ACC Football: Predictions, Analysis and out-There Assessments for 2013
How difficult is it to compare every team in every conference to a type of alcohol? Well, it’s getting laborious, that’s for certain.
After previewing the Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC, the ACC is in the season preview spotlight. Predicted records, strengths, weaknesses and notable stops on the schedule have been outlined for each team, and that’s not all. A Twitter breakdown has also been included, summarizing all ACC hopefuls in 140 characters or less.
Sometimes, saying little—perhaps with the helping hand of a hashtag and ample snark—can be more effective than drowning you in text. Plus, by now you've had your fill of previews.
Also included is an alcohol comparison to each team. Have you ever wandered around the biggest liquor store in your area, texting yourself potential ideas for comparisons to college football teams?
Good, me neither.
Predicted Record: 3-9
Toughest Game: October 12 at Clemson
Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: Pretty much all of them (It’s sad when I have to write this, but it’s warranted here.)
Biggest Strength: Linebacker (Steele Divitto and Kevin Pierre-Louis are two of the better tacklers in the conference and make up a solid unit.)
Biggest Weakness: Offensive line (It struggled last year, and...it will likely struggle again.)
Breakout Player: Al Louis-Jean, CB
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: My mother always told me, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Rumple Minze
A shot of Rumple Minze has just been ordered, because you have bad friends who enjoy this sort of liquid torture. Maybe it won’t be that bad, and you’ll handle it without sprinting to the bathroom like that one time a few years ago. It's a special kind of burn, and not special in a special way.
Maybe...Nope, it’s that bad, and you suddenly realize you need new friends.
Predicted Record: 11-1 (This is the year Clemson finally conquers South Carolina. Probably. Maybe.)
Toughest Game: August 31 vs. Georgia (And you could certainly make a case for South Carolina, of course.)
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: October 26 at Maryland (The week after Florida State, where a sleepy road trip could be in play.)
Biggest Strength: Quarterback (Tajh Boyd. Enough said.)
Biggest Weakness: Running back (Yes, there are some defensive positions that are concerning, but Andre Ellington’s departure is huge. His yards will be tough to replace.)
Breakout Player: Martavis Bryant, WR
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: If Tajh Boyd continues to improve and Sammy Watkins stays healthy, it may not matter what the defense does. Well, we'll find out in Week 1.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… A Random Mystery Shot Purchased by a Stranger in a Bar
Congratulations! You’ve just been awarded one free shot courtesy of someone you barely know, and the mystery taste test is on. Will it be something you've had? Will it be new and fantastic? Will you begin choking at the bar and start signaling for help? Oh, the possibilities.
Good luck and Godspeed. And just remember to act like you liked it regardless.
Predicted Record: 5-7
Toughest Game: October 26 at Virginia Tech
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: October 12 vs. Navy
Biggest Strength: Wide receiver (Jamison Crowder is a beast, and he has help. There’s potential with this group as a whole.)
Biggest Weakness: Secondary
Breakout Player: Kenny Anunike, DE (He needs to stay healthy, because he can play.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Hey, Duke made a bowl game last year. Don’t forget it. It can do so again, although it won’t be easy.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… A Drink Ordered in a Las Vegas Casino
It’s watered down, served in an oversized shot glass, takes 25 minutes to arrive and is made using alcohol you don’t want to even think about. But, by golly, it’s "free" and you're in Vegas. Your expectations thermometer is all out of sorts, so just go with it.
You’re just happy to be here, drinking free drinks, pulling out yet another hundred from your wallet.
Predicted Record: 10-2
Toughest Game: October 19 at Clemson
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: September 2 at Pitt (A young team with an intriguing road game to start the season.)
Biggest Strength: Running back (There are plenty of places to go with this, but Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr. could prove to be a special one-two punch.)
Biggest Weakness: Youth (The defense loses a handful of key players, but it is not without talent. It’s just a matter of how quickly these players—especially on the defensive line—develop).
Breakout Player: Jameis Winston, QB (Well, duh. Perhaps the most obvious selection of any team in any conference, and there’s no way I’m changing my answer.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: The Jameis Winston show starts now. Yes, FSU lost a lot, but that solid recruiting could pay off now. #JameisWinstonThough
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Budweiser
Few brands are more recognized. Although, over time, the name and logo have become more celebrated than the actual taste of the beer, which remains well above average. It has changed looks, cans and even companies, but there’s an appreciation for the experience that has been lost through it all.
