Is the ACC the new king of the conferences? A lot of people are saying that but I don’t buy it just yet. Yes is the ACC a LOT better than about 5 years ago? You better believe they are but until the Coastal gets some consistency the Big Ten and SEC still have them beat. In 2 or 3 years that can be a completely different story though if Clemson, FSU and Louisville keep rolling and Miami and Virginia Tech take that next step under their relatively new leadership. For now lets see how this season is going to shake out. Off to the rankings….
Florida State – 11-2 (8-1) Atlantic Champs
I like Florida State this year but I am not in love with them. I do think that they will be the first 2 loss team to make the playoff though but that will hinge on what they do against Bama week 1. If it’s a blowout then FSU needs to run the table but if the final score is within 10 points then that will earn them some brownie points with the committee at year’s end if they slip up in the ACC but still win the conference championship. Francois’s progression will be key and Derwin James’s return to the defense is just as important. I have Bama and Clemson picking them off during the season but the Noles will still be dancing at season’s end.
The Dish – Have you ever had one of those Tomahawk Ribeye’s? I had one at Baku in Charlotte about 2 years ago and it might have been one of the best things I’ve ever had. You haven’t officially lived until you’ve eaten a Tomahawk Ribeye. Clearly my first 30 years of life were a waste…
Louisville – 10-2 (6-2)
Lamar can only do so much with his freakish athletic ability and solid QB play. The rest of his team is just not on his level yet which showed throughout the season last year. They are still good enough for 10 wins as the non conference schedule is very manageable. I see a split with FSU and Clemson with the Noles revenging last years no-show and Louisville catching Clemson at home this year.
The Dish – The all you can eat buffet at the local Gentleman’s club. I can only assume Bobby Petrino eats half his meals there with his track record of infidelity with younger employees and the fact that overall he’s just a skeezeball. He calls a mean offensive game though so maybe the clams casino there is to die for.
Clemson – 9-3 (6-2)
The Tigers are you’re defending national champs and they return a good squad but with a new QB taking over for the best in program history I just don’t see another magical run. People forget that they should have lost to NC State and they had other close calls throughout the season. They were 7-1 in games decided by 7 points or less and with a less experienced team I don’t see all of those wins going their way again. I have Auburn picking them off early and then dances against Louisville and VT as L’s. Still a solid season but even with a win against FSU they fall short of repeating as ACC champs again.
The Dish – A big succulent pork chop. I love pork chops but if I am picking between a pork chop and a filet I am going filet all day. Clemson was that filet last year and now…..well you get where I’m going with this.
NC State – 8-4 (5-3)
Everybody is in LOVE with NC State this year which means I am not. Like the Pokes and Canes I just need to “sees it to beleees it” and NC State has not done that for me. They have had their chances for sure but great teams “know” how to win and the Pack isn’t there yet (remember that Clemson game?) I see improvement this year but bouts against FSU, Clemson, my Irish and their rival UNC will not go their way this season. There is always one of these teams every year that everyone hypes up that then disappoints. I see NC State being that team and until they hit the double-digit win mark they will still be underachievers to me.
The Dish – A big meaty burger that gets you all excited when it comes out but you take one bite to find that it’s dry and tasteless. Then you realize you are at Applebees and the fact that you convinced yourself it was going to be good to begin with was absurd.
Wake Forest – 6-6 (3-5)
The Demon Deacons are relevant again and I am a fan of that. After the loss of their DC Elko to Notre Dame building on their 7 win season will be tough in this stacked division. Still there are 6 to 7 wins out there and the future is bright. Wake Forest is no longer a guaranteed W when looking at your schedule which the fans should be happy about.
The Dish – A ham and cheese sandwich that has good taste but then you eat it day after day and after a while it’s just blah which is how I view Wake Forest. Kind of boring but not bad overall.
Syracuse – 4-8 (1-7)
Is the Cuse auditioning for a spot in the Big 12? With the way they played defense last year that is what it looked like. Every time I blinked watching the Notre Dame game I missed another 60 yard touchdown and literally wore out the rewind button on my controller. Dino Babers sure can drum up some offense but he seems to have Red Raider syndrome where defense is only a figment of your imagination. If there is any improvement on that side of the ball 4 wins can turn into 6 or 7 but until then Eric Dungey will continue to put up 38 points only to lose by 20. Get it together Dino. I’m rooting for your arena league college team to do something.
The Dish – Usually if you play absolutely no defense I compare you to some runny soup that no one likes and for consistency sake I am doing the same thing here. Tomato soup it is and that’s because there’s no substance to it just like Dino’s defense. Gross.
Boston College – 4-8 (1-7)
I feel bad for Steve Addazio because BC is just such a hard place to get enough good talent to. The Northeast isn’t producing enough players for them to pick from and 5 or 6 NJ/PA kids a year isn’t enough to build a consistent program anymore. Tom O’Brien had the recipe years ago and Matt Ryan made that big run but since then its been middle of the road and occasionally the gutter for BC. I like BC but I don’t see another winning season from them this year….sorry Steve.
