ACC 2017 Preseason Preview: ACC Rankings
North Carolina is coming off a basketball national title. But after last season’s epic national championship from Clemson over Alabama, we need to pause and ask, “Is the ACC now a football school?”
That just might be the case, and the conference looks to only be getting stronger. The ACC still has to prove the conference can keep winning high-profile games, recruiting top talent and keeping the better coaches
Every year, Duke ends up at the bottom of this list, and every year, the team ends up playing much more competitive than people expected. And given their talent, expect the Blue Devils to be better than last year, just not by much.
The Cavaliers should fair better in their go around under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, but there is still too much of a gap between them and the rest of the conference. They have some firepower, but the overall talent just isn’t there.
12. Boston College
The Eagles should expect to have a better passing attack this year to go along with an always strong defense. But it may not be enough to do much this year. The offensive line could also be a real concern.
11. Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons have a good chance to go bowling back-to-back years. The Deacons should have just enough to meet expectations this year and compete against the rest of the conference.
The running game and offensive line will be big issues for the Orange. Time will tell how they do under Year Two of head coach Dino Babers. While they should be better than last year, it’s still probably not enough to compete for an ACC title.
9. North Carolina
The Tar Heels will be going into rebuilding mode this year. And with the rest of the conference so strong, it doesn’t bode well for them. The Tar Heels will have some talent, but the results just won’t be there this year.
8. Georgia Tech
It hasn’t been wise to underestimate what Paul Johnson and his Yellow Jackets can accomplish. And of course, the running game will be hard to stop this year. But the real question is, “Is the defense good enough to compete in the ACC?”
Signing Max Browne (USC) should help the quarterback situation, and the linebacking and receiver corps can hang with anyone in the ACC, but none of it matters unless the Panthers can slow down the other team’s offensive passing attack.
6. NC State
This year, the Wolfpack are expecting to be stacked on the defensive line. The defensive front should cause terror for opposing offenses. And they’ll need to be if NC State has any hope of stopping all the great offenses in the conference.
5. Virginia Tech
The defense should be exceptional thanks to a backfield that would be the best in the conference if it weren’t for Florida State. The competition will be a lot tougher to deal with this year though, and the Hokies should take a small step back after winning the Coastal title last year.
Give Mark Richt some team, and he will get Miami back to the level of competing on a national scale. Miami’s talent could’ve won the Coastal last season, and now the team and the coaching are in place to finally get it done.
Louisville could be the most exciting team to watch this year in the conference. Forgot about the end-of-year issues from last season, and focus on Lamar Jackson returning to run the show. The defense should also be outstanding. No one will be sleeping on the Cardinals this year.
Despite losing some key players from last year, you shouldn’t expect much of a drop-off. Mainly, the offense will have to re-tool at all of the major skill positions, but Clemson has had the recruiting to do just that.
1. Florida State
Florida State may be back to national-title good again. They may have the best defense in the country, and the offense should be able to reload and take a step forward under sophomore QB Deondre Francois. Expect to see Florida State in the playoff this year.