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Aug
03
2014

Best and Worst case records for each ACC Coastal Division team in 2014.

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You’ve read my best players in the ACC previews, and I hope you’ve been listening to ACC Weekly Podcast Preview with @HokieSmash and myself.  Now we are going to get into our predictions for the ACC starting with the best and worst case seasons for each Coastal Division. We’re going to be to realistic with these Best and Worst case records so don’t expect every best case to be 12-0 if you know what I mean.

@HokieSmash and I will be releasing our final team predictions here in the next few days.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech’s  defense is the best single unit in the ACC Coastal Division. Remember the Hokies were 9 points from an 11-1 start last year. Outside of a couple of shaky performances the defense was outstanding finishing in the top 5 in the nation last year. If the offense can just be average, the Hokie’s defense will do the rest. The schedule is also quite favorable. Virginia Tech avoids Florida State, Clemson, and Louisville this year.

Will Go 10-2 (7-1) if:

The offense can make a leap and actually be better than average. That means the offensive line must be much than the last couple of years. The Hokies have a tricky stretch with back to back games at North Carolina and Pittsburgh. I can see them hit that double digit win total if they win both.

Will Go 7-5 (4-4) if:

The QB play is inconsistent, and the offensive line struggles again. Basically it’s pretty much if that offense doesn’t improve, neither will the Hokies.

Miami 

I like where Miami is headed. I like their recruiting in recent years. I don’t like this year’s schedule. The Hurricanes will have some very good playmakers on offense. It’s time Miami starts showing signs they are truly ready to turn the corner.

Will Go 10-2 (6-2) if:

The Hurricanes can find a quarterback. Jake Heaps looks to be the starter by default. If he can  consistently get the ball to playmakers, like Duke Johnson and WRs Stacy Coley and Phillip Dorsett the Hurricanes offense could be explosive. The Canes have some highly regarded recruits coming in on defense. They need to grow up fast, and help a unit that struggled late last year.

Will go 6-6 (3-5) if:

The schedule is too much to over come. There are games with Florida State, and at Louisville, at Virginia Tech, and at Nebraska. The Hurricanes will likely be underdogs in everyone of  of those games. All those those games with a new QB too.

Virginia 

Virginia has actually recruited pretty well in recent years, so it is surprising that they’ve become arguabley the worst team in the ACC. Mike London enters the season as the ACC coach with the hottest seat in the conference. Why are there games with UCLA and BYU in the same year?

Will go 6-6 (3-5) if:

The Hoos have a couple of upsets in them. Last year the Cavaliers defeated BYU in one of the more surprising results of the year. Maybe there is a home upset of a Louisville, UNC, or UCLA in there? There is decent talent on the Hoos team, but they need to find an offensive identity.

Will go 2-10 (0-8) if:

Nothing has changed from last season. The Cavaliers were awful on offense and awful on defense. It’s an overwhelming schedule that could crush the Hoos. There are games with UCLA, @BYU, Louisville, at Duke, at Florida State, and at Virginia Tech. If Virginia isn’t considerably better on at least one side of the ball, it could be a very ugly season yet again for the Cavaliers. Hey Virginia fans, you always have your top 10 football and baseball teams to fall back on.

Duke 

Duke still seems underrated don’t they? David Cutcliffe has a done a remarkable job in Durham, and there’s talent on this team. If you think Duke season last year was a fluke you’d be sorely mistaken.

Will go 10-2 (6-2) if:

They can hold serve at home. Last season Duke lost in back to back weeks to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh. Those are the kind of decent but hardly elite opponents that one should be to defeat at home. If the defense makes marginal improvement, Duke is capable of beating anyone on their schedule.

Will go 7-5 (4-4) if:

Duke struggles on the road. Last season Duke went 5-0 on the road. I think they will hard pressed to do that again with games at Miami, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Syracuse. The defense was not great last year, and could put Duke in the position where they need to outscore opponents. While Duke has good skill position talent, and the O-Lines and D-lines are better than  years past, those line units won’t overwhelm anyone. Duke is still not good enough to just show up and beat people.

North Carolina 

The Tar Heels have the highest ceiling of any ACC Coastal Division team. That’s a product of their schedule and having the best combination of QB, RBs, and WRs in the Division. Offensively this should be a dynamic team. They also possess an All-American return man in Ryan Switzer.

Will go 11-1 (7-1) if:

UNC can play to its potential for a change. The Tar Heels have had some of the better talent in the ACC for years, but they seem stuck on the 7-8 win total. We still have haven’t seen UNC put a full season together. Is it that impossible to think UNC wins at a Clemson team that could be reeling a bit if they start the year 1-2 or win at a good but hardly dominant Notre Dame team? If the defense improves, I don’t think it’s out of the question.

Will go 6-6 (4-4) if:

They lose to back to back to games at East Carolina and Clemson. You know the Pirates live to beat ACC teams, and they destroyed the Tar Heels last year. Back to back losses to East Carolina and Clemson with games against Virginia Tech and then Notre Dame could have the Tar Heels looking at a 2-4 start to the year. Despite their talent level in recent years, North Carolina rarely plays to it for an entire season.

Georgia Tech

If you’ve followed Georgia Tech this off-season, it’s been about as bad as it gets short of an NCAA and/or a criminal investigation. The Yellow Jackets have lost more than a dozen scholarship players due to transfer, dismissal, academics, or medical issue. Two of Georgia Tech’s highest ranked recruits from the last 2 years RB Myles Autry and RB Travis Custis didn’t even make on to campus. This program is at a real crossroads.

Will go 9-3 (6-2) if:

Justin Thomas is the real deal at quarterback. Thomas is a former 4 star recruit with exceptional speed. He may be the quarterback Paul Johnson has been waiting for since Josh Nesbitt was in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets defensive line needs to come together fast. It will be an inexperienced group outside of emerging star Adam Gotsis. If some how Georgia Tech can find a way to steal a couple of wins out of Georgia, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Miami then 9 wins is possible. The Jackets have been been competitive against these programs, but far too often in recent years have been on the losing end to those 4 teams.

Will go 5-7 (2-6) if:

The Defensive line struggles… This D-Line outside of Gostsis is one of the most suspect in the ACC. If this D-Line can’t at least be average, good offensive teams will have field days against Georgia Tech. What if Georgia Tech goes 0-4 again against Georgia, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Miami for a 3rd straight year?

Pittsburgh 

Pittsburgh had some great moments last year in their first year in the ACC. There were wins over Duke, Notre Dame, and bowl win over Bowling Green. Tyler Boyd looks like the next great receiver at Pittsburgh, but how they going to replace All-American DT Aaron Donald?

Will go 9-3 (5-3) if:

The Panthers can get off to a fast start to the season. Pittsburgh has an opportunity to start the season 5-1 or 6-0. The schedule opens with Delaware, at Boston College, at FIU, Iowa, Akron and at Virginia. I don’t see a sure loss in there. Then you get the next three games at home after that. Chad Voytik has the potential to be very good at QB, James Conner is a workhorse RB, and of course there is Boyd. I have a sneaky feeling Pitt will be better than expected.

Will go 6-6 (3-5) if:

Aaron Donald is going to be a huge hole to try and fill, and this defense didn’t produce a lot of turnovers last year even with Donald. Voytik has potential, but is still a pretty inexperienced quarterback. Yes the schedule provides a chance for a fast start, but a split at Boston College and Iowa is a must. Lose both, and get upset at Virginia and it’s a 3-3 start, and the Panthers will struggle to get to a bowl game.

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