clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Way too early ACC football prediction

Previewing the ACC football teams in 2017.

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Virginia Tech Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Football season is almost four and a half months away, however it’s never too early to start previewing ACC football. Here are my preseason power rankings, and also a projected regular season record for each team:

1: Florida State

2016 Record: 10-3 (5-3 ACC)

FSU started last year 5-3 with losses to Louisville (an embarrassing 20-63 blowout), UNC, and Clemson. They ended on a five game win streak including a thrilling 33-32 comeback victory over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. FSU established positive momentum going into the offseason, and they will return as the likely favorite to win the ACC in 2017. Deondre Francois was pretty good as a redshirt freshman starting quarterback for the Noles, and he will lead a more experienced team in the upcoming season. FSU does lose Dalvin Cook to the draft, however junior running back Jacques Patrick should pick up the slack after a good year as backup RB in 2016. FSU should be a legitimate CFB playoff contender next year, and they should win the ACC.

Projected Record: 11-1 (7-1 ACC)

2: Louisville

2016 Record: 9-4 (7-1 ACC)

Louisville was excellent to start last year. They began the season going 9-1 with the only loss coming in an instant classic at Clemson. However, the ended the season with three straight losses to Houston (36-10), Kentucky (41-38), and LSU in the Citrus Bowl (29-9). Despite ending the season on a losing note, Louisville should be solid next year. They will return Heisman-winning QB Lamar Jackson, who passed for 30 touchdowns and ran for 21 more in 2016. He amassed 4,928 yards of total offense in 2016, and he will return for a Cardinals team that will be in the running for an ACC Atlantic Division and possibly an ACC Championship.

Projected Record: 10-2 (6-2 ACC)

3: Miami

2016 Record: 9-4 (5-3 ACC)

Mark Richt’s first season at Miami was a season of streaks. They won their first four games and were ranked as high as 10th in the nation. Then, they lost four straight to FSU, UNC, Virginia Tech, and Notre Dame to fall to 4-4. Miami then proceeded to finish the season on a five game win streak, including a 31-14 win over West Virginia in the Russel Athletic Bowl. Miami should be the favorite to win the ACC Coastal in 2017, and for good reason. Even though they lost QB Brad Kaaya to the draft after the 2016 season, they should still have a solid squad. They return a lot of starters on defense and while the loss of Kaaya will hurt them, they should still come out with at least a share of the ACC Coastal title.

Projected Record: 9-3 (6-2 ACC)

4: Clemson

2016 Record: 14-1 (7-1 ACC)

The defending national champs shouldn’t be as good this year as they were last year. Last year they went 14-1 (their only loss being at home to Pittsburgh) and won the ACC Atlantic title, ACC Championship, and the National Championship, defeating Alabama in a thrilling game 35-31. However, the Tigers will lose their leader in quarterback Deshaun Watson, and they will also lose their starting running back in Wayne Gallman, who declared for the draft. Clemson should be good, but they shouldn’t be great next year. They should finish third in the ACC Atlantic behind FSU and Louisville.

Projected Record: 9-3 (5-3 ACC)

5: North Carolina

2016 Record: 8-5 (5-3 ACC)

UNC’s season last year was a season of highs and lows. The highs were amazing: a 37-36 thrilling home win against Pittsburgh. A Nick Weiler field goal to defeat FSU in Tallahassee 37-35. UNC absolutely destroying Georgia Tech at home 48-20. The lows were crushingly awful. A 34-3 home loss to Virginia Tech in the middle of Hurricane Matthew. A stunning 28-27 loss on Thursday Night to cellar-dwelling Duke. A botched two-point conversion away from beating Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

The Heels lose their starting QB in Mitch Trubisky, their starting running back in Elijah Hood, their top three wide receivers, and their star defensive player in Nazair Jones. However, Brandon Harris has transferred to UNC and will be the starting quarterback next year, allowing the Heels to have experience at that position. Jordon Brown should have a breakout year at Running Back next year, and Austin Proehl should lead the receiving corps next year. UNC could be anywhere from decent to pretty good next year, but just “good” is most likely.

