Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the ACC season with the team rankings.
Preview 2018: ACC Team Rankings
This is NOT a prediction of how the teams will finish. They’re the rankings of how good the teams are going into the season.
Please scroll down for the ACC rankings done by total conference, ranking 1 through 14.
ACC Rankings: Atlantic
1. Clemson Tigers
Should be ranked here because … Dabo Swinney has created a monster. The defensive line is special at an all-time level to anchor another wonderful D. The O has the weapons to keep up in shootouts, but it won’t have to.
Should be ranked lower because … there will be a bit of a quarterback controversy if the offense isn’t dominant out of the gate, and the special teams aren’t all that great. Other than that, there’s no much to get into a twist over.
2. Florida State Seminoles
Should be ranked higher because … even though last year was weird and bad, it’s not Florida State is all that far away from being great again. The running back situation is amazing, and there’s more than enough talent on both sides of the ball to sneak into the ACC Championship if the team catches Clemson on the right day.
Should be ranked lower because … the offensive line is still going to be a question mark until it isn’t. It has a long way to go to be good enough to make FSU ACC-title-good again. Enough replacements have to be made at linebacker and receiver to hurt.
3. Louisville Cardinals
Should be ranked higher because … many of the concerns about the offensive backfield should be eased thanks to the line. The front five and the great receiving corps should be enough to help out Jawon Pass get things moving.
Should be ranked lower because … that Lamar Jackson guy was pretty good. Yeah, Pass will be great, but he’s replacing a college football all-timer. On the other side of the ball, the retooled defensive line has to get it all together fast. Good luck with Alabama in the opener.
4. NC State Wolfpack
Should be ranked higher because … the passing game will be outstanding. Ryan Finley’s return gives the Pack one of the league’s best quarterbacks throwing to one of the league’s best receiving corps. Even without Bradley Chubb, the D line is good enough to do its part.
Should be ranked lower because … losing Nyheim Hines and Jaylen Samuels is a problem for the backfield. In all, 25 of the team’s 35 rushing touchdowns are gone. The secondary has just as many concerns, needing to rebuild around terrific safety Jarius Morehead.
5. Boston College Eagles
Should be ranked higher because … in AJ Dillon, Zach Allen and Lukas Denis, BC might just have the ACC’s best running back, defensive end and safety, respectively. That might be a wee bit of a stretch, but they’re close. The defense and Dillon will keep the team in every game.
Should be ranked lower because … Anthony Brown’s knee is going to be a worry all year. If the Eagle quarterback isn’t 100% and rolling, that’s a huge loss. The receiving corps isn’t strong enough to make the backup options shine.
6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Should be ranked higher because … the offense is once again going to be sneaky-good. There won’t be any drop-off from John Wolford to Kendall Hinton at quarterback working behind Ryan Anderson and a fantastic line.
Should be ranked lower because … the defense won’t be able to do its part. It’ll be a plucky group, but the back seven won’t have it. Esaang Bassey is an all-star caliber corner, and LB Justin Strnad will be a stat-sheet filler, but that won’t be enough.
7. Syracuse Orange
Should be ranked higher because … this really isn’t the worst team in the Atlantic – the difference between fourth and seventh will be razor-thin this year. As long as he’s healthy, QB Eric Dungey will put up massive numbers for the high-powered passing game. Safety Evan Foster leads the best secondary yet under Dino Babers.
Should be ranked here because … the defensive front seven is going to get pounded on once again. The linebackers will make tackles, but not enough meaningful ones. The offensive line isn’t going to get the ground game moving.