Back To School: An Atlantic Coast Conference College Football Preview
What Happened Last Year?
Florida State has earned a comfortable lil’ spot as the perpetual ACC champ, although last year’s title (the third in a row for the Seminoles) came in a scratch-n-claw 37-35 win over Georgia Tech. Jimbo Fisher’s squad was selected to play in the inaugural College Football Playoff but were absolutely decimated by Oregon in the Rose Bowl. It’ll be a season remembered for that disappointing game and as the final college campaign from 2013 Heisman winner Jameis Winston at pivot. The star QB with a number of off-the-field incidents attached to his name was chosen first overall by Tampa Bay in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Who’s A Good Bet To Win It This Year
The main question at Florida State (a school ranked 16/1 to win it all this winter) seems to be whether or not the university can survive without Winston at quarterback. They might be able to, but FSU are also going into 2015 without star receiver Rashad Greene, trusted tight end Nick O’ Leary and a healthy portion of last season’s offensive line. That’s a lofty challenge and it also makes life difficult for standout tailback Dalvin Cook. We envision the best team in the ACC will come from outside the Sunshine State this year. Clemson (facing 22/1 national title odds) is at the mercy of a reloaded defense, but you can’t sleep on the Tigers. Ultra-talented QB Deshaun Watson is back at full health and should terrify opponents with his skill set and fleet of wideouts. (Going into battle with multiple backfield options doesn’t hurt either.) Paired up with that offense is a defense that was one of the best in the country. The defensive line has lost some stars, but guys like Shaq Lawson are ready to swoop in and keep things up to snuff. Did we mention that Clemson’s secondary suffocates the pass options of their opponents? You’re looking at a school with an elite QB, a sure-to-be explosive offense and a defense with shutdown capability. Clemson’s destined to make some serious noise.
Our Pick: Clemson
A Sleeper Team To Keep An Eye On
Could Miami work some magic this season? Prognosticators are skeptical, but we think there might be something to this Hurricanes squad. Coach Al Golden might have the best QB/RB combo in the ACC at his disposal in the form of Brad Kaaya and (breakthrough ready) Joseph Yearby, plus the defense is starting to develop its own identity. (Playing in the relatively softer Coastal Divison’s a plus for their W-L record.) The Hurricanes (a 75/1 championship longshot) have never been hurting for talent and it’s just a matter of getting the most out of their players. If things finally click into place, you might see this team in the ACC Championship Game.
Our Pick: Miami
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