2010 College Football Preview: Hurricane Warning Issued for the ACC

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst IJuly 12, 2010

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Jacory Harris #12 of the Miami Hurricanes scrambles against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Land Shark Stadium on September 17, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has always been overshadowed by bigger conferences like the SEC and the Big 12. This year the ACC has enough talent to make other conferences take notice and now they have the big TV contract as well.

ACC just signed a 12-year TV package deal with ESPN worth $1.86 billion and the games will be seen on a regular basis. That means the ACC will begin to get more exposure and that is good news for fans and football bettors.

Bet Phoenix has posted the odds on each team to win the ACC conference. These odds are placed on each team and their chances to win the ACC.

Here are my predictions for the ACC in 2010 and where the teams will finish in the standings and who will be the eventual champion.

ACC Atlantic Predictions:

1. Florida St Seminoles

Odds to win the ACC are 2.5 to 1

Odds to win the ACCC Atlantic are 1.25 to one

The Jimbo Fisher era begins in Florida as he replaces Bobby Bowden. Don’t expect too much transition as it has been known for years that Fisher would take over.  On offense the Noles return a bounty of talent led by quarterback Christian Ponder and an offensive line that returns a group and is one of the top protection units in the country. On offense the Seminoles will be explosive and will be hard to contain.

The defense is another matter, as they finished last season 108th nationally in total defense. Mark Stoops was called in as defensive coordinator to try and help a defense that was abused all season long. If the defense can adjust to the new scheme that will be employed this year, the Noles will be in contention for the ACC title. If not, the offense will be asked to win games to keep Florida St on top in the ACC Atlantic.

2. Boston College Eagles

Odds to win the ACC are 8 to 1

Odds to win the ACCC Atlantic are 3 to 1 

Win or lose this year, the feel good story of the ACC will be the return of Mark Herzlich to the Boston College defense. The 2008 ACC Defensive Player fought a battle with cancer last year and now returns to reinforce the Eagles defense. The Eagles have some quality starters returning on defense and will have one of the better linebacker corps in the country. On offense, Dave Shinskie returns to try and improve an offense that was inconsistent and played poorly. BC will surprise this year and finish at the top of the Atlantic mainly due to an improved defense and soft schedule.

3. Clemson Tigers

Odds to win the ACC are 8 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Atlantic are 2.5 to one

Clemson looks to take advantage of the good fortune they experienced in 2009 when they won the Atlantic. The offense takes a hit as explosive running back C.J. Spiller is now in the NFL, but they should still put up a formidable attack. The big question will be if Kyle Parker will play football or baseball. If they lose him at quarterback it could be a tough transition for the Tigers. With a demanding road schedule against the likes of Auburn, Florida St, North Carolina, and Boston College don’t look for Clemson to repeat this year.

4. North Carolina St Wolfpack

Odds to win the ACC are 15 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Atlantic are 7 to 1 

QB Russell Wilson is a bright spot for this team and will return to air it out on offense, but the main problem for the Wolfpack will be a defense that lost all its starters up front. Tom O’Brien will get the most out of his players but with a difficult road schedule that ends with three out of the last four games on the road. The Wolfpack will have trouble competing in the ACC.

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Odds to win the ACC are 25 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Atlantic are 10 to 1

Look for a turbulent season of transition for the Demon Deacons. After starting four years at Wake, Riley Skinner is gone at quarterback and so are three starters on the offensive line. The team is looking to return to an option offense and with a struggling defense look for Wake to finish at the bottom of the ACC Atlantic standings.

6. Maryland Terrapins

Odds to win the ACC are 50 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Atlantic are 12 to 1

Maryland should be  better than the team that had just two wins from a year ago, they may get three wins. Last year Maryland had one of the worst offensives in the ACC and the first step will be to replace losses on the offensive line. The defense is suspect and without too much talent, Maryland will be a bottom feeder in the ACC once again. With little to no improvement by the Terps, it could be the last year for Ralph Friedgen as head coach.

