Bishop Media Sports Network

1 2 3 148

The East Beasts

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We are going to take a look and preview the SEC East for the upcoming 2022 season.

#1 Georgia: The Bulldogs finally beat Alabama in the National Championship to win their first national championship since 1980.

They only return 10 starters but they are expected to reload. The defense was historically good but they lost players like linemen Jordan Davis and Travon Walker, linebacker Nakobe Dean and safety Lewis Cine.

Stetson Bennett returns under center and they return three starting offensive linemen. They have two very talented tight ends, Brock Bowers and Arik Gilbert.

#2 Tennessee: Head coach Josh Heupel is entering his second season in Knoxville and he has the program going in the right direction. The Volunteers averaged 39.3 points a game. They also led the SEC in plays of 40-plus yards (23) after only having three in 2020.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker is entering his senior year after having a breakout year in 2021. He passed for 2,945 yards, 31 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also rushed for 620 yards and 5 scores.

They also return four starting O-linemen. The defense allowed over 200 rushing yards and 33.6 points a game in SEC play last season.

#3 Kentucky: It’s a toss-up between the Wildcats and Tennessee for the No. 2 spot. Offensive coordinator Liam Coen helped them average 32.3 ppg last year. Coen left to take a job on the LA Rams staff. Mark Stoops hired Rich Scangarello from the 49ers to replace him.

QB Will Levis is back and they have a good running back stable led by Chris Rodriguez Jr.

Kentucky ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring defense, 21.7 ppg allowed. They have holes to fill up front and in the secondary. The linebacker unit is talented.

#4 Florida: The Gators are led by first year head coach Billy Napier. They finished 6-7 in 2021 and they should improve this season. Quarterback Anthony Richardson played in eight games last year and averaged 8.1 yards per play, ran for 401 yards and 9 total scores.

Florida should have a solid running back core that includes Louisiana transfer Montrell Johnson and former top recruit Demarkcus Bowman. The Gators finished 10th in the SEC against the run and only had 20 sacks in conference play.

#5 South Carolina: The Gamecocks could be one of the most exciting teams to watch. They have several transfer players including quarterback Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma) and receivers Corey Rucker (Arkansas State) and Antwane Wells (James Madison) to add to a receiving corps already featuring Josh Vann (15.8 yards per catch) and Dakereon Joyner.

They return all five starting O-linemen but that’s still an area of concern. They only averaged 3.8 yards per carry in 2021. The defense allowed 175 rushing yards a game.

#6 Missouri: The Tigers have a bad defense and inconsistent quarterback play. The defense allowed 6.7 yards per play, 36 points a game and more than 200 rushing yards a contest in SEC action last fall.

Offensively, the Tigers averaged only 22.6 points and 5.2 yards per play in SEC games last season.

Ends Isaiah McGuire and Trajan Jeffcoat lead the way up front, while cornerback Kris Abrams-Draine and safety Martez Manuel are two building blocks for new coordinator Blake Baker.

#7 Vanderbilt: Are we surprised to see the Commodores here?

Mike Wright and Ken Seals are competing for the QB 1 job.

Vanderbilt ranked 13th in the SEC against the run, last in pass efficiency defense, and surrendered an unpleasant combination of 6.8 yards per play and 35.6 points per game.

How Good Is Florida Gators Anthony Richardson?

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Anthony Richardson has a cannon for an arm! The Florida Gators quarterback showed it off Friday at the Manning Passing Academy.

Richardson is one of several elite college quarterbacks serving as a counselor for this year’s camp at Nicholls State University in Louisiana from June 23-26.

Friday featured the “Air It Out” competition between the quarterbacks, and AR-15 stole the show. On his rep, Richardson did a three-step drop and then let it fly. From the 30-yard line, he effortlessly launched a deep ball that jumped off his hands and traveled over 70 yards in the air, drawing “oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd.

“That was a long throw,” Manning said in reaction to Richardson’s bomb.

This weekend gives Richardson an opportunity to give back and learn from three legends, with NFL standouts Archie Manning, Peyton Manning and Eli all participating in their namesake event.

“Talking to the Manning’s, I just want to soak up everything I can,” Richardson said. “Be a better person, be a better quarterback, you know, just get as much knowledge as I can. And working with the younger guys, I just try to connect with them because I was once in their shoes. So just helping them and giving them advice on what to expect when things come up.”

