ACC Football: ACC Coach of the Year is an Easy Choice

By M. Shannon Smallwood
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Say what you want to say and think what you may, but there is only one choice at this point in the season for ACC Football Coach of the Year.

Jimbo Fisher?


David Cuttcliffe?


Brian Kelly?

The way the ACC has played it would be nice to have the Notre Dame Fighting Irish all-in, but technically he does not qualify.

(drum roll)

The clear choice for ACC Coach of the Year is…

Maryland Terrapins Head Coach Randy Edsall.

Seriously folks, think about what Edsall has done at this point in the season as the Terps are 4-3 overall and 2-1 in the ACC.

A week before the season he loses his starting QB in C.J. Brown and turns to a true freshman in Perry Hills to run the offense.

Edsall coached up Hills to near perfection as he ranked 5th in the ACC in Passing Efficiency at 57.8% while tossing for 1368 yards, eight scores and seven interceptions.

Great for a kid thrown into the starting roll at the last minute and even greater management by Edsall of his offense to do what it needed to do to not lose games.

Maryland hasn’t burned up the ACC Record Books in scoring and yards, but it also hasn’t beaten itself.

Again, advantage Edsall.

But now, the worst of the worst has gotten worse as Hills went down with an ACL tear this past Saturday in a 20-18 loss to the North Carolina State Wolfpack.

So that leaves the Terps and Edsall with two choices at QB for the rest of the season: A converted QB to WR now back to QB in Devin Burns and removing a redshirt for Caleb Rowe.

Now either Burns or Rowe will have to prepare to face the Boston College Eagles, the 18th-ranked Clemson Tigers and the North Carolina Tar Heels on the road and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and the 12th-ranked Florida State Seminoles at home.

But thankfully Edsall was smart enough to focus the 2012 team success around its defense.

Maryland has only been outscored by a total of 15 points in its three losses including a 31-21 defeat to the West Virginia Mountaineers on the road.


In fact the 31 points allowed to West Virginia is the fewest the Mountaineers have scored in a win and their second lowest point total scored in a game on the season for a team that ranks 13th in the nation in scoring.

The Terps have ridden this focus on defense to the 4th-best scoring defense and the 2nd-best total defense in the ACC. Super impressive considering all the Terps have had to deal with.

So let the campaigning begin!

When you look at the entire body of work, there is only one clear choice at this point for ACC Coach of the Year, and if Edsall pulls off two to three wins down the stretch and becomes bowl eligible, there is no doubt he is the man to beat.


M Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years of experience in broadcasting and journalism in professional baseball and college athletics and is the ACC Football Guru for Rant Sports.

Follow him @woodysmalls.

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