ACC Coastal Season Preview and Picks


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Miami has a favorable schedule to repeat the type of year they had in 2017. The key for Mark Richt’s Canes will be Malik Rosier. He started off the year strong for the Canes last year, but the wheels fell off at the end of the season. This year he will be without some of his talent from last year with Berrios and Herndon both gone. Look for Ahmmon Richards to put up some big numbers at receiver and be Rosier’s go-to guy. The defense brings back their back half with most of the secondary returning as well as the linebackers. The big question will be on the D-line; can they be as disruptive as last year? Miami avoids Clemson in the regular season, and if everything goes to plan they should have a date with the Tigers in the conference championship.

Virginia Tech had quite the offseason of losing guys to dismissal or ineligibility, as well as losing defensive co-coordinator in April. The defense lost 9 of the 10 leading tacklers from a year ago. The offense loses some of their talent as well and a lot will be riding on Justin Jackson to have an improved Sophomore season. While I like Justin Fuente as a coach, I believe the Hokies will take a back this year, due to inexperience, especially on defense. This team is built for the future, this year may be bumpy for Hokie fans.

Pitt, Duke, UNC, Georgia Tech: I combined these four schools, because I believe that they are all going to beat each other in the regular season, and how they end up at the end of the year is a total guessing game.

Pitt needs to be more consistent, they play to their opponents level more often than not. They have pulled off some major upsets in the last couple years, and have nearly been upset by FCS foes themselves. Pitt has a question mark at QB as well as the defensive backfield. After the opener versus Albany, the season can be a total roller coaster. I see Pitt winning 5-7 games

Duke lead by Coach Cutcliffe, has been competitive the last few years, I expect more of the same from them this year. Duke like Pittsburgh needs to be more consistent, they started 4-0, lost 6 straight, then won 3 in a row to finish the year. Duke brings back some talent on both sides of the ball, but the schedule in the ACC will be tough I see another 6-6 season, which is nothing to frown at if you’re a Blue Devil fan.

UNC finished 3-9 last year, and you could make the argument that they were most deprived by injury in the country. If healthy, this team will be much better than last year. The offense will rebuild upfront replacing 4 O-lineman, but the receiving corps brings back some depth. The defense brings back a lot of experience all over the place. I can see the heels going 5-7 or 6-6 and sneaking into a bowl.

Georgia Tech will always be interesting because teams need to be disciplined to defend the Paul Johnson triple option. Taquon Marshall will be back leading the offense as well as much of the offensive line. Defense will be lead by new coordinator Nate Woody from App State,  they will  look to improve as well. As I have said before, the middle of the pack is a total toss up I see the Yellow Jackets at 6-6 or 7-5.

Virginia… Good luck.

Picks & Predictions:

Miami OVER 9.5 Wins

ACC Atlantic Season Preview and Picks

Our second preview for the 2018 season.  The Atlantic Coast Conference has been dominated by Clemson for years, and that doesn’t look like it is going to change this year. However, the ACC is an interesting conference because other than Clemson (and maybe Miami), it is wide open. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at these teams and their schedules, and I made a case for almost every team that they could win 6 or 7+ games. The middle of the pack in this conference is going to be super competitive and will provide awesome entertainment this Fall. Here we go.


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Since 2009 the ACC Atlantic has been won by either Clemson (5 times) or Florida State (4 times), including 3 straight by the Tigers. I am going to go out on a limb here and say Clemson will win this side of the conference again, I know, crazy.

Clemson is the class of this conference. They bring back 8 starters on defense, including 4 defensive lineman who were picked to the Preseason All ACC first team, which is just absurd. They bring back their top 3 Running Backs from a year ago and 7 of their top 9 Wideouts. There is one looming question for the Tigers, who will be QB? They return Kelly Bryant who lead them to the CFP Semifinals a year ago, and brought in Blue-chip prospect Trevor Lawrence who has been making noise. Dabo and the coaching staff have a good problem to have, an abundance of talent at QB. We will see how that race shakes out during camp. This team is poised to make another run at the National Title and anything short of an ACC Championship is failure.

Florida State is coming off their worst season in 9 years. They parted ways with Jimbo Fisher and brought in Willie Taggart. Of all the teams in this conference, Florida State was the toughest for me to breakdown. I had them at 10-2 and I have also had them at 7-5. FSU was devastated with injuries last year, and finished on a high note winning 5 of their last 6 games. Like Clemson, FSU has a QB battle on its hands between Francois and Blackman. I am very interested to see how this team looks, we will get an early indicator week 1 vs Virginia Tech.

Boston College is my sleeper team this year in the ACC. They’ve got a lot of ” Dudes” coming back, and are going to be very dangerous on offense this Fall. Last year BC’s top QB, RB and WR were all freshmen; so there is a lot of room for growth for this offense in 2018. Not only that, but BC brings back all 5 starting offensive lineman as well as one of the nation’s best TE’s Tommy Sweeney (shout out to the Tight End position). The team brings back a lot of talent on the defense and if healthy, this is a team, whose style of ground and pound football, you will not want to play. If healthy, I believe BC can be the second best team in the Atlantic division and win 8 games.

NC State will be a fun team to watch for the sole reason of top pro QB prospect Ryan Finley.  You could make the argument that this team will take a step back after losing 7 players to the NFL draft. Finley loses some weapons and will have a lot of pressure on him to carry the team this year. We will know early the type of team this is when they play West Virginia at home in week 3. That game will have a lot of buzz surrounding it because of the QB matchup. I believe NC State will be decent and competitive and will win 7 or 8 games again, not enough to get them over the hump.

