2012 was a down recruiting cycle in the ACC. While 6 teams improved their talent base, only Virginia had a significant ranking over their 4 year rank. This marks the 2nd straight year for Virginia in the top 25 and with London coaching so well, this could be a team challenging the top 3 in the coming years.
The bottom line for the ACC is Florida State. This is the only conference with an elite recruiter not having a significant impact on the standings in the last 3 years. FSU has been a top 10 recruiter for a long time with no real national results. Fisher, in my opinion, is at a crossroads just like Golden. The talent level is too good for these results and although they are relatively new head coaches, net negative game coaches rarely turn it around after two bad years.
Overall the conference regressed in talent with the average class nearly 3 ranking spots below their previous 4 year ranking. The conference took a beating after September 1st with just one top 75 recruiting ranking being higher by NSD.
Florida State: Just another Seminole recruiting cycle. Started at #5 September 1, finished #6. Never better than #4 or worse than #10. A huge elite class full of potential. I am getting tired of seeing it wasted on the field. Lot of injuries in 2011 did not help but the ACC had bad coaching where there was talent.
Miami: This program is really on the edge. Golden was terrible in his first year, yet here we are watching the Canes pull another top 10 class. Golden did nothing special at Temple, but I expect more than 8 wins each year from this team with this talent in this conference.
Clemson: After a weak first year, Swinney and staff bounced back to have an average 2011. There is still a lot of room for improvement and the talent certainly did that this last cycle. Up 5 spots above their 4 year national ranking, the Tigers should be a favorite again in 2012 in their division.
Virginia Tech: At #22, the Hokies had solid class but I wonder when the other shoe will drop if then better recruiters every get good coaching. Yes, I do believe, like with Oregon and Oklahoma State, that bad coaching within the recruiting powers are giving a boost to the next level of talent. Just another example of winning not pulling the recruiting up with it.
Virginia: My favorite up and coming team in college football. Two straight years in the top 25 and a coach that pulls Matrix upset win at home and on the road. If they can somehow get recruiting into the teens, this could be a force in the ACC in 2013 or 2014.
Maryland: Edsell pulls the #34 class in his first recruiting campaign. Not great but better than their 4 year ranking. In the last month they went from outside to top 50 to #34. A huge jump and much needed after so much talent left (dont worry too much Terps as returning starters matter very little).
North Carolina: Keeping Butch Davis too long, allowing for underperformance then taking forever to find a new head coach. UNC paid dearly for 2012. A #41 recruiting class was 23 spots under their 4 year ranking. Truly a big blow to the program. One year is not the end of the world, so let’s hold off on a full disaster call until next season. Another sub 35 class and the program is in free fall from it’s once talent teams.
NC State: Come on O’Brien. What the heck was that recruiting class. This team was ranked #34 over the last 4 years and never cracked the top 40 in the 2012 cycle. In free fall since December, the Wolfpack ended up at #59 and 25 spots below average. Just bad for a team that was once on the rise.
Georgia Tech: When Stanford, Vandy, Rutgers and Northwestern all improve their teams with classes 10 or more spots above their 4 year average, admissions is not an excuse. Tech can only go so far with Johnson’s great coaching and this #56 class does not help. In a conference with poor coaching at top and declining talent in the mid and lower tiers, this was a #fail for the Yellow Jackets.
Duke: At least they didn’t have the worst class in the ACC? Not much to say about this basketball school. In the 60s the whole recruiting cycle and just +2 spots above average, it was just another ho-hum season for the Blue Devils.
Wake Forest: Started at #70 and finished at #68. Never higher or lower than either of those numbers. 1 spot under their 4 year national rank, the Demon Deacons are only going as far as the wizard Grobe will take them. When is he going to leave and see how good he can be with more talent or the bigger question, “Why hasn’t anyone scooped him up?”
Boston College: Well if Spaziani is really trying to win, you could have fooled me. 2011 was one of the worst football coaching disasters of the season and this class was flat out abysmal. Another year of this and BC will just be a hockey school and CFB punching bag.