2012 ACC Football Preview

By: Bruce Wilson
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Photo by: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Photo by: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

College football starts this week and here is a breakdown for the entire ACC season, including: thoughts, winner/loser of every game, overall records, standings, and player of the year.

Boston College: Last year the Eagles finished 4-8, 3-5 in the conference and I don’t expect them to fare much better this year. Wins: Maine, Army, and Maryland. Losses: Miami, Northwestern, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina State. Final 2012 Record: 3-9 overall and 1-7 in conference play.

Clemson: Expectations are high for the Tigers, ranked 14th preseason, after winning the ACC Championship last year. Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins are going to lead a strong offense, leaving the defense to be the question mark. The last time we saw Clemson their defense was giving up 70 points versus West Virginia in the Orange Bowl. The Tigers have a tough schedule and it starts with a trip to Atlanta to face Auburn. I have the Tigers falling off a little this year, losing several of their big games. Wins: Auburn, Ball State, Furman, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, and Maryland. Losses: Florida State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, and South Carolina. Final 2012 Record: 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play plus an opportunity to play in a bowl game.

Duke: The Blue Devils lost several close games in 2011 and their senior leadership on offense could make the difference between a 3-9 season and a 6-6 year. With Sean Renfree under center I like Duke to contend for a low tier bowl game. Obvious key games are at Wake Forest and at home vs. North Carolina. Wins: Florida International, North Carolina Central, Memphis, Wake Forest, Virginia, and North Carolina. Losses: Stanford, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and Miami. Final 2012 Record: 6-6 and 3-5 in conference play plus an opportunity to play in a bowl game.

Florida State: Last year the Seminoles were a disappointment finishing 9-4 overall and this season expectations are high as they are the preseason favorites to win the ACC and some think Florida State has what it takes to win it all. I am not one of those people. I do not have faith in EJ Manuel like everyone else does. This will be a good season for the Seminoles but it will not end with a BCS or an ACC championship. Wins: Murray State, Savannah State, Wake Forest, Clemson, South Florida, North Carolina State, Boston College, Miami, Duke, and Maryland. Losses: Virginia Tech and Florida. Final 2012 Record: 10-2 and 7-1 in conference play with a chance at the ACC title game and a bowl game.

Georgia Tech: After an average showing last year the Yellow Jackets are looking forward to an improvement this season. Unfortunately it starts with a trip to Blacksburg to face the #16th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. If their option offense is clicking the ‘Rambling Wreck’ may only lose a few games. Wins: Presbyterian, Virginia, Middle Tennessee, Boston College, Brigham Young, Maryland, North Carolina, and Duke. Losses: Virginia Tech, Miami, Clemson, and Georgia. Final 2012 Record: 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play with a chance to play in a bowl game.

Maryland: I feel sorry for Coach Randy Edsall. He seems like a nice guy and people are putting a lot of pressure on him. His team however may not help him much this year. Having to start a back-up quarterback due to injury is never a fun thing. I think it’s going to be a long year for the Terrapins. Wins: William & Mary, Temple, Connecticut, and Wake Forest. Losses: West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina State, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State, and North Carolina. Final 2012 Record: 4-8 overall and 1-7 in conference play.

Miami: The Hurricanes will have a better season than last year. I’m not sure if that is indicative of their team or the ACC as a whole being bad. If their defense can play as well as last year, it will be hard for opposing offenses to get into a rhythm. Miami is the team that could play spoiler here with big games against NC State, Va Tech, and Florida State. Wins: Boston College, Kansas State, Bethune-Cookman, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Virginia, South Florida, and Duke. Losses: North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Florida State, and Virginia Tech. Final 2012 Record: 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play with a chance to play in a bowl game.

North Carolina: I personally don’t think the Tar Heels are going to be as good this year as everyone else does. Yes we all like Giovani Bernard and Bryn Renner but this team cannot win big games. They were 0-3 last season against the top 25 and that will not change this year. Bryn Renner may throw a lot of touchdowns this year but I also expect him to throw a lot of picks. The defense will be decent at best and they will give up an alarming amount of big plays. The key games this season will be at Louisville, at Duke, and at home vs. NC State. I think they might lose all three. Even though I am not a UNC fan, I hope their off the field problems do not affect the teams play. Wins: Elon, Wake Forest, East Carolina, Idaho, Virginia, and Maryland. Losses: Louisville, Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke, North Carolina State, and Georgia Tech. Final 2012 Record: 6-6 overall and 3-5 in conference play with a chance to play in a (bad) bowl game.

North Carolina State: This will be a solid season for the Wolfpack and yes, I have them winning their 6th in a row against UNC.  Their rushing game was 109th in the nation last year and will be better this year. If the Wolfpack get consistent play on offense from Mike Glennon and the defense steps up, State will rack up the victories. A favorable schedule only presents two challenges: an Oct 6th meeting with Florida State and a Nov. 17th trip to Clemson. Wins: Tennessee, Connecticut, South Alabama, Citadel, Miami, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Wake Forest, Clemson, and Boston College. Losses: Only one to Florida State. Final 2012 Record: 11-1 overall and 7-1 in conference play with a chance to play in a major bowl game but not the ACC title game since they are in the same division as FSU.

Virginia: The Cavaliers were pretty good last year but don’t expect a repeat performance. As bad as the ACC is, they are just better than Virginia. Wins: Richmond, Louisiana Tech, and Maryland. Losses: Penn State, Georgia Tech, TCU, Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Miami, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech. Final 2012 Record: 3-9 and 1-7 in conference play.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are the team to beat in the ACC and should contend for the BCS championship. Anytime Frank Beamer is on the sidelines the Hokies have a chance to win the game. The defense will again be one of the best in the nation and even without RB David Wilson (NFL) their offense should flourish behind Logan Thomas with a relatively easy schedule. Wins: Georgia Tech, Austin Peay, Pittsburgh, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Miami, Florida State, Boston College, and Virginia. Losses: None. Final 2012 Record: 12-0 overall and 8-0 in conference play with a spot in the ACC title game and a chance to play in a BCS bowl game.

Wake Forest: The bottom half of the Atlantic division in the ACC is bad with Maryland and Boston College. Throw the Demon Deacons right in there with them. Their ground game is horrible and I don’t expect much from their defense. Wins: Liberty, Virginia, and Boston College. Losses: North Carolina, Florida State, Army, Duke, Maryland, Clemson, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, and Vanderbilt. Final 2012 Record: 3-9 overall and 2-6 in conference play.

Final 2012 ACC Standings:

Atlantic Division: Florida State 10-2 (7-1), North Carolina State 11-1 (7-1), Clemson 8-4 (5-3), Wake Forest 3-9 (2-6), Boston College 3-9 (1-7), and Maryland 4-8 (1-7)

Coastal Division: Virginia Tech 12-0 (8-0), Miami 8-4 (5-3), Georgia Tech 8-4 (5-3), Duke 6-6 (3-5), North Carolina 6-6 (3-5), and Virginia 3-9 (1-7).

ACC Player of the Year: Logan Thomas, Junior QB, Virginia Tech

For more great blogs you can follow Bruce on Twitter @BruceRWilson

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan.

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