Tag Archives: ACC

2021 ACC Football Preview

ACC Championship: Clemson over North Carolina

ACC ATLANTIC

1. Clemson Tigers

Projected Record: 11-2

Wins: South Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Louisville, UCONN, Wake Forest, South Carolina, North Carolina(ACC Championship)

Losses: Georgia, NC State

DJ Uiagalelei takes over for Trevor Lawrence with a very talented Clemson team. However, a few key questions surround this Tiger team, particularly on the offensive line and secondary after last year’s blowout loss to Ohio State. On offense WR Justyn Ross returns from injury and there is a boatload of young receivers surrounding him. The question will be who steps up (EJ Williams? Joseph Ngata? Ajou Ajou?). The defensive front seven is stacked with almost everyone returning. The issues are in the secondary as it is yet to be seen if a corner opposite of Andrew Booth Jr. can emerge. Overall, Clemson has a huge home opener against Georgia… and then it is smooth sailing for the rest of the regular season. If the issues aren’t fixed on the offensive line and secondary, then this team will again not be able to compete with the elites.

2. NC State Wolfpack

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: South Florida, Clemson, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Florida State, Syracuse, North Carolina

Losses: Mississippi State, Boston College, Miami, Wake Forest

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This is an intriguing Wolfpack team coming off a 8-4 season. They have weapons with RB Bam Knight, WR Emeka Emezie, and WR Thayer Thomas. Add in a very good offensive line and QB Devin Leary coming back from injury… the offense should be pretty good. Defensively, LB Payton Wilson is one of the best players in the country and LB Isaiah Moore is a pretty dang good player himself. With the defense returning most of their starters from last year, expect an improved defense. Overall, this should be the favorite to finish second to Clemson in the Atlantic.

3. Boston College Eagles

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Colgate, UMass, Temple, NC State, Louisville, Syracuse, Georgia Tech

Losses: Missouri, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest

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Coach Jeff Hafley has a good thing going on over at Boston College. Coach Hafley will look to follow up his winning season with an experienced team. The offense returns almost everyone and is led by QB Phil Jurkovec, WR Zay Flowers, and one of the best offensive lines in the ACC. The problem last year was the running game and they will need someone to step up this year. Defensively, this team is moving in the right direction improving from 125th to 73rd in total defense. The Eagles will have to overcome losing two key linebackers to the NFL, but I wouldn’t overrule another slight improvement. Overall, this is a quality ACC team who will compete for second place in the Coastal behind Clemson.

4. Florida State Seminoles

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Jacksonville State, Wake Forest, Louisville, Syracuse, UMass, Boston College

Losses: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Clemson, NC State, Miami, Florida

The Seminoles are still in rebuild mode, but they are moving in the right direction. Offensively, QB McKenzie Milton (UCF transfer) could add a little, much needed, fire-power to this team as he looked very good in the spring game. QB Jordan Travis will most likely also see action as a running option. A huge concern is whether any of the wide receivers will emerge as key, impact players. Defensively, they are still building and trying to bridge the talent gap. A huge addition is DE Jermaine Johnson (Georgia transfer) who is already one of the best players on the defense. Linebackers Emmett Rice and Amari Gainer will also help. Overall, with a tough non-conference schedule, if Florida State makes a bowl game it will have been a good year.

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Old Dominion, Norfolk State, Louisville, Syracuse, Army, Duke, NC State

Losses: Florida State, Virginia, North Carolina, Clemson, Boston College

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The Demon Deacons could be a sneaky good team in the ACC. Their offense was efficient last year and they return every single starter including stud WR Jaquarii Roberson. Defense is going to be the issue after finishing 90th last year. Wake Forest returns most of their starters, but it is hard to identify any standouts. Overall, Wake Forest will be a team led by their offense, but dragged down by their defense in 2021.

6. Louisville Cardinals

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: Eastern Kentucky, UCF, NC State, Syracuse, Duke

Losses: Ole Miss, Florida State, Wake Forest, Virginia, Boston College, Clemson, Kentucky

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The Cardinals lost most of their playmakers on the offensive side including Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Javian Hawkins. QB Malik Cunningham must be better than he was last year for this team to avoid another losing season. On defense, the secondary is a huge concern but the Cardinals should be solid upfront led by LB CJ Avery. Overall, I trust Coach Satterfield to get the offense going, but I wouldn’t expect more than just an average bowl game.

