Just a ton of football this week as practice hit high gear. As opposed to taking the time linking to all of the different items out there I am going to just turn your attention to Yet Another… as well as Backing the Pack. Both of these blogs have done a good job of maintaining ‘link flow’ this week for your surfing pleasure. There is no reason for us to spend time duplicating their efforts.
Now for some commentary on what we are seeing out there:
===== Riley Skinner > Russell Wilson? =====
Today ‘ESPN.com’ released their preseason All-ACC Team and they have chosen Wake Forest’s Riley Skinner over NC State’s Russell Wilson as All-ACC quarterback. Wilson, of course, was first team All-ACC in 2008 and was the media’s selection to repeat this season. (By the way ESPN’s article was written I don’t know if I am to blame just Heather Dinich or all of ESPN.com?
There is one big reason why Riley Skinner won’t have a better season than Russell Wilson – Wake Forest’s defense.
Wake’s under-appreciated defense of the last few years has benefited Riley Skinner more than publicly noted and the loss of seven starters from the unit is too big to ignore. Their disciplined approach to the game and ability to keep scores close have resulted in situations where the Demon Deacons haven’t had to diverge too far from their controlled offensive gameplans. The defense has allowed the offense to generally dictate what they want to do and keep opponents defenses on the field longer than their own.
The reliance of Wake Forest’s offense on its defense will be knocked a little askew by the exodus of NFL talent from last year’s defense; meaning more will be asked of Riley Skinner and Wake’s Kenny-Moore-less offense. Can Skinner truly deliver when more is needed of him than managing games and surgically picking and choosing optimal times to strike? It certainly didn’t appear so in Carter-Finley last year.
===== N&O Photo Gallery =====
The N&O had a real nice set of pictures from the Wolfpack’s Media Day this week. You can view the gallery by clicking here.
===== Numbers Notes =====
* NC State opens a 3.5 point favorite in our season opener against South Carolina. That hook is a touch one to swallow. I would need it to be no more than -3 and preferably -2.5 to jump on that with some value.
* 620TheBuzz linked to Vegas Insider’s O/U wins total for the ACC. The numbers paint the same picture that the conference experienced last year – a lot of parity. BC wasn’t on the list and I would have loved to have seen them. You may be able to make a case that some value exists in both FSU and NC State’s number. Georgia Tech’s number might be high in light of their tough schedule.
Duke – 3.5
Virginia – 5
Maryland – 6
NC State – 7
Wake Forest – 7
Florida State – 7.5
Miami – 7.5
North Carolina – 8
Clemson – 8
Georgia Tech – 8.5
Virginia Tech – 9
* NC State’s September 26th game against Pitt has been scheduled for a 3:30 kick-off on ESPNU. I am FIRED UP about this game; This is a big one! The Big East media chose Pitt to win the conference championship this season. A quick view of most preseason prognostications indicates the Pitt and NC State are chosen very close to each other across the board. I believe that it was the Sporting News that listed NC State #27 and Pitt #26.
* More vegas odds can be seen here.
South Carolina @ N.C. State (-3.5)
Baylor @ Wake Forest (-1)
Alabama (-4.5) vs. Virginia Tech
Maryland @ Cal (-21)
Middle Tennessee @ Clemson (-20)
Miami @ FSU (-5)
===== Injuries =====
For your both your Nate Irving discussion and the overall injury landscape then you can click here for a deeper dive. It is with crossed fingers that I hold my breath and observe that it appears the Wolfpack has avoided too many unexpected losses to this point of practice.
===== TheACC.com =====
TheACC.com has launched a feature this season where a blogger will be committed exclusively to following each member institution – they call it “The Road to Tampa Bay”. They are launching the feature with their 12 Days of Football. The NC State page can be seen by clicking here and it includes a nice preview video. NC State’s blogger will be a guy named Jonathan Rand and this link will take you to the actual NC State blog.