CFN’s 2005 ACC Football Preview has unveiled their 2005 ACC Football predictions.


In summary:

Atlantic Division
(1) Florida State
(2) Boston College
(3Tie) Clemson, Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest

Coastal Division
(1) Miami
(2) Virginia Tech
(3) Georgia Tech
(4) Virginia
(5) North Carolina
(6) Duke

NC State’s participation in CFN’s predicted four-way tie is understandable and doesn’t surprise me.

The post-FSU history of the ACC reveals that after Florida State (and now Miami & Virginia Tech) there is typically one team from the “middle tier” of programs – NC State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Virginia, UNC, and Maryland (since Ralph Friedgen has arrived) – who break out and challenge FSU (now, the top tier). Occassionally these challenges from the 2nd tier would be a single year in nature, and sometimes they would happen over a longer period of time.

In the early 90s it was Dick Sheridan’s NC State.
Mid 90s it was Mack Brown’s UNC-Ch.
Late 90s was Georgia Tech’s Joe Hamilton-led teams.
Sprinkled through it all was George Welsh’s consistency at Virginia.

Every year that I try to handicap the ACC race I invariably find myself looking for that competitive program that may be poised for a break-out year. This season, I honestly think that NC State would be my choice as the surprise contender if not for the uncertainty that exists around the Quarterback position. After last year’s performances by Jay Davis and Marcus Stone, it would simply not be prudent for anyone to choose the Pack to perform at a higher level until seeing what Marc Trestman’s impact will be on the position.

Additionally, State’s 2005 schedule lends itself to supporting a break-out from the middle of the division. State hosts Maryland and Clemson in Raleigh and has to travel to Wake Forest. If I had to choose 2 of those three to get at home and one on the road…that is exactly what I would choose. If the Pack can hold tight to form at home, then it would look to me that recent nemesis, Georgia Tech, may loom very large as a swing game to decide the level of success of the season.

The other main surprise that I see here is that Wake Forest has been chosen in the 3rd place tie. Wake benefits in the prediction because CFN did not choose Clemson or Maryland or State to elevate from each other, and therefore a tie for third is created with only a 3-5 record. It looks as though they may be picking Wake over State (played in Winston-Salem in late October) to get us both to 3-5.

Parting (Outsiders) shot:
An SEC buddy of mine saw CFN’s preview and passed along the following:

“Not much love for the Pack. If you have to make an SEC analogy here, the Atlantic Division looks a lot like the SEC West with a clear favorite, but pretty solid talent from 2 – 5 and a 6 that’s better than the bottom of most conferences.

The Coastal looks like a good proxy for the SEC East. The top team is solid and wears Orange (Miami/Tenn). The second team is over-rated (Va Tech/Florida) especially by their own fans. The two bottom teams suck. The middle teams don’t compare as well though Georgia provides each division with its third best team which will lead with a solid defense. As for USC and UVA, well they both have former NFL coaches and though both programs have reasonable reputations, they’re never really going to be in any sort of title contention in their conferences.”