First of all, here is how I think the ACC will look at season's end.
2. Wake Forest
5. Boston College
6. NC State
1. Virginia Tech
4. Georgia Tech
ACC Championship: Clemson over Virginia Tech
So this is the season Tommy Bowden exorcises the November swoons of past years. Of course that is what people though with three minutes to go at the Dean Dome about the Clemson basketball team and we saw how that turned out. The fact of the matter is, aside from offensive line questions, Clemson has all the pieces and most certainly has more talent that is ready to play than anyone else in the ACC. The Tigers play in the tougher Atlantic Division where Wake, FSU, and Maryland stand to give Clemson all they can handle. Still the Tigers are exactly where they need to be and it is their conference to lose. Maryland and Boston College will have the opportunity to play spoiler at various points during the season. In the case of the Terps, I expect they will quietly pull together a nice season. Bringing up the rear will be NC State which has been endured a plague of locust in the form of multiple injuries making this yet another transition season for the Pack under Tom O'Brien.
In the Coastal, Virginia Tech is the pick to win almost by default. UNC is getting a lot of run as a possible contender to the division title but VT is still the gold standard...such as it is. Miami and Georgia Tech are working through their own transition issues in the form of suspended players in Coral Gables and a brand new offense under Paul Johnson in Atlanta. GT could end up being better later as they get more familiarized with the triple option. No one really knows what to expect from Virginia who won five games last season by two points or less. The opener versus USC will offers some clues or be a bloody beating at the hands of a potential national title favorite. And while Duke will likely finish last, everyone expects better football from Duke even if they can only win a few games.
At any rate, despite how the ACC is viewed in terms of caliber to the rest of the nation, the conference always offers an interesting season. After all, the way the various teams' fans interact with each other, we could be talking about curling and the drama would be the same.