Holy hell what an offseason it has been. 2020 is 75% through and now it is on to football season (for now)!
As always, streaking the lawn strives you give you the best and finest power rankings of the ACC football teams there are.
Without further ado, here is how we think the 15 (welcome, Notre Dame) teams enter this weird season.
1. Clemson Tigers. Week 1: at Wake Forest
The Tigers lost to LSU in last year’s National Championship, but return enough 5*s to fill out the rosters of the rest of the conference. The also have the reigning ACC Player of the Year in Travis Etienne who decided to come back to school and Heisman favorite Trevor Lawrence. Dabo appears to be evolving at least, so good for him.
2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Week 1: vs. Duke
WELCOME NOTRE DAME! This is what it feels like to be in a conference for football. Instead of playing a seemingly monster independent schedule every year, you get to play teams like Duke, Georgia Tech, and Syracuse. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the Boomer ND fans who cling to their independent pearls, if they want to make the Playoffs, they should join the ACC.
3. North Carolina Tar Heels. Week 1: vs. Syracuse
We all giggled when Mack Brown took over UNC and now he’s recruiting blue chip players and has a great 2nd year QB on the team in Sam Howell. They ended up 7-6 last year, but are expected to contend with ND for a chance to play Clemson in the ACC Title Game.
4. Louisville Cardinals. Week 1: vs. Western Kentucky
The Cardinals’ defense was pretty dreadful last year but Micale Cunningham could be a legitimate threat to become the next Lamar Jackson. It’s still mind blowing they lost to Florida State last year, but this year they avoid Clemson. A four week stretch of ND, FSU, VT, and UVA could make or break their season.
5. Miami-Florida Hurricanes (1-0, 0-0).
Week 1: win vs. UAB, 31-14. Next week: at Louisville.
D’Eriq King showed why he was such a wanted transfer against UAB completing 66% of his passes for 144 yards and a touchdown while adding 83 yards on the ground and another touchdown. He could be a menace this season.
6. Virginia Tech Hokies. Week 1: BYE
The national media has hyped the Hokies up coming into the season after they return a large chunk of their starters including their QB, Hendon Hooker. Bud Foster isn’t there anymore and Justin Fuente has about worn out his welcome in Blacksburg. They need a good year for him to keep his job going forward.
7. Virginia Cavaliers. Week 1: BYE
Bronco Mendenhall lead UVA to one of their finest seasons in recent memory but lost Bryce Perkins to graduation. Can Brennan Armstrong take the reins? Can the defense replace Bryce Hall and maintain its high level? Will they ever run a screen?
8. Florida State Seminoles. Week 1: vs. Georgia Tech
Typically after a dreadful season where a team gets a new coach expectations are down. Not in Tallahassee though! After an eventful offseason, Mike Norvell is probably expected to win 7 games this season with James Blackmon at QB. Good luck coach!
9. Pittsburgh Panthers. Week 1: vs. Austin Peay
A darkhorse to challenge ND to be Clemson’s tackling dummy, the Panthers featured an excellent defense last year and return most of the talent. Kenny Pickett is in his 8th year of college football and should be more than adequate on the offensive side. They avoid UNC but their schedule does them no favors with ND, Clemson, Miami, and Louisville on it.
10. Duke Blue Devils. Week 1: at Notre Dame.
The 85 year old wizard, David Cutcliffe, is in his 40th season coaching and is looking to get more magic out of Clemson transfer Chase Brice. Opening with the Irish is rough, but no Clemson, Louisville, or Miami on the schedule is manageable at least.
11. N.C. State Wolfpack. Week 1: BYE
Dave Doeren’s time in Raleigh is about up. Wolfpack fans can’t understand why they can’t be more like Clemson and look just to the west and see their big brother UNC racking up recruits.
12. Syracuse Orange. Week 1: at UNC
After a wonderful 2018, Dino Babers and company lost a bit of shine in 2019 finishing 5-7. Tommy Devito is back in his 3rd year with Cuse so they’ll have their returning leader on the field. The schedule makers didn’t help Babers though putting UNC at the beginning, Clemson in the middle, and ND to finish the season. Yikes.
13. Wake Forest Demon Deacons. Week 1: vs. Clemson
So Wake is going to start 0-1. They get NC State the next weekend, but then have to play host to Notre Dame. I thought Cuse’s schedule was rough, but Wake might give them a run for their money.
14. Boston College Eagles. Week 1: BYE
BC will open up at Duke next weekend and play host to Texas State the following. It will be a good trial run for first year head coach Jeff Hafley. He’ll quickly realize he’s not at Ohio State anymore after hosting UNC the next weekend. Clemson, Notre Dame, and Louisville in a four week stretch isn’t going to help either.
15. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Week 1: at FSU
The Yellow Jackets beat Miami on the road last year and should have beaten UVA in Charlottesville as well. They also lost to The Citadel and got blown out by Temple. They won’t be good this season, but a big step forward with blue chip freshman QB Jeff Sims is on the table.