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Aug
06
2014

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

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Hopefully you caught our 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. We started 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.

Florida State

Florida State is the defending national champion. They return Heisman Trophy QB Jameis Winston, and are absolutely loaded across the board. I’ve seen a couple of FSU fans on twitter say people don’t really know how talented the Seminoles truly are. Believe me, people know, the Noles are the most talented team in the country.

Will Go 12-0 (8-0) if:

Florida State doesn’t have a let down. The Seminoles will be favored in every game they play this season, and most if not all by double digits. Their second team would probably go somewhere between 8-4 and 10-2. If FSU brings anywhere near their A game, nobody on their schedule can play with them. Yes they are that good.

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

Let’s face it anyone that beats FSU will need help from the Noles. That said, going undefeated in the regular season in back to back to years isn’t exactly easy. The USC Trojans last did the trick in the 2004-2005 seasons. If the Seminoles are off their game, matchups at Louisville on Thursday, a rivalry game loom. Clemson and Notre Dame have a chance to push the Noles in Tallahassee. Should FSU lose somewhere along the line, please no one go all top 10 SEC team in a bowl loss and say they were interested. Winning one national title is wonderful, winning two and we’re starting to talk dynasty.

NC State

NC State is going to be one of those team this year, you are going to have to no idea what to expect from week to week. I have the feeling one week they will look like a top 20 team, and other weeks they’ll look like they’ll have no clue what they are doing. It’s going to be a young team. Florida transfer Jacoby Brissett is an intriguing prospect at starting quarterback.

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

You think I’m crazy don’t you? Hey if Auburn can from 3-9 (0-8) to the national title game, nothing is impossible. First the Wolfpack have a very manageable schedule. Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, at South Florida, and Presbyterian open the season. The Wolfpack need to take full advantage of that and get off to a 4-0 start. Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Wake are all winnable home games. If those young players come together quickly, the Wolfpack could be a surprise team in the ACC, in fact I said this already.

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

Those young players aren’t quite ready for prime time. I don’t see NC State struggling like they did last year, but there are just so many question marks. Jacoby Brissett is talented as I said, but if he can’t fulfill some of that promise, the Wolfpack will have a lot of trouble scoring, and their defense is not equipped at this point stop most teams for 4 quarters.

Boston College 

Second year Steve Addazio injected some much life into the Boston College program last season, leading the Eagles to a surprise bowl game appearance. Not to mention BC got some great publicity when RB Andre Williams won the the Doak Walker award. Unfortunately, this season the Eagles will have to replace their starting QB, RB, and top WR from last year’s group. Boston College may take a step back this year, but in the long run Addazio will get the job done.

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

Boston College can open the season 5-1. This is not out the question either. BC opens the season at UMASS, Pittsburgh, USC, Maine, Colorado St. , and NC State. Other than USC, is there another game in that group that BC can’t win? Tyler Murphy is one of a couple of Florida transfers that should be starting at ACC schools this year. He needs to establish himself quickly, and doesn’t have many weapons at WR. The back end of BC’s schedule is tough so they need that quick start.

Will go 4-8 (2-6) if:

The Eagles can’t take advantage of that opening slate through the first week of October. Say BC can’t beat Pittsburgh at home, loses to USC, and lose at NC State, and sits 3-3 after 6 games? It looks really unlikely that the Eagles can pull things together with a finishing schedule that includes Clemson, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and Florida State. The Eagles are virtually starting over from scratch with their front seven on defense.

Clemson

Clemson has enjoyed a tremendous run the last 3 years winning 32 games, with victories over Ohio State, LSU, Georgia, Florida State, and Auburn. They’ve went from talented but underachieving to talented and one of the 12 best programs in the country. This year there are some questions especially on offense without Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins, but the defense should be very strong.

