Other Previews: Mountain West Football Preview 2012 | Big 12 Football Preview 2012 | Big East Football Preview 2012 | Notre Dame Football Preview 2012 | Conference USA Football Preview 2012 | WAC Football Preview 2012 | PAC 12 Football Preview | Sun Belt Football Preview | Big Ten Football Preview | SEC Football Preview | MAC Football Preview
The ACC conference will look a lot different in 2013 with Syracuse and Pittsburgh coming over from the Big East, check out my Big East Football Preview -2012. Check out my break down of all 12 teams in my ACC 2012 preview below.
Why my opinion matters... A fresh reminder on my ncaaf picks from 2011. It was magical as I profited 176.69 units on a 1-5 unit scale. As you all know every one of my college plays are backed by a full in depth analysis and backed by a sports monitor. With that in mind check out my 2011 ACC college football against the spread play of the year in the Sugar Bowl.
Top 5 ACC Non-Conference Games
1.) Florida @ Florida State
2.) Auburn @ Clemson
3.) Georgia Tech at Georgia
4.) South Carolina at Clemson
5.) Miami at Notre Dame
Florida State -125 – Yes Florida state is the heavy favorite to win the ACC and possibly even contend for a National Title if they can get by the Gators the last Saturday of November and go on and defeat Clemson or Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship game. Of course I’m jumping way ahead, but there would be no excuses for a team that has one of their best defenses since their national title days. They have just two players gone off the two-deep depth chart. Offensively they get QB E.J. Manuel back who has elite skills and is coming off a season where he completed 65.3% of his passes for 2,666 yards while throwing 18 TD and just 8 INT for a QB rating of 151.2. He was however sacked 33 times which is nearly 3 times per game. He’s got to be careful to make sure he stays healthy in 2012. The biggest key for this team will be the offensive line that was littered with rookies last year. Sophmore LT Cameron Erving can make the first step and become a star.
Their most challenging game will be going to Virginia Tech as an under dog on a Thursday night where they will be under dogs for probably the only time all season. Predicted Finish: 10-2
Virginia Tech +265 – Are there holes? Of course, but these are the Hokies and those holes will be filled. The offensive line loses four starters and most of their top skill players are gone, but there is QB Logan Thomas who has size, arm, and experience make everyone around him better. The offense won’t have to do much because their defense will be its typical dominant unit with nine starters back from a team that dramatically improved throughout the season.
They open up against Georgia Tech which is actually a plus for them to be able to plan for the triple option and from there the schedule gets pretty easy despite 3 road games in 4 dates which includes back-to-back against Clemson and Miami. If they get a split there they should be facing Florida State in the ACC Championship. Predicted Finish: 9-3
Clemson +450 – Clemson is your returning ACC Champion and they have tons of talent that returns, yet we are not talking about them as highly as the top two teams. They had a horrendous end to the 2011 season, losing 3 of 4 including a 70-33 nightmare finish in the Orange Bowl, which was not part of one of our college bowl predictions
They return their QB Tajh Boyd, but he’ll need to be more consistent and throwing to WR Sammy Watkins and his off-the-field issues could be a huge concern early. We will find out early what this team has as they kick off against Auburn in Atlanta and I don’t think it will be pretty considering they lose talent up front on both sides with 3 starters on defense and the offensive line has to do a complete overhaul. Predicted Finish: 7-5
Miami +850 – This is a young team with a lot of promise, but promise and talent alone won’t get you wins. I fear this could be a rough start for the Hurricanes and Al Golden from the start. They start the season on the road in 3 games in the first 4 including visits to Kansas State and Georgia Tech. As always there will be next generation all stars to come out of the season with so many great athletes competing for starting spots. Predicted Finish: 5-7
Georgia Tech +1400 – Nothing new with this team. Paul Johnson will run the option and many teams will struggle at times but when it is all said and done they won’t compete for anything special like an ACC Championship or BCS Bowl. I say that all despite QB Tevin Washington being a veteran running the option and all five starters back on the offensive line, but losing Stephen Hill will be a huge impact for this offense if they can’t develop a down field threat. The defense on the other hand returns 8 starters and should continue to improve. Predicted Finish: 8-4
Virginia +1500 – Mike London and Virginia were a huge surprise last year when they went 8-5, but can they make another huge step in 2012? There is certainly enough talent returning for them to be in the mix with the offensive line being one of the best in the ACC and an experienced running back in Perry Jones to run behind it. Jones averaged 5.0 yards per carry last year and rushed for 915 yards with 5 TD’s and should have over 1,000 in 2012. The defense has to replace several key players, but there’s depth at every level that should improve throughout the season.
