ACC midseason recap

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By TED GIOIA
College Contributor Network

This season has been a roller coaster ride so far for the ACC. From Jameis Winston's off-the-field issues to Clemson's quarterback situation, there have been plenty of storylines to follow. As we have reached the rough halfway point, let's take a look at who would bring home the hardware if the season ended today.

Offensive MVP: Rashad Greene, WR -– Florida State

It's hard not to go with Winston here, but Greene has been incredible for the Seminoles. Given Winston's off-the-field issues forced him to miss FSU's huge game against Clemson, Greene deserves the nod at the halfway point. He is the ACC's leader in both receptions (52) and yards (791), and has been the key cog of the Florida State offense. He'll have to fight off his quarterback if he wants to win this award at the end of the year.

Defensive MVP: Vic Beasley, DE -– Clemson

Beasley is projected to be a first round pick in next year's NFL Draft, but for now he's more than satisfied with dominating at the collegiate level. No one took him seriously when he proclaimed he was better than Jadeveon Clowney before the season.

Now, it may not seem so far fetched, seeing as he recorded at least one sack in each of Clemson's first six games. Beasley leads the ACC with 8 sacks and has showed no signs of slowing down. He also became Clemson's all-time sack leader last week, recording his 29th sack as a Tiger.

Biggest Surprise: Virginia

Virginia was projected to finish last in the ACC Coastal Division in almost every single preseason poll. They were alone at the top of the Coastal division with a 2-0 conference record (that included a huge upset of Louisville) before losing to Duke, 20-13. We'll see how good the Cavaliers really are with the teeth of their ACC schedule coming up -- they'll host UNC in Charlottesville before traveling to Georgia Tech and Florida State.

Biggest Disappointment: North Carolina

This one's a no brainer. After being ranked 23rd in the AP preseason Top 25, the Tar Heels have greatly underachieved. They nearly lost in Week 2 to San Diego State, and lost every single game afterward until barely beating Georgia Tech 48-43 this past week.

Simply put, North Carolina cannot play defense. The Tar Heels are 127th in the nation in points against per game, and they gave up 70 points in one game against East Carolina. Yes, 70. They'll have to finish the season winning three of five games if they want to become bowl eligible.

Best Rookie: Deshaun Watson, QB -- Clemson

This is a head-to-head battle between Miami's Brad Kaaya and Clemson's Deshaun Watson, but as of now Watson has the upper hand. He leads the ACC in quarterback rating at 186.9, which is over 25 points higher than Winston's rating. After relieving Cole Stoudt from his starting duties against Florida State, Watson's talents have been on display. He's thrown 12 touchdowns against just two interceptions so far, and his numbers would be higher had he started the whole season.

Unfortunately, Watson broke his hand in Clemson's victory over Louisville and the Tigers, once again led by Stoudt, were barely able to beat Boston College up in Chestnut Hill, 17-13.

Best Game: Week 4 (22) Clemson vs. (1) Florida State

No debating this one. The Week 4 matchup saw the ACC's two best teams battle into overtime under the lights in Tallahassee. With just over a minute to go in regulation, Clemson fumbled on the Florida State 26-yard line and blew their chance at a last second field goal. The Winston-less Seminoles ended up on top, keeping their win streak and playoff hopes alive. Even in a loss, Clemson still saw the birth of a star in Watson. It'll be hard for any game to top this one for the season's best contest.


Ted Gioia is a junior at Syracuse University with majors in Finance as well Television, Radio, and FIlm. Born in North Buffalo, he is an avid Bills and Sabres fan. You can follow him on Twitter @Ted_Gioia
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