7. Syracuse Orange

Projected Record: 3-9

Wins: Ohio, Albany, Pittsburgh

Losses: Rutgers, Liberty, Florida State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Louisville, NC State

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Syracuse sure has fell off after their 10-3 season in 2018. The offense finished last in the ACC and it doesn’t look much better this season with one of the worst offensive lines in the conference. The battle at quarterback is intriguing with returning starter Tommy DeVito attempting to not be replaced by Garrett Shrader (Mississippi State transfer). At least they have WR Taj Harris who has displayed NFL talent. Defensively, they weren’t much better last season. However, the Orange do return 10 starters and should make an improvement. Especially with young, talented starters CB Garrett Williams and LB Mikel Jones. Overall, expect a rough year with a bowl game being the optimal result.

ACC Coastal

1. North Carolina Tar Heels

Projected Record: 10-2

Wins: Virginia Tech, Georgia State, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Duke, Florida State, Miami, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Wofford

Losses: Notre Dame, NC State

Mack Brown keeps on building up North Carolina. After an 8-4 season, expectations are high. Offensively they lose some really talented guys including RB Michael Carter, RB, Javonte Williams, WR Dyami Brown, and WR Dazz Newsome. Everyone else on the offense returns though and they added Tennessee transfer RB Ty Chandler. The bowl game against Texas A&M gave a little sneak peek that quarterback Sam Howell has some players to work with including WR Josh Downs. On defense there are plenty of young playmakers looking to step up. They are extremely deep at defensive line and the trio of corners Storm Duck, Tony Grimes, and Kyler McMichael should take a step forward. Overall, this is a really talented team that will be the favorite in the ACC Coastal.

2. Miami Hurricanes

Projected Record: 10-2

Wins: Appalachian State, Michigan State, Central Connecticut, Virginia, NC State, Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Duke

Losses: Alabama, North Carolina

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Quarterback D’Eriq King led Miami to a great 8-3 comeback season. Now King will have to make his own comeback returning from a torn ACL prior to the 2021 season (reports from Miami have him ahead of schedule). The offense was explosive with King and this offense returns almost everyone and added WR Charleston Rambo (Oklahoma transfer). The offensive line is strong and the running back room has two outstanding players with Cam’Ron Harris and Don Chaney Jr. Defensively, the Hurricanes will have to replace DE Jaelen Phillips and have a linebacker issue after allowing 175 rushing yards per game last year. The secondary may be the strength with S Bubba Bolden and corners DJ Ivey, Al Blades Jr., and Tyrique Stevenson (Georgia transfer). Overall, this could be a top ten team… but don’t expect them to beat Alabama.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Middle Tennessee, Richmond, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Duke

Losses: North Carolina, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Miami, Virginia

This may be the last season of Justin Fuente if it does not go well. The Hokies have their challenges replacing QB Hendon Hooker, RB Khalil Herbert, and first round pick OT Christian Darrisaw. The offense does return most of its receiving weapons and QB Braxton Burmeister has experience. Look for the offense to be alright. Defensively, they were terrible last season and now lost one of their best players Divine Deablo. DE Amare Barno and corners Chamarri Conner and Jermaine Waller will try to change the course of this defense. Overall, I think this could be Coach Fuente’s last season as I don’t see them as serious contenders in the ACC Coastal.

4. Virginia Cavaliers

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: William & Mary, Illinois, Wake Forest, Louisville, Duke, BYU, Virginia Tech

Losses: North Carolina, Miami, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh

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The Cavaliers finished on a roll last year winning four out of their last five games… to finish 5-5. Virginia brings most of those same starters back. The offense was decent last year and QB Brennan Armstrong returns. The defense was a little underwhelming and must find an edge rusher to replace Charles Snowden. Expect a slight improvement though with LB Nick Jackson leading this defense. Overall, Virginia will be a tough out, but not one of the elite ACC teams.

