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ACC Daily Links, Jan. 2

Thursday, January 2, 2014 12:41am
By: Brian Geisinger

Boston College
Things for Steve Donahue continue to go awry in Chestnut Hill. The Eagles came into this season with a lot of good mojo, but after yesterday's loss to Harvard - the sixth time in a row they've lost to the Crimson - BC sits at just 4-10 with conference play only a few days away. How can the Eagles, who are still a relatively young team, utilize the rest of the season in a positive way?

The Tigers are the underdog heading into tomorrow night's Orange Bowl. Does that fact alone have any significance? Here's something that will help Dabo Swinney's squad: Noah Spence - Ohio State's stud sophomore defensive end (51 total tackles, 8 sacks in 2013) - has been suspended for three games, including the Orange Bowl, for an unspecified Big Ten rule.

The 2013-14 Duke Blue Devils are still a work in progress, according to Al Featherston, but an improving defense, which took big steps during the month of December, bodes well for Coach K's troops going forward. The Chick-fil-a Bowl the other night was the best bowl game I've seen all season (the Rose Bowl yesterday was pretty darn good, too, though) and it proved something to the college football nation that we here in ACC Country already knew: this Duke football team was for real.

Florida State
The recent Jimbo Fisher contract extension - $4.1 million through 2018 - puts an end to the Fisher-to-Texas talks...for now. This sentiment is mirrored on a more local level, too. This year's version of the Seminoles has been dominant - say all you want about their schedule, they annihilated every team that set foot on the same turf as them - but are they in fact the best team in the nation?

Georgia Tech
Here's a look back on what was a rather disappointing season for Paul Johnson and first-year starting QB Vad Lee. The 9-4 Yellow Jackets of Brian Gregory open conference play this Saturday against Maryland, which could prove to be a very interesting game.

Tom Brattan - the Terps' offensive line coach since 2001 - recently did not have his contract renewed for 2014. Who are some potential replacements for Brattan? Freshman point guard Roddy Peters has played well (6.7 ppg, 3.4 apg), but Seth Allen - the southpaw sophomore guard - has returned to the lineup just in time for conference play, which is a good thing for Mark Turgeon's club.

The Hurricanes were the darlings of the 2012-13 ACC basketball season, but as conference play approaches (they open Saturday against No. 2 Syracuse), what do we make of Jim Larranaga's club in 2014

North Carolina
Tight end Eric Ebron posted an electrifying - and record-setting - 2013 season. Now that his college career is over, he moves on to the next step of his football career- preparing for the NFL Draft, where he projects out as a very intriguing talent. The Los Angeles Lakers just can't stay healthy this season, and their most recent injury - point guard Jordan Farmer - has opened the door for former Tar Heel Kendall Marshall to start and run the show in L.A.

N.C. State
Despite some close defeats to a couple of potential tournament teams - Cincinnati and Missouri - the Wolfpack are playing good ball and exceeding their modest preseason expectations - thanks mostly to star forward T.J. Warren. Dave Doeren has selected his replacement for the recently departed Drew Hughes - well, hello, Big Time. Cullen Homolka, who was a grad assistant of Doeren's NIU staff in 2012, is the program's new director of player personnel.

Notre Dame
Mike Brey's Fighting Irish will host Duke this Saturday for their first-ever ACC conference game. Don't be surprised to see veteran center Garrick Sherman pose a big problem for the interior defense of the Blue Devils.

Here's a list of the biggest moments in Pitt athletics during the 2013 calendar year, including their matriculation into the ACC. Jamie Dixon's Panthers cruised through their non-conference schedule, but things will become far more challenging during ACC play, which for them starts Saturday in Raleigh against the Wolfpack.

It's finally here: Jim Boeheim's No. 2 Orange will make their long-awaited ACC debut this Saturday in the Carrier Dome against the Miami Hurricanes. Prior to the conference season starting, Syracuse played against an unprecedented six power conference schools - oh, also, they won all of those games. The last half of 2013 was Syracuse's first six months in the ACC - here's a look back at what was a special year for Orange athletics.

Steven Moss - a four-star offensive guard, who committed to UVa back in March - says his commitment to Mike London's program never wavered.

Virginia Tech
After Logan Thomas was knocked out of the Sun Bowl, Hokie fans got a glimpse of their likely future starting QB, Mark Leal, who struggled in defeat against a tough UCLA team. Here are some additional observations from the Sun Bowl, and a look forward to where the program will venture in 2014.

Wake Forest
I think it's fair to say that guard Codi Miller-McIntyre is one of the most - if not the most - improved player in the ACC this season (look at his improvement from year one to year two). This can be attributed to his work ethic, and the help of a certain former Demon Deacon (Hint: this guy).