ACC Football Power Rankings – Preseason


Ir’s almost here. College football season is just around the corner, with four Atlantic Coast Conference teams playing their season openers on Thursday. And thus, it’s time to bring back something I’m sure roughly two people have missed over the summer – my power rankings. Why are my power rankings better than anyone else’s power rankings, you ask? They’re … well, they’re probably not. Let’s just have some fun, alright? Football’s supposed to be fun!

1. Clemson – If you saw All Sports Discussion’s preseason panels (and if you didn’t, why didn’t you?), you already know how I feel about Clemson. With Deshaun Watson at the helm, I think this is going to be a very good team. There’s just the whole “Keeping Deshaun Watson off the trainer’s table” thing to worry about.

2. Florida State – The Seminoles should have no issue picking up where they left off last season on offense, with Everett Golson transferring from Notre Dame to assume Jameis Winston’s starting spot at quarterback. The question mark is the defense, which was 11th in the conference at 5.5 yards allowed per play.

3. Georgia Tech – Yes, I said Virginia Tech would win the Coastal. I also think Georgia Tech has the better team, and merely suffers from a tougher schedule. If Ted Roof’s defense can just be a fraction better than last season, the Yellow Jackets’ vaunted option offense will easily make them a Coastal title contender.

4. Virginia Tech – The Hokies have a chance to make a huge impression Monday night, hosting the defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. They beat Ohio State last year, but they also had moments like this. Have more of the former than the latter, Virginia Tech. Please?

5. Louisville – Louisville acquitted itself well in its first season in the ACC with new/returning head coach Bobby Petrino. With some turnover on defense and the possibility that anybody, even you dear reader, could be named their quarterback, the Cardinals will probably take their lumps early against Auburn and Clemson, but should figure it out by the end of the year.

6. NC State – Jacoby Brissett and seven defensive starters return from a 2014 team that improved on its 2013 win total by five games. The Wolfpack brings in some talented recruits this season as Dave Doeren hopes the next step forward – contending for the Atlantic division – is just around the corner.

7. Pittsburgh – With the way Chad Voytik finished 2014, the “first line” of Voytik, James Conner, and Tyler Boyd is arguably the best in the conference. Fifteen starters return, but once again the Panthers have a brand new coaching staff. If there’s one thing this program desperately needs, it is continuity.

8. Duke – Nobody will be happier to see the offseason end than Duke, due to a plethora of injuries the Blue Devils have suffered over the summer. It’s hard to know exactly what to expect from Duke this season, but it’s safe to assume with David Cutcliffe at the helm this team will be competitive regardless of who takes the field.

9. North Carolina – I would joke that some of North Carolina’s defenses efforts were reminiscent of the first half of the infamous basketball game between the Tune Squad and the Monstars, but East Carolina scored four more points against the Tar Heels than the Monstars tallied in that half. Gene Chizik has arrived to improve that woeful defense, which should help an offense that returns 10 starters.

10. Miami – Miami suffers a lot of turnover, losing players like Duke Johnson and Denzel Perryman, Phillip Dorsett, Ereck Flowers, and Anthony Chickillo among others. The Hurricanes will be young this year, but Brad Kaaya offers some promise entering his sophomore season.

11. Boston College – Steve Addazio’s work to build an identity at Boston College over two seasons has been remarkable. Unfortunately, he returns just nine starters from last season’s Eagles, so the team might take a step back in 2015 while battling in the Atlantic division.

12. Virginia – Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Mike London is on the hot seat. Things were looking up in Charlottesville when the Cavaliers started 4-2, but then the second half of the season rolled around and our only Virginia highlight was a dude singing to a goose. While I could listen to Joe Tessitore laughing at that all day, there may not be much to smile about with this team in 2015.

13. Wake Forest – Wake Forest’s indelible memory from last year is that Double-OT slimebath with Virginia Tech. The good news is that, while the Demon Deacons are still one of the youngest teams in the FBS, they’re not as young as they were last year! Hooray, aging!

14. Syracuse – Eight new defensive starters and a new offensive coordinator mark what could be a long year for the Orange. Scott Shafer will have his work cut out for him in hopes of improving on last year’s 3-9 mark.

Until next week, peace, love, and #goacc.

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