Why ACC teams make the College Football Playoff

Joe Broback
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Thanks to Clemson, the perception of the ACC is positive. The gap between the Tigers and the rest of the conference remains drastic with no signs of closing. They reload, and the rest of the conference needs to find answers to compete. That’s a lot of pressure put on one team, but the Tigers can handle it for now. At least it makes an easier road back to the playoff.

OTHERS: Sun Belt, CUSA, MW, AAC, IND, PAC 12, BIG 12, B1G, SEC

ACC Atlantic

Boston College Eagles

Besides the first game against Virginia Tech, the Eagles don’t have a big test until late October. AJ Dillon should have no problem putting up big numbers until that point, and the Eagles could be 6-0 heading into the NC State game. That’s where things get tough, but they’ll have plenty of momentum on their side if they’re undefeated.

Clemson Tigers

All roads go through the Tigers. If you want to win the ACC, you must beat the Tigers. If you also want to win a national championship, you must beat Clemson too. After winning it all last year, this is the team to beat. The offense, led by Trevor Lawrence, is as loaded as it’s ever been. We shouldn’t have to say much more, and it’s their league to lose until further notice.

Florida State Seminoles

Willie Taggsrt’s team really can’t go much farther in the wrong direction. Are they due for a bounce back season? A bowl game might not be enough for Taggart to keep his job, but this isn’t the same team as it used to be anymore. The talent is on the roster, but it needs to produce on the field (especially in ACC play).

Louisville Cardinals

Scott Satterfield walks into a tough situation that Bobby Petrino left him. Louisville’s been heading in the wrong direction since Lamar Jackson left campus for the NFL. So, don’t expect anything crazy.

NC State Wolfpack

Though they won 18 games the last few years, it felt like they should have won more. Now, Ryan Finley and Kelvin Harmon are gone on offense, and the defense looks like it might take a step back. I wouldn’t call it a rebuild, but there aren’t many expecting the Wolfpack to compete for a conference title.

Syracuse Orange

Dino Babers brought this team to new heights, and it looks like they’re comfortable staying there. Tommy DeVito brings a new era to the offense in place of Eric Dungey. He’ll have a handful of playmakers returning as well. Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman give the Orange two of the best defensive ends in the country, and Andre Cisco had a monster year at safety as a freshman. The only team ahead of them is Clemson, and Syracuse has been so close to taking down the Tigers the last two years.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

It’s time for the Demon Deacons to overachieve in a big way. Dave Clawson’s teams have been underdogs the last few years, and this year’s no different. It’s not going to be easy in the division they’re in, and Utah State’s coming to Winston-Salem Week 1.

ACC Coastal

Duke Blue Devils

A step back seems inevitable this year. Week 1 against Alabama will most likely show that in Atlanta. Their schedule also includes Notre Dame, Virginia, Syracuse and Miami. Just getting to a bowl game’s going to be tough for the Blue Devils.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Paul Johnson called it a career last year, and Geoff Collins comes from Temple to take over. The weirdest thing will be seeing the Yellow Jackets running an offense that isn’t the triple option. This may be a solid team, but playing Clemson and South Florida right off the bat won’t be easy.

Miami Hurricanes

It’s interesting that we give Texas a hard time for “being back”, but we don’t do the same for Miami. The Canes under Mark Richt did well, but not enough to be a national contender. He suddenly retired in the offseason, and former defensive coordinator and former Temple-head-coach-for-a-week Manny Diaz took over. The defense will be just as good as it’s ever been, but the offense remains the liability. Week 0’s matchup against Florida requires their best effort, and even that will be difficult.

North Carolina Tar Heels

If Michael Jordan said the ceiling is the roof for the basketball team, is the floor the….nevermind, you get it. Mack Brown came out of retirement to run the Tar Heels program he ran from 1988-1997. His first two seasons resulted in consecutive 1-10 finishes. They’ll win more than one game this year, but it’ll be difficult to make a bowl game.

Pittsburgh Panthers

The Coastal won’t be as weak as it was last year, so the surprise of making the conference championship is less likely this year. Pitt’s first month of football won’t be easy. Virginia, Ohio, Penn State, and UCF appear on the schedule, and they went 1-2 against three of those teams last year.

Virginia Cavaliers

Bronco Mendenhall’s team arrived a year early, but they’re not done yet. With Bryce Perkins running the offense, the Cavaliers will compete in the Coastal division. Week 1 against Pitt essentially determines how they’ll do in the Coastal. As long as they have Perkins at quarterback, this team has a chance to win every game.

Virginia Tech Hokies

We’ve seen the good that Justin Fuente brings to the Hokies, but we missed that for the first time last year. No worries for Virginia Tech, because they’ll be back this year. It’s tough to beat the Hokies at home, where the atmosphere is one of the best in the country. However, their toughest games come on the road this year. If they bounce back, it’s because they’ll be road warriors in 2019.

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