Clemson and Florida State the teams to beat in the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference has been better known for its basketball prowess than its gridiron play. However, this season, there are a number of teams in the ACC that could be near the top and qualify for a BCS Bowl game in January.
Not only will there be big conference matchups during the regular season, but also ACC teams have huge non-conference matchups that could make or break their seasons.
Clemson has to play both South Carolina and Georgia; Florida State meets Florida in its annual in-state rivalry; the Virginia Tech Hokies have the tough task of playing Alabama; and Virginia must take on the high-flying offense of the Oregon Ducks.
Joining the ACC this season from the Big East Conference is Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh will play in the Coastal Division, while Syracuse will be part of Atlantic Division.
Starting the season, odds makers have Clemson and Florida State favored in the conference. The two schools have been able to separate themselves from the rest of the Atlantic Division.
Clemson, which returns Tajh Boyd at quarterback, is the prohibitive favorite for the ACC title and a possible BCS bowl game. The Tigers have a number of players returning on offense at the skills positions and one of the conference’s most experienced defensive units.
In the Coastal division, the Miami Hurricanes program has turned around and is set to explode on the scene as a national power.
Miami has the most starters returning, but Georgia Tech and North Carolina are returning a strong contingent of players as well and finished last season with identical records. The Virginia Tech Hokies have not had strong teams the past couple of seasons, but can never be overlooked.
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Tajh Boyd the Clemson quarterback had 36 touchdowns last season and close to 3,900 yards. He alone can turn games in Clemson’s favor and will likely be the most valuable player in the conference.
James Gayle, a senior defensive end for Virginia Tech has played well since his freshmen season and will be a force to be reckoned with. His run stopping abilities will help the Hokies defense shut down opponents.
Logan Thomas, a senior quarterback for Virginia Tech is perhaps the most gifted passer in the nation. However, last season he suffered 16 interceptions, as he was pressured week in and week out by opposing defenses.
Sammy Watkins the junior wide receiver for Clemson set a team record his freshman year for receiving yards, which was broken last season by DeAndre Hopkins. However, Hopkins has left for the NFL and Watkins will be on the receiving end of many of Tajh Boyd’s passes again this fall.
I like Clemson to win the ACC Title.