Let's face it, we all do it.
The day the schedule is announced for your favorite team you look at it and start counting off the wins and losses.
Some of the guesses are second nature to you. Obviously your team can take care of Presbyterian or Army, but how will they fare against Auburn or Ohio State?
There are always those toss-ups, those games you are not sure about. You also know that flukes happen and ruin your idealized scenario.
Fortunately, you're not the only one prognosticating. Every single ACC team has a number, a plateau they wish to break.
A number that will divide success from failure.
This article looks at each ACC team and tries to provide a number that will be the tipping point for that program.
Don't worry, some of the numbers are there to be free from the dreaded "push."
Your mission: will the team go over or under that number?
The choice is yours and let the debate begin.
Locks: Weber State, Kent State, Syracuse
Likely Wins: Virginia, at Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland
Toss-Ups: at North Carolina State, Clemson, Notre Dame
Tough Ones: at Florida State, Virginia Tech
Those darn Eagles, every time you want to write them off, they soar above the competition.
You can change coaches, coordinators, conferences, and quarterbacks but Boston College still finds a way to win.
The last time the Eagles won fewer than eight games was 2000 and they have at least six or seven seemingly in the bag for 2010.
The question will be how Boston College fares against the upper tier competition like Clemson, Florida State, and Virginia Tech.
While no one is really giving the Eagles much chance to win the Atlantic, they certainly have the schedule to it. They also have an offense returning the best rusher no one talks about in Montel Harris and quarterback Dave Shinskie.
Will the Eagles continue their success?
Locks: Presbyterian, North Texas
Likely Wins: Maryland, at Wake Forest, North Carolina State
Toss-Ups: at Auburn, at North Carolina, Georgia Tech, at Boston College, at Florida State, South Carolina
So the early reports on coach Dabo Swinney are definitely positive.
The Tigers won the ACC Atlantic Division last year and were just a game away from a BCS bid.
Instead though, Clemson finished with a 9-5 season. Certainly an improvement, but not the elite status that Tiger fans are hoping for in 2010.
Hope springs eternal, even without star running back C.J. Spiller, quarterback Kyle Parker has the talent and now experience to help the Tigers take consecutive division crowns.
However, the schedule is not kind.
Clemson has plenty of road blocks, having to face North Carolina and Georgia Tech in the Coastal Division along with a stern test at Auburn.
The Tigers can certainly win every game on their schedule, but they only have a few breathers along the way.
Will the grind get to Clemson in 2010?
Locks: Elon, Army
Likely Wins: Virginia
Toss-Ups: at Maryland, at Navy, at Wake Forest, Boston College
Tough Ones: Alabama, at Virginia Tech, Miami, at Georgia Tech
Duke may have become the new darling of the ACC with its up and coming program, but without quarterback Thaddeus Lewis, the pressure will be on coach David Cutcliffe to work his guru magic on his successor under center.
The favorite Sean Renfree has been limited with an injury and the Duke defense has been atrocious lately. The Blue Devils will have great difficulty keeping the positive momentum going this season.
The schedule certainly does not help. Granted, Duke is often going to have tough challenges if it's football but even the 50/50 games will be tough.
Virginia has a new coach and a new attitude. They will be dangerous.
Maryland is struggling but they could rally behind their beleaguered coach and muster a victory.
Navy is always a dangerous team with its offensive schemes.
Duke certainly should pick up three or four games, but will they get lucky enough to find that elusive fifth or, dare we say it, sixth win?
Likely Wins: at Virginia, at Maryland, Wake Forest
Toss-Ups: North Carolina, Clemson, Florida, at N.C. State, BYU, at Miami, Boston College
Tough One: at Oklahoma
Well, well, well....now we come to the Seminoles.
Despite a paltry 7-6 mark last season, Florida State is being talked about as the "it" team in the ACC thanks to quarterback Christian Ponder.
The Seminoles certainly have a great pedigree, but Florida State has not had a 10-win season since 2003.
In fact, since then the boys from Tallahassee have only surpassed eight wins twice.
However, with a dynamic offense, Florida State could easily do it this season. The question will be on how much the apathetic defense can improve.
The Seminoles have big games against Oklahoma and Florida to augment clashes with Miami, North Carolina, and Clemson.