5. Pittsburgh Panthers

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: UMass, Western Michigan, New Hampshire, Georgia Tech, Duke, Virginia

Losses: Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Syracuse

QB Kenny Picket returns for his fifth year after just an average 13 TD and 9 INT season. The offensive star is WR Jordan Addison coming off a phenomenal freshman season. Outside of Addison, there really isn’t much including a below average offensive line. On defense, the Panthers lose some key defensive lineman and the secondary is a little concerning. The strength will be the linebackers led by Cam Bright. Overall, expect just an average Pittsburgh season.

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: Northern Illinois, Kennesaw State, Duke, Virginia

Losses: Clemson, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Miami, Boston College, Notre Dame, Georgia

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The Yellow Jackets are still in a multi-year process from transitioning from the triple-option. Unfortunately, it will most likely take another year. Coach Geoff Collins is doing a good job on the recruiting trail, but his best classes are still young. However, a few players have already stood out including RB Jahmyr Gibbs and QB Jeff Sims. Sims will have to improve off his 13 touchdowns and 13 interception season. Defensively, this team is still figuring it out. However, the talent is improving evidenced by adding Alabama transfer and former four-star DE Kevin Harris. Overall, expect a slightly below average season from Georgia Tech especially with their tough schedule. But in a few years, this could be a team that is competing for ACC Coastal championships.

7. Duke Blue Devils

Projected Record: 3-9

Wins: Charlotte, North Carolina A&T, Kansas

Losses: Northwestern, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Miami

The Blue Devils were flat out bad last year finishing 2-9. Things don’t look much better this year after losing two talented edge rushers and returning just 10 starters on both side of the ball. Coach David Cutcliffe has his work cut out for him, but Duke does have a talented running back in Mateo Durant. Overall, this team will be lucky to get a few ACC wins and a bowl game seems out of reach.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Florida State, Toledo, Purdue, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Navy, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Stanford

Losses: Wisconsin, Cincinnati, USC

The offense lost four offensive linemen, their quarterback, and two starting wide receivers. Luckily they have 1100 yard rusher Kyren Williams returning and one of the best tight ends in football with Michael Myer. Look for Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan to most likely take over at quarterback who will provide similar production to Ian Book. Expect the Irish to be led by their defense in 2021, particularly no doubt first round pick safety Kyle Hamilton. I wouldn’t expect the 2021 team to be as good as 2020, but still think they put together a really nice season.

2020 ACC Football Preview

ACC Championship: Clemson over Notre Dame

1. Clemson Tigers

Projected Record: 11-0

Wins: Wake Forest, Virginia, Miami, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Boston College, Notre Dame, Florida State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame (ACC Championship)

Losses: None

The offense will be explosive again with Trevor Lawrence and a boatload of skill players (RB Travis Etienne, WR Joe Ngata, and WR Amari Rodgers). The weakness will be Clemson replacing four starters on the offensive line.

On defense, Clemson’s talented recruiting classes over the last few years all step in. The defensive line returns just about everybody plus instant impact freshman DT Bryan Breese.  While the defensive line is a strength the secondary replaces everyone except CB Derion Kendrick. Hero of the Semi-Final game safety Nolan Turner will also step in at one of the safety spots. At linebacker, Clemson loses first round pick Isaiah Simmons and team leader Chad Smith. LB James Skalski returns, but they need another linebacker to step up.

Final Outlook: Clemson is one of the most talented teams in College Football and an all-ACC schedule will keep them free of real challengers until the playoff.

2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Projected Record: 8-3

Wins: Duke, Wake Forest, Florida State, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina, Syracuse

Losses: Pittsburgh, Clemson, Clemson (ACC Championship)

The final year of QB Ian Book. The Fighting Irish quarterback has had his up and downs, but is largely an effective quarterback. Notre Dame also returns their entire offensive line. The main question is where are they going to find the skill players after RB Tony Jones, WR Chase Claypool, and TE Cole Kmet left for the NFL. A rushing and receiving option will have to step up for this Notre Dame offense to be as effective as last year.

Defensively Notre Dame returns a few key starters including sack leader OLB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and tackle leader LB Drew White. However, Notre Dame lost quite a bit of defensive talent to the NFL including CB Troy Pride, safeties Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott, and pass rushers Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara. Sophomore safety Kyle Hamilton led the team in interceptions last year with 4 interceptions and will look to have an expanded role this season. Notre Dame will also have the help of two grad transfers in the secondary with Nick McCloud (NC State)  and Isaiah Pryor (Ohio State).

