Posted by Chip Patterson
The ACC lost their chance at one of their last big recruits of 2011 when Jadeveon Clowney left Clemson hanging at the altar on Monday morning. Perhaps a reason to sweat that matchup with the Tigers a little bit less. Go ahead and start projecting your favorite team's win count, because the 2011 regualar season schedules were released today.
- As recently as last week, there was buzz about Florida State and Miami opening their seasons with a primetime showdown on Labor Day in Tallahassee. We mentioned some of the scheduling complications, and one of those reasons likely kept the game from making the final slate. Instead new coach Randy Edsall and the Maryland Terrapins will host Miami on Labor Day evening, facing a Miami team also in their first year under new head coach Al Golden. The two relocated coaches will provide a decent storyline for the national media, and it will provide the stage for Maryland to make a statement in 2011.
- Many people believe that Ralph Friedgen left the pieces for a bright future under Randy Edsall, and the Terps will have a chance to prove their worth in the first month of the season. Maryland does not have to leave College Park until October 8, and there will be several opportunities for big wins in that first month. In addition to the home opener against Miami on Labor Day, West Virginia and a Steve Addazio-led Temple squad should both be good tests for the new look squad. I think Maryland is a team to keep an eye on in 2011, but we'll know for sure by the end of the September.
- Dabo Swinney pulled several big wins for Clemson on the recruiting trail in early 2011, but the Tigers may find wins more difficult near the start of their regular season schedule. After hosting Troy and Wofford, Clemson faces Auburn (defending National Champion), Florida State (defending ACC runner-up), and travels to Virginia Tech (defending ACC champion) with no break between games. Swinney has some fresh faces on staff and one of the top recruiting classes in the nation, but with that schedule the new talent may not be able to prevent a 2-3 start for Clemson.
- If Florida State can upset Oklahoma and beat Clemson in Death Valley, they will be in the national title hunt on November 1. The Seminoles have already been slated by many as a Preseason Top 10 team already, and knocking off the Sooners will be a fast way to jump up a few spots. After Clemson (and an open date), Florida State will face Wake Forest, Duke, then host Maryland and N.C. State. Under Jimbo Fisher's leadership, the Seminoles could start 8-0. But Oklahoma should be very tough to beat in the coming season, and there are very few free road wins in the ACC. But if Florida State can pull off both wins, they should be a national contender as the season winds down.
Click here to see the .PDF from the Atlantic Coast Conference