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January 22, 2007

2007 ACC Preview

Projected Order of Finish
ATLANTIC COASTAL
1 Clemson 1 North Carolina
2 Florida State 2 Miami
3 North Carolina State 3 Virginia
4 Wake Forest 4 Georgia Tech
5 Boston College 5 Virginia Tech
6 Maryland 6 Duke
All-Conference Team
First Team Second team
1B Andy D'Alessio, CU 1B Allan Dykstra, WF
2B Jemile Weeks, UM 2B Ramon Corona, NCS
3B Chad Flack, UNC 3B Marquez Smith, CU
SS Josh Horton, UNC SS Dan Melvin, MD
C Buster Posey, FSU C Caleb Mangum, NCS
OF Jack Rye, FSU OF Brandon Guyer, UVa
OF Danny Payne, GT OF Brandon Marsh, UVa
OF Brad Chalk, CU OF Dennis Guinn, FSU
UT Matt Wieters, GT UT Tim Federowicz, UNC
UT Sean Doolittle, UVa SP Terry Doyle, BC
SP Robert Woodard, UNC SP Andrew Brackman, NCS
SP Jacob Thompson, UVa SP Scott Maine, UM
SP Bryan Henry, FSU SP Luke Tucker, FSU
Cls Daniel Moskos, CU RP Andrew Carignan, UNC
Cls Ben Hunter, WF Cls Brett Cecil, MD
North Carolina is the favorite to win the ACC in SEBaseball.com's preseason predictions. The Tar Heels return eight position starters and four key pitchers from last season's College World Series runnerup squad.

The Tar Heels are the pick to win the Coastal Division over Miami, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, and Duke. Clemson is the pick in the Atlantic Division over Florida State, North Carolina State, Wake Forest, Boston College, and Maryland.

Among the two fifteen player all-ACC teams, Florida State led all teams with five players. North Carolina, Clemson, and Virginia had five players picked with North Carolina State having three. Georgia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest, and Maryland had two players on the squad. Boston College had one player selected.

Stories to Watch

Stoppers: The ACC has perhaps the best collection of relief pitchers in league history. The league's closers read like an all-America list. Daniel Moskos, Ben Hunter, Matt Wieters, Andrew Carignan, Brett Cecil, Casey Lambert, Buster Posey, Eryk McConnell, and Dan Houston are all quality closers. That does not account for Florida State's Luke Tucker who is expected to move to a starter's role this spring. With all these great arms to turn to, coaches will stress the importance of scoring early since late comebacks figure to be less frequent than normal.

They got four last year: Last season was a banner year for the ACC with seven Regional bids, four host sites, and four teams in Omaha. The league should be very strong again this year with eight teams in a realistic position to contend. Can they hold their elite status?

Going to the pool: This summer Rivals.com reported that the ACC would follow the Big XII's lead by instituting pool play in their conference tournament. This will be another format change for a conference that has seen three different formats in three seasons. How will this format be received by the fans in Jacksonville?

Road to the Title

These games will shape the conference race:
March 9-11 Miami at North Carolina *
March 16-18 Virginia at North Carolina
March 23-25 Miami at Virginia
March 30-April 1 Miami at Clemson
April 6-8 Florida State at NC State
April 6-8 Georgia Tech at Miami
April 13-15 Georgia Tech at Virginia
April 20-22 North Carolina at Florida State
April 20-22 NC State at Georgia Tech
April 20-22 Virginia at Clemson
April 27-29 Florida State at Miami
April 27-29 North Carolina at NC State
April 27-29 Georgia Tech at Clemson
May 11-13 Clemson at Florida State
May 11-13 Georgia Tech at North Carolina
May 11-13 NC State at Virginia
May 17-19 Clemson at NC State
May 17-19 Florida State at Georgia Tech
* ACC Series of the year

The List

Toughest non-conference schedule
1. Miami: Has weekend series with Mercer, UCLA, Florida, and Elon.

2. Wake Forest: Has weekend series with Kent State, San Diego, and UNC-Wilmington

3. NC State: Has a pair of tournaments against quality opposition like TCU, East Carolina, Pepperdine, and Coastal Carolina

Best Offense
1. Clemson
2. North Carolina
3. Georgia Tech

Best Pitching
1. Virginia
2. NC State
3. North Carolina

Best Facility
1. Florida State
2. Clemson
3. Virginia

Best Prospects (JR/SR)
1. Matt Wieters, Georgia Tech, C, JR
2. Andrew Brackman, NC State, RHP, JR
3. Daniel Moskos, Clemson, LHP, JR
4. Sean Doolittle, Virginia, LHP, JR
5. Brett Cecil, Maryland, LHP, JR

Best Prospects (FR/SO)
1. Jemile Weeks, Miami, 2B, SO
2. Jacob Thompson, Virginia, RHP, SO
3. Alex White, North Carolina, RHP, FR
4. Allan Dykstra, Wake Forest, 1B, SO
5. Buster Posey, Florida State, C, SO

Top Newcomers
1. Alex White, North Carolina, RHP, FR
2. Mark Hallberg, Florida State, SS, JR
3. Michael Murray, Wake Forest, DH, FR
4. Kyle Seager, North Carolina, 2B, FR
5. Jeff Ussery, Georgia Tech, 2B, FR


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