Jim Young FINALLY reveals his All-ACC ballot.
Let's face it, even though FSU is playing for the ACC title and a berth in the BCS title game tonight, there are bigger stakes involved. The Seminoles will be playing to prove they deserved more than one player on the first-team All-ACC defense.
I kid ... somewhat. I got a whooooole lot of angry tweets from FSU fans who were incredulous that there weren't more guys honored from the nation's No. 1 defense.
I orginally planned to write a piece explaining how this could happen, pointing out the inevitable imperfections in the process and then proposing potential solutions. But then a lot of stuff happened - Jim Grobe retired, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge took place, the Jameis Winston investigation wrapped up, I got into a four-car wreck, etc. Also, I realized we're talking about an all-conference team, not a national health care program. Maybe we should just, you know, "embace debate."
Forget I used that phrase. Please. Instead, take a look at my ballot. Feel free to compare it to the overall media vote. And if you've got issues with it - I can't imagine why you would, to be honest - then send me a tweet to @accsports.
FIRST TEAM offense
|Quarterback||Jameis Winston||Florida State|
|Running Back||Andre Williams||Boston College|
|Running Back||Devonta Freeman||Florida State|
|Wide Receiver||Sammy Watkins||Clemson|
|Wide Receiver||Jamison Crowder||Duke|
|Wide Receiver||Rashad Greene||Florida State|
|Tight End||Eric Ebron||North Carolina|
|Offensive Tackle||Cameron Erving||Florida State|
|Offensive Tackle||James Hurst||North Carolina|
|Offensive Guard||Tre Jackson||Florida State|
|Offensive Guard||Shaq Mason||Georgia Tech|
|Center||Bryan Stork||Florida State|
|Kicker||Nate Freese||Boston College|
|Specialist||Ryan Switzer||North Carolina|
This was ... identical to the overall media vote. Weird ... let's just move on.
First Team Defense
|Defensive End||Kareem Martin||North Carolina|
|Defensive End||Vic Beasley||Clemson|
|Defensive Tackle||Aaron Donald||Pittsburgh|
|Defensive Tackle||Nikita Whitlock||Wake Forest|
|Linebacker||Telvin Smith||Florida State|
|Linebacker||Christian Jones||Florida State|
|Linebacker||Kevin Pierre-Louis||Boston College|
|Cornerback||Lamarcus Joyner||Florida State|
Take note FSU fans: I differed from the rest of my media colleagues in that I voted MORE of your guys on the first team. Of course you'll still be mad at me for not putting Timmy Jernigan on there, but still.
Here's part of my rationale. One - I just didn't see many game-changers at the linebacker position, so in that situation I'm going to go with the guys who were part of the ACC's top unit. The one I agonized about was Virginia Tech's Jack Tyler. I almost put him on instead of Kevin Pierre-Louis.
The other tough call was Whitlock over Jernigan. I get why FSU fans are irate that Jernigan's not on here. He's a special talent. But no way was I leaving Aaron Donald off. So then it came down to Whitlock and Jernigan. And Whitlock won out for me because in every game he's THE guy opposing offensive coordinators game plan for when facing the Demon Deacons. Yet he was still immensely productive, and single-handedly altered several games in Wake's favor.
Second Team Offense
|Running Back||Duke Johnson||Miami|
|Running Back||Kevin Parks||Virginia|
|Wide Receiver||Alex Hurns||Miami|
|Wide Receiver||Devin Street||Pittsburgh|
|Wide Receiver||Kelvin Benjamin||Florida State|
|Tight End||Nick O'Leary||Florida State|
|Offensive Tackle||Matt Patchan||Boston College|
|Offensive Tackle||Brandon Thomas||Clemson|
|Offensive Guard||Josue Matias||Florida State|
|Offensive Guard||Brandon Linder||Miami|
|Center||Andy Galik||Boston College|
|Kicker||Robert Aguayo||Florida State|
Sorry, left this chart one row too short - Miami's Stacy Coley is the specialist.
I'm not going to get into offensive line voting. It's just an area which is very, very subjective. I did disagree - and this pains me to admit it - with having Michael Campanaro on the second team. Y'all know I love Camp. But he was injured for a good chunk of the year and wide receiver may be the deepest position in the ACC. There were plenty of other talented options. That's why I went with Kelvin Benjamin on my ballot. I also chose Devin Street instead of his younger teammate, Tyler Boyd. Street performed better in Pitt's more important games.
Second Team Defense
|Defensive End||Jeremiah Attaochu||Georgia Tech|
|Defensive End||Kasim Edebali||Boston College|
|Defensive Tackle||Timmy Jernigan||Florida State|
|Defensive Tackle||Andre Monroe||Maryland|
|Linebacker||Jack Tyler||Virginia Tech|
|Cornerback||Kendall Fuller||Virginia Tech|
|Safety||Terrence Brooks||Florida State|
Left this chart one player short. UNC's Tommy Hibbard was my punter.
When addressing fan gripes about all-conference teams, I made the point that you never hear fans complain about the media voting one of their guys too high. UNC's Tre Boston may be the exception. The media picked him second team and several Tar Heel fans disagreed vehemently. I actually put him on the third team and I'm not sure I could give you a rational defense of it. Safety was the bizarro wide receiver this year in the ACC.
Third Team Offense
|Quarterback||Logan Thomas||Virginia Tech|
|Running Back||Roderick McDowell||Clemson|
|Running Back||Jerome Smith||Syracuse|
|Wide Receiver||Alex Amidon||Boston College|
|Wide Receiver||Quinshad Davis||North Carolina|
|Wide Receiver||Tyler Boyd||Pittsburgh|
|Tight End||Braxton Deaver||Duke|
|Offensive Tackle||Morgan Moses||Virginia|
|Offensive Tackle||Perry Simmons||Duke|
|Offensive Guard||Laken Tomlinson||Duke|
|Offensive Guard||Tyler Shatley||Clemson|
Again, the chart's one spot short. I had Duke KR DeVon Edwards as my specialist.
I spent quite a bit of time debating whether Logan Thomas or Duke backup QB/touchdown machine Brandon Connette should be my third-team QB. Then I noticed that Connette wasn't even an option on the ballot. Welp.
Third Team Defense
|Defensive End||J.R. Collins||Virginia Tech|
|Defensive End||Kenny Anunike||Duke|
|Defensive Tackle||Luther Maddy||Virginia Tech|
|Defensive Tackle||Grady Jarrett||Clemson|
|Linebacker||Robert Caldwell||NC State|
|Cornerback||Kevin Johnson||Wake Forest|
|Cornerback||Jemea Thomas||Georgia Tech|
|Safety||Tre Boston||North Carolina|
My third-team punter was A.J. Hughes of Virginia Tech.
Speaking of the Hokies ...
I didn't hear as many gripes from their fans - probably because they're griping more about losing three times in their final five games - but the Hokies also had cause for ire. Virginia Tech actually gave up less yards per game than FSU - 269.6 to 271.0, third-best total in the country. But the Hokies had ZERO players on the first team.
But really, maybe the better measure of how many of your players are all-ACC period, regardless of team. The Seminoles wound up with seven total on the three teams (I actually had five, a number that was likely too low). The Hokies had six (I had four.)
The point? At some positions there may be one guy in the league better than your guy. But if you have a bunch of players who are in the top three in their position in the league - as FSU and Virginia Tech did - then you're going to have a dominant defense.