Conference preview: ACC

September 08, 2009

Loyal readers will know the drill. I gave the 35,000-foot-level preview of the 2009-10 college golf season in last week's issue of Golf World (in case you missed it, you can click here to see the top 25 men's and women's coaches' polls; and here to see the top 50 male and female players to watch). Now it's time to focus in on how the various conference races will shake out on both the men's and women's sides.

Over the next few days, I'll focus on each of the major conferences, offering my "fearless" predictions on how things might play out between now and next spring. As always, if you think I'm on target, or even more so if I'm way off base, don't be afraid to leave you comments.

Today's conference: ACC

__Tomorrow's conference:__SEC



2009-10 outlook



Predicted champion: N.C. State

Predicted player of the year: Brendan Gielow, Wake Forest

Predicted freshman of the year: Mitch Sutton, N.C. State

NCAA Regional bound: N.C. State, Duke, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Florida State, Clemson

Team on the rise: N.C. State—Raleigh's Canadian pipeline will pay dividends

Biggest question mark: Clemson—After Ben Martin, Tigers are lean on experience

Wouldn't surprise me to see: Duke's freshman duo of Julian Suri and Brinson Paolini provide the Blue Devils' roster instant depth, each winning at least one tournament individually and both allowing Duke to contend for the conference title.

Would shock me to see: Matt Hill not get plenty more support from the rest of his Wolfpack teammates.

__2008-09 Accolades

Team champions:__ Georgia Tech

Player of the year: Matt Hill, N.C. State

Freshman of the year: Brooks Koepka, Florida State

Coach of the year: Bruce Heppler, Georgia Tech

ACC medalist: Matt Hill, N.C. State

All-ACC team:

Darren Blair, N.C. State

Dustin Groves, Wake Forest

Matt Hill, N.C. State*

Drew Kittleson, Florida State*

Ben Martin, Clemson*

David May, Clemson

Kevin O'Connell, North Carolina*

John Popeck, Maryland*

Matt Savage, Florida State

Kyle Stanley, Clemson

Cameron Tringale, Georgia Tech

Drew Weaver, Virginia Tech

__2009-10 predicted finish:

__1. N.C. State


2009-10 outlook



Predicted champion: Virginia

Predicted player of the year: Natalie Sheary, Wake Forest

Predicted freshman of the year: Brittany Altomare, Virginia

NCAA Regional bound: Virginia, Wake Forest, Duke, North Carolina

Team on the rise: Virginia—Cavs bring back experience, plus add blue-chip recruit in Altomare

Biggest question mark: Duke—You try to replace Amanda Blumenherst and Jennie Lee

Wouldn't surprise me to see: The Blue Devils actually go winless during the 2009-10 season.

Would shock me to see: Duke not make it to NCAA regionals. Lindy Duncan is a gamer and  veterans Alison Whitaker and Kim Donovan have worked too hard to let things slide that far.

__2008-09 Accolades

Team champions:__ Wake Forest

Players of the year: Amanda Blumenherst, Duke; Natalie Sheary, Wake Forest

Freshman of the year: Catherine O'Donnell, North Carolina

Coach of the year: Dianne Dailey, Wake Forest

ACC medalist: Natalie Sheary, Wake Forest

All-ACC First team:

Jennie Arseneault, Virginia

Amanda Blumenherst, Duke

Lauren Doughtie, N.C. State

Nannette Hill, Wake Forest

Jennie Lee, Duke

Whitney Neuhauser, Virginia*

Calle Nielson, Virginia*

Catherine O'Donnell, North Carolina*

Natalie Sheary, Wake Forest*

Caroline Westrup, Florida State

Allie White, North Carolina

2009-10 predicted finish: