DeAndre Smelter's ACL tear, which he suffered during the game against Georgia, may have hurt his draft stock, but it surely didn't ruin his chance at an NFL career. Smelter is hands-down the best wide receiver Georgia Tech has seen since Stephen Hill and perhaps even better than Hill was depending on who you ask -- his consistency and athleticism were truly unique and remarkable. I'm completely confident that an NFL team will take a chance on him, although it's honestly stupid to call it a risk anymore. NFL front offices must think that we are living in the 1970's when ACL tears were career ending -- modern procedures boast a 98% recovery rate. Dropping a first or second-round talent like Smelter all the way to the later rounds because of it is a waste of talent.
The upcoming 2015 offensive line, as solid as it promises to be, has still been challenged by injury throughout the offseason. Injuries to a number of key players, most recently Chris Griffin, have provided temporary albeit large setbacks for Tech's offensive line growth. I wouldn't expect there to be any lingering effects from the injuries when the season begins (most players are expected to be good to go by the time kickoff rolls around), but cohesiveness might be a question, especially early on in the season. It will still be a formidable unit, but injuries may prevent it from living up to previously set expectations and the precedent set by the stout 2014 offense.
The ACC and Big 12 recently proposed some NCAA legislation which would allow for the Big 12 to host a championship game and also allow the ACC to become the first conference with three divisions. I've always been more on board with the idea of dividing the conference into pods (which is something that I can only really explain in a separate article, if anyone is interested), though I could see this working as well. I'm not totally in agreement with how they divide the teams, but it's still an interesting concept. If I had to divide the conference into three divisions, it would look something like this:
Atlantic: Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Boston College
Coastal: Florida State, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Wake Forest
Appalachia (because I don't know what else to call it): Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Louisville, Notre Dame
Does that solve anything? Probably not. Was it made with a strong bias in favor of Georgia Tech? Probably.
I'll leave you today with an interesting question posed by ESPN's David Hale on Twitter yesterday: which was a better championship for the ACC, 2013 Florida State or 2014 Duke? In terms of importance to the conference, I'm going to go with 2013 Florida State all day long. It formally ended the SEC's stretch of championships and allowed FSU, an ACC team, to truly redefine on-field dominance. That Seminole team was a once-in-a-decade squad and no team in the country had a shot at stopping them. Check out Hale's breakdown here.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Twitter poll: Better <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ACC?src=hash">#ACC</a> national champ-- 2013-14 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FSU?src=hash">#FSU</a> or 2014-15 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Duke?src=hash">#Duke</a>?</p>— David Hale (@DavidHaleESPN) <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidHaleESPN/status/585284086870192129">April 7, 2015</a></blockquote>
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What do you think, Duke or Florida State?
Have a great Wednesday!