Anthony Richardson showed why he’s considered as one of the more physically-gifted quarterbacks in college football. The rising redshirt sophomore wowed onlookers with his deep passes, effortlessly flicking the football around 70 yards downfield.

Richardson has huge hands and probably threw the tightest spiral we saw. His athleticism is well documented (he turned a backflip after connecting on one throw) but he has big-time arm talent as well. Richardson has a bit of a looping throwing motion that can be offset some by the velocity on his throws.

The Gainesville native flashed some tantalizing playmaking ability in 2021. He’ll need to continue developing, but he could be primed for a breakout year; especially under new Florida head coach Billy Napier.

After serving as a backup for most of last season, Richardson is finally QB1 for the Gators following his stellar spring game. He threw for 207 yards and scored three total touchdowns.

More importantly, he looked comfortable in the new offense under first-year coach Billy Napier. Richardson studied former Louisiana QB Levi Lewis to get a feel for Napier’s system.

“Watching some of their games from last year, even hearing about Coach Napier and then considering him, I started watching some of the games just to see what was going to happen,” Richardson said this week. “And watching Levi play, that was their old quarterback, that put me in good hands because we have similar skill sets. I talked to coach Napier and coach Ryan O’Hara when they came in and they told me I was going to fit well in their offense. Then I went through spring, I think I do fit well in the offense, so we’ll see how that goes.”

Billy Napier will rely heavily on Richardson to lead his new program this fall. What he picks up in the passing game, especially at the event this weekend, will be crucial for the Gator’s success this fall.

Cat Prowler

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Jake Lindsey has been playing organized football since the age of four. You can tell it on the football field. The current Camden County Wildcat star has ability that is instinctual and that cannot be taught.

Lindsey is entering into his senior year and his second year starting at safety for Jeff Herron’s Wildcats. Lindsey also started as a sophomore at safety at Coffee County before transferring to Camden County.

His family moved to Camden County as Lindsey’s father, Jon Lindsey was hired away from Coffee County and joined the Camden staff as the Defensive Coordinator.

Lindsey has had the privilege of playing for 2 high school football coaching legends in Jeff Herron and Robby Pruitt, that is pretty good coaching.

“Learning from both coaches has been great. They are pretty similar as far as they love to coach and are very organized.”

Lindsey was born in Dallas, GA, an Atlanta suburb in Cobb County and moved around a good bit growing up due to his father being a high school football coach.

He is the youngest of 3 and his two older sisters, Caroline and Jenna, have set some lofty expectations for their little brother. Caroline just recently graduated from Georgia and is currently at the University of Pittsburgh attending Law School. Jenna just graduated from Camden County High School and will be attending UGA in the fall.

“I have been blessed with the family I have. They have been so supportive and made sure responsibility was instilled in me. My mom, Melissa, is my biggest fan and my dad and I are very close.”

Lindsey also played QB in middle school and last season stepped in at RB for the Wildcats due to injuries. He rushed for over 200 yards against the Glynn Academy Red Terrors last season, not bad for a guy playing out of position.

“I look forward to playing safety. I love it. I love being out there with my team mates and being trusted by the coaches to be able to make adjustments on the field if necessary. But I would not mind working my way into the RB rotation either.”

Last season the Wildcats finished 4-7. “I felt like we were so close in a so many games. Those experiences will make us better and teach how to win those close games. Our goals for the season are win the region. We know we are good enough. We also want to beat Colquitt and Lowndes. We have not beaten those guys in a long time and the time is now. We just want to win.”

Lindsey has seen interest to play football at the next level from Georgia Southern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and Coastal Carolina, just to name a few. Currently, the standout safety has committed to the Army Black Knights.

 

NBA Newcomers

By: Jason Bishop

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The NBA Draft has come and gone for another season. In recent years the draft has not been very deep. In most scenarios if you do not hold one of the first three of four picks then you are not drafting a franchise-type player.

This draft was no different. Many experts believed the first four players taken were players that could change the fortunes of an organization but after that, such impact players did not exist.

There were no surprises at the top either. The Orlando Magic took Paolo Banchero number one overall.

Banchero was a star at forward for the Duke Blue Devils. The true freshman averaged over 17 points per game and over 7 rebounds per game.

