Will Clemson repeat as ACC champions? Will Boston College win a conference game? Does Louisville wish they were in the Coastal Division this year?
As a number of ACC teams kick off their seasons tonight, let’s take a look at the week one power rankings.
(Note: It is pure coincidence that the only “official” preseason videos that I couldn’t find happened to be for NC State and Duke.)
As Ric Flair would say, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.” The reigning ACC champions are returning with Heisman favorite Deshaun Watson and until someone from the ACC beats them, I don’t see them moving from this spot.
First Game: September 3rd AWAY vs. Auburn
2. Florida State
FSU has an extremely talented defense that could possibly slow down the high-powered offense of Clemson. Also, the team returns with nearly everyone back on offense, including Dalvin Cook, possibly the best running back in the ACC.
First Game: September 5th vs. Ole Miss (in Orlando)
The offense has the talent to compete with the above mentioned teams in the ACC, especially with so many weapons at the skilled positions (Mack Hollins, Elijah Hood, and Ryan Switzer) returning this year. The only question mark that remains is how will the run defense perform this season.
First Game: September 3rd vs. Georgia (in Atlanta)
There has been a lot of talk and hype surrounding this Louisville team, but the only problem is that they are in a division with two top-five nationally ranked teams. If quarterback Lamar Jackson and his team can live up to the preseason hype, they may be able to give Clemson and FSU a run for their money.
First Game: September 1st HOME vs. UNCC
Under new head coach, Mark Richt, can “The U” find the swagger that once made them so dominant? The defense lost two starters in the offseason, but the team hopes that quarterback Brad Kaaya can lead the team to a Coastal Division title.
First Game: September 3rd HOME vs. Florida A&M
What a great story that James Connor will be returning to the field this upcoming season for the Panthers. They will probably lean on their talented running backs and steady offensive line throughout the season, and could be a team that sneaks up to win the Coastal Division.
First Game: September 3rd HOME vs. Villanova
7. NC State
NC State has a talented defensive line and a good group of running backs. The problem is that they are going to start the season with no set starting quarterback and will probably rotate until one of them sets himself apart. The other problem is that they are in the Atlantic Division.
First Game: September 1st HOME vs. William & Mary
8. Virginia Tech
A new era of Hokies football begins this season, as Justin Fuente is replacing legendary head coach Frank Beamer. The offense should be improved under Fuente, but they will still need Bud Foster’s defense to show some improvement before they move up the board.
First Game: September 3rd HOME vs. Liberty
9. Georgia Tech
Justin Thomas returns to quarterback a team that finished 3-9 last year (somehow they beat FSU). Last year’s team dealt with numerous injuries, but the defense will need to improve this season if the Yellow Jackets hope to contend with the top teams.
First Game: September 3rd vs. Boston College (in Ireland)
Duke suffered a huge blow when they lost Thomas Sirk for the season. Daniel Jones will replace Sirk at quarterback, but Duke will need to fill in other areas as well, as they return only four starters on offense and five on defense.
First Game: September 3rd HOME vs. North Carolina Central
Bronco Mendenhall takes over for Mike London (who won only 15 games in the last four seasons). It is going to take some time for the Cavaliers to improve while Mendenhall establishes himself in the ACC.
College football kicks off tonight.— Virginia Football (@UVa_Football) August 26, 2016
You've been waiting ... here's a sneak peek.
Full reveal Saturday at 3:30 ⚔⚔ pic.twitter.com/ZEZ0dbGALt
First Game: September 3rd HOME vs. Richmond
12. Wake Forest
As a UNC football fan, you sometimes forget that Wake Forest is even in the ACC. Also, it is never a good thing for your football team when the biggest news in the offseason is that your school is allowing the sale of beer and wine at your home games. The Demon Deacons are returning 15 starters from the previous season, so there is that.
First Game: September 1st HOME vs. Tulane
According to Syracuse, “orange is the new fast.” I like the Dino Babers hire for the ‘Cuse, but I think it is going to take a couple of years before he gets the players he wants for his system.
First Game: September 2nd HOME vs. Colgate
14. Boston College
Until they win a conference game, they deserve to remain the worst ranked team in the ACC. Maybe playing in another country will help the Eagles get a win.
First Game: September 3rd vs. Georgia Tech (in Ireland)