Posts

2020-21 College Basketball Preview: ACC

For college hoops fans, it’s been the longest offseason in history with no NCAA Tournament back in March and even as we moved through the summer, we still never was for sure if we’d even see college basketball in the fall.

Yet, here we are.

The 2020-21 NCAA College Basketball season is officially underway and yes, there will be many schedule changes and postponements like we’ve seen in college football, it’s still nice to just get to this point.

This season will be like any other, but many of the names at the top will stay the same as we dive in and preview the 2020-21 college hoops season starting with the ACC.

Conference Preview
Valedictorians: Virginia, Duke
Top of the Class: North Carolina, Florida State, Louisville, Syracuse, Georgia Tech
Needs Tutoring: Miami, NC State, Clemson, Virginia Tech
Failing: Boston College, Notre Dame, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest

Players to Watch
* Sam Hauser, Virginia
(6-8 SR Forward): Transfer who could be the x-factor for Virginia to contend for a title.
* Garrison Brooks, North Carolina (6-9 SR Forward): Will lead Carolina back to a tradition of contending for the ACC crown.
* Jalen Johnson, Duke (6-8 FR Forward): Star freshman that will be the next in line to win at Duke then head to the NBA.
* Scottie Barnes, Florida State (6-9 FR Forward): Florida State lost a bunch of talent to the Draft, but Barnes will still lead the Seminoles to the NCAA Tournament.
* Chris Lykes, Miami (5-7 SR Guard): The most underrated guard in the country, Lykes is dynamic and impressive. Lykes’ will likely be a contender for ACC Player of the Year if Miami can stay competitive.

Final Take
The ACC lost more talent than anyone to the NBA and graduation, but as usual, has reloaded led by the traditional powerhouses. Virginia and Duke both look like title contenders this season, but it’ll be Virginia that stands out as the favorite led by a trio of stars with Kihei Clark, Jay Hugg, and Sam Hauser.

Duke will be led by freshman again this season, so they’ll need to mesh quickly to contend in 2020. North Carolina should be much improved this season as Garrison Brooks returns plus another star-studded recruiting class makes their way to Chapel Hill.

Florida State will also be contender and keep an eye on Georgia Tech this season as Josh Pastner has one of the best backcourts in the league this season. Louisville, Syracuse, and maybe even Miami will also have a chance to advance to some March Madness come 2021.

The bottom half of the ACC will still have question marks entering the new season. NC State returns a few players, but lost do-everything star Markell Johnson and will struggled to even get back to .500 play this season in the ACC.

Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Notre Dame weren’t able to land any key recruits to change their basketball culture this season, but of the four, Aamir Sims may be able to guide Clemson to pulling a few upsets this season.

Pittsburgh enters year two under Jeff Capel, but is still a couple years away from truly contending in the ACC as they are very young and inexperienced which will cause them to struggle in league play.

Wake Forest has a new coach in former ETSU head man Steve Forbes, but it’ll be a while before their back in the upper-half of the standings.

Overall, many new faces, but it’ll be the normal suspects at the top of the ACC with three teams a chance to bring home another National Championship to the ACC. Each team enters the season with some questions, but Virginia, Duke, and North Carolina all have the pieces to make a deep run come March and April.

Big 10, Pac-12 Punt On Fall Football

Over the last few weeks, it has become inevitable that the college football season was in jeopardy.

Although players, coaches and, of course, fans have been loud and outspoken about wanting to play, on Tuesday, a major domino would fall.

Two of the most prestigious conferences in the NCAA pulled the plug on playing football this fall as both the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they would not be playing fall sports including football this year.

Many had the feeling that these would be the first two conferences to say no to playing this fall. The Big Ten was intentionally the first team to release a 2020 altered schedule leading to believe they were set to play this season.

Mentioning concerns with the pandemic and safety of the players, first-year Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren made the Big Ten the first of the Power Five conferences to pull the plug.

The Pac-12 followed meaning at this point, 40% of the major college football teams have now decided to not play football this fall.

Top tier teams now such as Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oregon, USC, Arizona State and countless others will now attempt to put together a plan for football in the spring.

As of today, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 of the Power Five plus the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Sun Belt have made no immediate moves. The three remaining Power Five conferences have made their intentions known they still have plans to play this fall.

While the pandemic is a great concern of every team and conference in the nation, one thing that should be addressed as soon as possible is that college football in the spring in not feasible.

Playing a sport as grueling as college football, especially for positions like linemen and running backs, is just not possible twice in one calendar year.

Plus, if there is a chance that the SEC, ACC, Big 12 or any mix of those figure out a way to play in the fall, it will make it even more likely that there could be no spring football season for just the Big Ten and/or Pac-12.

Especially if the NFL Draft chooses to not move the NFL Draft which is scheduled for April 2021. Even if they were to postpone or move it to the summer, top tier prospects would not play and put themselves at risk of getting injured that close to becoming a pro.

If spring college football some how did happen, it wouldn’t be anything like you would watch in the fall. Key players would be missing, rankings would be skewed and would we even have a Playoff or bowl games?

Flying under the radar in all of this is the Pac-12 is now the first to make a statement about basketball as well. Just like football players, coaches and fans held on hope during the college basketball shut down earlier in the year about playing, the roles have now switched.

Unfortunately, unless some-how college basketball can figure out a modified “bubble” style similar to what the NBA and WNBA is using very successfully, we’re about to enter another sports season with a massive gap.

At this point, if we can’t play college football, we’re not playing college basketball either.

Pac-12 not only called off fall football, but they also said there will be NO sports until at least January 2021 cutting out the first half of the basketball season on the west coast.

It’s time to get real about all this. You’re either playing football this fall or you’re not until fall of 2021.

Will there be any teams start to rebel? I mean, Ohio State was without question going to be a National Contender this year. Michigan’s head coach Jim Harbaugh has been one of the most outspoken about wanting to play this fall.

What happens if they reach out to the SEC or ACC about playing some games? The AAC is on the outside-looking-in when it comes to the Power Five, so what if they reach out to Ohio State and Michigan while Nebraska wants to play some SEC teams and Oregon reaches out to the Big 12?

How can the NCAA say no to them? Will players transfer? Will coaches like Harbaugh, David Shaw, Scott Frost and Chris Petersen start looking at NFL jobs?

Without question, there will be severe repercussions if the Big Ten and Pac-12 don’t play, but the other Power Five conferences do play in the fall. It’s safe to bet that the landscape of college football would never be the same following a year that has changed the lives of millions.

I’m anxious for the next couple of weeks because I expect much more changes and announcements from the teams that have now cancelled their season plus there is without question a possibility more conferences could also pull the plug on their season soon as well.

As we said in March when this reared its ugly head, when it comes to looking forward to anything in 2020, don’t hold your breath…especially when it comes to college athletics this years.

ACC Sets 11-Game Football Schedule, Adds Notre Dame for 2020

While the fate of college football is still very uncertain, conferences continue to make changes to accommodate travel and other concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced that it has reworked it’s football scheduling to allow each team to play a total of 11 games and will incorporate Notre Dame to the ACC for the 2020 football season.

Notre Dame, which competes in the conference for each sport except football, has lost many opponents already this season with conferences moving for conference-only schedules. With that in mind, Notre Dame will give up it’s independent status this year in hopes to have a full schedule of opponents.

The ACC also announced that it will eliminate the traditional divisional format for the 2020 season. The two teams with the best winning percentage will meet for the ACC Championship.

Notre Dame, as part of the deal, will equally share TV revenue among the 15 schools. Specific game dates and broadcast details will be released in the coming days.