CONFERENCE PREVIEWS: Two Playoff Teams from the ACC? Why not?
This is just stupid enough to work.
This is the ACC’s long con. After an astounding run of mediocre football, the league has two clear powers and a second tier that…isn’t all that bad. The powers (and maybe Louisville) should run roughshod over the rest of the league, as they each get four bye-weeks-that-count-as-conference-wins based on the fact that none of the rest of the second tier resides in the Atlantic.
The ‘Woof’ Demographic
7) Wake Forest. The Deacs have two ACC wins in the past two years. In neither of those wins did they score more than six (6) points. Its baffling, horrific, and wildly entertaining. After back-to-back 3-9 campaigns, the Deacs should be out of “year zero” phase with Dave Clawson, and at least scratching the surface as the ACC’s Vanderbilt. They almost doubled their offensive yards per game from 2014 to 2015, so that’s something!
6) Syracuse. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there are too many instances of a team bereft of talent undergoing a scheme overhaul and improving. They play the rest of the bottom tier on the road, so I should pick them last, but…DINO BABERS! (Jimbo, Dabo, and Dino in one division. What a world.)
5) Boston College. Could secretly not be terrible if Patrick Towles (erstwhile the Kentucky QB) can get them…12 points a game? He’s already a winner in my book.
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) August 6, 2016
The Perpetual 6-6
4) N.C. State. Dave Doeren has yet to beat a P5 opponent who finished the season with a winning record. His 18 wins in three years in Raleigh include: Louisiana Tech, Richmond, Central Michigan, Georgia Southern, Old Dominion (TWICE!), bad USF, Presbyterian, Syracuse and Wake (twice each!), Troy, Eastern Kentucky, and South Alabama. That leaves road wins against a 6-7 2014 UNC or a 4-8 2015 BC as his best wins. SOMETHING TO BE DESIRED!
Two playoff contenders and everyone’s favorite cyclist
3) Louisville. Yes, they’re getting a huge bowl bump because Lamar Jackson looked like Michael Vick in dismantling Texas A&M. But with a stout D, their close losses (Houston and Clemson by a combined 6 points last year), and the ‘Bobby Petrino offense bump’, they could make some noise with an early home date vs. FSU.
2) Clemson. Since I’m allowing my judgment to be based strictly on theories I’ve developed as a college football fan, I give the Atlantic nod to Florida State. Clemson has replaced a TON of its D for two years running now. Like we’ve seen with recent LSU teams, that works for one year. The second is where the depth deteriorates to a level that makes amazing play more unsustainable. Speaking of amazing, though, Deshaun Watson still exists.
1)Florida State. You’ll hear pundits question whether they have a quarterback. My rebuttal: JaMarcus Russell, Christian Ponder, and E.J. Manuel all got PAID playing for Jimbo Fisher. Can you tell me with 100% confidence the Browns wouldn’t trade into the back of the first round to nab Sean Maguire next year? If you can, they have two young guys who should be able to perform with the ENTIRE REST OF THE OFFENSE, Dalvin Cook and the OL included, returning.
Five Games Worth Watchin’
- Clemson at Florida State, Oct. 29: Back in 2013, I novelty-liveblogged this game as the resident ACC homer at the site. Now? I think its legit every-season appointment watching, joined only by LSU/Bama. Stanford/Oregon is the only other rivalry I’d put in that echelon over the past 3-5 years.
- Florida State at Louisville, Sept 17: Oddly, this was already scheduled. More oddly, it was scheduled as a nooner. UL has the chance to get a surprising leg over the ‘hawg, so to speak, and create some chaos.
- Louisville at Clemson, Oct. 1: Following my rationale that the rest of this division doesn’t matter yet?
- Clemson at Auburn, Sept. 3: Now?
- Florida State vs. Ole Miss, Sept. 5: NOW? Yeah, the college football Monday nighter is a doozy this year.
Players to Know
Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Last year was his only healthy year, and…uhh…he was worth 47 TD’s and 4500 yards. That’ll do.
Dalvin Cook, RB, FSU: HOT TAKE ALERT! Cook, not Leonard Fournette, Christian McAffrey, or anyone else, is the best RB in college football. He put up 7.4 yards a carry against 9-man boxes with a bum hamstring last year.
Derwin James, S, FSU: (They also have the nation’s best safety.)
Josh Sweat, DE, FSU: The one that got away for Georgia fans, he should be healthy and a terror this year.
Devonte Fields, DE/OLB, Louisville: He was the Big XII Defensive Player of the Year as a true freshman. Sound like a typo? Its not, he transferred from TCU. Last year, he had 10.5 more sacks. It’d be neat to see him win in another conference.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Shaq Wiggins, Louisville: Remember them? #GRANTHAMEXPRESS
Matt Dayes, RB, N.C. State: He missed the last month of the season due to injury, and still had good enough numbers to merit a second-team All-ACC appearance. Which is to say, he COULD be in Cook/Wayne Gallman/Elijah Hood territory when healthy. Holy hell, RB in the ACC is stacked.