It is finally game week for our Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. That ugly game against the team outside the perimeter seems like a bygone age to end a painful but expected season. The media didn’t have much faith for GT to fare any better this year being by being picked last in the rankings and no players appearing on the All-ACC team.
Clearly they didn’t ask our opinion on the vote so we are going to give it to you here.
It’s pretty hard to mess this pick up for now. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne are back to lead another explosive offense that has to replace most of their starters on the offensive line. The secondary took a hit as well but Dabo hasn’t had trouble bringing an endless stream of talent to Death Valley. There hasn’t been a true challenger among the other 13 members in several years except...
2. Notre Dame
Except The Fighting Irish decided they needed a dance partner for a year since several of their usual partners decided to flake out on the season. Like Clemson, Notre Dame is well stocked across their team in terms of talent and brings back one of the better QBs in the league in Ian Book.
The Cardinals were a surprise team last year when Scott Satterfield took over and had Louisville’s offense performing as one of the best in the ACC despite being one of the worst in the country in sacks allowed. The defense was serviceable but the team as a whole will return almost all of their starters and should improve in their deficient areas. With Clemson off the schedule that could be a scary proposition for the rest of the ACC.
4. North Carolina
Even though the Tar Heels didn’t claim the Coastal Crown last year they appeared to be the most complete team in the division by year’s end. Like the three teams before them they return talented QB in Sam Howell. Mack Brown has also elevated the recruiting classes at UNC and will have some young playmakers to add depth to a solid team.
5. Florida State
Don’t let the past two seasons fool you about the talent that is still around in Tallahassee as the Seminoles upper classmen were apart of top 10 classes. Instead, let it be known that Willie Taggert proved if someone claims even they could win with Alabama’s talent they are lying. Mike Norvell will right the ship but will have a bumpy early start as he had limited time to instill his schemes on the team.
6. Virginia Tech
The Hokies may have been ranked higher if it wasn’t for projected first-round draft pick, CB Nick Farley, opting out of the season. His talent and leadership will be missed but the defense isn’t left bare in its first season without defensive coordinator, Bud Foster. QB Hendon Hooker looked good down the stretch last year but will also be pushed by Oregon transfer, Braxton Burmeister.
Pitt lost a key player in defensive tackle, Jaylen Twyman who opted out of the season to prepare for the NFL. The defense should still be one of the better units and while Kenny Pickett isn’t a game changer he is decent most of the time. Pitt has lived off the run game for years and if they can continue that tradition they could creep ahead in the rankings.
The Hurricanes have several grad transfer player who could elevate this team from their hot and cold ways last year. The most notable is QB D’Eriq King who will lead the offense under new offensive coordinator, Rhett Leshlee. There was a bit of attrition on Miami’s defense but two transfers from Temple could help shore those holes up. It’s up to Miami’s offensive line though to help King make this season a successful one.
9. Boston College
Surprised by them being this far up on the list? Well, they return probably the best offensive line in the conference and BC has never had issues developing some nasty linebackers. They aren’t flashy among the skill positions but are solid enough that if they keep the mistakes down should be a handful for other teams.
Duke was the definition of average last year but the transfer of QB Chase Brice could help an offense that struggled at times last year. The defense doesn’t have any names that stand out but David Cutcliffe always has his team playing disciplined and sound football.
11. Georgia Tech
Things could look sloppy again in the second year under Coach Collins but there will be improvement to keep them from the bottom of the field. At least there better be because it's hard to maintain that level of inconsistency. The QB battle could continue into the season but this team has one of the better running back groups and Florida transfer Antonious Clayton finally gets a chance to improve Tech's pass rush. The experienced secondary would be even with that addition.
Virginia will have a drop off in production a year after claiming the Coastal Division last year. QB Bryce Perkins seemed to be most of the offense last season and with him gone it will be up to Brennan Armstrong to lead the group after beating out Mississippi St transfer, Keytaon Thompson. The Hoos return most of their defense who fared well last year but the offense will need to help out to see the same success.
13. Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons have become a respectable program under Dave Clawson but will have to replace some exceptional offense players this year. QB Jamie Newman transferred to UGA where he later opted out and WR Sage Surratt has opted out as well leaving a good chunk of last year's production missing.
14. North Carolina State
It's starting to get warm on Dave Doeren's coaching seat. Each season seems to fall short of expectations and Georgia Tech dealt a crushing blow by eliminating the Wolf Pack from bowl contention. Until proven otherwise NC State will be near the bottom.
It was rough going for Syracuse in about every phase of the game last year and they haven't added much in the way of recruiting in the last few classes. The Cuse will struggle to find many wins this season.