The 2019 ACC Preview with the Game of the Year, Players of the Year, top pro prospects, big-time players who deserve a bigger spotlight, and more.
ACC Team Previews, 5 Things To Know
Atlantic Boston College | Clemson | Florida State
Louisville | NC State | Syracuse | Wake Forest
Coastal Duke | Georgia Tech | Miami
North Carolina | Pitt | Virginia | Virginia Tech
Clemson is going to win the ACC Championship. Again.
If it doesn’t, that means something catastrophic happened or the Tigers just flat gagged, because the separation between them and everyone else is 100 miles wide.
On the plus side, it’ll be a fascinating season for the rest of the conference. Take teams two through 14 and put them in any order, then reshuffle and do it again, and you’re probably not going to be that far off on either one.
Louisville will be a whole lot stronger under Scott Satterfield, and Geoff Collins at Georgia Tech and Mack Brown at North Carolina will at least give ACC fans something to discuss.
Virginia Tech is going to be better after a rebuilding year, NC State and Syracuse aren’t going anywhere, Pitt is coming off a Coastal title, and Virginia might just be the league’s second-best team.
Boston College, Duke, Wake Forest – keep underestimating them, and keep watching them get into the bowl picture.
But the ACC needs its stars to all shine at once. It needs Miami to turn that corner and start to look like the team many thought it would be going into last year. Sort of like Mark Richt did at Georgia – he got the program to a certain point, and Kirby Smart took it to another level – that’s the hope under Manny Diaz.
Florida State has to get back to its superstar level, too.
The program that was a powerhouse force under Jimbo Fisher fizzled out fast – blame most of the woes on the offensive line – but the ACC needs the Noles to at least bring a challenge to Clemson.
At the very least, the FSU and Miami have to look like they’re on the verge of something big. They have to seem like they’re ready to go into 2020 as the “are they back?” teams – sort of like Florida and Texas are this season.
The ACC will have its share of great battles throughout the season, and – don’t laugh – just about anyone on the Clemson conference schedule will have the ability to pull off the shocker. And someday, the ACC dreams of the mid-2000s will come true and we’ll have an all Florida conference title game.
For now, having a team like Clemson to rely on for greatness is going to have to be good enough.
ACC Team That Will Surprise
Is it really possible for Florida State to be a surprise team? After last year, merely being a factor in the ACC – at least until it faces Clemson on October 12th – will be enough.
Willie Taggart is fine. He might take a whole lot of heat, but he’s a fine coach who had a rough rebuild to deal with in his first season. It might not be the ACC championship season like the base wants, but the Noles will start to look the part again.
ACC Team That Will Disappoint
Duke won’t totally wipeout – there’s still enough talent on both sides of the ball to be interesting, and the D will be nice – but after six bowl appearances in the last seven years, this season has the potential for a big slide.
Starting out the year against a grouchy Alabama team is no way to kick things off, but there should be a decent base of home wins against a slew of okay teams. However, the Blue Devils have to go to Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Wake Forest … okay, big whoop. They also have to host Notre Dame, and Syracuse, and Pitt, and Georgia Tech, and Miami.