Banchero is 6’10-250 pounds. He has great size and has a good NBA body. I think Banchero will find success in playing down low and being physical in the NBA, more than he will find with playing at the top of the key and being the main option.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Banchero will be a solid NBA player, but I don’t see him as a superstar; he is a good building block and will be a great core piece for the Magic.

The Atlanta Hawks had the 16th overall pick and with it selected another Duke F, AJ Griffin.

Griffin also has an NBA-ready frame, at 6’6 220 pounds. Griffin started slow for the Blue Devils but became crucial for Duke during their late season run.

Griffin has NBA pedigree as well. He is the son of NBA veteran and Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin. Griffin was also a McDonald’s All-American and was considered one of the top 15 players in last fall’s incoming freshman class.

Missing much of the preseason with a leg injury, the New York native got off to a slow start in his lone collegiate season. Griffin also made the ACC All-Rookie Team. He averaged over 10 points per game for Duke.

What I like the most about Griffin is the ability for him to create his own shot. This will help the Hawks if he can improve on his ball handling and quickness.

The Magic also took Caleb Houstan. Houstan was a F out of Michigan, 6-8 205 pounds. Houstan was the 32nd overall pick.

The Hawks would have had the 44th pick but it was traded to the Golden State Warriors.

The first 5 picks of the NBA Draft were as follows:

 

1.Paolo Banchero-Magic

2.Chet Holmgren-Thunder

3.Jabari Smith-Rockets

4.Keegan Murray-Kings

5.Jaden Ivey-Pistons

Growing Gators

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Most of Gator Nation didn’t even know who Jaden Rashada was two months ago. Today, his recruitment has fans wondering whether this staff can close the deal.

I understand that sentiment stems from other prospects as well, but the Gators haven’t had enough top targets in the 2023 cycle yet.

With Rashada included, it’s too early to be judging their efforts for this ‘bump’ class. Recruits have to be ready, or scheduled to announce before they can close on them.

Billy Napier and his army showed that ability in his transition class, finishing with a top-20 ranking after signing top-100 prospects Shemar James and Kamari Wilson.

He also landed impact transfers O’Cyrus Torrence, Montrell Johnson, Jalen Kimber and Ricky Pearsall.

We are six months away from the early signing period for the 2023 class. Only two of the top 15 players in the Sunshine State have committed, Keon Keeley (Notre Dame) and Raylen Wilson (Michigan), along with just six of Florida’s top 30 players.

The Gators hosted 19 of those 30 recruits for unofficial and/or official visits this spring/summer and are currently the favorite for eight of them.

UF is also up to 31 official visitors so far this month, and only one prospect who was uncommitted prior to his trip has since pledged elsewhere (Jordan Hall to Michigan State).

Aside from Hall, the only other significant 2023 target Florida has missed on so far is five-star cornerback A.J. Harris, who recently committed to Georgia.

Harris stated that he attended a UGA camp in sixth grade, shook Kirby Smart’s hand and told Smart he was going to play for him one day. Realistically, it sounds like the Gators had their work cut out for them.

With Aaron Gates committed, plus a recruiting board with five-star Cormani McClain, top-200 Sharif Denson and 6-foot-3 cornerback RJ Johnson, Florida should be fine at their position. McClain is a must-get, but his recruitment will be a marathon.

Four-star running back Treyaun Webb, who officially visited UF earlier this month, makes his commitment on June 30.

Five-star receiver Jalen Brown and top-150 prospects Aidan Mizell, Eugene Wilson III and Will Norman all plan to decide before their senior seasons.

The Gators will need to close on those recruits, along with Rashada, in the coming weeks and months. If they land at least half of the targets above, their 2023 class will be in good shape heading into the fall.

Should most of them commit elsewhere, then there will be cause for concern. Either way, the end of summer is when we’ll have a realistic idea of where this class stands.

I’ll say this: Napier won’t miss any of his targets for lack of trying (or name, image and likeness). The Gator Guard has established UF as one of the foremost aggressive NIL collectives, and Napier’s investment and involvement in recruiting is the most we’ve seen from a Florida coach since Will Muschamp.

In terms of ranking the last four Florida coaches as “closers” and how aggressively they recruit, I would list them in this order based on my knowledge: 1) Will Muschamp 2) Billy Napier 3) Jim McElwain 4) Dan Mullen.