Final Outlook: Notre Dame will be solid with an experienced quarterback, strong offensive line, and a solid defense. Beating Clemson seems unlikely though as the offense doesn’t have enough firepower. Expect a good, not great season.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies

Projected Record: 7-3

Wins: NC State, Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Boston College, Wake Forest, Louisville

Losses: Miami, Pitt, Clemson

QB Heldon Hooker comes back after taking the starting job last year and playing strong down the stretch. The skill positions are alright with Kansas Grad Transfer Khalil Herbert/Rutgers transfer Khalil Blackshear at running back and Tre Turner returning as the leading receiver. Virginia Tech returns a ton of talent on the offensive line and also adds transfer Brock Hoffman from Coastal Carolina.

Virginia Tech returns almost everybody to a defense that ranked 42nd nationally. CBs Caleb Farley and Jermaine Waller would have formed one of the best cornerback duos in the ACC, but Farley opted out of the season. Instead, Devin Taylor who was a start cornerback for Illinois State steps in to try and replace Farley. LB Rayshard Ashby is the leader on the defense coming off a 120 tackle season. The defensive line returns everyone, but need better production.

Final Outlook: Virginia Tech has a nice offense and an even better defense. There will be tough competition to make it to the ACC Championship game, but the Hokies are a legitimate contender.

4. North Carolina Tar Heels

Projected Record: 7-3

Wins: Syracuse, Boston College, Florida State, NC State, Virginia, Duke, Wake Forest

Losses: Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Miami

Mack Brown is coming off a great first season turning the program around with a surprising winning record. Now this team could take the next step and may actually make the ACC Championship. QB Sam Howell is a stud and will have his top receivers Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome along with highly rated freshman Josh Downs. Not only that… everyone who caught a pass is back next year. The running game is also strong with 1,000 yard rusher Michael Carter and 900 yard rusher Javonte Williams. All of this firepower will be behind an experienced offensive line.

The defense is led by LB Chazz Surratt (former starting QB) who finished with 115 tackles in 2019. The North Carolina defense lost four starters, but has some instant impact freshman and young talent that will be able to step in right away. This includes one of the best names in football CB Storm Duck. The Tar Heels had a top 50 defense in 2019 which should improve with the new freshmen including reclassified 5-star CB Tony Grimes.

Final Outlook: The offense should finish top 20 nationally… if the defense makes a similar jump, North Carolina will be in the ACC Championship and a potential top ten team.

5. Florida State Seminoles

Projected Record: 6-4

Wins: Georgia Tech, Miami, Pitt, NC State, Virginia, Duke

Losses: Notre Dame, North Carolina, Louisville, Clemson

At quarterback, James Blackman is back, but he has just been average during his time at Florida State. Jashaun Corbin (A&M transfer) will compete with Khalan Laborn for time in the backfield, while WR Tamarrion Terry is coming off an almost 1200 yard season. The Seminoles will need someone to step up as a second option at receiver. The main goal for the Seminoles this year will be to have an offensive line that isn’t an embarrassment. If they can improve, the offense may surprise some people.

On defense, they have talented defensive lineman with DT Marvin Wilson and DE Joshua Kaindoh. The defense also returns starters at linebacker and in the secondary with some solid players including corners Akeem Dent and Asante Samuel Jr. The secondary is also led by safety Hamsah Nasirildeen. The defense has talent to be one of the best in the ACC, but will need to improve as a unit.

Final Outlook: Florida State’s talented defense and improved offense separates makes them a top half of the ACC team.

6. Miami Hurricanes

Projected Record: 6-4

Wins: Louisville, Pitt, NC State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina

Losses: Florida State, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech

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Coach Lashlee is the new Offensive Coordinator after leaving Baylor. He inherits QB D’Eriq King as the new leader of the offense after his transfer from Houston. King doesn’t have many proven options at receiver and will need Dee Wiggins and Will Mallory to prove reliable. King however will have one of the top tight ends in the country with Brevin Jordan. At running back Cam’Ron Harris will take over for Deejay Dallas. Miami needs to figure out how to develop the offensive line after an abysmal year.

