Here at last. I can see the light at end of the tunnel.
Charlotte Observer writer Ken Tysiac offers his conference predictions (Bug Me Not), which include standings, all-conference teams, and some individual superlatives.
He also pens the obligatory piece on the Virginia Tech special teams, although they weren't special in last year's NCSU/VT game:
N.C. State's special teams got the best of the Hokies. The Wolfpack scored on a 53-yard field goal by John Deraney and got into position for a touchdown when Virginia Tech punter Vinnie Burns lost a fumble at the Hokies' 5.
Virginia Tech's Brandon Pace missed a 43-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, and N.C. State won 17-16. The Hokies still made their mark with 107 yards on three Eddie Royal punt returns, but N.C. State's special teams edge was the difference in the game.
Frank Beamer, Head Instructor Guy:
But does it have Fred McGriff's endorsement?
Beamer is so well known for special teams that he authored the video on special teams for the Successful Coaching Instructional Series.
Also noteworthy and not really appreciated nationally: NC State's propensity for blocking kicks.
Virginia Tech's visit to N.C. State on Sunday features two of the nation's top kick-blocking teams. These are the Division I-A leaders in blocked kicks since 2000:
Team Blocked Kicks NC State 35 Texas 32 Virginia Tech 30 Air Force 28 Syracuse 27 So. Mississippi 25 Kansas State 24 Georgia 22 Louisville 21 Nebraska 20 Bowling Green 18
First-Team All-ACC Quarterback: N/A?
The Richmond Times-Dispatch's Mike Harris wonders who is going to be the ACC's best quarterback.
Anyone have $50k lying around?
I have to make a belated mention of NC State's new press box, which was officially unveiled last week:
State's construction of 51 luxury suites and 1,004 club-level seats comes at a time professional sports markets such as Cleveland and Baltimore have become saturated with arena luxury suites that are starting to go unused at baseball, football and basketball games.
The pro trend has done little to curb the appetite for new construction by college football programs looking to tap into the luxury-box market. In the Big Ten, for example, Michigan hopes to add as many as 79 luxury suites, and Michigan State was scheduled to open 24 new suites this season as part of a $61 million renovation.
Oklahoma State and other college football programs already have sent delegations to Carter-Finley Stadium looking for tips and inspiration for their own expansion plans.
You might could say it's an improvement over the old press box. More photos here.