Well we’ve gotten to the half-way point of the ACC football season, and it’s time to check in on the ACC COY race. A few weeks ago we revealed our first early contenders, and from that list of Dave Doeren, Justin Fuente, Manny Diaz, and Bronco Mendenhall only one remains.
Jeff Hafley – Boston College
Boston College sits 4-2 on the season, and has definitely been one of the ACC’s more surprising teams. Pre-season picked 14th in the ACC, Hafley has BC arguably as one of the best currently unranked teams in the ACC. Known more for years as a power running teams, Hafley has quickly transitioned the Eagles into a prolific passing team with new QB Phil Jurkovec under center. The Eagles are going to be a 2nd half headache for teams in the ACC.
Dave Clawson – Wake Forest
Sure you thought after Jamie Newman and Sage Surrat left, that Wake Forest would be in trouble this year. Then after starting the season 0-2, your really thought Wake Forest might be in trouble. That was not to be the case with Dave Clawson at the helm. After a 23-16 upset of Virginia Tech, Dave Clawson again the The Deacs in position to have a solid season. Wake Forest has some good players, but how they manage to always be better than what many expect is a testament to Clawson and his staff. Maybe we just shouldn’t be surprised anymore. A winning season will keep Clawson in the mix for this award.
Manny Diaz – Miami
In a bizarre year where lineups and games are being constantly shuffled, beating who are you supposed to beat each week counts more this year even more than most. Miami sits 5-1 with their only loss being to Clemson. Miami hasn’t always looked dominant, but they keep winning. That wild inconsistency that Miami has been known for in recent years, hasn’t been there so far this season under Manny Diaz. They should be favored each week until a final game with UNC, and that would have the Canes 9-1 for that showdown.
Dabo Swinney – Clemson
We are so used to Clemson being so consistently excellent, that with Dabo Swinney sometimes we forget how difficult it is to maintain that level of excellence. At 6-0 and ranked #1 in the country, the Tigers have played arguably the most consistent football anywhere. Swinney game after game gets his to perform at a high level with an eye always on the ACC Championship and the playoffs. He probably needs to go undefeated to really make a run at ACC COY, but we know that’s definitely possible.
Leader – Manny Diaz
I had Manny Diaz as the quarter of the season leader, and a single loss to Clemson shouldn’t change that. Miami certainly isn’t a playoff caliber team, but coming after the disastrous 2019 finish, Miami is a legit top 20 team. Some games they’ve won with an explosive offense, and other wins with a strong defensive performance.
Right now Diaz is in this position because of Miami’s consistency to win games. A loss to anyone before the UNC game would certainly give any of the other coaches a chance to overtake Diaz.