The schedule is tough early with Penn State, a road game at Georgia Tech, and a road game at TCU. However they then get 5 home games in 6 with their road game against helpless Duke. Predicted Finish: 8-4
North Carolina +1500 – This will be a new era for the Tarheels program with new head coach Larry Fedora who comes over from a very successful Southern Mississippi team. Even with a new coacht his team won’t be a complete mess and should get a bowl game considering they have a nice looking offensive line and two returning starters at QB Bryn Renner (68.3% 26TD 13INT, 159.4 QB rating) and RB Giovani Bernard.
North Carolina will have to travel to Louisville, Miami, and Virginia, but they get Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia Tech at home. If they can consistently improve they could be eligible for a decent bowl. Predicted Finish: 7-5
North Carolina State +1600 – Tom O’Brien has been building this team for this year. They have the potential to win 10 games in my opinion so I’m shocked by the odds wagerweb is giving them to win the ACC Championship. They have a veteran team with four starters back along the offensive line with James Washington who rushed for 897 yards on 226 carries a year ago. You also can’t forget about Mike Glennon (283-453, 3,054 yards, 31 TDs, 12 INTs). The real weakness on this team is defending the run. They will be extremely vulnerable at defensive tackle and linebacker while the secondary returns all 4 starters led by Junior CB David Amerson.
The schedule starts with two challenging road games out of conference against an improved Tennessee team and an under rated Connecticut squad. Their first ACC game won’t come until week 5 against Miami. Predicted Finish: 8-4
Wake Forest +2500 – Wake Forest was a bit of a surprise last year with their 6-7 record and 2012 could be similar. They need to find some answers but they do get 5 of their front 7 starters back on defense. They lost NFL receiver Chris Givens, but the running game should improve.
A 4-1 start is possible with an easy start of the season with home games against Liberty, Army and Duke. They then go on the road to Florida State (a loss) and open up the ACC against North Carolina. Predicted Finish: 5-7
Boston College +5000 – BC went 4-8 a year ago and that was with their star RB Montel Harris who was booted in the offseason and transferred to Temple. Their passing game won’t be terrible behind the experienced Chase Retting (53.6% 12 TD, 9INTs 1,960 yards), but if this team goes to a bowl game it will be because of the defense which despite losing 1st round pick Luke Kuechly returns 8 starters that were a rock against the run. Unfortunately the majority of the offenses in the ACC can pass and have experienced QB’s.
The schedule is not easy, as they face Notre Dame and Northwestern in non-conference play and then they go on the road in 4 out of 5weeks. Predicted Finish: 5-7
Maryland +8000 – After a 2-10 season things can only get better for an experienced coach like Randy Edsall who is coming off a miserable year. They’ll have 9 starters back on offense including all five along the offensive line. On defense they struggled against the run, but they get ten back on defense and will start the season with tune ups against William & Mary and Temple. I think this could be the surprise team this year much like Virginia was last year however it should all go down hill once the schedule picks up. Predicted Finish: 6-6
Duke +8000 – Duke has a tough schedule facing 7 bowl bound teams over their last 7 games. QB Sean Renfree took a back step last year and needs to be the leader of this team if they have any hopes of going to a bowl game. However, the hopes will dwindle early even with nine starters back on defense with experience. Predicted Finish 3-9
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