ACC Coastal Predictions:

1. Miami Hurricanes

Odds to win the ACC are 2.5 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Coastal are 1.25 to 1

Jacory Harris leads the Hurricanes on offense and showed last year that he could lead this team against some tough opposition. The strength of this team is on defense and the Canes are quick, strong, and very deep in nearly every position as they return nine starters from a year ago. This defense was ranked 29th nationally in total defense and will be a force in the ACC once again. The early part of the schedule is demanding with three straight road games against Ohio St, Pittsburgh and Clemson, but they get ACC Coastal rivals Virginia Tech and North Carolina at home. The revenge game against the Hokies will be the game that decides the Coastal division. Miami gets revenge and the title in 2010.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

Odds to win the ACC are 5 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Coastal are 3 to 1 

Head coach Butch Davis enters his fourth season with the Heels and 2010 has the potential to be his best. He returns almost every starter from a year ago and is stocked with talent on both sides of the ball, especially the defense. This defense has six All-Conference selections and many of them could have went pro last year but decided to stay based on the potential of the 2010 season, including OLB Bruce Carter, DT Marvin Austin, and LB Quan Sturdivant. The offensive unit is where the Heels struggle. Senior TJ Yates leads the way at quarterback, but was turnover prone last year. If he struggles again, look for redshirt freshmen Bryn Renner to get the call. The schedule is unforgiving this year for the Heels and will be too tough to overcome to get a title, but they look to be a factor in the ACC in 2010.

3. Virginia Tech Hokies

Odds to win the ACC are 4 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Coastal are 2 to 1

The Hokies will return eight starters to include Heisman hopeful Tyrod Taylor, who will lead the team at quarterback. He has a deadly combination of passing and running skills that is impossible for other teams to defend. The backfield is one of the most talented in the country with the dynamic duo of Ryan Williams and Derrick Evans. Frank Beamer is known for a coach that employs an opportune defense and an aggressive special teams unit known as “Beamer Ball." This year could be a tough adjustment for Beamer as he only returns four starters on defense and has to replace his place kicker and his punter. The end of the schedule is unkind to the Hokies and that will be the only thing keeping them from an ACC Coastal title.

4. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Odds to win the ACC are 10 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Coastal are 5 to 1

Paul Johnson has worked wonders with the Yellow Jackets and made them into ACC and BCS contenders. He returns 18 starters from an outstanding 2010 squad to include dual threat quarterback Josh Nesbitt. The offense will miss Jonathan Dwyer, who will be suiting up in the NFL next year but they have plenty of depth to fill the void as senior running back Anthony Allen will take over. The real key will be getting the offensive line patched up as they return just two starters from last year. On defense it will be impossible to replace defensive end Derrick Morgan, but Paul Johnson can make his defense look good with his ball control offense. A late schedule to end the season and a new offensive line will prevent GT from winning the ACC Coastal.

5. Duke Blue Devils

Odds to win the ACC are 50 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Coastal are 12 to one

David Cutcliffe is bringing this football program respectability in the ACC. The Blue Devils return 16 starters from a team that won three games in conference last year. They managed to finish out of last place in 2009 and that is what they should aim for again in 2010. The ACC Coastal is way too talented for Duke to hang around with any of the top tier teams, pulling off an upset or staying out of last place would be good goals to shoot for.

6. Virginia Cavaliers

Odds to win the ACC are 20 to 1 

Odds to win the ACCC Coastal are 8 to 1

It’s going to be a long year for the Cavaliers. They are in a rebuilding mode of sorts and will look to get headed in the right direction. With just three wins from a year ago, the Cavaliers will be lucky to match that total in 2010. They had the worst offense in the ACC last year and face a tough schedule this year. They are on the road against USC and grab the top talent from the ACC Atlantic. The game against Duke on November 6 could decide who finishes last in the ACC Coastal Division.

Miami Hurricanes Beat the Florida St Seminoles for the ACC Championship

The ACC should provide some entertaining football for this season and it will be interesting to see how the season unfolds.

Here are some other college football previews and predictions for the 2010 season.

2010 BCS Championship College Football Predictions

2010 SEC Preview and Predictions

2010 College Football Big East Preview and Predictions

2010 College football Pac-10 Preview and Predictions

2010 College Football Big Ten Preview and Predictions

2010 College Football Big 12 Preview and Predictions

Handicapping the Heisman Race in 2010



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