I looked back at how many signees from each of those classes joined before July.

Muschamp had the most with 10 commits, although one pledged to the previous staff.

McElwain and Mullen both had eight commits, but only six committed to Mullen.

Urban Meyer, who signed a top recruiting class in 2006, had just five members in it at the end of June.

I wrote when Billy Napier was hired that he would be judged on this recruiting class. Judgment Day is in February, not June.

Frantic Atlantic

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We are going to take a look at the ACC Atlantic division and predict how the teams will do this season.

#7 Syracuse: Dino Babers has had one winning season out of six at Syracuse. That includes 15 conference wins out of 50 ACC games.

The Orange return one of the nation’s top running backs in Sean Tucker (1,496 yards) but big progress in the passing game is needed under new play-caller Robert Anae.

Quarterback Garrett Shrader (781 rushing yards & 14 TDs) threw for less than 100 yards in three of his last four starts.

#6 Louisville: Quarterback Malik Cunningham was one of the best dual-threat players in the country last year and he’s back in 2022.

He was a 62% passer a year ago, throwing for 2,734 yards and 18 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions, while also rushing for over 1,000 yards and 20 additional touchdowns, both top 10 numbers nationally.

He lost a few receivers that transferred but the Cardinals also had some talented players transfer into the program. Wide receivers Tyler Hudson (Central Arkansas) and Dee Wiggins (Miami) should be good playmakers on the outside.

Tight end Marshon Ford (49 receptions) has a chance to be an All-ACC first-team pick.

They also return four starters on the offensive line.

#5 Boston College: The Eagles started 4-0 last season before the wheels fell off and they lost four consecutive games.

They finished at 6-6 and won just one ACC game at Chestnut Hill.

Quarterback Phil Jurkovec went down in Week 2 and he didn’t return until November. He’ll be back this season with running back Pat Garwo III and receiver Zay Flowers. They only return one starter on the offensive line so that is a big concern.

They return 7 starters on defense and they only gave up 22.2 points a game last fall.

#4 Florida State: The Seminoles made progress in head coach Mike Norvell’s second year in ’21, finishing 5-7. I don’t expect them to compete for the conference title, but they win total should increase.

Quarterback Jordan Travis passed for 2,074 yards, 15 touchdowns and 6 picks.

The season opener is in New Orleans against LSU. The Tigers are coming off of a disappointing season with a new head coach so FSU can win that game and set the tone for the season.

#3 Wake Forest: QB Sam Hartman returns after leading the offense to 41 points per game last year.

The Demon Deacons have talented receivers like A.T. Perry, Taylor Morin and Donavan Greene. They also return four O line starters.

Defense is where they struggled the most in 2021 and it’s still a big question mark.

#2 NC State: The Wolfpack return 17 starters, which is the most of any team in the ACC from a squad that went 9-3 last fall.

That includes quarterback Devin Leary (35 TDs, 5 INTs) and one of the nation’s top linebacker units anchored by Payton Wilson and Drake Thomas.

They must replace its top two rushers (Bam Knight and Ricky Person) and elite left tackle Ikem Ekwonu. They averaged a league low 3.3 yards per rush in 2021.

#1 Clemson: The Tigers had their streak of consecutive ACC titles snapped at six and failed to make the CFB Playoff for the first time since ’14 last season.

Offense was a problem last year and five-star QB DJ Uiagalelei completed 55.6% of his passes for 9 TDs and 10 picks. In theory he can’t get any worse and if he plays better Clemson will be back in the Top 10.

 

 

Omaha!

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

One of the underrated sporting events in the country starts today and ends on June 27th.

It is the College World Series. The field looks balanced this year with no clear favorite after Tennessee, the self-proclaimed greatest team of all-time, choked at home in the Super Regionals losing to Notre Dame in grand fashion.

The field includes four SEC teams and two others, Oklahoma and Texas, who will be joining the SEC by 2025.

The SEC is dominant in most sports these days. The College World Series is played annually in Omaha, Nebraska. There should be plenty of SEC chants going on over the next 10 days. The CWS is a double-elimination tournament.

 

2022 COLLEGE WORLD SERIES Round 1

All Times Eastern

 

Friday, June 17

Oklahoma vs #5 Texas A&M 2 pm ESPN: A match-up of two SEC teams. One current and one in future in Oklahoma.

