ACC Football Predictions 2013
ACC Atlantic Predictions 2013
Offense: Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins return for the Tigers. Boyd had a total of 46 touchdowns last season, 36 by air, 10 by ground. Another season like that and he will be in discussion for The Heisman. DeAndre Hopkins is on to the NFL, Sammy Watkins will need to bounce back this season. The 2012 season had more downs then ups for Watkins after posting monster numbers in 2011. The biggest void to fill on offense is at running back. Rod McDowell seems to be the likely candidate, with D.J. Howard backing him up. Whomever starts at RB will have a solid line to run behind that has four starters returning.
Defense: Giving up the deep pass was a problem last year. All four starters are gone from the secondary. Look for Travis Blanks to submit a spot at safety and watch for freshman corner Mackensie Alexander to make an immediate impact. The defensive line should be be tough this season. Vic Beasley will wreak havoc from the DE position. Beasley, Jarrett, Watson, and Crawford combined for 26 tackles for loss last season. Spencer Shuey should be the team's leading tackler, he had 70 total tackles last season and two games with 10 or more tackles.
Special Teams: Sammy Watkins can change a game with his speed on returns. Senior Chandler Catanzaro only missed one kick last season. Bradley Pinion will take over at punter.
Final Thoughts: Last year's defense showed steps of improvement, look for this year's D to take another step. The offense should have no trouble scoring points, again with Watkins and Boyd. Clemson has a tough schedule with Georgia to start the year, Florida State game seven and South Carolina to end the season.
#2 Florida State
Offense: Jameis Winston is the likely starter. The redshirt freshman was the number one quarterback coming out of high school. The dual-threat QB will enjoy having four returning starters on the line. Center Bryan Stork is one of the best centers in the country. Both Freeman and Wilder Jr. will see time in the backfield. The receiving core will be dangerous in the redzone with Kelvin Benjamin. Greg Dent is currently suspended indefinitely until his court case is through.
Defense: Seven players off of last year's defense are now playing on Sundays. How do the Noles' replace that much talent? They will start with Christian Jones a linebacker that led the team in tackles a year ago. Two players ready to make an impact on the line, Mario Edwards Jr. and Timmy Jernigan. The pass defense led the nation with only 161.9 passing yards allowed last season. Expect more of the same with three of the four starters returning.
Special Teams: Florida State will try to replace All-American kicker Dustin Hopkins with a freshman. Cason Beatty is back at punter.
Final Thoughts: The defense will be reloaded with more talent. The offense will be under the helm of redshirt freshman Jameis Winston. If Winston takes care of the ball the Noles' will be in contention for the ACC title. October 19th the Seminoles visit Clemson, a game that could decide the Atlantic.
Offense: Maryland had too many injuries at QB a year ago and won four games. Dual-threat QB C.J. Brown is back under center after the NCAA granted him a 6th year of eligibility. WR Stefon Diggs is going to have a monster year with a healthy QB. Diggs had 848 yards last season. Three starters return including stud LT Mike Madaras. Two running backs will share carries this season, Brandon Ross and Wes Brown.
Defense: The defensive line is thin and inexperienced on the ends. Cole Farrand and L.A. Goree return at linebacker. Goree had 46 tackles in only games. Both corners are back, they will need to be more opportunistic this season after the team totaled only four interceptions a year ago.
Special Teams: The special teams struggled last season. Craddock missed six field goals and two extra points last season. Nathan Renfro averaged just under 40 yards a punt which will need to improve.
Final Thoughts: The offense will be the most improved in the country. The defense will likely take a step back, but how big a step back will determine how far the Terrapins go. Maryland's first road game will be at UConn, a win there would be a good sign.
#4 NC State
Final Thoughts: The offense needs an improved line and an answer at QB to replace Mike Glennon. The secondary took a hit losing two NFL draft picks. Dave Doeren may struggle in year one, but Wolfpack fans shouldn't worry with him at the helm.
#5 Wake Forest
Final Thoughts: Plenty of key pieces return for the Demon Deacons. The offense wasn't very explosive last season, but has the potential to be better. Plenty of seniors on the defensive side of the ball, is a positive. Don't be surprised to see a 4-0 Wake Forest team going into Clemson week.
#6 Boston College
Final Thoughts: The offense returns plenty of skill position players, but has to replace both tackles. Two impact players return at linebacker. The final game of the season vs. Syracuse, could be big moving forward to next season.
Final Thoughts: The passing attack will take a step back without Nassib and top two receivers. The defense might take a slight step backwards. Year one in the ACC won't be pretty.
