As we round into the homestretch before football season, let’s take a look at some bold predictions I think have a very real shot at happening this year.
1) The ACC will Finish .500 or better against the SEC for the second year in a row.
It hasn’t happened since the 1998-1999 seasons, after the last year’s 5-3 record against the SEC, the ACC is will do it again. The ACC/SEC matchups this season are Louisville/Auburn, South Carolina/North Carolina, Syracuse/LSU, Georgia Tech/Georgia, Florida State/Florida, Clemson/South Carolina and Louisville/Kentucky.
If we chalk up the Syracuse/LSU game as an ACC loss, (Sorry Cuse, not seeing a victory here) and my gut feeling is that FSU, Clemson win, and Louisville beats Kentucky the other 3 games are the toss ups. I feel like there is at least one win between Louisville/Auburn, North Carolina/South Carolina and Georgia Tech/Georgia. That’s ACC 4 SEC 3, and it doesn’t sound fetched either.
2) Either Louisville will beat Auburn or Virginia Tech will beat Ohio State the opening weekend of College Football.
Louisville and Virginia Tech will enter their games opening weekend against Auburn and Ohio State as decided underdogs, but I think we could have an upset in one or the other. Gus Malzahn might be the flavor of the month when it comes to offenses, but Bobby Petrino has been putting together elite offenses for years. Remember last season Auburn’s defense was laughably bad… In their last 7 games to opponents not named Samford they gave up a whopping 38 points per game.
New DC Will Mushchamp make them better, and Carl Lawson’s return will give the Tigers a much needed pass rush, but you aren’t fixing a defense that bad in one off-season. Auburn will also have new QB Jeremy Johnson going in that game. He’s talented, but that’s still a question mark.
When you’re talking about Ohio State and Virginia Tech and thinking the Hokies can’t win this game, I’d advise you to watch last year’s game between the two. Last season the Hokies went into Columbus and dominated the Buckeyes by 2 TDs. The Hokies defense should be better this year, and will be the best the Buckeyes have faced since the last time they played. Yes Virginia Tech’s defense is better than either Michigan State or Alabama last year. If the Hokies can run ball in a fashion similar to last season, they can win. The game is also in Blacksburg.
3) If an ACC Team goes 12-1 it will be in the playoff.
If there is a 13-0 ACC team, it will be in the playoff… period. This isn’t even a point of discussion or debate. The question that has come up is if there is a 12-1 ACC Champion, would they be left out? Sure there is a scenario where the other 4 power conferences have an undefeated team, then being left out is possible. More likely there will be multiple 1 loss teams. Again Baylor and TCU will be hurt by poor OOC scheduling and Oklahoma and Texas aren’t equipped to make national title runs for the Big 12. As in each year, if you are going to lose a game, lose early and run up the score late. It’s how Ohio State did it last year, and it’s the way it works.
Now whether an ACC team goes 12-1 is another question.
4) A new team will emerge from the pack to finish in the top 25 and win 10+ games.
Two years ago we were all surprised by a 10 win Duke team that ended the year in the top 25. Last season Georgia Tech came from no where to have a top 10, eleven win season. Who is it going to be this year? NC State has a schedule conducive to winning 8 or 9 games, and with an upset or two could win 10+ games. Having a QB like Jacoby Brissett makes a lot of things possible. Pittsburgh with the 2 best offensive players in the ACC and a new coach could shock some people, and Virginia Tech should they put together some offense could give a 10 win season a run.
5) 5 ACC Teams will be ranked in the top 25 at some point this season.
At some point season the ACC will have 5 teams ranked in the top 25. The conference will start the season with Georgia Tech, FSU, and Clemson in the top 25. Louisville or Virginia Tech will jump in with that season opening upset we predict. Then NC State should start the year 4-0. That’s the most likely scenario, but I could see Miami making an appearance with a 3-0 start and a win over Nebraska.