Last year, the ACC was the best conference in college football by just about every single metric.
Utilizing the Fremeau Efficiency Index (or FEI), we can gauge how effective teams were last year in their Offense and Defense and adjust their efficiency based on strength of schedule. The FEI is the most comprehensive college football statistic that is available.
In terms of offensive efficiency, the ACC finished last year with the second most efficient offense after adjusting for opponents. That is incredible considering how defensive-minded the ACC is.
|Conference||Average Offensive Rank|
The Adjusted Defensive Efficiency is even better. The ACC was home to the most dominant defenses last year.
|Conference||Average Defensive Rank|
Combining the two metrics to find just how efficient the Offenses and Defenses were, we find that the ACC was the best conference in 2008.
|Conference||Average FEI Rank|
So what does the ACC have to look forward to this upcoming season? First, it looks like the ACC is going to be another coin toss, with no real front-runner emerging in the preseason.
Many analysts have picked Virginia Tech to take home the conference title, but the real situation is much murkier.
First, Virginia Tech is going to be in quite a race with Georgia Tech to win the Coastal Division. Georgia Tech's offense was incredible last year, and that was without a functional passing game. The 2009 season looks even more promising, as coach Paul Johnson has really refined their offense this offseason.
The winner of the Coastal Division should be decided when the two meet head to head in October.
The Atlantic Division is also going to be quite a race. Florida State looks to field a team that is overflowing with talent on the offensive side of the ball and is ranked in the preseason polls for first time in several years. But the dark horse of the conference lurks in the Atlantic Division, and that is Clemson.
Look for the Tigers to really catch people by surprise. As much as Clemson was overrated in the preseason last year, that's how much Clemson is underrated in the preseason this year. Watch for Clemson to be similar to Ole Miss this year and catch a lot of people with their pants down.
Overall, the conference looks much like it has in years past: a very defensive-minded conference with some serious big guns emerging on offenses for the first time in several years.
Look out for another nail-biter in the final race to the ACC championship.