CollegeFootballNews.com Preview 2017: ACC Rankings
The 2017 CFN Preview ranking of all the ACC teams.
Where do the ACC teams rank going into the season? This is NOT a ranking of how the teams are projected or predicted to finish. This is a ranking of how good they all appear to be going into the fall.
Preview 2017: ACC Rankings
Every year it’s too easy to rank Duke at or near the bottom of the ACC rankings because of the talent gap with the rest of the conference, and every year the team is more than just competitive. With a great group of linebackers and a rising star quarterback in Daniel Jones – along with one of the best if-everything-was-equal head coaches in David Cutcliffe – the Blue Devils will be better.
The Cavaliers should be far better in the second season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, but the rest of the ACC will make it hard to make too big a jump. They have two of the nation’s best players in S Quin Blanding and LB Micah Kiser, but the offensive firepower and overall talent and depth aren’t there.
12. Wake Forest
It might not always be pretty, but the Demon Deacons should be effective enough to go bowling again with the strong linebacking corps and DE Duke Ejiofor leading the way. With a fantastic kicking game, a solid ball control offense, and that defense that’ll get off the field, the formula should work.
11. Boston College
Will the Eagles open it up a bit? There should be more of a passing game and a better tempo to go along with the always strong defense. Harold Landry should be the best pass rusher in a conference full of star defensive linemen, while the linebacking corps should be stellar. Now the O has to do its part.
With enough experience to go along with the offensive pizzazz, the Orange should turn into bigger players in Year Two under head coach Dino Babers. The running game might not be great, and the offensive line is an issue, but the passing attack will be a whole lot of fun.
9. North Carolina
It’s the wrong year to be rebuilding in the ACC. The defense will have to be the star, and it should be for a while with a great linebacking corps and enough talent in the secondary to hold up in shootouts. But replacing Mitchell Trubisky with – maybe – LSU transfer Brandon Harris … that’s not a plus. The Tar Heels will be great, but the results won’t be there.
The secondary just can’t be that bad again. The signing of Max Browne from USC should make the quarterback situation a plus, and the linebacking corps and receivers can hang with anyone in the league, but none of it matters unless the Panthers can slow down someone from throwing a forward pass.
7. Georgia Tech
The option attack will be rocking and rolling once again, but can the defensive front do enough to keep the Yellow Jackets in the Coastal chase? The running backs will be deadly, but the deep threats have to emerge from the receiving corps to open things up a bit.
6. Virginia Tech
The quarterback situation will be great despite the loss of Jerod Evans, and the defense should be outstanding thanks to a secondary that would be the star of the conference if it wasn’t for Florida State. But the conference is going to be even better and the Hokies should take just a wee step back from the Coastal title-winning version of last year.
5. NC State
Watch out for the Wolfpack, and why? Defensive line, defensive line, defensive line. The NC State defensive front should be a terror in the backfield, and it’ll need to be with all the great offenses it’ll have to face. QB Ryan Finley is underappreciated-good, while the O line should be just strong enough to keep him upright.
The offense should be amazing again – forget about the sputtering and the issues at the end of last year – with Lamar Jackson back to run the show. The defensive front will also be outstanding, the secondary is terrific, and there might be a little bit of an attitude after the way the team clunked late. No one will sleep on the Cardinals in the Atlantic chase this time around.
Miami had the talent to take the Coastal last season, and now the team and the coaching are in place to finally get it done. The defense should be special – led by an amazing linebacking corps – and the running game will be stellar. It’s all up to the quarterback play without Brad Kaaya around. It’s a Mark Richt-coached team – the QBs will be fine.
Don’t expect too much of a drop-off, if any. Of course the offense will have its issues without Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Mike Williams, Artavis Scott and Jordan Leggett, but don’t shed any tears for a team with one of the nation’s top defensive lines and another loaded group of offensive talents.
1. Florida State
Welcome to Florida State being national title-good Florida State again – at least the talent is there to be in the championship hunt. The secondary might be the best in college football, the defensive front should be a brick wall, and the offense should reload in a hurry without Dalvin Cook and a few great receivers. If QB Deondre Francois takes his game to another level as a sophomore, the Noles should be off to the CFP.