As the college football season turns to November, I wanted to take a look back at the season and see who the most surprising team has been the disappointing team, the player that has been the newcomer of the year (transfer and freshman), and the biggest upset in the conference. First up, let's take a look at the ACC.
Heading into the season, defending champion Clemson, Florida State, and North Carolina garnered the most hype. Although Clemson had an off year last year, they still won the Conference and played in the Orange Bowl Game versus Tennessee. While Florida State battled Oklahoma in a close contest at the Cheez-It Bowl. While North Carolina lost a close game to Oregon in the Holiday Bowl.
Biggest Surprise - Virginia Tech. A season ago they were looking up at everyone in the conference finishing at 3-8 overall (1-6 conference). Now, they are tied with Louisville at second with one conference loss and headed for a showdown against Louisville on Saturday. Coach Brent Pry and his staff have done a good job in year two at the helm.
Biggest Disappointment - Clemson. Dabo Sweeny had established the Tigers as the team to beat in the ACC with NCAA Championships and Playoff Appearances. This season has been totally different from the Clemson teams we were used to and expecting to see this season. With the latest loss for the Tigers, standout Will Shipley is now in the concussion protocol.
Biggest Upset - Virginia Cavaliers def. UNC 31-27 in Chapel Hill. For a Virginia team that ended 2022 in a tragic manner, and has struggled this season, going into Chapel Hill to take on then number 10 in the country North Carolina, and pull out a victory (second on the season and first in the conference) in a year (last conference win vs GT Oct. 20, 2022) was monumental. For Virginia it provided a boost for the team but more importantly for the school and community.
Newcomer of the Year - For this one, I want to look at the top player from a transfer and the "diaper dandy" (Hope Dick Vitale doesn't mind) freshman who has made the biggest impact. For the transfer portal, my choice is Keon Coleman, WR Florida State. Transferring in from Michigan State Coleman has made a tremendous impact on the field for the Seminoles team and provided football fans with some incredible catches. Currently, he has 538 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 38 receptions. He has quickly become the favorite target of quarterback Jordan Travis.
For my freshman diaper dandy, Kevin Concepcion has been a force for the NC State Wolfpack, he is leading the team in reception yards with 493 (7th in ACC) but more eye-popping is that Wolfpack quarterback, Brennan Armstrong, has thrown for 971 yards on the season. Concepcion has provided a reliable target and accounted for more than half of the team's passing yards to date. The future is bright for Concepcion.