ACC Coastal Season Preview and Picks

ACC COASTAL

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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.

ACC ATLANTIC 

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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.

 

Cheers.