#ACC Football best vs worst case scenario 2015

This year the ACC does not have the star power of Jameis Winston, that clear cut team riding a long winning streak and coming off a National Championship like they did last year in Florida State. Many of the pundits are predicting the conference will be shut out of the College Football Playoff. Just ask the Big 12 how they liked that last year. The math just does not work to have 5 power conferences and 4 playoff spots. Each year someone will be left on the sidelines. Is this the ACC’s year? Time will tell, as it does each and every year. I doubt we will see a year in which we have 5 undefeated conference champions vying for 4 playoff spots. What will the record look like this upcoming season? Let us now dive headfirst into some ACC football predictions. Disclaimer-this just states the best and worst case scenario, it does not predict which team will be in which bowl.

Boston College

Last Season: 7-6 (Defeated by Penn State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 5.5

It seems as if BC will take a step back according to the guys in Sin City. A road game to Duke on October 3 and back to back road games to Clemson and Louisville October 17 and 24 will be tough. BC also ends the season with back to back road games at Notre Dame and Syracuse November 21 and 28. If they can just win their home games they will finish 7-5. Best case scenario: a tier one bowl possibly even a return to the Bronx. Worst case scenario: finishing the season under Vegas’ prediction.

Clemson

Last season: 10-3 (Defeated Oklahoma in the Russell Athletic Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 8.5

Clemson faces a big road test early-at Louisville on September 17. They do get the Seminoles at home this season but travel to South Carolina to finish the regular season. The preseason pick to win the conference is going to surpass Vegas’ win total in my opinion and perhaps with some luck they could be invited to the College Football Playoff. Best case scenario: College Football Playoff (probably the Orange Bowl). Worst case scenario: A tier one bowl such as the Music City or Belk bowl.

Duke

Last season: 9-4 (Defeated by Arizona State in the Hyundai Sun Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 7

Duke has had a good run under David Cutcliffe. Are they ready to make the next step? I see a season opening game at Tulane possibly being trouble. Their open date is sandwiched by road games at Army October 10 and Virginia Tech October 24. In fact, 5 of their last 7 games are on the road and that is a recipe for disaster. Best case scenario: matching the Vegas win total and getting into a tier 2 bowl such as the Military or Independence. Worst case scenario: falling short of making .500 and getting ready to watch Coach K win games.

Florida State

Last season: 13-1 (Defeated by Oregon in the College Football Playoff-Rose Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 9.5

Coming off a National Championship, the QB winning the Heisman can be the type of thing that allows for a let down with a football team. Not these Seminoles, they proved week after week that they flat out knew how to win football games. There were controversial wins (see Notre Dame game 2014) but they did the Al Davis “just win baby” as well as we have seen in a while. In a three week time frame the ‘Noles will have their toughest in conference road tests. At Georgia Tech October 24 and at Clemson November 7, also they end the season at the Florida Gators on November 28. I think the Gators might be a little better this year. Best case scenario: the Russell Athletic Bowl. Worst case scenario: a tier 1 bowl such as the Taxslayer Bowl.

Georgia Tech

Last season: 11-3 (Defeated Mississippi State in the Capital One Orange Bowl)3

Vegas over/under win prediction: 7.5

All Georgia Tech has to do is wind up in and win the same bowl game they were in last season and they will be playing for a National Championship. Oh but if life were so easy. An early trip to Notre Dame on September 19 will let us know how the Jackets will be this season. Even though the end of the season affair with Georgia is a home game, Georgia will want revenge for last season’s Yellowjacket win. Best case scenario: College Football Playoff (Same Orange Bowl as last season). Worst case scenario: Tier 1 bowl such as the Music City Bowl.

Louisville

Last season: 9-4 (Defeated by Georgia in the Belk Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 7.5

Kicking off the season against Auburn is a real opportunity to turn some heads. A stretch in the schedule having 3 out 4 games on the road might prove to be as treacherous as well. The last half of the season is going to be tough with Louisville having 5 of the last 8 games on the road. If there is enough of Strong’s defensive players left, Petrino has proven time after time that he can win no matter where he is. Best case scenario: Russell Athletic Bowl. Worst case scenario: A tier 2 bowl such as the Quick Lane bowl or not even finishing bowl eligible.

Miami

Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by South Carolina in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 5.5

Are the ‘canes ever going to get back the glory days of “The U”? Probably not this season. A big early season test comes when Nebraska comes to town on September 19. Will either team be ranked? After that game, Miami has a bye followed by back to back road games at Cincinnati October 1 (a Thursday night affair) and at Florida State October 10. These early to mid season games will give us all we need to know. Best case scenario: A tier 2 bowl such as the Independence or Quick Lane. Worst case scenario: Finishing the season 4-8 or 5-7.