Louisville is coming into the season losing the best player in program history, but don’t sleep on the Cardinals. Sophomore QB Jawon Pass will have an abundance of talent outside with the top 3 receivers from last year returning. Louisville brings back 4 starters on the O-line with a combined 77 starts, there will be experience surrounding the young QB. He doesn’t need to do it all like Lamar, and Bobby Petrino won’t set him up for failure. Petrino is 21-11 in ACC play and has yet to have a losing record in conference. Sure, the star power is gone, but the Cardinals should be ok and win 7 games and make a bowl. Hopefully they come out of the Alabama opener unscathed injury wise.

Wake Forest has a lot of holes to replace on both sides of the ball and Dave Clawson will have some serious coaching to do if he wants to replicate last season. Yes, Wake brings back their entire O-line and leading rusher, but other than that there are questions everywhere else, especially on the defense. I expect a regression for the Deacs and a 6-6 season.

Syracuse good luck to ya. Hopefully you get a full season out of Eric Dungey, and perhaps can pull off an upset here or there at the Carrier Dome. I see the Orange only winning 3 or 4 games and after 9/22 versus UConn, any victory will be an upset.

Picks & Predictions:

Clemson to win the ACC.

Boston College OVER 6 wins.



AAC Season Preview and Picks

Folks, it’s August and FOOTBALL IS ALMOST BACK! 

I don’t know about you guys but I have been itching for football season to start. July is just about the worst sports month of the year, and if it wasn’t for the world cup I don’t know how I would have gotten by. Now that we have schools reporting to camp and the season is less than a month away, lets dive right in to the American Athletic Conference.


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People love to show no respect to the AAC. The conference may be a step below the Power 5 schools talent-wise, but it is equally entertaining football. You can make the argument that the UCF vs USF game was the most entertaining regular season game last year. Awesome environment. Shootout.  Rivalry. You name it.



UCF is the class of this division. Josh Heupel inherits a ton of talent from Scott Frost. An offense that ranked 2nd in all of college football last year, and a defense returning six starters. Look for QB Mckenzie Milton to put up video game like numbers this year. One of my favorite numbers regarding this UCF team is that they are bringing back 5 offensive linemen with a combined 79 starts between them. The defense lost some star power in CB Mike Hughes and LB Shaquem Griffin, but they return 6 starters. I look for this offense to be able to put up enough points that the defense won’t be a glaring concern. This team is poised for double digit victories again in 2018. UCF will win the AAC East.

USF should be UCF’s biggest threat in the East. USF won 10 games in 2017 and Charlie Strong brings a new look athletic team in to 2018. Strong is still unsure of who the starting QB will be heading into camp and a battle will ensue all of August between junior Brett Kean and sophomore Chris Oladokun. On defense, the front seven will have a lot of new faces, however on the back end of the defense, everywhere you look there are seniors. Coach Strong will rely heavily on that unit. Look for some growing pains from USF and lower win total than last year.

Temple will look to throw its name in the ring and be a competitor in this division. They won 7 games in 2017. It was a tale of two seasons for the Owls. In the first 5 games they averaged 16.2 ppg and 4.3 yards per play. The final 8 games they averaged 30.2 ppg and 6.2 yards per play. The Owls were injury plagued especially upfront they had only one guy start all 13 games and had a total of 10 linemen start at least 1 game. I look for Temple to ride this wave into the this season and win 7 to 8 games.


These bottom three teams Cincy, ECU, and UConn (Go Huskies!) do not show much promise of being competitive this year. Cincy looks the best of these three teams bringing back their top QB Hayden Moore, RB Gerrid Doaks, and WR Khalil Lewis. Luke Fickell will have them flying around, but they are no match for the top three teams in this division. ECU and UConn…. meh. They’ll both be lucky to win 4 games.

Sidenote: Being a CT resident I will be attending a number of UConn games this Fall. I don’t know if that is something I should be saying publicly.


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There is a lot to love about Memphis this year. First off Mike Norvell is arguably the best HC in the group of five, sup Lane. He brings back almost everyone, other than QB Riley Ferguson and WR Anthony Miller. The offense was fun to watch averaging 49 ppg, and most of the production is coming back. Look for RB Patrick Taylor and WR/RB Tony Pollard to both have 1200 plus rushing/receiving yards. The offensive line brings back 5 guys with a total of 111 starts, love to see that with a new QB. The defense simply needs to be “ok” and sit back and watch the offense. Memphis gets UCF and Houston at home this year, which is a huge opportunity for them. Memphis will win the AAC West.

Houston, led by big Ed Oliver looks to dethrone Memphis in the West. If you don’t know D’Eriq King, you will get to know him this year. He is the Cougs’ leading returnign passer, rusher, and receiver…..what. This team will be exciting to watch, even if you strictly watch Ed Oliver on the inside every play you will be in for a treat.

Navy with its triple option led by Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo is always a threat to stump an undisciplined team. Navy had 2 QB’s rush for 1,000 yards last year who both are coming back. However they only had 1,005 yards passing on 41% completion. They will need to be more effective through the air if they want to improve from last year. However, no matter what we will all be watching for the Army-Navy game and the uniform fire.


SMU, Tulane and Tulsa. SMU will be looking to turn around with new Head Coach Sonny Dykes, I think there will be some growing pains, lucky for them they get to play UConn, Tulsa and Tulane to grow through it. Tulsa and Tulane… meh.



Memphis to win the AAC.

ECU under 3.5 wins.



PJ Edwards @pjedwards84 @thebenchbuzz