The Dish – A piece of old beef jerky you found in the back of the pantry after a long night of binge drinking. It got the job done that night but eventually gave you the bubble guts in the morning.
Virginia Tech – 10-3 (7-2) Coastal Champs
Justin Fuente showed that you can generate offense at Virginia Tech which is something that wasn’t easy under Frank Beamer unless their QB had the last name Vick on the back of the jersey. Also, after seeing Jerrod Evans attempt a 5 and 7 step drop at the combine (which was the ugliest thing I have ever seen) and then throw the ball into the turf it speaks volumes to what Fuente can do offensively. So even with an unproven starter at QB they should still be good enough to hold off Miami and UNC in the Coastal who are also breaking in new QB’s. It could be the battle of 5-3 in the conference to get to the title game but I see the Hokies getting back again.
The Dish – A massive Hokie turkey leg which might be the best thing ever made. I have only ever had them at Disney and in Blacksburg when I saw Marcus Vick smash Syracuse back in the day. It’s the best Jerry the best!
Miami – 10-2 (6-2)
Everyone is in LOVE with the Canes and although I don’t love them I also don’t hate them either. The defense is solid and Malik Rosier has some experience under his belt but not enough to make them the favorite in the Coastal. In a 3 way battle of new QB’s in this division I am rolling with the Hokies. I could wind up being wrong….but I could be right as well. Only time will tell. The Canes aren’t officially back yet but they are close.
The Dish – A big 32 ounce bowl of booze, sugar, more booze, slush and two upside down coronas. I had one in South Beach before and it was great to start but by the end your stomach was a mess. No wonder no one goes to the Canes games. After one or two of these cocktails who wants to sit in 95 degree heat with a million percent humidity. Plus with the scenery in South Beach why would you leave to watch a game you could catch at one of the 100 bars there.
North Carolina – 8-4 (5-3)
So offensively UNC lost almost everyone that had production from a team that only went 8-5 last year. I don’t see that being much different but I do see them stealing a couple wins here and there because Larry Fedora has done a solid job of recruiting. The hardest player to replace will be Ryan Switzer because his big play ability on special teams was just as big as on offense. The kid just always found ways to make a play. Solid season by the Tar Heels this year but not enough to contend for the Coastal title.
The Dish – Thanks to google let’s go with Eggs and Livermush which to me just looks like scrapple that I love. A bunch of mystery meat that is mashed together, burnt to all hell and served nice and crispy. Can’t beat it folks. I have to try some Livermush one of these days. Don’t ask me how this compares to the Tar Heels though…..
Georgia Tech – 6-6 (4-4)
So people aren’t high on Paul Johnson’s squad this year which probably means they wind up winning 10 games and take the Coastal. That just seems to be what happens when no one is picking them. I see 6 wins with 8 as the top but who knows. The triple option either results in 130 yards rushing or 350 yards and predicting which defenses are going to stop it is tough. All I know is if Tech is catching 3 points on a Thursday night you take them EVERY TIME.
The Dish – A Turducken which we all know is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. That’s a triple option right? I actually had one a few Christmas’s ago and it wasn’t bad. I mean I wouldn’t ever request it but I will partake if it is on the table.
Pittsburgh – 6-6 (4-4)
Pat Narduzzi had a solid season last year with big wins over Penn State and Clemson but losing James Connor and Nate Peterman will hurt along with only 10 starters returning. Also, Max Browne was an overhyped underachiever at USC and I don’t see any different at Pitt. Ollison will help out of the backfield but its a setback year for Pat and the Panthers. Catching Penn State and Oklahoma State in the non conference doesn’t help either. Maybe next year Pitt.
The Dish – A hearty bowl of disappointment with a side of Max Browne…
Duke – 3-9 (1-7)
Big Cutcliffe fan but the talent is just so hard to get consistently at Duke. But like Georgia Tech Cutcliffe seems to overachieve at Duke. 6 or 7 wins is possible since they return QB Daniel Jones but it will take some gutsy performances to do that. I hope I am wrong here though.
The Dish – I am going to go easy on the Blue Devils and go with a light sophisticated scone. Not too bad but I don’t want more than one.
Virginia – 2-10 (0-8)
I want Virginia to be good again so bad and I thought Bronco Mendenhall could do that and he still might. For now though UVA is hanging around at the bottom of the ACC and still may be 2 to 3 years out before they get a winning season. Will Bronco’s leash be long enough to see 3 years from now? I’m not sure but what I do know is if he can’t succeed then it will be hard for anyone else to as well.
The Dish – Unfortunately I already used a poop sandwich for Illinois and Arby’s for Purdue because both would have been great fits for Virginia. That being said let’s go with Subway and the garbage $5 foot longs that weirdo Jared was peddling for so long. Like Arby’s their commercials make me cringe and if you like that style of sandwich then go to Quizno’s and do it the right way…if you can find one still.
ACC Champions – Florida State
The ACC is a tough one to predict and the Atlantic may be a free for all. We will find out soon as the season kicks off on Saturday (I don’t count the 5 games last weekend and neither should you). My SEC prediction is next.