North Carolina:

Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 8

Vegas is high on the Tar Heels after a sub .500 season. I suppose bringing in a national champion head coach as your defensive coordinator should be the reason for some optimism. The schedule offers reason for optimism as well. There are only 4 road games all year. Opening the season with a tough border state rival game hosting South Carolina is another reason perhaps we all should be taking North Carolina seriously. Best case scenario: A tier 1 bowl such as the Belk Bowl. Worst case scenario: a tier 2 bowl such as returning to the Quick Lane bowl.

North Carolina State

Last season 8-5 (Defeated Central Florida in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 7.5

The Wolfpack got into a bowl that the ACC is not even tied to last year. Still it was a bowl and bowl practices are good, it does not matter if you are NC State or Ohio State. The Wolfpack go on the road 6 times this season and two of those games are at inferior opponents: at Old Dominion September 19 and at South Alabama September 26. Since when did power 5 football programs schedule like this? Best case scenario: a tier 2 bowl such as the Independence Bowl. Worst case scenario: disaster strikes and the Wolfpack lose every road game plus get beat by rivals Clemson and North Carolina at home. Finishing the season with no shot at a bowl game. Moral of the story: schedule more home games!

Pittsburgh

Last season: 6-7 (Defeated by Houston in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 6

Doesn’t that bowl game (Pittsburgh vs Houston) look like something from the NFL? Anyway, Pittsburgh starts the season with 3 of 4 games and 5 of the first 7 games on the road. This could spell doom for the Panthers. The remaining part of their schedule has one more road game at on November 14. This might be an early season for Pittsburgh. Best case scenario: hitting Vegas’ win prediction. Worst case scenario: a miserable 3-9 or 4-8 season.

Syracuse

Last season: 3-9

Vegas over/under win prediction: 4.5

Last season was awful for the Orange. It even leaked into the basketball team missing postseason play. Good news is the fans are going to see a good team at the Carrier Dome, the bad new is LSU comes to town September 26; as well as Clemson on November 14. Too bad that’s all the Orange fans have to look forward to this season. Best case scenario: matching last season’s win total. Worst case scenario: becoming one of the “Bottom 10” programs in the entire country.

Virginia

Last season: 5-7

Vegas over/under win prediction: 4.5

Virginia was more competitive last season than their record would indicate. Some of those games could’ve turned the Cavalier’s way and a bowl game could’ve been reached. However, this season’s schedule is proving to be more daunting. Here is the first 5 games: at UCLA, home Notre Dame, home William and Mary, home Boise State, at Pittsburgh. Do you see what I see? Virginia could legitimately start the season 1-4. Recovering from that will be a tough road. Best case scenario: Getting to 6-6 and bowl eligibility. Worst case scenario: bottoming out into a 3-4 win team.

Virginia Tech

Last season: 7-6 (Defeated Cincinnati in the Military Bowl)

Vegas over/under win prediction: 8

Last season I watched the Ohio State-Virginia Tech game and was stunned that the Hokies pulled that upset. This season I will be even more stunned if the Hokies pull the trick twice. After shocking the country the Hokies did not play up to their par for the last major part of the season but got into another bowl and won it. This season Ohio State is the first game up, and two early season road tests at Purdue and at East Carolina will give us a good read on the Hokies. Best case scenario: a tier 1 bowl better than last season. Worst case scenario: Making the same bowl as last season or finishing the season at 5-7 or worse. Remember the Virginia-Virginia Tech game was to get to 6-6 for both teams.

Wake Forest

Last season: 3-9

Vegas over/under win prediction: 3.5

If the Demon Deacons are going to surpass last seasons win total they are going to have to do…I have no answer for this question. Wake Forest is the worst team in the ACC. They lost to Louisiana Monroe last season. This season there is a real possibility of losing every game on the schedule including Elon Phoenix (WTF) and Army. Best case scenario: matching last seasons win total by upsetting 3 schools on their schedule. Worst case scenario: going 0-12 and being one of the worst teams in the country.

Because I had to…Notre Dame

Last season: 8-5 (Defeated LSU in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl) say that 5 times fast

Vegas over/under win prediction: 9

Notre Dame surprised with a win over LSU at the end of last season. It looks as if they have a replacement for Everett Golson at QB now and perhaps Notre Dame will get back to the prominence of days past. Lou Holtz says they could wind up in the College Football Playoff. How much stock do we put into the world’s biggest Notre Dame homer? The schedule looks like this home Texas, at Virginia, home Georgia Tech, home UMASS, at Clemson, home Navy, home USC, bye, at Temple, at Pittsburgh, home Wake Forest, home Boston College, at Stanford. We’ve seen crazier things in South Bend, a College Football Playoff berth is NOT out of the question for the Irish. Best case scenario: College Football Playoff (Could be in either semifinal). Worst case scenario: high level bowl game such as the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Conclusion: Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame are the teams to watch this year in the ACC.

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