No, your stomach doesn’t appreciate the diesel. But you sure do.
Predicted Record: 8-4
Toughest Game: November 14 at Clemson
Don’t Sleep On 'Em Game: October 12 at BYU
Biggest Strength: Running back (Shocking, no? There aren’t any big-time stars—at least not yet—but there is experience and depth.)
Biggest Weakness: Defensive line (This group needs improving, and it's undergoing a scheme change.)
Breakout Player: Vad Lee, QB (He has a ton of potential in this offense.)
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… A White Russian
You usually need a reminder that you like it, but you do, and it’s a break from the normal routine. Is this the filet or lobster of drink orders? Absolutely not. But every once in a while, you need a change of pace. This is that change of pace, even if you order it just to be "that guy."
While the quality will vary greatly depending on the bartender concocting it, it’s strangely consistent and satisfying.
Predicted Record: 8-4 (Crazy? Maybe, but look at the schedule and consider that this team played a linebacker at quarterback last season.)
Toughest Game: October 5 at Florida State
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: September 14 at UConn
Biggest Strength: Wide receiver (Stefon Diggs changes the entire offense, and he has help.)
Biggest Weakness: Front seven (A lot of new faces, and this group performed well through much of last season.)
Breakout Player: C.J. Brown, QB (Back from an ACL injury, Brown could provide a spark with his arm and legs.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Even if Maryland doesn't make this big jump, the team is required viewing. Stefon Diggs is must-see every time he touches the ball.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Hard Apple Cider
It looks different, feels different and certainly tastes different, but a good ol' fashion hard apple cider can provide a silent punch. One minute you're talking about how you're going to only have one glass, and a few hours later, you've learned how to speak Portuguese and are now trying it on random strangers.
Oh, it has magical, tasteless powers. Be aware.
Predicted Record: 9-3
Toughest Game: November 2 at Florida State
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: November 29 at Pitt (Cold weather and an intriguing way to close the regular season.)
Biggest Strength: Quarterback (You could make a case for wide receiver here with so many returning targets, but Stephen Morris is poised to take off.)
Biggest Weakness: The defense, all of it (It has to play better, and it will, because, quite honestly, it can’t play much worse.)
Breakout Player: Anthony Chickillo, DE (The potential is finally realized.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Miami’s most unpredictable opponent in 2013 remains the NCAA. Everyone else can be beaten, especially with that offense.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Everclear
When mixed with the right ingredients, Everclear can be tamed and outstanding. If served by itself or with something insignificant, however, it can serve as flammable carnage. Seriously, it catches on fire, and you know this because you've tried.
The room for error when going down this route is so incredibly low, but for some, it's a risk worth taking. You say that now, comfortably, and then you find yourself using your bathroom floor as a pillow and wondering where you went wrong.
Predicted Record: 8-4
Toughest Game: August 29 at South Carolina (Not a fun way to start the season—for anyone.)
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: November 2 at N.C. State
Biggest Strength: Quarterback (Is Bryn Renner Larry Fedora's dream quarterback for his system? No chance. But he has still been incredibly productive and will be again in 2013.)
Biggest Weakness: Offensive line (Not a weakness per say, at least not yet, but three outstanding linemen need to be replaced.)
Breakout Player: A.J. Blue, RB
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Although it may not start well, Larry Fedora could have one of the nation’s most underrated teams.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Sake
It’s one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated drinks out there, and it doesn’t quite get the appreciation it deserves. You don't quite understand why you like it (or if you like it), but it sits well with good food and good people.
That’s not to say you should begin passing around the Sake at the ol’ neighborhood block party, but it should be utilized in the routine more if the occasion calls for it.
Predicted Record: 8-4
Toughest Game: October 26 at Florida State
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: November 9 at Duke (On the road, and a week after taking on UNC.)
Biggest Strength: Wide receiver (Deep and experienced. No major stars, at least not yet, but there is potential in this group. Now, who’s going to get them the ball?)
Biggest Weakness: Offensive line
Breakout Player: T.Y. McGill, DT (Expect him to parlay a solid 2012 into a brilliant 2013.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Dave Doeren was a magnificent hire for this school that will pay off long term. Short term, this schedule should help.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Sam Adams (Whatever Flavor, really)
It’s just not in your order repertoire, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, just about every Sam Adams that you’ve had is followed with “you know, this is good, I should order this more.” Then, next time the waitress comes around, you abandon this strategy and go with something else.
