ACC Football Time Capsule: Five Years Ago

Here’s a snapshot of what ACC football looked like just five years ago:

The college football landscape is fluid. Despite nostalgia, tradition, and perceptions vs. reality, fans have overseen many changes over the years. From big money bowls to recruiting, very little remains from the sport that became so popular years ago. For that matter, it’s sometimes hard to remember what the sport looks like from year-to-year. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the ’07 season in the ACC.

Standings:
Atlantic Division
11. Boston College: 11-3 overall, 6-2 conference
21. Clemson: 9-4, 5-3
UR. Wake Forest: 9-4, 5-3
UR. Florida State: 7-6, 4-4
UR. Maryland: 6-7, 3-5
UR. N.C. State: 5-7, 3-5

Coastal Division
9. Virginia Tech: 11-3, 7-1
UR. Virginia: 9-4, 6-2
UR. Georgia Tech: 7-6, 4-4
UR. North Carolina: 4-8, 3-5
UR. Miami: 5-7, 2-6
UR. Duke: 1-11, 0-8

In a rematch of the regular season classic in Blacksburg, VA, Virginia Tech won the ACC crown over Boston College in the championship game held in Jacksonville, FL. The final outcome, 30-16, wasn’t indicative of the back and forth nature through the first three quarters. Entering the final frame, the score was tied at 16. After falling behind 23-16 on an Eddie Royal touchdown reception with 6:30 remaining, Matt Ryan and Boston College saw an interception returned for a touchdown against them with just 11 seconds remaining. The Hail Mary attempt failed, handing Virginia Tech the ACC crown and trip to a BCS game. Ryan, soon to be taken in the NFL Draft by Atlanta, couldn’t replicate the magic he showed against VT during the regular season. The Hokies overcame the 14-10 loss in October at the hands of Ryan to reel off six straight wins and the ACC crown.

Coaches:
Boston College: Jeff Jagodzinski
Clemson: Tommy Bowden
Wake Forest: Jim Grobe
Florida State: Bobby Bowden
Maryland: Ralph Friedgen
N.C. State: Tom O’Brien
Virginia Tech: Frank Beamer
Virginia: Al Groh
Georgia Tech: Chan Gailey
North Carolina: Butch Davis
Miami: Randy Shannon
Duke: Ted Roof

While upheaval and change has hit many of the ACC programs on the sideline, the state of Virginia Tech football remains unchanged. The Bowdens are gone, Al Groh has moved to coach the GT defense, and Ralph Friedgen was let go in Maryland, but Frank Beamer and the consistent Hokies remain unchanged by time.

Players:
Future top NFL Draft picks and stars filtered the league during the ‘07 season. Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan ranked fifth in quarterback rating. Virginia Cavaliers defensive lineman Chris Long led the conference with 14 sacks. North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks ranked third in the ACC with 958 receiving yards. Georgia Tech back Tashard Choice ran for nearly 1,400 yards, besting James Davis of Clemson for the rushing title.

Game of the year:
Matty Ice defeats VT
A Thursday night stunner left the Blacksburg crowd in awe of Ryan and the undefeated Eagles. With 11 seconds remaining — down 10-7 — Ryan scrambled to his left, threw across his body, and preserved the Eagles undefeated season with a touchdown pass to win the game. Ryan finished 25-for-52 for 285 yards with two interceptions, but found the endzone twice in the final minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Future:
Remarkably — considering the changes around NCAA football — the ACC doesn’t look all that different heading into 2012 as it did in ‘07. Sure, coaching and player changes have occurred. Yet, the state of the league feels constant. Virginia Tech as a good, not great, contender. Florida State attempting to recapture the old magic. Miami in transition. Clemson now represents the ‘07 version of Boston College — talented and capable of big things.

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Joe Giglio is the ACC and Big East football writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

Joe is also the host of Charm City Sports Talk on WNST.net in Baltimore and member of the Society of American Baseball Research.

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