Virginia Tech's quarterback Tyrod Taylor won the league's Offensive Player of the Year in the official voting. The vote came prior to the ACC Championship Game and I doubt his exquisite 18/28 for 263 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions left too many voters with regrets. I like Taylor and would have him in my top three, but I can't give him the top honor. He has a lot of support from his running game, and Bud Foster's defense keeps the pressure off the quarterback to produce a lot of points. Two other players, with a lot less help deserve to be ahead of him.
One of them is Russell Wilson, the quarterback at N.C. State. The Wolfpack never really got a running game going and Wilson usually had to put up a lot of points. He had good games against Florida State and Maryland, the two biggest in the Atlantic Division. The fact the Pack lost to the Terps to cost them the division title wasn't the fault of Wilson, who went 31/60 for 311 yards in the regular season finale. But he's still not the man I have at the top of the list, due to a propensity to throw interceptions.
The ACC's Player of the Year should be Boston College's Montel Harris. The Eagle passing game was non-existent and every opponent knew that if you stopped Harris, you stopped BC. Yet in the final six ACC games, the last four all must-win for Boston College if they wanted to make a bowl, Harris rushed for over 100 yards. He went off for 191 on the road at Florida State. He cleared 100 against Virginia Tech, and everyone else. The only knock on his candidacy is that he missed the team's finale against Syracuse, when they completed their run to bowl eligibility. But since that's an ACC game, I'm pardoning him that omission and voting him league MVP.
On the Coach of the Year side, there are four good candidates. Frank Beamer became the first coach to run the table in league play since the expansion in 2004. Tom O'Brien got N.C. State on track and nearly won a division title. Jimbo Fischer won nine games at Florida State with all the pressure on him after Bobby Bowden's unceremonious dismissal. But no one was better under pressure than Ralph Friedgen at Maryland. The Fridge was coming off a 2-10 year and a successful run in College Park looked to be coming to an end, as he had to win six games to save his job--and no one expected he'd do it. He won eight and brought along freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien, someone who's going to be a regular part of this year-end award discussions in years to come. Coach Friedgen joins Montel Harris as an individual award winner in the ACC this year.
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Dan Flaherty is the editor of the Sports Notebook Family, published through the Real Clear Sports Blog Network, offering daily commentary in college football ,game analysis in the NFL. and coverage of college basketball. He is the author of The Last New Year's, a book that revisits the historic high points of college football's New Year's Day bowl games.