The ACC is competing with the Big East for the weakest conference, top to bottom, in college football this season. With the glory days of Miami and Florida State possibly gone for a long time, this conference has been struggling to earn some respect. This season, four good teams look to end this negative publicity and get back on the National radar.
- Georgia Tech 10-2 (7-1)
- North Carolina 10-2 (6-2)
- Virginia Tech 8-4 (6-2)
- Miami 5-7 (3-5)
- Virginia 6-6 (3-5)
- Duke 4-8 (1-7)
- North Carolina St. 8-4 (6-2)
- Florida State 9-3 (6-2)
- Clemson 7-5 (5-3)
- Maryland 5-7 (3-5)
- Wake Forest 4-8 (2-6)
- Boston College 2-10 (0-8)
Georgia Tech and surprise team North Carolina St. will play in the conference championship game for a shot at the BCS. The Yellow Jackets should easily take care of business against any team out of the much weaker Atlantic division.
Last season, the “experts” said that the double wing, option offense could not work at the Division I level. They were wrong. The Yellow Jackets have proven that if a system is well taught and the right personnel is accounted for, any scheme can be very affective. Georgia Tech averaged under 12 passes a game last season and still nearly won the division title. This year, a more seasoned coach will be able to keep defenses from loading 8 or 9 in the box by passing more on first and second down. This will really help to open up its already devastating option running game. The Yellow Jacket defense held seven teams last season to under 20 points. This defense is back again and even more stacked this season. The ACC should fall victim to Georgia Tech this season.
North Carolina is a team on the brink of greatness this season. Their defense is stacked and head coach Butch Davis has this team improving in leaps and bounds every year. Last season, the Tar Heels went 8-5 with four losses coming by 3 points or less. That is incredible! If this team can finish some games this season, they could make a huge push at a conference championship.
Virginia Tech is the final competitive team in the Atlantic Division. The Hokies have won 3 conference titles in the last five years and looks to take make it to their third straight BCS bowl. Virginia Tech starts the season against a tough SEC foe, No. 5 Alabama, and two weeks later plays No.24 Nebraska. I have the Hokies dropping both of those games, sending the season into a loss before league play even starts.
Miami, Virginia and Duke round out the rest of this division. This league was built to show off Miami and FSU, but as of late, this plan has backfired. Miami is terrible and “the U” is struggling to get back into a powerhouse. With all major Florida recruits heading to play for Urban Myer, it’s no wonder these two teams are faltering. Virginia may be able to push some teams this season, but winning many games is an uphill climb. Duke is terrible.
In the Atlantic Division, North Carolina St. is going to be the surprise team to take the division this season. Last year, the Wolfpack started out 2-6 before winning their last four games to become bowl eligible. This momentum will continue right into this season. North Carolina State starts the season off playing SEC power South Carolina at home. This is a statement game for the Wolfpack. Win this and NC State may be 6-0 heading into ACC play. Returning quarterback Russell Wilson is the key to this team’s success.
Florida State is the only other team worthy of discussion. This team has a very difficult schedule with out-of-conference competition being Florida, Clemson and BYU. Although NC State will win the division, the Seminoles will have a better overall record at the end of the season. Beating Florida down in the Swamp in the season finale would instantly make this season a success.
Clemson, Maryland and Wake Forest have all been moderately successful the last few seasons, but rebuilding years happen. All three will be in the cellar of the ACC this year. Clemson should never be counted out of a game, though, when it is in Memorial Stadium. That is the only reason this team even has a shot at a bowl game.
Boston College is living through post Matt Ryan withdrawals this season. After holding onto some talent after he left last season, this team will be lucky to win a single ACC game. .. Not the Boston people would even notice anyways.
Well, there you have it. This is a quick look inside the 2009 ACC. I hope to see you all in the next few days when the Big-10 preview is up.