ACC Coastal Predictions 2013
#1 Georgia Tech
Offense: Vad Lee will be the front runner to take over at QB for the Yellow Jackets. Lee showed off his strong arm last season throwing long passes of over 40 yards in five of the 12 games he played in. Look for redshirt freshman Justin Thomas should see snaps this season to give defenses a different look. The backfield is in good shape with David Sims, B.J. Bostic return as starters. Robert Godhigh and Synjyn Days are ready to make an impact. The triple-option will be in good hands with four returning starters. The passing game will get a few more attempts this season, but the big question is who will be on the receiving end of those passes. The receiving core has a total of 11 career receptions.
Defense: Ted Roof comes in as the new defense coordinator. He brings in a 4-3 defense. This means that Jeremiah Attaochu will move to DE. Last season he totaled 10 sacks from the OLB position. The LB position will be a team strength with Hunt-Days, Nealy, and Watts combined for 240 tackles last season. The secondary brings back three starters with Isiah Thomas moving from safety to corner. Jamal Golden had 3 ints in his sophomore season.
Special Teams: Jamal Golden is one of the top return men in the ACC. He returned 2 kicks last season for a TD. With Justin Moore being dismissed from the team, freshman kicker Harrison Butker should have the job locked up. Tech has two punters Sean Poole and Ryan Rodwell.
Final Thoughts: Last season I was high on the Jackets. This year is no different. Vad Lee will bring plenty of excitement and scoring to the offense. The defense should take another step forward under Ted Roof. GT will have a tough three game stretch and likely will decide their season. Game three at home vs. UNC, game four at home vs. VT, and game four vs. Miami.
Offense: Duke Johnson burst onto the scene in 2012. He ran for almost a thousand yard and had 10 touchdowns. In 2013 he will be the featured back. Johnson also had two kick returns, one passing and receiving touchdown. Right tackle Seantrel Henderson is the best linemen out of all five returning starters. Miami is deep at WR with Dorsett, Hurns, and Scott returning for quarterback Stephen Morris. Morris took care of the football with only seven interceptions on 421 attempts. If he can continue to keep his turnover numbers down the Hurricanes will have a dangerous offense.
Defense: Last season Miami gave up over 30 points eight times. That can't happen again. It all starts up front with DE Anthony Chickillo. Chickillo will need to bring a true pass rush to the line. He has the potential to produce double-digit sacks this season. One of the top linebackers in the ACC, Denzel Perryman, was second in tackles last season with 64. The secondary will be looking for answers after giving up too many yards through the air.
Special Teams: Inexperience at both kicker and punter will provide questions until the first few games are through. Duke Johnson can break a return for a touchdown in a split-second.
Final Thoughts: The defense can take this team to Coastal champs or to the bottom of the ACC. They simply gave up too many yards last season, 486 yards per game. The offense will be more explosive with Johnson and Morris returning behind a solid line.
#3 Virginia Tech
Offense: It will all start up front for the Tech offense. Only one starter returns on the line. Last year's offensive line gave up 25 sacks. They will need to give quarterback Logan Thomas more time to make something happen. Thomas threw for 16 interceptions and only 18 touchdowns last season. Thomas was the team's leading rusher last season with 527 rushing yards. The running game will reside on J.C. Coleman. Coleman showed promise in the Spring. Look for a big season from Sophomore WR Demitri Knowles.
Defense: The defense will be great again under Bud Foster. Nine starters return from a squad that only allowed 22.9 points a game in 2012. The four returning starters on the line produced 15 sacks and will be hungry for more in 2013. Antone Exum had five interceptions last season and 16 broken up passes. The team's leading tackler returns linebacker Jack Tyler (119 tackles).
Special Teams: Cody Journell comes back as kicker and punter A.J. Hughes is back as the teams punter.
Final Thoughts: The offensive line is a big question mark. The running game will have to improve. The defense will keep them in most games. Forget about the first game against Alabama, games at Georgia Tech and Miami are more important.
#4 North Carolina
Final Thoughts: The Tarheels will have an explosive offense with Renner under center. The defense was a problem last season. North Carolina can't afford to drop games like Duke and Wake Forest like they did last season.
Final Thoughts: The Panthers will look to well-traveled QB Tom Savage and running backs by committee approach to jump start their offense. The defense is talented and should transition fine to the ACC. Of the seven losses Pitt had last season three were with within seven points. Winning close games will go a long way in the Coastal.
Final Thoughts: The offense never found a true identity last year. The secondary will be tough, but the linebacking core needs to fill holes. The Cavaliers won four games last season, this year they need to find their footing and show promise heading into the 2014 season.
Final Thoughts: The Blue Devils made a bowl last year. This year they will be back in four win territory. The passing game will take a step back, but the run game will get more carries. Look at Duke's last five games all losses to know about the defense.