Orange Bowl

2012 ACC Preview - Day 4

 
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Mike London and the Viginia Cavaliers will look to pick up where they left off in 2012.
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Ryan Trapp - Staff Writer
www.OrangeBowl.org
 

NC State

2011 Record (ACC): 8-5 (4-4)

Returning Starters (Off/Def/ST): 15 (7/6/2)

Head coach Tom O’Brien could not have asked for a better first season from starting quarterback Mike Glennon last season, and was rewarded with a 3,000 yard and 31 touchdown performance. Now, in his second year as the Wolfpack’s quarterback, Glennon will look to further establish himself among the ACC’s elite signal callers. He’ll have big-play threats Tobias Palmer and Quintin Payton to play with and a young ground game that should benefit from last year’s experience.  The defense has serious big play potential, racking up 40 sacks and leading the nation with 27 interceptions last season. Back to lead a seasoned secondary is All-American David Amerson, who led the nation with 13 interceptions in 2011, and safety Earl Wolff. Also returning is the lethal pass-rush duo of Art Norman and Darryl Cato-Bishop. With legitimate playmakers all over their depth chart, the Wolfpack could claim its first conference title in over 30 years.

THE ROAD TO SOUTH BEACH

This staff knows success. O’Brien is an impressive 8-2 in bowl games and has coached the Wolfpack to consecutive  bowl wins the past two years. While an Orange Bowl berth has always eluded the folks in Raleigh, picking up crucial road wins at UNC and Clemson could  help the Pack make their first BCS appearance.

 

Virginia

2011 Record (ACC): 8-5 (5-3)

Returning Starters (Off/Def/ST): 11 (7/4/0)

Thought by many to be the surprise of the ACC last season, the Cavaliers rattled off eight wins and earned a Gator Bowl berth under ACC Coach of the Year Mike London in just his second year in Charlottesville. Despite losing firepower in the trenches, the Cavaliers  return some dynamic skill players.  Senior running back Perry Jones will likely be the focal point of London’s offense and junior wide out Tim Smith is a legitimate big-play threat.  Junior quarterback Michael Rocco was one of the Cav’s most improved players during the 2011-12 season, but incoming Alabama transfer Phillip Sims could make for an interesting battle in camp and the early season. With a favorable ACC schedule, and London at the helm, don’t be surprised to see Virginia making a run at the Costal Division crown.

THE ROAD TO SOUTH BEACH

Virginia’s home slate includes early matchups against Richmond – London’s former team – and Penn State, but they’ll be challenged on the road at TCU September 22.  They’ll play Miami and UNC in back-to-back weeks in November and a pair of wins there should put the Cavaliers within striking distance of an ACC title. However, it’ll likely be their regular season finale at rival Virginia Tech that determines if UVA can make its first Orange Bowl appearance.

 

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