When we sit down to iron out our Top 25 Poll each year at Athlon Sports, we are trying to project the final year-end standings not build a preseason power poll. It might be a small and subtle difference but an important one to acknowledge.
The departures of Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson led many to believe that North Carolina would take a step backwards in 2016-17. Fortunately, that has not been the case. The Tar Heels won their second consecutive outright ACC regular season championship, and once again find themselves well positioned as a No. 1 seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The countdown to the 2017 college football season is already underway, as spring practices and position battles for spots on the depth chart for all 130 teams across the nation are already in progress in offseason workouts.
The ACC finished 2016 on a high note and the momentum for this league should carry into 2017. Clemson is the reigning national champions, and even though coach Dabo Swinney has plenty of holes to fill this spring, the Tigers should be a threat to make the CFB Playoff.
Ranking the college football and basketball head coaching tandems for the Power 5 conferences is no easy assignment. But that’s what Athlon Sports has set out to do this offseason, as spring practice is just starting around the nation for all 130 teams and tournament time is approaching for teams on the hardwood.
There will be some major changes within the North Carolina football program this year; more than just the departure of defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. There will be plenty of moving parts on the field as well.
College football’s 2016-17 coaching carousel featured 21 changes and several big-time hires. Texas (Tom Herman), Minnesota (P.J. Fleck), Oregon (Willie Taggart) and Purdue (Jeff Brohm) were just a few of the biggest winners from this year’s cycle.
The ACC isn’t hurting for talent in the coaching ranks. Some of the nation’s top coaches in college basketball or on the gridiron with college football reside in this conference. With Mike Krzyzewski and David Cutcliffe leading the way, Duke once again ranks as the top coaching tandem by Athlon Sports from the ACC.