Now about halfway through the season, here's a look at how some of the players and teams in the ACC have stuck out. In addition to the awards we've got the all-ACC team as of the halfway point.
Best Player: Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams: Not only does Williams lead the ACC in rushing with 734 yards and touchdowns with nine; he's also ranked fifth in rushing and fourth in touchdowns, nationally. Despite being just a freshman he's starting to show up on some media Heisman radar, and deservedly so.
Best Team: Virginia Tech Hokies: No surprise here, the Hokies are the ACC's highest ranked team and best shot at a national title this year. They've played the nation's second toughest schedule so far and come out 5-1 with huge wins over #9 Miami and #15 Nebraska.
UNC DE Robert Quinn(42) (AP Photo G. Smith)
Biggest Surprise Player: North Carolina DE Robert Quinn: Quinn looked promising as a freshman, but few could have predicted the breakout season he's having this year as a sophomore. After being diagnosed with a brain tumor as a senior in high school, Robert has persevered and become an tremendous talent on the Tar Heels defense. Through the first six games Quinn leads the ACC in sacks(7), tackles for loss(11), forced fumbles(3), and is second among all defensive linemen in tackles(26).
Biggest Surprise Team: Boston College Eagles: Coaching change, graduation, injuries, illness, you name it the Eagles have experienced it. Very few teams have been through an off-season as tumultuous as Boston College has, and even fewer could manage to match the success of the Eagles in spite of the amount of talent lost. Yet, somehow Boston College is winning and with a 4-2 record overall and 2-2 mark in ACC play, they're right in the hunt for the Atlantic division crown.
Biggest Bust Player: North Carolina QB T.J. Yates: In his first two years at North Carolina, Yates showed glimpses of his potential but was injured last year and played in only six games. Now healthy, 2009 appeared to be the year for him to step up as a leader for the Tar Heels, but so far Yates has struggled. T.J. has thrown more picks(7) than touchdowns(6) and ranks near the bottom of the ACC among starting QBs in passing yards, yards per attempt, and passer rating.
Biggest Bust Team: Florida State Seminoles: The Seminoles were preseason favorites in the Atlantic and considered one of the top three teams in the ACC, but Florida State has done little to support those opinions. At 0-3 in the ACC and 2-4 overall not only are the 'Noles Atlantic chances vanishing, their streak of 27 straight bowl appearances is in great jeopardy.
Most Improved Player: Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor: Hokie signal caller Tyrod Taylor is finally starting to legitimize his "duel-threat" quarterback label. While Taylor's numbers on the ground are down a bit, his passing numbers have skyrocketed. In just six games Tyrod Taylor has already thrown more touchdowns than he did in his first two years at Virginia Tech combined. He has made good decisions and thrown just one interception which is part of the reason why he has the tenth highest passer rating in the country.
Most Improved Team: Duke Blue Devils: Although Duke has the same record they did at this point in time last year, it becomes obvious when you watch this football team that the Blue Devils are a much better team than they were a year ago. One week after Duke gave an excellent Virginia Tech team more than they wanted; the Blue Devils went on the road and beat a good NC State team by three touchdowns. It still won't be easy for Duke to make a bowl game but you get the feeling this team is fired up and ready to play every week. The Blue Devils aren't a pushover any more.
Mid-season All-ACC Team:
|QB||Riley Skinner||Wake Forest||DE||Robert Quinn||North Carolina|
|RB||Ryan Williams||Virginia Tech||DE||Willie Young||NC State|
|RB||Jonathan Dwyer||Georgia Tech||DT||Vince Oghobaase||Duke|
|WR||Demaryius Thomas||Georgia Tech||DT||Allen Bailey||Miami|
|WR||Torrey Smith||Maryland||LB||Cody Grimm||Virginia Tech|
|TE||George Bryan||NC State||LB||Dekoda Watson||Florida State|
|OT||Jason Fox||Miami||LB||Alex Wujciak||Maryland|
|OT||Blake DeChristopher||Virginia Tech||CB||Brandon Harris||Miami|
|OG||Sergio Render||Virginia Tech||CB||Rashard Carmichael||Virginia Tech|
|OG||Rodney Hudson||Florida State||S||DeAndre McDaniel||Clemson|
|C||Matt Tennant||Boston College||S||Morgan Burnett||Georgia Tech|
|PK||Richard Jackson||Clemson||Spec.||CJ Spiller|
If you enjoyed this article, check out the complete ACC Mid-season Report.