They have the talent to win all of these games, but do they have the mental toughness to handle the pressure and adversity that comes with success?
Recently, past Seminole teams have been unable to, but can the Jimbo Fisher era bring about a new answer?
Locks: South Carolina State
Likely Wins: Duke, Virginia, at Kansas, at Wake Forest, Middle Tennessee
Toss-Ups: at North Carolina, North Carolina State, at Clemson, at Georgia, Miami
Tough One: at Virginia Tech
The defending ACC Champions lost some serious MVPs on their roster heading into 2010.
The top wide receiver, the top running back, and the top defensive player all gone to the NFL. With them go a great deal of leadership and continuity.
The two people that will determine the Jacket's faith in 2010 will be its quarterback Josh Nesbitt and new defensive coordinator Al Groh.
Nesbitt, who has always been the focal point of the offense, will need to do even more this time around.
Even though Anthony Allen will probably emerge as a great complementary piece, Nesbitt will be the engine to the well oiled machine that is known as the Georgia Tech offense.
The Yellow Jackets had a defense that had trouble stopping anyone in the big games, so Paul Johnson brought in former Virginia head coach Groh to save the day.
Will the defense improve? Of course.
How much? That is the question.
Georgia Tech won some close games last year and without some of their best play makers wins will be harder to come by.
However, coach Johnson has done a good job of reversing the bad fortunes for Georgia Tech.
None of the games on the schedule are impossible, but the Coastal is much tougher in 2010.
Will the Jackets sting the competition or ended up swatted?
Locks: Florida International, Morgan State
Toss-Ups: Navy, Duke, at Virginia, Wake Forest, North Carolina State
Tough Ones: at West Virginia, at Clemson, at Boston College, at Miami, Florida State
Oh, Ralph Friedgen, how the mighty have fallen.
The Maryland Terrapins looked to be the "it" team the first few years under the Fridge but things have gotten cold in College Park.
A new athletic director, a relatively new quarterback in Jamarr Robinson, and a team that won two games last year are all question marks heading into 2010.
Maryland will have a good running attack with Robinson's scrambling ability combined with running back Da'Rel Scott and Davin Meggett.
On the other hand, nearly every other Atlantic Division team took a step forward this offseason as well.
Can Maryland get some lucky breaks?
Can the players rally around their embattled coach and pull off some major upsets?
Lock: Florida A & M
Likely Wins: at Duke, at Virginia, South Florida, Maryland
Toss-Ups: at Ohio State, at Pittsburgh, at Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, at Georgia Tech
We all know that hope is full bloom in Coral Gables.
The Miami Hurricanes appear to be on the right track, due in large part to offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.
Quarterback Jacory Harris has developed nicely but he still has thrown in an occasional clunker performance. If Miami is to live up to expectations, he must find consistency.
He must also find a way to manage a brutal schedule where the Hurricanes take on Ohio State and Pittsburgh to go along with Florida State and Clemson.
In truth, no ACC team has a harder conference schedule nor can many compare to their out of conference tilts.
Coach Randy Shannon will need to keep his players motivated and focused.
Will the Hurricanes storm through the ACC?
Locks: William & Mary
Likely Wins: at Rutgers, East Carolina, North Carolina State, at Duke, at Virginia
Toss-Ups: LSU, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Clemson, at Florida State, at Miami
The North Carolina Tar Heels may be one of the most talented teams in the ACC.
Their defense is stacked with future NFL players.
They have a stable running back corps and some dynamic wide receivers.
Yet, despite the talent, coach Butch Davis has been unable to put the pieces together quite yet for the Tar Heels.
Three seasons in the ACC and Davis has never broken above .500 in the conference record. In fact, his overall record is only 20-18.
The last time Carolina won over eight games was 1997.
However, if Carolina can get the big opening day win over LSU it seems very plausible.
The Tar Heels have some tough games but they have reason to believe they can win each and every one.
The question comes down to quarterback. Will T.J. Yates be able to find his old form?
If not, how soon before Davis pulls the plug and puts in a new signal-caller.
Carolina has more expectations than any other team on this list and a history of failing to live under the pressure.
With the recent NCAA buzz over possible violations, can this team rally around each other and take the Coastal Division?