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

Playmakers emerge on offense… Clemson has recruited well, but right now there is unproven talent across the board at the offensive skill position. If Cole Stoudt a career backup at QB, plays well, and a Charone Peake or Mike Williams becomes a go to target at WR, then it’s not impossible Clemson takes 2 of 3 Georgia, FSU, and South Carolina. They still have better top to bottom talent than anyone in the ACC save Florida State.

Will go 7-5 (5-3) if:

The offense can’t find the playmakers I’m talking about. Would it shock anyone if Clemson lost to top 15 teams in Georgia, FSU, and South Carolina? Go 0-3 in those games, with a lack of playmakers and suddenly games with North Carolina, Louisville and at Georgia Tech could be a problem.

Wake Forest 

If could be a long season at Wake Forest. The Deacs lost their best players on offense and on defense. New head coach Dave Clawson has a lot work ahead of him.

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

Wake Forest can get off to a fast start. The schedule opens with UL Monroe, Gardner Webb, at Utah State, and Army. Wake Forest is likely not good enough to win at Utah State, but a 3-1 start is possible. Syracuse, Boston College are games at Wake Forest that the Deacs should be able to compete in. Steal a road win along the way, and Wake Forest has a chance at .500. One positive for Wake Forest is their secondary should be a solid unit.

Will go 3-9 (1-7) if:

The Demon Deacons can’t over come their personal issues. Who’s going to step up at QB, RB, WR and along the offensive and defensive line? Several new starters dot these units for Wake Forest. I’m leaning towards the 3-9 season over the 6-6 one for Wake Forest. It doesn’t look good for Wake Forest.

Syracuse

Syracuse had some good moments last year. Overall, despite a handful of blowout losses, it was a good first season in the ACC for Syracuse. They won 4 of their final 6 games including a bowl win over Minnesota. As opposed to several of the teams on this list, the Orange return their starting QB, and most of their best offensive players.

Will go 8-4 (5-3) if:

Terrel Hunt takes the next step at quarterback. Hunt showed a lot of promise last year as a sophomore. Hunt should be even better at QB this year, and would help a Syracuse team that had issues moving the ball last year. The early schedule is manageable. Villanova, at Central Michigan, and Maryland should have the Orange 3-0 with Notre Dame after that. Hunt’s development is the key to the season.

Will go 4-8 (2-6) if:

Terrel Hunt doesn’t reach his potential. As I said Hunt is the key to Syracuse’s season. At times last year he looked like an All-ACC caliber QB, but he needs more consistency. Syracuse doesn’t really have any game breaking speed on offense either. If they rank 85th on offense like last year, it’s hard to see Syracuse make it to a bowl game. The Maryland game is pivotal. That’s a must win early season game. Lose that one, and the Orange will be in for a rough season.

Louisville 

The more I look at this Louisville team the more I like them. I think they can be one of the most explosive offenses in the ACC, and the Cardinals have become a program used to winning. They have 23 victories the last 2 years. Bobby Petrino can flat out coach offenses, and I believe they can better on that side of the ball than when QB Teddy Bridgewater was there. That’s not a knock on Bridgewater, that’s more on former coach Charlie Strong who kept things a little more conservative on offense than Petrino will.

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

The defense doesn’t suffer a major setback. Remember Louisville’s defense was among the country’s best last season, but they will be without the services of stars S Calvin Pryor and LB Preston Brown. As I said I believe the offense should be very good. The schedule has some tough games, but isn’t that daunting. Yes there games at Clemson, and Florida State, and at Notre Dame but the Cardinals are better than the rest of their schedule. Obviously I’d be little surprised, at an 11-1 season, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked either.

Will go 8-4 (5-3) if:

New QB Will Gardner struggles… I don’t think the Louisville defense will be bad, but it won’t be good enough to carry Louisville this year. The Cardinals could play well, and may still go 0-3 against Clemson, FSU, and Notre Dame. Miami will definitely be looking for revenge after last year’s bowl blowout to the Cardinals, and a games at Syracuse and Boston College could be tricky.

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