Miami returns talent to a top twenty defense. DE Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche (Temple/AAC Defensive POY) lead the defensive line and give Miami two legitimate pass rushers. CB Al Blades Jr. and S Bubba Bolden are back to lead the strong secondary unit While Miami lost linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney to the NFL, Zach McCloud should take over nicely.

Final Outlook: Miami was a strong defense with absolutely no offense last year. King gives them a spark on offense so they can actually compete as a legitimate ACC contender this year.

7. Pittsburgh Panthers

Projected Record: 6-4

Wins: Syracuse, Louisville, NC State, Boston College, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech

Losses: Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson

On offense, Pittsburgh struggled to move the football last season. The Panthers need starting QB Kenny Picket to take a step forward after throwing 13 TDs and 9 INTs. Taysir Mack will be the best receiver returning and AJ Davis ran for 530 yards last year. Pittsburgh also returns four out of five starters on the offensive line.

Pitt’s front seven is one of the best in the ACC. Last year they were third in the nation in sacks and return defensive end Patrick Jones. Pittsburgh will also have four returning starters to a strong secondary from last season. Pitt’s defense ranked 15th in the nation last year and might be even better in 2020.

Final Outlook: The defense will carry this group as a tough opponent for anybody. A dominant defense and decent offense could make Pittsburgh a surprise contender in the ACC.

8. Louisville Cardinals

Projected Record: 5-5

Wins: Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia, Syracuse, Wake Forest

Losses: Miami, Pitt, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Boston College

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Coach Satterfield’s offense put a little life into this team last year including promoting RB Javian Hawkins who finshed with over 1500 yards.. The offense is led by their receiving group of Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick, and Marshon Ford. The issue will be the offensive line who last year (other than departed first-round pick Mekhi Becton) was not good. QB Malik Cunningham will also have to continue to improve.

While offensively Louisville improved, defense remains an issue after finishing 102nd in the nation. Louisville returns multiple starters including linebackers CJ Avery, Dorian Etheridge, and Rodjay Burns.

Final Outlook: Coach Satterfield has improved the offense, but the defense has a ways to go. Louisville should be a .500 team this fall.

9. Virginia Cavaliers

Projected Record: 5-5

Wins: NC State, Wake Forest, Miami, Duke, Boston College

Losses: Virginia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina, Louisville, Florida State

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Virginia had a great year and competed with Florida in the Orange Bowl. The task now is replacing QB Bryce Perkins. The competition will most likely be between Keytaon Thompson (Mississippi State transfer) and Brennan Armstrong. Not only must they replace the quarterback, but also the top two wide receivers with Hasise Dubois and Joe Reed. Terrell Jana will be poised to become the number one option coming off a 886 yard receiving year. Virginia has a strong offensive line, but will also need to find a reliable running option since Bryce Perkins was the main rushing threat last season.

The defense will be a strength for Virginia who returns most of their starters to a top 50 defense. The strength is in the front seven with linebackers Noah Taylor, Charles Snowden and Zane Zandier. Safety Joey Blount returns to lead a decent secondary.

Final Outlook:  The offense replaces too much after a cinderella season last year. Virginia could still possibly pull some upsets, but I don’t think an ACC Championship birth will be likely.

10. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Projected Record: 4-6

Wins: NC State, Syracuse, Duke, Louisville

Losses: Clemson, Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Miami

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Former starting QB Jamie Newman transferred and is replaced with QB Sam Hartman who saw some action last year. They only return two starters to the offense and lost Sage Surrat, one of the best receivers in the country, due to opting out. What the offense does return is the interior of the offensive line and RB Kenneth Walker who averaged 5.7 yards per carry last year.

Defensively, Carlos Bashum is back after a 11 sack season and returns with three other defensive line starter. At linebacker Wake Forest brings back a nice duo of Jacquez Williams and Ryan Smenda. The challenge will be replacing the secondary.

Final Outlook: Wake Forest replaces a lot of starters, but never doubt Dave Clawson to put together a solid football team.

11. NC State Wolfpack

Projected Record: 3-7

Wins: Wake Forest, Duke, Syracuse

Losses: Virginia Tech, Pitt, Virginia, North Carolina, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech

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Coming off a 4-8 season. There isn’t a lot to get excited for on offense with QB Devin Leary leading the group. Last year Leary completed only 48% of his passes for only 8 TDs and 5 INTs. Other than that they have a few good skill players including Zonovan (Bam) Knight coming off 745 yard season and WR Emeka Emezie. NC State also return all five starting offensive lineman which will help.