Lock: Western Carolina
Likely Wins:at Central Florida, at East Carolina, Cincinnati
Toss-Ups: Wake Forest, at North Carolina, at Maryland, Boston College, Florida State, at Georgia Tech
Tough Ones: Virginia Tech, at Clemson
When Tom O'Brien left Boston College to go to North Carolina State, people were confused.
It was a lateral move at best and the results have been pretty mediocre.
In fact, O'Brien already has more losing seasons with the Wolfpack than he did in nine years with the Eagles.
The reason has been pretty obvious, the Wolfpack had the second worst scoring defense in the ACC.
Their secondary tied for the least amount of interceptions in the ACC and they allowed over 140 yards per game in the air.
That defense still has question marks in 2010 with one of the youngest and most inexperienced lines in the conference.
However, the Wolfpack does have one of the best offenses around.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is a force, being able to put points up at any time. His 31 passing touchdowns led the ACC.
Now Wilson has a cadre of talent at wide receiver to help him bolster those numbers even more. With the offensive line being relatively young, I would expect Wilson to carry the load more than ever.
We all know that defense wins titles, but offense gives you a chance in nearly every game. While the Wolfpack are not the best team in the ACC, they are one of the most dangerous.
On any given night, they can muster up enough offense to win a shootout.
Will O'Brien finally get his winning season at North Carolina State?
Lock: VMI, Eastern Michigan
Likely Wins: Richmond
Toss-ups: Maryland, North Carolina, at Duke
Tough Ones: Florida State, Miami, at Georgia Tech, at Boston College, at Southern California, at Virginia Tech
It's a new era in Virginia, but many of the players remain the same.
The Cavaliers must find someone who can run the offense. If quarterback Marc Verica is not the answer, then new coach Mike London needs to plan for the future now and put in Michael Strauss or Ross Metheny.
Virginia will go back to doing what got them success in the height of the Groh years, pounding the rock. The Cavaliers have options at tail back and a defense that keeps them in games.
However, they lack the overall talent that most of the upper echelon ACC teams have and that will cost them ultimately in their record.
I expect Virginia to make strides, but their win total is going to center around Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke.
If Virginia gets lucky they can reach .500, but they could also easily find themselves in the basement again.
Will coach London inspire his team to silence the critics earlier than expected?
Locks: James Madison, Central Michigan
Likely Wins: East Carolina, at N.C. State, Wake Forest, Duke, Virginia,
Toss-Ups: Boise State, at Miami, at North Carolina, Georgia Tech, at Boston College
Death, taxes and the Hokies winning ten games.
These are the things you can take the bank.
The last time Virginia Tech failed to win 10 games was in 2003. Which also happens to be the last year they were not in the ACC.
The Hokies have simply dominated their new conference much like the Seminoles when they joined in the early 1990s.
38-10 since joining the ACC, Virginia Tech simply finds a way to win games, particularly at home.
The Hokies have a stern challenge at the beginning of the year with Boise State and the ACC is improved overall.
Will that really result in a changing of the guard though?
Virginia Tech has the best running corps in the conference and a quarterback who proved he had an arm that defenses had to account for as well.
The biggest question mark is at defensive line, but the Hokies rarely have to worry about their defense.
Virginia Tech has proven they can win in the ACC, can they prove they deserve more with a marquee victory over Boise State and another BCS appearance?
Likely Wins: at Vanderbilt, Duke, Navy
Toss-Ups: at N.C. State, Boston College, at Maryland
Tough Ones: at Stanford, at Florida State, Georgia Tech, at Virginia Tech, Clemson
Riley Skinner is gone for the Demon Deacons and with him go many of the expectations for Wake Forest in 2010.
Coach Jim Grobe has a sterling reputation but even he will have a tall task in front of him considering the state of the ACC Atlantic.
Wake will have to completely reinvent its offense to a run-first mentality. It will also need to improve a rushing defense near the bottom of the ACC standings.
If the Demon Deacons are going to win, they will need to run the clock and try to escape with some close games.
The only problem is that Wake Forest had the worst field goal unit in the ACC, going 12-of-19 in 2009.
Wake Forest should get to four wins but finding that elusive fifth win will be tricky.
Can Grobe find a scheme that allows his Demon Deacons to be competitive in 2010?