Conference Previews list our power rating for the conference, predicted order of finish as well as what the teams record will be in conference play only.
Conference Rating: #5
Predicted Order of Finish: ACC Atlantic
- Florida St (8-0): Florida St is loaded this year and returns 16 starters including 8 on offense. The team has all the making of a national championship team. EJ Manuel takes over at QB and guides an explosive offense. Manuel has done well in him limited play at QB and will get better in each game. Noles toughest road game is at Clemson and gets Miami at home. Look for an undefeated regular-season and the game at home against Oklahoma could mean a trip to the BCS Title game.
- Clemson (5-3): Clemson reminds us of the little girl with the curl. This team has been so up and down for years. HC Dabo Swinney in on the hot seat and returns 14 starters including 9 on offense. The offense should improve on 24.0 ppg from last year. Clemson has a solid offense line and good young WR core. Look for the Tigers to be motivated and play with urgency this year and improve their conference record from last year.
- NC State (4-4): The Wolfpack took a big hit when QB Russell Wilson transferred to Wisconsin. Miek Glennon is solid but he is not Wilson. Tom O’Brien is a solid coach and is coming off a very good 9-4 year. With 8 starters back on defense this unit will improve on their 21.3 ppg/allowed. They do have a difficult schedule this year and our ratings are calling for only a 4 win conference record. Look for O’Brien to get the most of his players and play hard. The offense will be down and not put up the 31.8 ppg they did in 2010.
- Maryland (3-5): Maryland did a great job in hiring Randy Edsall as their new HC. He will have this program turned around in no time. He has a lot to work with this year with 14 returning starters. The Terps overachieved last year and a lot is expected from them this year. The schedule is difficult but we fully expected from this team this year. We will call for a 3-5 season but with a couple of upsets they could end up 5-3 with a couple of upsets.
- Boston College (3-5): Offenively, the numbers were not good for BC last year as they avg 18.5 ppg and only 4.8 yards per play. With 9 starters back including Soph QB Chase Rettig the numbers should improve. HC Frank Spaziani is a defensive minded coach and with 5 starters back this unit will be solid again. The conference schedule is difficult especially road games at Clemson, Va Tech and Miami. We like where this team is heading but it’s just not enough to compete with the big boys od the ACC.
- Wake Forest (1-7): It’s hard to pick a team 1-7 with 17 returning starters back but it just doesn’t look good for the Demon Deacons this year. Defensively, this team was horrible last year as they gave up 35.8 ppg and offensively they only scored 22.6 ppg. Even if we rate then better on both sides of the ball, we which do, they will still be a bad team compared to the other teams in the conference they play. Jim Grobe is in his 11th year and is on the hot seat this year. We think they will compete in a majority of their games but it just won’t be enough.
Predicted Order of Finish: ACC Coastal
- Virginia Tech (8-0): Va Tech is our pick to win the Coastal Division in the ACC and has a great shot at potential undefeated season. 12 starters return from a team that went 11-3 and they are loaded on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively they break in a new QB in sophomore Logan Thomas. He could be a clone to Cam Newton as he is 6’6” and 245lbs. The schedule looks extremely manageable as their toughest game at home will be against Miami, Fla. All of their road games we have them as a touchdown favorite or more. This team has all the tools on offense, defense and special teams to go 8-0 in conference and be in the ACC Title Game.
- North Carolina (5-3): NC is in disarray with their coaching staff but have the talent in place to have a successful run in the ACC. Look for the defense to be very good this year with 7 returning starters back from a team that allowed 23.2 ppg. The offense is young in sports but Butch Davis did a good job recruiting before he got fired. Look for this team to surprise everyone this year with the potential to win 10 games total.
- Miami Fl (4-4): Who knows what’s going to happen to the Canes as far as suspensions with all of the allegations surrounding this team. It doesn’t look pretty. With the uncertainty around this program and a new coach taking over it could be a disappointing year for The U. They still have a lot of talent and new HC in Al Golden who resurrected a horrible Temple program. We will call for a .500 record as of now even if there are no major suspensions.
- Georgia Tech (3-5): Paul Johnson is a great HC and has done a tremendous job in his 3 years at GT with a 26-14 record. The team struggled in 2010 on both sides of the ball and looking at the talent returning we just don’t see too much improvement. 12 starters return and they will always be one of the top rushing teams in the country because of their triple-option attack. The schedule is brutal in the ACC this year and it would be a surprise if they finished .500. However, don’t put anything past Paul Johnson.
- Virginia (2-6): With 18 returning starters back, HC Mike London has this team heading in the right direction. With that being said, they are still a year away from being very good. The Cavs will be one of the most improved teams in the country defensively with 10 starters returning. The road conference schedule is difficult. Overall they should improve on their 4 total wins last year and we call for a 2-win conference record.
- Duke (1-7): This is another team that looks improved on paper with 14 returning starters including 8 on the offensive side of the ball. The Blue Devils were 1-7 in conference play last year and our ratings don’t call for anything better even though they will compete in a majority of their games
This ACC preview was written by Michael Blake – Carolina Sports (Documented #1 College Football Handicapper 2010)