Projected Record: 8-4 (5-3 ACC)

6: Virginia Tech

2016 Record: 10-4 (6-2 ACC)

Virginia Tech had a great year in Justin Fuente’s first year as Head Hokie. However, Virginia Tech will lose their starting quarterback in Jerod Evans, who declared for the NFL draft, and they will lose several more key starters. Virginia Tech should be good in 2017, and they will be in the running for the ACC Coastal title, however they won’t win it.

Projected Record: 8-4 (5-3 ACC)

7: Pittsburgh

2016 Record: 8-5

Pittsburgh had a decent season last year. They had great wins over Clemson and Penn State. Pittsburgh’s offense last year was the best it had been in a long time, however it shouldn’t be as good next year with quarterback Nathan Peterman graduating. Pittsburgh should have a slightly worse season than last year, but they should still have a winning overall record.

Projected Record: 7-5 (4-4 ACC)

8: Georgia Tech

2016 Record: 9-4 (4-4 ACC)

Georgia Tech rebounded well last year after an abysmal 3-9 2015 season. Georgia Tech notched solid wins over Georgia, Kentucky, and Virginia Tech. However, they still finished fifth in the ACC Coastal. Expect them to finish in the same place this year, albeit tied with Pittsburgh.

Projected Record: 6-6 (4-4 ACC)

9: NC State

2016 Record: 7-6 (3-5 ACC)

NC State’s win over Carolina in the season closer likely saved Doeren’s job last year, however expect him to be in the hot seat again this year. NC State returns quarterback Ryan Finley, and should be decent, however with three heavyweights in the Atlantic, NC State shouldn’t finish above .500 in the ACC.

Projected Record: 6-6 (4-4 ACC)

10: Wake Forest

2016 Record: 7-6 (3-5 ACC)

Last year Wake Forest had a magical season (by Wake Forest standards) as they started the season 4-0 and finished the season with a win over #23 Temple in the Military Bowl. However, Wake Forest shouldn’t expect the same outcome this year. They should be halfway decent, and they could very well make a bowl game. However, realistically, that probably won’t be the case.

Projected Record: 5-7 (2-6 ACC)

11: Duke

2016 Record: 4-8 (1-7 ACC)

Duke was terrible last year, with only one ACC win (a very unfortunate upset over Carolina). Duke QB Thomas Sirk is transferring, and there’s not much to look forward to in Durham. Expect another cellar-dweller season for Cutcliffe and the Blue Devils, who will miss a bowl game for the second straight year.

Projected Record: 4-8 (2-6 ACC)

12: Boston College

2016 Record: 7-6 (2-6 ACC)

Boston College had a bad season last year, don’t let the decent record fool you. They finished 2-6 in the ACC, with their only wins coming over NC State and Wake Forest. They lost by 38+ points four times, including embarrassing 49-0, 56-10, 52-7, and 45-7 losses to Virginia Tech, Clemson, Louisville, and Florida State, respectively. Their four non conference regular season games were against UMass, Wagner, Connecticut, and Buffalo, none of which made a bowl game (or the FCS playoffs in the case of Wagner). Expect BC to buckle under a stronger non conference schedule this year featuring Notre Dame.

Projected Record: 4-8 (2-6 ACC)

13: Syracuse

2016 Record: 4-8 (2-6 ACC)

Two things that we learned about Syracuse last year was that they could play offense (sometimes), but they couldn’t play defense to save their lives. Their defense allowed a hair above 41 ppg. Even allowing 5-6 ppg less per game than last year would still give the Orange a subpar defense, and don’t expect them to win many games in 2017.

Projected Record: 4-8 (1-7 ACC)

14: Virginia

2016 Record: 2-10 (1-7 ACC)

Virginia was less than spectacular last year in Bronco Mendenhall’s first season as head coach. Let’s be honest: Virginia will be terrible next year. Mendenhall may very well end up building Virginia back up to a bowl team, however that won’t be next year. Virginia should win a game in the ACC, but winning two games will be a tall order.

Projected Record: 3-9 (1-7 ACC)