So everybody’s releasing their predictions for how this year’s college football season will play out. A lot of work and research go into these predictions, but as soon as they’re released their useless. Yet we keep doing it year after year. Why? Hell if I know, but I’m gonna follow the lead. Here are my 2010 ACC predictions:
1. Florida State – I hate to pick the same team as everybody else but, with UNC in disarray and the Clemson and BC games at home, the only ACC game I see them losing is at Miami. They still have questions on defense and Jimbo Fisher is an unproven head coaching commodity, but their O-line could be the best in the country and that tipped the scales in their favor.
2. Boston College – BC always surpasses expectations. Last year everybody thought they would bring up the rear in the Atlantic Division and they went out and finished 2nd. They’re a team that knows how to win football games and it wouldn’t surprise me if they surpass expectations again and win this division. I do think FSU is a tick better. Their cross-division games (Virginia Tech, at Duke, and Virginia) are much easier than Clemson’s so they get the nod for #2.
3. Clemson – I wanted to put Clemson #2 because of they have so much athleticism on both sides of the ball. I couldn’t pull the trigger, though, because Dabo Swinney still hasn’t proven he can do it without C.J. Spiller and their cross-division games are much harder than BC’s (Miami, at UNC, and Georgia Tech).
4. Maryland – Phil Steele picks Maryland to be one of the most improved teams in the country this year. I’m not sure I see it, but he knows a lot more than me so I’ll just follow him on this one. They do have a favorable schedule with most of their tough games on the road (Clemson, BC, Miami, and Virginia) and most of their winnable games at home (Duke, Wake, FSU, and NC State) so I could see them going .500. It also helps avoiding Coastal teams Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and UNC.
5. NC State – I always pick us to finish higher than we ever do so this year I’m trying to change that up a little by starting the season off with low expectations. I don’t want to rehash what I’ve already said so check out my detailed game-by-game predictions. In light of recent developments I might would change the UNC prediction, but it’s still hard for me to see us making a bowl so a few of those predicted wins will likely end up being losses (i.e. Cincy & BC).
6. Wake Forest – This pick might be the one that makes me look the dumbest at the end of the year, but I’m going to say it anyway. Wake has some nice players, but nobody spectacular. Their talent is way down from the 2006 ACC Champion team, but they still have Jim Grobe. If Grobe coaches this team full of Average Joes to a higher Division finish than the Wolfpack then it’s time for Debbie Yow to immediately show TOB the door.
1. Miami – It’s tough to go against Virginia Tech and Frank Beamer, but if Jacory Harris can cut down on mistakes and Randy Shannon can have success coaching a whole team like he’s had success coaching defense in the past, then watch out. The Canes’ roster is littered with elite recruits and if they put it together they could return to their glory years of the ’80s and ’90s. That’s a lot of ifs, but I like this team. Oops, let me rephrase that … I hate the Canes, but I like them to win the ACC this year and I felt that way before the Herbies Show.
2. Virginia Tech – How’s the saying go … nothing’s certain except death, taxes, and Virginia Tech football winning 10 games. They’ve done so 11 of the past 15 years (including the last 6 in a row) and yet I know some Tech fans that still complain. Can we trade programs? Favorite whipping boy is always OC Bryan Stinespring, but with 8 returning starters the offense should be fine. It’s the young defense (4 returning starters) that has me worried the Hokies could disappoint a little and caused me to drop them to #2.
3. Georgia Tech – The Jackets are a good team that is always tough to prepare for, due to their triple-option running attack, so they will always have a matchup edge. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Yellow Jackets were to repeat as ACC Champs. This division is so tough any of the top 3 could win it and I just like Miami and Virginia Tech a little better. QB Josh Nesbitt is a very good football player, but Heisman candidate he is not. Nice website, though.
4. Duke – Duke finishing above last in the ACC is a rare feat. It’s only happened 5 times in the last 15 years (’09, ’03, ’99, ’98, & ’95) and their last bowl trip was in ’94. They bring back their whole offense except QB so if Sean Renfree can be okay they could fight for a bowl. The Coastal is so tough and they have very tough OOC games against Alabama and Navy so I think they will fall short, but I do see them besting the Tarheels in the standings for the 1st time since ’03.
5. North Carolina – The Tarheels were my post-Spring pick to win the ACC. Then came Marvin Austin bragging on Twitter about these parties he was attending in Miami and numerous other trips he was making around the country. The NCAA started investigating and it looks like they will take out not just Austin, but the entire Heels starting defense. Without that defense they will fall hard. You’re welcome Wolfpack fans. My reverse jinx worked perfectly!
6. Virginia – New coach Mike London takes over a program that has not been very good in the recent past, but he knows what he’s doing having led the Richmond Spiders to the 2008 NCAA Division 1 FCS National Championship. I like Virginia in the future, but I just don’t see how they do much this season.
If these predictions were to play out the ACC would finally get what they’ve so desperately coveted, a FSU-Miami ACC Championship Game. Since that would work out perfectly you know it’s not going to happen. So Miami is my pick to win the ACC? I can’t believe I actually just wrote that. It feels like it’s been forever since Miami was actually any good. Heck TOB, the same guy that’s 16-21 (9-15 in ACC) since coming to State, swept the Canes in our back-to-back series in ’07 & ’08. (whispering) Don’t tell anybody, but really I’m just covering my bases since these prediction are different from my post-Spring rankings. One is bound to be close and I can beat my chest about whichever one that is. At least I hope so.
Well enough of this predictions and rankings crap. The games finally start tomorrow and then everything will be decided on the field. Enjoy the ride!