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ACC: Clemson Looks to be the Team to Beat

clemson-wrThe ACC looks very much different this season with two new additions from the Big East, the Syracuse Orange and the Pittsburgh Panthers. The Florida State Seminoles will be breaking a new quarterback in, possibly a freshman who is coming off baseball season. The Miami Hurricanes? What IS going on there? Are they going on probation or what? Way to drag things out NCAA. After all is said and done, the Clemson Tigers will probably be the ACC Champions.

Clemson is coming off a big bowl win last season over the LSU Tigers. In the battle between the two “Death Valleys”, the orange Tigers beat the yellow Tigers from the powerful SEC. This should shoot up the confidence level of the Tigers going into this season. Quarterback Tajh Boyd returns giving the Tigers one of the few experienced quarterbacks in the conference. This is a huge advantage for Clemson. Sammy Watkins is also back to catch passes and score touchdowns. With this pass-catch combo, the Tigers will be tough to stop. The big question with Clemson is always “can they stop anybody?” The Tigers have a huge opener against another SEC powerhouse, the Georgia Bulldogs. So that question will be answered very early.

Florida State will be loaded with talent and the schedule is not that difficult. If they stay focused they should go 10-2 just by showing up. Only the Tigers and Florida Gators should be significant roadblocks. But the Noles have this maddening habit of losing to a team that has no business beating them. It seems to happen to them every year. Last year that team was the North Carolina State Wolfpack. This year it could be Miami, NC State, Pittsburgh or Syracuse.

The Hurricanes might have their best team in a while this season with returning quarterback Stephen Morris and 19 returning starters. We will know what the ‘Canes have early on as they host the Gators in week two. Other land mines on the Canes schedule include the North Carolina Tar Heels on the road, Florida State on the road and  the Virginia Tech Hokies at home. The Canes should be in every game. But do they know how to win yet? That is the big question.

Virginia Tech has quarterback Logan Thomas back which should help. But the Hokies bottomed out a year ago so to expect them to turn it around completely in one year is asking a bit too much. But look for them to be back in a bowl this year.

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