It's overlooked but certainly better than average, despite your ability to ignore it.
Predicted Record: 7-5
Toughest Game: October 12 at Virginia Tech
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: November 23 at Syracuse
Biggest Strength: Defensive line (The defense, which was underrated in 2012, returns the majority of its starters.)
Biggest Weakness: Running back (Isaac Bennett could end up crushing this label, but the position has undergone dramatic change in recent years.)
Breakout Player: Tom Savage, QB (Remember him? You should, and he could play well in a new environment.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: It won’t be easy to score on Pitt, but can the offense do enough to balance out this team?
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… A 40-ounce can of your choosing
Why drink out of a regular-sized can for average people when you’re so much better than the average? That’s the logic that goes into purchasing a 40—which everyone does every now and then, sometimes spontaneously—and you usually get exactly what you signed up for.
Yes, the bottom will be room temperature, filled with your backwash and hard to swallow, but on the bright side, more beer!
Predicted Record: 4-8
Toughest Game: November 16 at Florida State
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: November 30 vs. Boston College
Biggest Strength: Running back (Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley make up one of the best one-two punches in the conference.)
Biggest Weakness: Departures (Losing quarterback Ryan Nassib and head coach Doug Marrone in the same offseason creates a difficult transition.)
Breakout Player: Beckett Wales, TE
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Out-of-conference games against Penn State and Northwestern set the tone. And probably not in a good way.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Michelob Ultra
So you’ve just been handed a Michelob Ultra—not by choice, of course, but by default (family party, neighbor with odd tastes, a cooler than has been dissected, etc).
There are worse beers to drink than a Michelob Ultra, this much is clear. But that doesn’t change the fact that you’re drinking a Michelob Ultra.
Predicted Record: 3-9
Toughest Game: September 7 vs. Oregon (Oh, this probably won’t be pleasant.)
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: Welp, go ahead and take your pick.
Biggest Strength: Running back (Some surprising depth and young talent at the position.)
Biggest Weakness: Offensive line
Breakout Player: Eli Harold, DE (Look out for this one. Harold has the build to be a menace once he develops.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Virginia is doing magnificent work on the recruiting trail in 2013. That talent arrives next year. In the meantime... #gulp
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… A Wine Cooler
Before there was an assortment of flavored drinks with roughly 750 calories in each bottle, there were wine coolers. You questioned why you were drinking it—oh, and you did drink it, even if you won’t admit it—and if they somehow forgot the alcohol.
But there’s something to be said about drinking a bottle of something fruity that qualifies for about one full meal of your caloric intake. I have no idea what that is, but there’s certainly something to be said.
Predicted Record: 8-4
Toughest Game: August 31 vs. Alabama (Well, yeah.)
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: September 14 at East Carolina
Biggest Strength: The defense (There is talent all over the place. It has the potential to be one of the best in the country.)
Biggest Weakness: Wide receiver (The top options have all left, and this group is incredibly unproven to start the year.)
Breakout Player: J.C. Coleman, RB (He's injured right now, but he will be back.)
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: The defense should keep this team in most games. The offense...that's another story. #LoganThomasYoureUp
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Busch Light
It's not the same as it was when you were in college, that's for sure. Back then, you were thrilled to have a your hands on a 30-pack of Busch Light, because you knew there were six more beers included in this presentation. Also, it served as a pretty solid chair in desperate tailgating scenarios.
And although our thoughts of this beer have changed as we've gotten older, it's by no means bad. It's just...different. Ah, those were the days.
Predicted Record: 4-8
Toughest Game: September 28 at Clemson
Don’t Sleep On ‘Em Game: After Week 1, all of them
Biggest Strength: Defensive line
Biggest Weakness: The running game (Wake Forest averaged three yards per carry in 2012, running for just 1,206 yards all year. The backs and offensive line have to improve.)
Breakout Player: Orville Reynolds, WR
Season Synopsis in 140 Characters or Less: Let’s see...something positive about Wake Forest. Oh, those Chris Paul State Farm commercials are fabulous.
If It Were an Alcohol, It Would Be… Zima
They still make that? Of course, they still make it, just not in the United States. A combination of Sprite and beer with a dash of “let’s make something clear just to say we did” and an impressive marketing budget to go alongside. Hey, Zima had its moments.
The problem, however, is it’s been a while and also that it’s Zima.