The defense didn’t play great last year and must replace most of their starters. There are a few young promising players, but this is going to be a project.

Final Outlook:  NC State’s offense and defense might both struggle in 2020. It is hard to get excited for this team unless quarterback Devin Leary takes a huge step forward.

12. Boston College Eagles

Projected Record: 3-7

Wins: Pitt, Georgia Tech, Louisville

Losses: Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Clemson, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia

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Coming off a 6-7 season, Boston College hired new head coach Jeff Hafley (former Ohio State D-Coordinator). Quarterback Anthony Brown also transferred to Oregon and left the position wide open. The decision will most likely be between Dennis Grosel and Notre Dame transfer QB Phil Jurkovec. RB David Bailey steps into AJ Dillon’s role as an experienced runner rushing behind one of the best offensive lines in the ACC. They should keep to running the ball because Boston College lacks receiving threats other than Kobay White.

On defense Boston College returns a decent amount of starters… to a bad defense that finished 125th. LB Max Richardson and CB Brandon Sebastian are the few bright spots. With Coach Hafley, the defense will definitely finish better than 122nd in passing yards which is where it finished last year.

Final Outlook: Boston College is in a transition year. The goal for Coach Hafley is to run the ball and try to get back the tough nose Eagles teams from the past.

13. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Projected Record: 3-7

Wins: Syracuse, Pitt, Duke

Losses: Florida State, Louisville, Clemson, Boston College, Notre Dame, Miami, NC State

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The Yellow Jackets continue their transition from running the option two years ago. The quarterback competition is wide open and could even result in freshman Jeff Sims beating out incumbant starter James Graham. RB Jordan Mason is a stud and true freshman Jahmyr Gibbs turned down powerhouse schools for the chance to play for the Yellow Jackets right away. At receiver, Georgia Tech returns everyone… but they will need the leader to have more than 396 yards like last year. The offensive line added two grad transfers and a good recruiting class which should help the continued transition.

The secondary leads the defense after finishing 36th in the nation last year. With most of the starters returning, including one of the best corners in the conference in Tre Swilling, they will be good again. Where the defense must improve is in the front seven.

Final Outlook: Georgia Tech is adding some serious talent in recruiting and should be a legitimate player in the ACC over the next few years. However, with too many young starters… expect just a slight improvement from last year.

14. Syracuse Orange

Projected Record: 2-8

Wins: Duke, Boston College

Losses: North Carolina, Pitt, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest, Louisville, NC State, Notre Dame

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QB Tommy Devitto is back, but the offense is tasked with replacing 1000 yard receiver Trishton Jackson and leading rusher Moe Neal. Look for RB Abdul Adams and WR Taj Harris to fill in.

Safety Andre Cisco is one of the best in the Nation as he leads the country in career interceptions. Other than him and the cornerback duo of Trill Williams and Ifeatu Melifonwu… there isn’t much to be optimistic about.

Final Outlook: Syracuse looks to just have an adequate offense and adequate defense. This is a program that has definitely lost steam since their 10-3 season in 2018.

15. Duke Blue Devils

Projected Record: 1-9

Wins: Boston College

Losses: Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, NC State, North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Florida State

QB Chase Brice arrives from Clemson to take over the starting job. Brice won’t have many dynamic options at receiver like he did at Clemson. The best receiving option for the Blue Devils is senior TE Noah Gray. The offensive line is experienced with four starters returning. The running back Deon Jackson will try again to lead the offense coming off 641 yards and 6 TDs.

The defense is led by their DEs in Victor Dimukeje and Chris Rumph who combined for 15 sacks. In the secondary J’Marick Woods transfers from Michigan and should be an instant impact player. Safety Marquis Waters will be a key piece from last year and lead the secondary again. Duke has a chance to improve from last year where they ranked 57th, but continue to be an average defense.

Final Outlook:  Duke has an average defense and a poor offense with not a lot of weapons. With the improvements to mid-tier ACC from last year, getting just a few wins will be an accomplishment.