This was a huge rivalry when A&M was in the Big 12 so these programs are familiar with each other.

In his first year at Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle has reached the College World Series. He took TCU to Omaha five times in his 18 years at TCU. The Aggies are hot currently, so give me Texas A&M in this contest.

Notre Dame vs #9 Texas 7 pm ESPN: This should be a great contest. Texas lost game one in the Supers at East Carolina. Then come back and walked off with a win in game two and blew ECU out in game three to earn a trip to Omaha.

The Longhorns hit the long-ball frequently and will be a tough out in the CWS. Notre Dame, like I mentioned earlier, is riding high after beating Tennessee in Knoxville to earn a berth.

This is a tough gritty team that is dangerous in an environment like Omaha.

Give me Texas in this contest because the Longhorns have made the CWS field 38 times since the inception of the CWS.

The 2022 tournament marks the 75th playing of the CWS. Texas has been there more than half of the time. No other program has more than 25 appearances. Give me Texas in this match-up.

 

Saturday, June 18

Arkansas vs #2 Stanford 2 pm ESPN: Stanford always has good pitching, and this year is no exception. Arkansas was the Top overall seed in 2021 and did not make the CWS but went to Chapel Hill and beat a tough North Carolina team in three games to earn a spot in 2022.

Arkansas is peaking at the right time. Watch out for the Hogs. Give me Arkansas in this game.

Ole Miss vs #14 Auburn 7 pm ESPN2: Ole Miss may be the hottest team in college baseball right now. They were Preseason #1 that slumped badly in the middle of the season, only to get hot at tourney time.

The Rebels were the one of the last teams (probably last) selected to the field of 64 and have gone on a run and won a Super in Hattiesburg by sweeping Southern Miss and not giving up a run.

Auburn got sent to Corvallis, Oregon for a Super Regional and beat Oregon State.

Auburn has been a major surprise in 2022. The Tigers have a good power packed line-up. The SEC goes head-to-head in this one. Give me Ole Miss in this contest.

Teams with deep pitching staffs will rise to the top during the tourney. When it is all said and done, here is how I see it playing out:

 

Bracket One:

Notre Dame

Oklahoma

Texas

Texas A&M

 

Winner: Texas

 

Bracket Two:

Arkansas

Auburn

Ole Miss

Stanford

 

Winner: Arkansas

 

College WS Final:

Arkansas vs Texas

Winner: Arkansas

 

Arkansas is your 2022 National Baseball Champions.

Canes QB

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

First-year Miami football coach Mario Cristobal considers himself lucky to have inherited a loaded quarterback room.

Cristobal faces a daunting task of attempting to rebuild the Hurricanes program, but it is made a bit less intimidating with the knowledge of whom he will have under center at QB.

Miami returns last year’s starter Tyler Van Dyke. He assumed the role as a redshirt freshman after D’Eriq King went down with injury in Week 3.

Van Dyke went on to prove he belonged there, throwing for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions to earn ACC Rookie of the Year. He enters 2022 as the unquestioned starter and a potential NFL Draft pick.

Mario Cristobal has enormous praise for Miami Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke.

Evidently, the new leader of the program believes his quarterback can ascend into a superstar. Cristobal compared Van Dyke to Los Angeles Chargers star quarterback, Justin Herbert — Cristobal’s quarterback at Oregon.

Cristobal also thinks highly of redshirt freshman Jake Garcia, who appeared in one game last year before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Garcia is a former four-star recruit who ranked as the No. 52 overall player and No. 10 quarterback in the 2021 class.

“We’re very lucky that we have a very good quarterback room,” Cristobal said in a recent interview. “In fact, one of them is already a projected NFL player if he continues to develop and have a great season. But he’s not alone. You’ve got a guy who was hurt early last season in Jake Garcia. Him and Tyler have got to make the best one-two punch of any quarterback room in the country.”

The talent in the Miami quarterback room doesn’t stop there. The Hurricanes signed four-star recruit Jacurri Brown, the No. 18 quarterback in the 2022 class. Brown is dual-threat and threw for more than 3,000 yards while rushing for over 2,000 the past two years at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia. He was an early enrollee this spring, where Cristobal said he was impressed with how he managed to fit in.

