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Original Issue


How They'llFinish

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

Conferencechampionship game: Dec. 5 in Tampa Virginia Tech over Florida State

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

Players toWatch
Top performers from unranked teams in the conference

Ras-I Dowling
CB, Jr., Virginia
With good size for a corner (6'2", 200 pounds), Dowling (above, left)ranked third in the ACC last season in passes defended, with 14.

Jacoby Ford
WR, Sr., Clemson
The NCAA champion in the indoor 60 meters, Ford (above, right) is second amongreturning ACC players in receptions, with 87.

Jason Fox
T, Sr., Miami
A candidate for the Outland and Lombardi awards, the 6'7" 314-pounder hasmade 36 starts on the offensive line.

Riley Skinner
QB, Sr., Wake Forest
He's the winningest QB in school history (26 victories as a starter) and theACC's career leader in completion percentage (67.3).

Russell Wilson
QB, Soph., N.C. State
After throwing for 1,955 yards last year, he became the first freshman to benamed the All-ACC quarterback.

Extra Points

Maryland has only12 scholarship seniors, the lowest total in the nine-year tenure of coach RALPHFRIEDGEN. But at least the Terps are experienced at quarterback, where seniorCHRIS TURNER has started 20 games. In his first two seasons Turner completed59.7% of his passes, with 20 touchdowns and 18 interceptions.... Duke's averagehome attendance of 28,727 last season was its highest since 1994—the last timethe Blue Devils appeared in a bowl game. Coach DAVID CUTCLIFFE is predictinghis squad will be bowl eligible, and the reason for his optimism is seniorTHADDEUS LEWIS (left), who threw for more yards last season (2,171) than anyother returning ACC quarterback.... New Virginia offensive coordinator GREGGBRANDON, formerly the coach at Bowling Green, is installing a no-huddle spreadoffense. It's the same fast-paced attack employed at Florida by Urban Meyer,who along with Brandon developed the offense at Bowling Green in 2001....Boston College linebacker MARK HERZLICH, the 2008 ACC defensive player of theyear, learned in May that he had Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer,in his femur. He's undergoing chemotherapy and hopes to return in 2010.


Best offensiveplayer
Jonathan Dwyer
RB, Jr., Georgia Tech
The ACC's leading returning rusher (1,395 yards) is a perfect fit in coach PaulJohnson's flexbone offense.

Best defensiveplayer
Dekoda Watson
LB, Sr., Florida State
With his blend of speed and power, the 6'2" 228-pounder is a prototypicalNFL outside linebacker.

True freshman towatch
Ray Ray Armstrong
S, Miami
At 6'5", 220 pounds, the five-star recruit from Sanford, Fla., is alreadydrawing comparisons with former Hurricane Sean Taylor.

Coach on therise
Paul Johnson
Georgia Tech
Picked to finish last in the Coastal in his first season, Johnson (left)instead led the Yellow Jackets to nine victories and a share of the divisiontitle.

Coach on the hotseat
Al Groh
He's 82--84 as he enters his ninth season and was 5--7 in two of the last threeyears. Groh probably won't survive if he has another losing season.