Here is Campus Confidential's ACC preview.
Opening kickoff: The ACC will be a battle of two teams – Florida State in the Atlantic and Virginia Tech in the Coastal. Those teams have the most overall talent and should meet for the ACC title. The Seminoles and Hokies also have intriguing quarterbacks ready to take over this season. Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas (6-6, 254) takes over for graduated Tyrod Taylor, and E.J. Manuel (6-4, 234) replaces Christian Ponder, now with the Minnesota Vikings, for the Seminoles. Manuel has some experience, filling in for Ponder and playing well at Florida State. Manuel started against Virginia Tech in last season’s ACC title game, completing 23 of 31 passes for 288 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Logan and Manuel could have big seasons. Florida State and Virginia Tech should also have strong defenses. The Hokies return cornerback Jayron Hosley, who led the nation with nine interceptions last season. Florida State defensive end Brandon Jenkins should cause problems for opposing offenses. Two programs to keep an eye are Miami (Fla.) and North Carolina. Miami is being investigated by the NCAA for possible illegal benefits to players by former booster Nevin Shapiro. It’s still uncertain what the fallout will be for current Miami players in terms of possible suspensions this season. New coach Al Golden will need to keep the Hurricanes focused on winning games. North Carolina was the target of an NCAA investigation last season that forced numerous star players to miss significant time. It also cost head coach Butch Davis his job. Will the Tar Heels start to put that behind them and rebuild their program?
CC’s predicted order of finish
- Florida State
- North Carolina State
- Boston College
- Wake Forest
- Virginia Tech
- Miami (Fla.)
- North Carolina
- Georgia Tech
CC’s preseason offensive player of the year: David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech
CC’s preseason defensive player of the year: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
Best game: ACC title game on Dec. 3, which should match Virginia Tech against Florida State
Why Florida State will beat Virginia Tech in the ACC title game: Both teams are very talented. The one thing missing from Virginia Tech this season is that one tough non-conference game. The Hokies always schedule that one marquee game that gets them primed for ACC play. Last year it was Boise State at FedEx Field. Virginia Tech is playing an easier non-conference schedule in 2011. And its three toughest ACC games – Clemson, Miami (Fla.) and North Carolina – are all at raucous Lane Stadium. Florida State plays a huge non-conference home game early against national title contender Oklahoma and also plays at archrival Florida to end the season. Plus, Florida State plays Maryland and North Carolina State, teams that should be good, back-to-back in late October. And there’s a trip to Clemson in late September. Florida State will be more battle tested when the ACC title game is played. I do expect Virginia Tech to be undefeated when they play Florida State.