“They brought in Jacurri Brown, who joins us as the most prolific passer and winner in Georgia high school history,” the Hurricanes coach said. “A phenomenal athlete and human being who joins these guys. Got here as an early enrollee, which is always fun. It’s like getting dropped off in some place where you have to learn to get to know everybody and know processes. The simplicity of attaining a Cane card is as difficult as you can imagine. But Jacurri has adapted really well and he’s ready to roll, so we feel great about that room.”

Miami is set to enter their first season under coach Mario Cristobal following a disappointing 7-5 season this past year.

As a former Championship Winning offensive lineman with the Canes in 89 and 91, Cristobal understands the importance of rebuilding this program. The Hurricanes have only one 10-win season in the past 18 years.

Cristobal still has a long way to go in his rebuilding of the program, but he at least has a solid foundation at the most important position in offense.

He will get his first opportunity to put that talent to use when Miami opens the 2022 season on Sept. 3 against Bethune-Cookman.

The Coastal Life

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We are getting closer to the start of the 2022 football season.

Let’s take a look at the ACC Coastal Division and predict the final standings.

#7 Duke 3-9 (0-8 ACC): The Blue Devils struggled in 2021. Head coach David Cutcliffe is now gone and former Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko has taken over.

The offense averaged 14.9 points per game in conference play last season. They lost quarterback Gunnar Holmberg and leading receiver Jake Bobo to the transfer portal and running back Mataeo Durant (1,241 yards) departed for the NFL.

The defense allowed 46.6 ppg and 7.1 yards per play in ACC games.

#6 Georgia Tech 3-9 (2-6 ACC): Head coach Geoff Collins is 9 – 25 over the last three years. The roster only returns four starters and the non-conference opponents are Ole Miss, UCF and Georgia.

Tech lost two offensive pieces in quarterback Jordan Yates, who transferred out, and running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who left for Alabama.

Jeff Sims returns at quarterback after passing for 12 TDs and 7 picks, but there isn’t a ton to work with around him moving the ball.

Drastic improvement is needed for the defense that has ranked 13th or worse in the ACC in points allowed in each of Collins’ three years at the helm. The offense averaged 24 ppg last season, which was third worst in the ACC.

#5 Virginia 6-6 (4-4 ACC): The Cavaliers will be led by first-year head coach Tony Elliott.

He previously served as a coach at Clemson from 2011 – 2021, most recently as associate head coach, offensive coordinator, tight ends coach and running backs coach. He has learned a lot from Dabo Swinney, which should mean good things for UVA.

Elliott inherits one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks (Brennan Armstrong) and receiving corps (Billy Kemp IV, Dontayvion Wicks, Keytaon Thompson and Lavel Davis). Armstrong led all Power 5 quarterbacks by averaging 427.3 total yards a game last fall.

They need to establish balance in the running game and take some of the pressure off of him. They lost all five offensive line starters.

#4 Virginia Tech 6-7 (4-4 ACC): Brent Pry takes over as the head coach in Blacksburg. Pry was the defensive coordinator at Penn State from 2016 – 2021. His experience should help make an impact immediately for the Hokies defense that’s returning seven starters. They held opponents to 25.3 ppg but only had 16 sacks in ACC play.

Transfer quarterbacks Grant Wells (Marshall) and Jason Brown (South Carolina) are battling for the starting job.

#3 North Carolina 6-7 (3-5 ACC): The Tar Heels lost QB Sam Howell, four offensive line starters and the bulk of the rushing attack.

Coach Mack Brown recruits well and a couple of good recruiting classes should make the difference.

Talented redshirt freshman Drake Maye will battle Jacolby Criswell for the starting quarterback job.

#2 Pitt 11-3 (7-1 ACC): The Panthers shocked everyone by winning the ACC last year. QB Kenny Pickett and receiver Jordan Addison are major losses.

USC transfer Kedon Slovis should win the quarterback job. They have a solid stable of running backs and the defense returns seven starters.

#1 Miami 7-5 (5-3 ACC): Mario Cristobal left Oregon to take the head coach job at his alma mater.

He hired Josh Gattis as offensive coordinator. Gattis led Michigan to the College Football Playoffs last season.

QB Tyler Van Dyke returns after throwing for almost 3,000 yards, 25 TD’s and 6 interceptions. He had seven games without a turnover and the U went 5-2.

The O line returns three starters, including All-America candidate Zion Nelson.

1 2 3 148