This year's Clemson-Florida State tilt figures to determine the ACC Atlantic division. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

ACC Preview: Predictions


On paper, the ACC appears to be a two-game season, the first of which being the mid-October clash between Florida State and Clemson. The other critical game, obviously, is the ACC Championship Game.

Though Clemson and Florida State seem the prohibitive favorites, one prognosticator likes another team to have a huge season.

ACC staff writer Paul Williams and associate editor Luke Brietzke go head-to-head in making ACC projections.

 

ACC Atlantic

Clemson

Paul’s projected record: 11-1, 8-0 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 11-2, 7-1 ACC

Most important game: vs. Florida State (Oct. 19)

Potential to be upset: at North Carolina State (Sept. 19)

Luke’s forecast: The Tigers beat the Seminoles in the ACC’s biggest game of the season, but they stumble on the road in the league (perhaps at NC State or at Maryland). Clemson splits its games against SEC teams and rolls into a BCS game.

 

Florida State

Paul’s projected record: 9-3, 6-2 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 10-2, 6-2 ACC

Most important game: at Clemson (Oct. 19)

Potential to be upset: at Pittsburgh (Sept. 2)

Luke’s forecast: Florida State drops the big Clemson game and – in true Seminoles style – falls in another game it has no business losing. The good news is the Seminoles take bragging rights back from Florida.

 

North Carolina State

Paul’s projected record: 8-4, 4-4 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 8-4, 4-4 ACC

Most important game: vs. Maryland (Nov. 30)

Potential to be upset: at Duke (Nov. 9)

Luke’s forecast: North Carolina State gets three opportunities to take down an ACC power – against Florida State, Clemson and North Carolina – and it beats either Clemson or UNC in Raleigh. Shaky quarterback play leads to a disappointing season for the Wolfpack, which finds a way to play down to is competition.

 

Maryland

Paul’s projected record: 6-6, 3-5 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 7-5, 4-4 ACC

Most important game: vs. Syracuse (Nov. 9)

Potential to pull an upset: vs. Clemson (Oct. 26)

Luke’s forecast: Coach Randy Edsall takes a big step forward during Year 3 and gives the fan base some hope heading into the Big Ten. The Terrapins fend off Wake Forest and Syracuse for the fourth spot in the division.

 

Wake Forest

Paul’s projected record: 4-8, 3-5 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 6-6, 3-5 ACC

Most important game: vs. Maryland (Oct. 19)

Potential to pull an upset: vs. North Carolina State (Oct. 5)

Luke’s forecast: Wake Forest returns to a bowl game, but with an up-and-down campaign.

 

Syracuse

Paul’s projected record: 6-6, 4-4 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 4-8, 2-6 ACC

Most important game: vs. Wake Forest (Nov. 2)

Potential to pull an upset: at Maryland (Nov. 9)

Luke’s forecast: Moving to the ACC proves difficult for Syracuse because the team simply must adjust to too many changes. The Orange plays well at times, but lacks consistency and commits turnovers in costly moments.

 

Boston College

Paul’s projected record: 2-10, 0-8 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 4-8, 1-7 ACC

Most important game: vs. Wake Forest (Sept. 6)

Potential to pull an upset: vs. North Carolina State (Nov. 16)

Luke’s forecast: Year 1 doesn’t treat Steve Addazio very well, through little fault of his own. The Eagles simply have worse times ahead of them before the program can turn around. Home games against Wake Forest and North Carolina State will be telling.

 

ACC Coastal

North Carolina

Paul’s projected record: 11-1, 8-0 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 9-4, 6-2 ACC

Most important game: vs. Miami (Oct. 17)

Potential to be upset: at North Carolina State (Nov. 2)

Luke’s forecast: North Carolina takes steps forward in talent but QB Bryn Renner misses the presence of RB Giovani Bernard. The Tar Heels are in the hunt for a spot in the ACC Championship Game and ultimately win the tie-breaker.

 

Miami

Paul’s projected record: 9-3, 6-2 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 9-3, 6-2 ACC

Most important game: at North Carolina (Oct. 17)

Potential to be upset: at Pittsburgh (Nov. 29)

Luke’s forecast: Two of Miami’s three biggest competitors for the division title come to Sun Life Stadium, giving the Hurricanes a real chance to win the Coastal. RB Duke Johnson and QB Stephen Morris make up one of the most dynamic backfields in the ACC.

 

Virginia Tech

Paul’s projected record: 7-5, 4-4 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 8-4, 5-3 ACC

Most important game: vs. North Carolina (Oct. 5)

Potential to be upset: vs. Pittsburgh (Oct. 12)

Luke’s forecast: The Hokies take strides back to where they belong, but are unable to leapfrog Miami and North Carolina in the standings.

 

Georgia Tech

Paul’s projected record: 9-3, 5-3 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 7-5, 5-3 ACC

Most important game: vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 26)

Potential to pull an upset: vs. North Carolina (Sept. 21)

Luke’s forecast: An especially daunting schedule makes the end of September critical for the Yellow Jackets. Worn down in the second half, Georgia Tech limps to the finish line with a .500 record.

 

Pittsburgh

Paul’s projected record: 6-6, 3-5 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 6-6, 3-5 ACC

Most important game: vs. Florida State (Oct. 19)

Potential to pull an upset: vs. Florida State (Sept. 2)

Luke’s forecast: The Tigers beat the Seminoles in the ACC’s biggest game of the season, but they stumble on the road in the league (perhaps at NC State or at Maryland). Clemson splits its games against SEC teams and rolls into a BCS game.

 

Duke

Paul’s projected record: 4-8, 1-7 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 6-6, 2-6 ACC

Most important game: vs. Pittsburgh (Sept. 21)

Potential to pull an upset: vs. North Carolina State (Nov. 9)

Luke’s forecast: A rough draw with the schedule leaves Duke needing to win early to return to another bowl game.

 

Virginia

Paul’s projected record: 2-10, 1-7 ACC

Luke’s projected record: 4-8, 2-6 ACC

Most important game: vs. Duke (Oct. 19)

Potential to pull an upset: vs. Virginia Tech (Nov. 30)

Luke’s forecast: Coach Mike London’s seat grows alarmingly warm during another disappointing season.

 

Luke’s ACC Championship Game prediction: Clemson 32, North Carolina 19

Paul’s ACC Championship Game prediction: Clemson 31, North Carolina 20

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Tags: ACC Boston College Eagles Clemson Tigers Duke Blue Devils Florida State Seminoles Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Maryland Terrapins Miami Hurricanes North Carolina State Wolfpack North Carolina Tar Heels Pittsburgh Panthers Syracuse Orange Virginia Cavaliers Virginia Tech Hokies Wake Forest Demon Deacons

  • http://kevin-mcguire.com/ Kevin McGuire

    I’m rolling with Clemson over North Carolina in the ACC Championship game. I think Miami makes a run but there’s just something about UNC I like in that division this season. And Clemson looks to be the most loaded in the conference going in to the season. I expect a very good year from Sammy Watkins.

    • Luke Brietzke

      I made an error in the championship game prediction earlier. I initially had Miami in there, but I think it loses the tie-break to UNC, so I agree with you. Watkins needs to be the key for Clemson if it is going to be a national contender. He has to be 2011 Watkins to replace DeAndre Hopkins.