You could argue that the ACC had the best resume of any conference. Clemson defeated the previous two champs in Alabama and Ohio State on their way to a national title. It was the conference’s second title in the last four years, as FSU won it all in 2013.
While Clemson won the ultimate team award, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson ran away with the Heisman. Of the 14 teams that make up the ACC, 11 of them posted winning records. That includes an impressive 9-3 record in bowl games.
ACC College Football Preview & Predictions
It wasn’t that long ago that the conference came down to Clemson and Florida State. In fact, no one else has won the league since 2008. While those two remain in an elite class, the likes of Louisville, Miami, and Virginia Tech are gaining ground fast.
The rise of the Cardinals, Hurricanes, and Hokies has a lot to do with the head coaches they have recently hired. Louisville brought back Bobby Petrino a few years ago. While Miami and Va Tech both made splash hires last year. The Hurricanes landing Mark Richt and the Hokies signing on Justin Fuente.
Other promising head coaches in the league include Dave Clawson (Wake Forest), Dino Babers (Syracuse), Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh) and Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia). All four of those have been at their respective programs for four years or less.
I’ve studied all 14 teams in-depth and have put together my projections for the 2017 campaign. I not only rank the teams based on their league records but provide their overall records as well.
For a good reference on a team’s expectations for the year, be sure to check out their win total numbers. You can also get an early start on betting Week 1 action. Just click here for the opening lines for all FBS games. For a complete picture on how I see the college football season playing out, check out my overall predictions.
2017 ACC Projected Standings, Rankings & Betting Odds
|Pos.||Team||Conf||Overall||Atlantic Odds||ACC Odds|
I was shocked to see how little respect Louisville was getting coming into this season. I know the Cardinals struggled down the stretch, losing their final 3 games. However, a lot of that had to do with them coming to grips with the fact that they weren’t going to make the playoffs.
Had they held onto a 36-28 lead in the 4th quarter at Clemson, they would have run the table in league play. I believe that would have resulted in a much different outcome down the stretch.
I believe the fact that a lot of people have them pegged for 3rd actually works in their favor. Not very often you see a program returning the Heisman winner getting this little respect.
With Clemson losing Deshaun Watson, I believe they take a step back. Not to mention they have to go to Louisville this time around. As for Florida State, the Cardinals beat them 63-20 and it wasn’t that close. Going to Tallahassee will be a challenge, but one I think they can overcome.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t be surprised if either the Seminoles or Tigers won the division. I just feel Louisville has all the weapons in place for a special season.
One thing I think is getting overlooked with Florida State is the loss of Dalvin Cook. He was the primary focus of opposing defenses and the Seminoles offense. I think it could be a bit of a disappointing year for sophomore QB Deondre Francois.
There’s those that will make an argument for NC State as a sleeper in the Atlantic and rightfully so. The Wolfpack return 17 starters and are the most experienced team in the league. The problem is, they aren’t as talented as the big three on this side. Either way, they figure to have a say in who wins the division.
That leaves Syracuse, Boston College and Wake Forest battling it out in the basement. While I picked all three to finish out of bowl eligibility, I would argue that each will be improved over last year. It’s just hard to get to 6 wins when you basically have three losses on the conference schedule before the season even starts.
|Pos.||Team||Conf||Overall||Coastal Odds||ACC Odds|
Things are a lot more wide open on the Coastal side of the conference. There have been four different teams featured in the title game the last four years. You have to go back to 2010 and 2011 to find the last time a team (Virginia Tech) won the division in consecutive seasons.
Last year it was the Hokies who reigned supreme with a 6-2 conference mark. Just 1-game ahead of Miami, UNC, and Georgia Tech, who all finished 5-3.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Virginia Tech won it again. I just have some big concerns with how they replace Jerod Evans at quarterback. Unfortunately for the Hokies Evans entered the NFL draft early (wasn’t selected).
While it’s a similar story in Miami, where Brad Kaaya left early, I just feel like the Hurricanes are better across the board. Miami has 15 returning starters compared to Va Tech with just 12. Surprisingly, if I’m right, this will be Miami’s first Coastal title in football.
The other school that I believe is in the mix is Pittsburgh. While the Panthers have just 10 returning starters, they add in a big time talent at quarterback in USC transfer Max Browne. My big concern is the loss of offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
As for the other four teams, all have the potential to surprise and make this a 4-team race. North Carolina lost a lot of talent, but have a history of surprising under Larry Fedora. Georgia Tech has 16 starters back from a 9-win team. Though the schedule for the Yellow Jackets is absolutely brutal.
You can never count out David Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils, while Virginia figures to be much improved in Mendenhall’s second year on the job.
ACC Championship Game: Louisville defeats Miami
|Players (Pos, School)||Odds|
|Lamar Jackson (QB, Louisville)||+925|
|Deondre Francois (QB, Florida St)||+2200|
|Derwin James (S, Florida St)||+12500|
|Eric Dungey (QB, Syracuse)||+15000|
|Nyqwan Murray (WR, Florida St)||+15000|
|Deon Cain (WR, Clemson)||+15000|
|Hunter Johnson (QB, Clemson)||+15000|
|Cam Akers (RB, Florida St)||+20000|
|Mark Walton (RB, Miami)||+20000|
Click on the link for a full list of Heisman odds for the 2017 season.
These are just the odds to make the playoffs. Click on the following link for a full list of the national championship odds.