The Atlantic Coast Conference begins its’ two years of change as Syracuse and Pitt enter the league. Next season, Maryland departs for the Big Ten. Today I’m looking at win totals for the Atlantic Division which features Clemson and Florida State who are both talented enough to get to a BCS game. The rest of the division is in re-build mode and should not pose a threat to the top two teams.
Boston College 4.5 (-140 over/+110 under) – Steve Addazio takes over a BC team coming off a 10-loss season and does so with a no-nonsense approach. The Eagles have Chase Rettig back at QB and All-ACC receiver Alex Amidon. The schedule features road games at USC, Clemson, Syracuse and North Carolina. The program will improve but I’m taking the under.
Clemson 9.5 (-125 over/-105 under) – The Tigers under Dabo Swinney have been very exciting and closed last year with a thrilling win over LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Tajh Boyd returns at QB but the questions will be on defense where there could be three new starters in the secondary. The Tigers open with Georgia at home and finish the season at rival South Carolina. In between are road trips to NC State, Syracuse and Maryland which should be wins. Clemson gets Florida State and Georgia Tech at home. I see nine wins but can’t go higher.
Florida State 10.5 (+170 over/-210 under) – The good news is that FSU is coming off an ACC and Orange Bowl title. The bad news is that the Seminoles must replace E.J. Manuel and a lot of other talent to the NFL not to mention the departure of six assistant coaches. The cupboard is far from bare though as they reeled in a big recruiting class. The road schedule features two tough games at Florida in the finale and at Clemson. They get NC State, Maryland and Miami at home. I see only two games in question for FSU so I’m going for the over.
Maryland 6.5 (-145 over/+115 under) – Last season the Terps were forced to play five different QBs due to injuries. That can’t and shouldn’t happen again. The Problem? The offensive line is still below average and the running game is lacking which is strange under Randy Edsall who typically has good running teams. The final year of ACC play will not be kind for the Terps. They have road games at Florida State, Virginia Tech and NC State. I see a 6-6 season in College Park.
North Carolina State 7 (+110 over/-140 under) – Dave Doeren comes in to revamp the NC State offense and he’ll need time. The athletes just aren’t there to run his spread-type offense yet, but the defense should be the strength of the team as they have speed and experience. A new QB and new system will probably set the Pack back a bit in year one under Doeren. NC State has just four road games but one of those is at Florida State. They have a weak non-conference schedule and get Clemson, North Carolina and Syracuse at home. I’m going to go with the over here and ride the Wolfpack defense.
Wake Forest 5.5 (-145 over/+115 under) – QB Tanner Price returns for the Deacons which is great, but if they can’t improve the running game which was almost dead-last in the nation last year, this team will be home for the holidays again. Jim Grobe will rely on leadership on both sides of the ball and a strong recruiting class on defense should help that side especially. The schedule features six road games including at Miami, at Syracuse, at Clemson and at Vanderbilt in the finale. I think there is enough here for the Demon Deacons to get to six wins.