NCAAF: ACC Preview

August 5, 2010


For my second college football preview post, I’m going to try to sort through a conference that is almost as wide open and difficult to pick as the Big East. Unlike the Big East, the ACC has a few teams with a legitimate shot at a national title bid, but as we know from watching previous seasons, the ACC almost never plays out like we think it will. For the past few seasons, the ACC has been filled with a bunch of teams that periodically crack the Top 25, only to lose to a conference bottom feeder the next week and fall out of the rankings. A few of the top teams in this conference have a chance to do very well this year, but other than that, I think this conference will have a similar story to tell.

Team(s) With the Best Shot at a National Championship Bid
Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s first game against Boise State has been a discussion point in college football circles ever since last season concluded. The winner of that game has a very good shot of making it to the National Championship by way of the fact that neither team has an extremely hard schedule after the highly anticipated season opener. In addition to their mediocre strength of schedule minus Boise State, Virginia Tech is led by quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who last season showed the nation that he is capable of hitting his receivers. Taylor’s play against Boise State will likely be key in determining whether or not Virginia Tech still has national title hopes after Week 1.

Watch Out! (Team That Could Surprise)
Florida State

When is the last time Florida State won the ACC? If you guessed 2005, the inaugural year for the ACC Championship game, then give yourself a pat on the back. Fortunately for Seminole fans, this could finally be the year that Florida State breaks its string of mediocrity and gives itself a chance to play for a BCS bowl game. The Seminoles have a great offense led by quarterback Christian Ponder, who if you haven’t heard of yet, you probably will before this season is over. The question mark for the Seminoles is their defense, which needs improvement from last year. If they don’t need to rely on Ponder & Co. to score thirty plus points per game in order to win, then this could be a dangerous team. Get ready to do the Tomahawk Chop, because the ‘Noles are coming.

Out-Of-Conference Game To Watch
Virginia Tech vs. Boise State (September 6th)

Nothing like a battle between two top ten teams to kick off the college football season. Both teams have aspirations of a national championship, and both have the personnel to do it. Last time Boise State traveled East of the Mississippi to play a ranked opponent, they were embarrassed. Don’t expect that to be the story this time around. Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore is the real deal, and the Hokie defense will need to be on top of things the entire game if they don’t want Moore to pick them apart.

In-Conference Game To Watch
Florida State vs. Miami (October 9th)

It’s been awhile since this game has been a marquee matchup, but if Florida State ends up being a surprise contender like I predict and Miami can beat either Ohio State or Pittsburgh (or both?) and come into this game ranked, then it will definitely draw some attention outside the state of Florida. Regardless, this should be a fun game to watch, because I think that both Christian Ponder and Hurricanes quarterback Jacory Harris will put up big numbers in this rivalry game.

Conference Predictions

Atlantic Division

1. Florida State (7-5, [6-2])
2. Clemson (8-4, [5-3])
3. Boston College (8-4, [5-3])
4. Wake Forest (5-7, [3-5])
5. North Carolina State (2-10, [1-7])
6. Maryland (2-10, [0-8])

Coastal Division

1. Virginia Tech (11-1, [8-0])
2. Miami (Fla.) (10-2, [7-1])
3. North Carolina (7-5, [5-3])
4. Georgia Tech (7-5, [4-4])
5. Duke (3-9, [2-6])
6. Virginia (4-8, [1-7])

Championship Game (Florida State vs. Virginia Tech)
Winner: Virginia Tech

I’ll be postponing the college football preview for a few days, because I’m going to cover the racing at Mid-Ohio this weekend. Chances are the next college football preview post will be up on Monday. Thanks guys.

– K. Becks

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