is statistically solid, but doesn’t make impact plays and can’t get off the field on third downs, which also affects everything.
Though Clemson-Louisville was the best game, the best moment came when Florida State blocked Miami’s point-after attempt in the final seconds to preserve a 20-19 win.
Hey, when you take a game overseas you have to expect some hiccups. That’s what happened when Georgia Tech played Boston College in Dublin, Ireland. These T-shirts are all you need to know .
ACC Power Poll
This might be the most important ACC Power Poll that I’ve done in this blog today. So, please make sure that you meticulously overanalyze it.
- Clemson (1): The Tigers (7-0, 4-0) were off last week. No, that doesn’t mean they were playing Boston College or N.C. State. Next: at Florida State.
- Louisville (2): They (6-1, 4-1) tore apart N.C. State, 54-13. So, like Clemson, they were off. Next: vs. Virginia.
- Florida State (3): The Seminoles (5-2, 2-2) were off. Next: vs. Clemson. Kind of a big game.
- North Carolina (4): The Tar Heels (6-2, 4-1) thumped Virginia 35-14. Next: .
- Virginia Tech (6): The Hokies (5-2, 3-1) routed reeling Miami 37-16. Next: at Pittsburgh on Thursday.
- Pittsburgh (5): The Panthers (5-2, 2-1) were off. Next: vs. Virginia Tech on Thursday.
- Miami (7): The Hurricanes (4-3, 1-3) have lost three consecutive games under Mark Richt. Next: at Notre Dame in a battle of struggling squads.
- N.C. State (8): The team (4-3, 1-2) was pole-axed by Louisville. Next: vs. Boston College.
- Wake Forest (9): The Demon Deacons (5-2, 2-2) were off. Next: vs. Army.
- Syracuse (13): The Orange (4-4, 2-2) slipped by Boston college. Next: .
- Georgia Tech (10): Tech (4-3, 1-3) was off. Next: vs. Duke.
- Duke (11): The Blue Devils (3-4, 0-4) were off. Next: at Georgia Tech.
- Virginia (12): They (2-5, 1-2) has lost two consecutive games. Next: at Louisville.
- Boston College (14): The Eagles (3-4, 0-4) are staring at another 0-fer in the ACC. Next: at N.C. State.
Tech in the NFL
As you send your ideas (hint, hint) for content for our little Tuesday conversation, I’ll try to add them. Here’s one asking how Georgia Tech’s players did in the NFL last week:
- Jeremiah Attaochu, Chargers, OLB: No tackles in a 33-30 win over the Falcons.
- Morgan Burnett, Packers, safety: Three tackles and a pass defensed in a 26-10 win over the Bears.
- Adam Gotsis, Broncos, DT: Team played Monday night.
- Michael Johnson, Bengals, DE/OLB: Three tackles in a 31-17 win over the Browns.
- Shaq Mason, Patriots, OL: Played in a 27-16 win over the Steelers.
- Daryl Smith, Bucs, LB: Three tackles in a 34-17 win over the 49ers.
- Demaryius Thomas, Broncos, WR: Team played Monday night.
- Darren Waller, Ravens, WR: No stats in a 24-16 win over the Jets.
- Philip Wheeler, Falcons, LB: Five tackles in a 33-30 loss to the Chargers.
- D.J. White, Chiefs, CB: Five tackles and a pass defenses in a 27-21 win over the Saints.
If you missed them, Georgia Tech men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner provided scouting reports on each of his scholarship players:
Other Tech stuff
Volleyball vs. Clemson (Think Pink game), 7 p.m. [ACC Network Extra]
Volleyball vs. Virginia, 7 p.m. [ACC Network Extra]
Cross Country at ACC Championships (Cary, N.C.), tba
Women’s Tennis at Roberta Allison Invitational (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), all day
Football vs. Duke (Homecoming), 12 p.m. [RSN, 680 AM, 93.7 FM, Sirius 132, XM 193]
Women’s Tennis at Roberta Allison Invitational (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), all day
Softball vs. Emory (doubleheader), 1 p.m.