Keys to the 2005 ACC Championship, Part 1

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Many
factors go into a team winning a conference championship. It takes skill, enough
strengths to overcome weaknesses, great team chemistry, and luck. In 2004, the
Hokies had all of the above and managed to win the ACC in a season in which many
questioned whether or not they would be in the top half of the league. Whoever
wins the crown in 2005 must possess many of the same characteristics as the 2004
Hokies.

Because of 2004, and the amount of outstanding players the Hokies are
returning, they are going to be picked in the top three of the ACC for the
upcoming season. However, 2004 also proved that the previous season meant
nothing, as Tech rallied from a poor Big East finale to win the ACC. There are a
few things we know about the 2005 Hokies. They have plenty of skill, and a lot
of strengths on the team. However, will the strengths be enough to overcome the
weaknesses, will they have the same great chemistry, and will opposing DBs keep
blowing coverages (cough**James Butler**cough) when they�ve got the Hokies on
the ropes?

Most people think the race will come down to Florida State, Miami and
Virginia Tech, and I�m inclined to agree. However, this series of articles
will examine all of the ACC schools that have any chance at all of winning the
ACC Championship. Thus, we�ll focus on nine teams, and leave Duke, UNC and
Wake Forest out. The first article focuses on Maryland, Clemson and Georgia
Tech.


Maryland (10 returning starters)

The Terps had a tough season last year, only going 5-6, but Ralph Friedgen
won over 30 games in his first three seasons in College Park, so we’ll give them
the benefit of the doubt and talk about their chances to win an ACC
championship.

Only ten starters return for a team that played good defense but didn�t
have the talent at quarterback to pull off another winning season for Friedgen. As the
season went along, it became obvious that quarterback Joel Stratham was not the
man to lead Maryland towards the top of the ACC. In a

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