CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017 Season Predictions: What Will Happen In The ACC
Predicting everything that’ll happen this season in the ACC
What Will Happen? 5 ACC Predictions
1. The “ACC Is Top Conference” Storyline Will Have Some Legs
Of course, 1) the SEC heads out there will explode at the notion of that, and 2) the ACC has to first prove it.
The Big Ten is loaded with a slew of above-average teams along with a few killers up top, and the Pac-12 will make a whole bunch of noise as – potentially – the deepest conference in college football, but this might be the year when saying the ACC is the best conference might not make you look like you’re simply trying to come up with a hot take.
Of course, the league has the reigning national title winner, and this season Florida State might be even better and stronger than 2016 Clemson.
Louisville isn’t going anywhere, Miami appears ready to make a massive leap up under Mark Richt, and Virginia Tech and NC State – with a little luck – should be dangerous contenders in the title chase.
It would help if Georgia Tech rocks right out of the gate, if Pitt can explode early, if Brandon Harris is the new answer at North Carolina, and Syracuse can crank it up under Dino Babers, but it comes down to the big non-conference showdowns.
And the SEC has to take a step back.
The talent at the highest end is in the ACC, the depth is growing, and the coaches from top to bottom are stellar. But none of that will matter in terms of national perception unless the league does what it needs to do on the big stage. Fortunately …
2. The ACC Will Hold Its Own Early
Everything will be okay as long as Florida State doesn’t get blown out by Alabama in the opener.
If the Noles win in Atlanta, then get the ACC Is Awesome reality show started, but even if they lose in a tough, tight battle to what’s sure to be everyone’s preseason No. 1 team, that’ll be okay if the rest of the league does its job.
Boston College has a funky road date against an improve Northern Illinois – that can’t be a miss.
Clemson needs to beat Auburn in Week Two at home, Louisville has to take down Purdue in the opener in Indianapolis, North Carolina has to take down Cal, and Virginia Tech has to handle Will Grier and West Virginia in Landover.
Do that, and get a NC State win over South Carolina in the opener in Charlotte, and the perception of the ACC will be terrific.
And then comes the gravy.
Can Georgia Tech get by Tennessee in Atlanta? Can Pitt win a shootout at Penn State? Will Bronco Mendenhall have Virginia rocking and rolling at home against Indiana and can Syracuse at least look the part on the road at LSU?
The chances are there to make a big splash early on. ACC, go full on atomic cannonball.
3. Watch Out For …
NC State in the Atlantic, and Georgia Tech in the Coastal.
The Wolfpack had their moments last year, but they were also wildly inconsistent. This year, this is a strong team full of veterans on offense, playmaking superstar defensive linemen, and a coaching staff that should be ready to hit its stride.
While it’s always dangerous to take too much from anything that happens in a previous season, NC State could’ve quit. It had lost heartbreakers to Clemson and Florida State, and it got doornailed by Louisville in an ugly four-game midseason losing streak.
Instead, it rallied, won three of the last four including a win over North Carolina on the road to get bowl eligible, and then it destroyed Vanderbilt in your 2016 Independence Bowl.
The team that showed the mettle to survive should show up from the start this year.
If Georgia Tech can beat Tennessee to kick things off, look out.
The Yellow Jacket offense will be more than fine once the quarterback situations settles down, and it’ll show in – at worst – a 4-1 start before getting a week off to prepare for Miami.
Beat the Hurricanes, and then it’s really and truly Game On.
The other ACC road games are Clemson – in the other division – along with Virginia and Duke. It won’t be easy, but with no Florida State to face and with Pitt, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech at home, the schedule isn’t all that bad.
4. The Fall Will Come For …
Wake Forest in the Atlantic, and North Carolina in the Coastal.
The Demon Deacons, though, might have a stronger, better team than the one that went 7-6 with a win over Temple in the Military Bowl. However, outside of the win over Indiana, there was a whole bunch of bum-slaying going on with all the regular season victories coming over teams that finished with losing seasons.
This time around, can Wake Forest beat Boston College at Boston College and/or Appalachian State at Appalachian State?
Try this for a midseason run – Florida State, at Clemson, at Georgia Tech, Louisville. Where’s the win?
And then comes November with road games at Notre Dame and Syracuse before dealing with NC State and Duke.
Okay, okay, OKAY – I know a few guys about to tweet me about this – I always undervalue and underlove North Carolina, but this year the team loses a ton, Brandon Harris isn’t the answer, and the schedule is a bear.
The Tar Heels have to host Louisville from the Atlantic, it has to go to Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Pitt and NC State, and if it doesn’t beat Miami and Notre Dame at home, it could be a fight to come up with a decent year.
5. The ACC Championship Game Will Be …
Florida State over Miami
It has to happen at some point.
It was supposed to be an annual thing that the Seminoles and Hurricanes would play in the ACC Championship after Miami made the move from the Big East to start the 2004 season. Not only has it not happened yet, Miami has yet to even make an appearance in the ACC title game.
This year it’ll finally happen.
Florida State will lose at Clemson, but the Tigers will drop road games at Louisville and NC State. The Cardinals will lose to the Noles on October 21st to set the tone for the rest of the ACC Atlantic season.
Miami gets Virginia Tech at home – and that’ll be the difference.
The Hurricanes will lose to FSU the first time around in the ACC opener, and they’ll drop a game at Pitt to end the regular season. But at least they’ll get to the championship game.
FSU will win it and be off to the College Football Playoff.
Where will everyone end up? For all of the ACC Bowl Projections?