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ACC football predictions: How wrong was I?



As we battle the lull before college football's bowl season begins, I thought it'd be interesting to look back on my preseason predictions. How bad was I?

I did the SEC yesterday, so the ACC is up today. As I wrote then, remember that if I were any good at predicting things, I'd be 1) winning my fantasy football league and 2) retired, on a beach, after making millions on one night in Vegas.

ACC Atlantic

What I predicted:
1. Florida State
2. Clemson
3. Louisville
4. Boston College
5. N.C. State
6. Syracuse
7. Wake Forest

How they finished:
1. Clemson
2. Louisville
3. Florida State
4. N.C. State
5. Wake Forest
6. Syracuse
7. Boston College

What I got right: Not much. I was high on Louisville but not this high. So I guess I get partial credit, maybe? I also thought Syracuse would need some time to build with new coach Dino Babers.

What I got wrong: I thought Boston College would take a step forward, and Wake Forest's offense would continue to struggle. I was also too high on FSU, which leads to...

What I said about the Seminoles: Might as well flip a coin between FSU and Clemson. ... DeMarcus Walker will be one of the conference's best pass rushers, and Derwin James might be the best player not named Dalvin or Deshaun. Clemson is really talented, too, especially on offense.

But here's why I chose the Seminoles: Clemson returns only four defensive starters. The Tigers keep producing star defensive linemen, so that's not a concern. The issue is the secondary, which will be almost entirely new. The other deciding factor? The game is in Tallahassee, where Clemson has won only once in the last 25 years.

What I think now: Derwin James' knee injury hurt FSU's chances and might have been the difference in the loss to North Carolina. But he wasn't worth 43 points (the margin of defeat at Louisville). The Tigers' defensive line is stout, but its secondary has been somewhere between pretty good and great, depending on the day and which statistics you value. I assumed FSU's blocking would be better, because almost its entire offensive line returned. That was a mistake. I didn't expect FSU's secondary to get shredded at times, either. Give the ‘Noles credit, though, for how they rebounded from a 5-3 start.

ACC Coastal

What I predicted:
1. UNC
2. Miami
3. Virginia Tech
4. Pitt
5. Georgia Tech
6. Duke
7. Virginia

How they finished:
1. Virginia Tech
2. UNC
3. Miami
4. Pitt
5. Georgia Tech
6. Duke
7. Virginia

What I got right: The bottom half. I thought the Yellow Jackets would be in for somewhat of a bounce-back year, and the Cavaliers are in for a long rebuilding process. I also thought the ‘Canes would show some improvement early under Mark Richt, and they did.

What I got wrong: I underestimated the Hokies. I thought first-year coach Justin Fuente didn't have the talent in place to win the division in his first season. I slightly overestimated UNC, too, even though I didn't envision the Tar Heels winning in Tallahassee.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 8, 2016 9:51am]


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