Everyone seems to be previewing the upcoming season, and FTRS is up to the task as well. The ACC print media guys have us picked for 4th in the Coastal. I am miffed at a minimum!
Here is why:
FSU: They open with two gimmies, then face Oklahoma at home before playng their first ACC game against Clemson. While they don't really have many "tough"conference games this year, the ACC opener will be their only early season check. They could be down after a potential blowout at home against the Sooners and Death Valley is no picnic area. Their next real game is a late season matchup at Boston College. I think 7-1 is a real possibility for the Noles.
Boston College: Why do fans in the south always underestimate this team? This should be another good BC team, but that game in November against the Noles will be key for them. It will also be tough to get past Clemson and VPI on the road in October. I think they will be 6-2, but could lose three times if they are not careful.
Clemson: The ACC did the Tigers no favors this season. They play Auburn at home the 2nd week of the season, followed by FSU, VPI, and BC. Three of these game are at home, but this is a mean stretch. They could be a badly demoralized team after five games. They also play us in Atlanta. I think 4-4 is likely, but 5-3 is possible.
NC State: One fact is certain. Mike Glennon is not Russell Wilson. That said, their schedule is not terrible. They play us, UNC and Clemson in Raleigh, but have to face FSU and BC on the road. I could see this team at 5-3, but 4-4 is a safer bet.
Maryland and Wake Forest will be lucky to in four games combined.
Now for the Coastal Division:
VPI: If they don't stumble against App State on September 3rd, the Hokies don't really have a tough gane until they come to Atlanta to play GT. Well, they do have games against Clemson, Miami and BC, but those are all at home. Maybe there is a tougher road game in the ACC, but Blacksburg has got to be one of the worst places to play. If they beat us, 8-0 is not out of reach. More likely they will get lazy somewhere and end with one loss. Hopefully that place will be Atlanta.
Miami: They have a tough draw this year. Games against VPI and FSU are both on the road, plus they close the season against BC. The Canes are not a team that finishes well, so I see them with two certain losses, three probable, and four not out of the realm of possibility. They have a huge question mark at QB. I am thinking they will be 4-4.
North Carolina: The Tarheels have talent, plus they have a good coach. What they lack is a QB for their pro-style offense. They have to play us, Clemson and VPI on the road, plus they play Miami in Chapel Hill. I can't see them winning more than one of those four games, so the best they can expect is 5-3, with 4-4 likely. Heck, the NC State game is always a brawl, and Duke only really cares about one game on their schedule. 4-4 might be a blessing for this team.
Virginia and Duke can't both be winless, but I think two wins between them is likely.
The Yellow Jackets: While tempted to say we will be 12-0 and play Boise State for the BCS title, I think we may possibly not be quite that good this year. Honestly, though, if we beat the Tarheels at home we could be 7-0 when we travel to Miami to play the Hurricanes. The second half of the season is though. We have Clemson and VPI at home with Duke sandwiched between them. I really think 5-3 is the worst we should do in the ACC, with 6-2 possible, and 7-1 not out of the question. The schedule is working for us this year big time. The Carolina game is key and should be a white out game with a full student section. The UNC fans travel well, so we have to be ready for a tough game.
So, I am picking FSU to play VPI in the ACC Championship game, but do not plan to give up on the Jackets. The D has to be ready this year.