In last years ACC Title winner the Clemson Tigers took down the Virginia Tech Hokies. This year the Hokies are the favorites to get back to the title games, but the Coastal Division is still more wide open than the Atlantic Division as Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Georgia Tech all could take home the division title. Carolina is on probation so it will come down to GT and VT going to the Title game. Still I expect the Hokies to go on to the ACC Title Game and take on Florida State. Below are some quick notes about the ACC, along with how I see the Coastal Division shaping up this year. The Teams Odds to win the Title are in ( ). Odds are taken from BetOnline.com.
ACC Quick Hits: For the first time in league history the ACC returns 10 QB’s, with 5 of them that threw for 3000+ yards last year, which could make for some very exciting games in the ACC this year…. In the 7 years that the ACC has been a 12 team league they have sent 58 teams to bowl games, which is second only to the SEC’s 60… Florida State #1 (30), Virginia Tech #3 (19) and Georgia Tech #4 (15) are 3 of the top 4 teams in the nation with the longest consecutive bowl bids streaks… The ACC has had just 1 team win a BCS bowl game since 1999 and that was Virginia Tech in 2008… The ACC is just 15-27 in bowl games the last 5 years, including 2-6 last year… Pitt and Syracuse will be joining in 2013 and that means that 7 ACC will have Big East backrounds.
Virginia Tech (+250): The FSU defense will be the best in the nation, but with 9 starters back this Hokie defense will not be all that far behind. Last year they allowed 17.6 ppg, but allow less than that this year. Offensively them may struggle some, with just 3 starters back, but 1 of their starters back is QB Logan Thomas, who may be the best QB in the ACC this year. They have plenty of young skill players ready to step in and make contributions, but a rebuilt OL may hold them back a bit, especially early in the year. Tech does have road dates vs Carolina, Clemson and Miami, but I feel their defense is good enough to at least take two of those thee and win a spot in the ACCC Title game.
North Carolina (+1100): Larry Fedora has left Southern Miss and he and his staff has headed to Chapel Hill. The heels will be on probation this year, but they will also be a very good team. 15 starters are back, including QB Bryn Renner and most of their skill players, plus they have one of the best OL’s in the league. Defensively they loss 5 of their top 9 tacklers and that could be a problem for this team that allowed 24.8 ppg last year. They do get VT at home, but I expect the Heels to lose that game and that will put them at 2nd in the Coastal Division.
Georgia Tech (+1400): The last few years the Jackets have been the best rushing team around and this year their 3 top rushers and their entire OL returns, so I don’t expect them to fall from the top spot in that category this year. Led by QB and top rusher Tevin Washington, The jackets put up 316 ypg on the ground last year and that should continue. There are some questions with their front 7 on defense and that could stunt the growth of this team a bit. The Jackets should win all of their home games this year, but road dates with VT, Clemson and Carolina should leave them in 3rd place of the Coastal Division.
Miami (+650): Miami returns just 10 starters from a team that went 6-6 last year, so they are rebuilding this year. The canes lost their top RB, top 2 WR’s and their QB, so putting up points will be a problem, especially in the early going. Defensively they have plenty of talent on hand and should equal last years 17.6 ppg they allowed. The Have VT and FSU at home and Clemson on the road, but they also have three winnable road games (Duke, Virginia and BC) and that along with their defense should keep them in 4th in the coastal, with a chance at a bowl game as well.
Virginia (+1500): The Cavaliers came out of nowhere to post a 7-4 mark last year, but duplicating that feat will be difficult this year. First of all they will not be able to sneak up on anyone and secondly they have big holes in their defense. With 5 starters back and just 3 of their top 6 tacklers they will be hard pressed to match the 21 points or less they allowed in 6 of their last 8 games last year. The offense has 7 starters back but they really weren’t that great last year. Just too many holes on defense and not enough offense, plus a schedule that has them playing 4 of their 5 road games vs teams that went 38-15 last year, to think the Cavs can repeat last year’s surprising showing.
Duke (+8000): Duke returns 17 starters from last years 3-9 squad, but don’t expect much improvement in the record from them this year. The Devils have a lot of ground to make up after being outgained by 76 ypg in conference play, plus they have a schedule that consist of 10 bowl eligible teams from last year. Duke just doesn’t have the talent right now to compete in the ACC and that will mean another year in the basement for this team.
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