OK honestly we can’t say the ACC is just a basketball conference anymore. Florida State did win the national title but two seasons ago. Still though, it feels like there are no more than two contenders in any one season coming out of the ACC. The bottom end of the conference is so horrendous, you’d think we were almost talking about the Sun Belt (ALMOST).
So there will be an ACC team that is a true national title contender but it might not be the one you’re thinking about (you’re thinking Florida State right?). Now we get to the predictions, followed by notes sponsored by the ACC’s newest quasi-member, Notre Dame (except in football because NBC and TV and money and FUCK YEAH!):
- Yes. Clemson. Undefeated. Seriously. Their schedule lines up perfectly for this squad this season. The most difficult games (Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, and Florida State) are all at Death Valley. The toughest road test will probably be at Louisville against a Cardinals team that may regress a bit this season.
- Yes. Florida State. Not undefeated. Seriously. They lost Jameis Heisman for fuck sakes! I get it, they replaced him with Everett Golson who is a damn good quarterback in his own right. But again, it’s all about the schedule and for an ACC team, the Noles have a doozy of one. They are on the road against Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Florida. I have them winning only one of those three.
- Yes. Virginia Tech. Almost pulling out the Coastal Division. Seriously. Beamer will have his great-grandkids back to play some of that Hokie football that we all know and (possibly) love. They will be a tough out and if the breaks fall their way, they may find themselves in contention for a New Year’s Six spot.
- Yes. Miami. Out of a bowl. Seriously. I don’t get the hype around The U this season. I think Brad Kaaya is still a year away from being a top-rate ACC quarterback and Al Golden and Al Golden’s Tie’s time is running out fast. I can honestly see him being let go before the season ends. Whoever comes in next season though may have a good shot at doing something special.
- No realignment talk really here. It all begins and ends with what Notre Dame does. And that will have to wait until sometime next decade. Their TV contract with NBC is so lucrative they would be nuts to give that up partway through the length of the contract. The bigger question should be whether the ACC would go with 15 teams (in 3 divisions) or go for the ultimate…16 teams. And if they do want 16 teams which program will they look at? And that may hinge on another conference poaching a team from them. Too much discussion for something that probably won’t happen in the next five years.
Anyway, cut and dry. Clemson is the class of this league (with Florida State and Georgia Tech slightly behind). The Ramblin Wreck will give the Tigers a run but ultimately, Dabo’s boys are going to be undefeated and off to the College Football Playoff.
Next up is the SEC for all you SEC die-hards (and I know there’s a lot of you out there).