Going into the summer, what are the post-spring football rankings for all the ACC teams?
Based on how good the teams appear to be after spring ball, welcome to the ACC post-spring football rankings. The 2015 record is next to each team.
14. Virginia (4-8)
Is this really the worst team in the ACC? If it is, it’s not going to be by a whole lot even with a building job to be done on both sides of the ball. Bronco Mendenhall is a terrific get as the new head man, but he’s going to need year or so.
13. Duke (8-5)
Alright, alright … dismiss and disrespect Duke at your own peril. The ACC is so much stronger now and so deep that someone has to be this low, but the offense will be fantastic again in plenty of fun shootouts.
12. Wake Forest (3-9)
Is this when Wake Forest pulls out a shocking season? With so many starters back on offense, this could be a far tighter, far more dangerous out. The days of being an ACC free space might be over.
11. Syracuse (4-8)
Give it a year. Dino Babers is going to make the Orange offense explosive and deadly with a little bit of time and the right pieces in place. It’s an experienced team, but are there difference-makers? Not quite yet.
10. Boston College (3-9)
Welcome to the thorn in everyone’s side. The Eagle defense that finished No. 1 in the nation won’t drop off too much, if at all, while the offense should eventually be just good enough to get by. Kentucky transfer QB Patrick Towles matters.
9. Georgia Tech (3-9)
This is probably way too low. After taking a year off, the Yellow Jackets should be right back in the ACC title hunt with the offense being back to its normal, dangerous self. The experience has to translate into production.
8. NC State (7-6)
The running game should quietly be dangerous if the offensive line can come together in fall camp. The defensive front seven will be good enough to keep the Wolfpack in most games.
7. Virginia Tech (7-6)
Justin Fuente was into the Virginia Tech world faster than most new head coaches making the transition relatively easy. Can the Hokie defense survive a ton of big losses? Not really, but the improved offense should be able to pick up the slack.
6. Pitt (8-5)
The running game will carry the team though some tough times, helped by a great-looking offensive line. The coaching staff knows defense – Pitt will be a dangerous sleeper.
5. North Carolina (11-3)
The Tar Heels have the experience and they have the explosion, but can they get past the steamrolling from Baylor in the bowl loss, and can they move the offense without QB Marquise Williams? Yeah, and not really, but they can be good enough to be in the hunt for the ACC title game again.
4. Miami (8-5)
Brad Kaaya might actually be the best quarterback in the ACC as the season goes on – at least in the eyes of the NFL scouts – and he’s got the weapons to work with. The young core of the defensive front seven last season should shine, making up for the issues in a secondary that’s starting over.
3. Louisville (8-5)
Look out. Lamar Jackson stepped up as a rising star quarterback as the season went on, and this spring the offense started to show just how dangerous it’s going to be. Ten starters are back on O, led by the multi-talented Jackson, and eight starters return on a defense that somewhat quietly had its moments, holding teams to 24 points or fewer eight times in the last 11 games.
2. Florida State (10-3)
Dalvin Cook would be the national superstar spotlight running back coming into the season if it wasn’t for Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette, but with all five starters back up front on an offense that gets everyone of note back, he could be on a Heisman track. The defense will be better, and the quarterback situation will sort itself out, but does this year’s team have the want-to of 2014? The players are there to get to the CFP for the second time in three years.
1. Clemson (14-1)
What can the Tigers do to take that one extra step? What can they do to get back into a national title position? Keeping Deshaun Watson healthy means everything, and getting WR Mike Williams back helps, but overall, the offense has the talent to be even more explosive and more of a machine.
On the other side, losing three starters up front stinks, but DT Carlos Watkins is an NFL talent to work around and the back seven appears to be coming around quickly. For a while, though, just outbombing teams with the Tiger offense will be enough.