2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Season Preview & Predictions
The Atlantic Coast Conference now has 14 teams. The newcomers are Pittsburgh and Syracuse. There is no runaway favorite in this league, but there are a couple teams who seem to be the best on paper.
The ACC is now broken up into two divisions- the Atlantic Division and the Coastal Division. The Atlantic Division is clearly the stronger of the two divisions right now. The winner of each division will square off in the ACC Championship Game at the end of the year.
BangtheBook is going to be looking at several of the major college football conferences in the next couple weeks. We’ll look at teams that have a chance to be in contention for the conference crown and make a selection at the end of each preview. All odds listed are from BetDSI. The odds listed below are odds to be the ACC Conference Champion.
Many were surprised that Tajh Boyd came back for his senior season at Clemson. The fact that he did made this team the favorite in the ACC. Boyd’s junior season was nothing short of remarkable. He threw for 3,896 yards and 36 touchdowns last year. The Tigers will miss Andre Ellington and DeAndre Hopkins, but there are still weapons here. Sammi Watkins is one of the most dangerous play makers in the league. No one in the country has a better quarterback and wide receiver combination than Boyd and Watkins. Clemson’s defense progressed a ton in 2012. The Tigers finished third in the ACC in scoring defense. The front seven is stacked, but the secondary is a question mark. This is a top ten team nationally.
Florida State (+225)
Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles were a national title contender early last year, but they tripped up at North Carolina State. Fisher is doing things the right way with this program, and the Seminoles are clearly on their way back up nationally. Still, Florida State has to replace a slew of key players from last year’s squad. The Seminoles will likely have redshirt freshman Jameis Winston starting under center this year. Winston has lot of potential, but without any experience I worry about him leading the team on the road in games against Clemson and Florida. The offensive line is one of the best in the country, and they should dominate in the trenches. This team will be good, but expect some missteps along the way.
Teams to Watch:
Miami is the favorite in the weaker Coastal Division. The Hurricanes have had a lot of controversy surrounding them the past couple years, but that hasn’t stopped Al Golden from building the foundation for another impressive run from this team. Miami was once a national power, and they are on the right track to get back to that point. Look out for a massive season from running back Duke Johnson. He is the real deal, and he could be a Heisman contender before he leaves for the NFL. The defense isn’t even close to as good as the top teams in the ACC, and that will be an issue.
Virginia Tech (+800)
Frank Beamer’s Hokies are a few notches below where they were a couple years ago. Virginia Tech is accustomed to dominating on defense, and last year’s defense disappointed. They’ll be better again this season. Exum and Fuller are a great pair of cornerbacks for the Hokies. Logan Thomas looks like an NFL star some games, and on other days he is a liability. He has to play to his potential on a weekly basis this year if the Hokies are going to contend.
North Carolina (+800)
Larry Fedora has brought an uptempo offense to the Tar Heels program, and Bryn Renner is the perfect quarterback for this system. Renner threw for 28 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions last year. Look for an even bigger season out of Renner. Don’t be surprised if he is high on NFL scouts lists after this year. The team is going to miss Gio Bernard though, and the defense isn’t consistent enough.
Georgia Tech (+1,200)
You can never completely count out Paul Johnson’s team with their triple option attack. Georgia Tech has an opportunity in the weaker side of the ACC this year, but the Yellow Jackets have to get great play from quarterback Vad Lee. Lee is playing behind a strong offensive front, but he doesn’t have much to work with at wide receiver. Georgia Tech should be much better on defense this year, but this defense has disappointed the last three years in a row.
2013 ACC Conference Championship Odds:
Boston College +5000
Florida State +225
Georgia Tech +1200
North Carolina +800
North Carolina State +7000
Virginia Tech +800
Wake Forest +8000
ACC Conference Pick: Clemson (+175)
This isn’t the same Clemson team that allowed 70 points to West Virginia a couple years ago. Clemson is one of the best defenses in the conference, and their offense is downright scary. They’ll have their toughest games at home, which should equal an ACC Conference Championship for the Tigers.
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