The 2022 ACC Football season is finally here. No more transfer talk. No more boomers complaining about NIL rights and kids actually making money. Let’s get down to football.
Here’s how the STL staff ranks the ACC heading into week one.
This week: at Georgia Tech
It’s Clemson. Whatever. They have an almost NFL line but they’ll fight over what 5* QB they want to start. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end with Dabo replacing both offensive and defensive coordinators this past offseason.
This week: at East Carolina
Credit to the Wolfpack for scheduling a road, in-state out of conference game to start the season. The Pack are fairly heavy favorites, but ECU could put a scare into them. Devin Leary looks to build on an impressive 2021 campaign and lead State to an ACC Atlantic title.
This week: vs. Bethune Cookman
Is the U back? Probably not, but that’s not going to stop the CFB media from hoping it is. The Hurricanes haven’t been nationally relevant in nearly 20 years, but make a coaching change and everyone expects them to beat everyone.
This week: vs. West Virginia Mountaineers
The Panthers took down the Mountaineers in a fairly miraculous comeback in the first Backyard Brawl in 11 years. Kedon Slovis did what he had to do and didn’t turn the ball over, but the Panthers got back to Pat Narduzzi football carrying the ball 39 times for 76 yards.
This week: vs. VMI
Wake took care of VMI early in the week to get off to a 1-0 start. Can’t glean to much given the competition, but Mitch Griffis performed admirably in replacing Sam Hartman totaling 288 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. Christian Turner and Justice Ellison could be a force on the ground for Wake this season.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-0, 0-0)
Last week: win vs. FAMU, 56-24. This week: at Appalachian State Mountaineers
The Heels got right in the second half vs the Rattlers after only leading 14-7 after the first quarter and 28-14 at halftime. It was only FAMU, but Drake Maye put up good numbers completing 29 of 37 passes for nearly 300 yards and 5 touchdowns. This week is a bit of a different story with Sun Belt favorite and in-state rival, App State.
This week: vs. Richmond Spiders
Tony Elliott makes his debut. Some vocal in the fanbase have been disappointed in the lack of recruiting splash Elliott has made thus far, but are hoping the product on the field is as crisp as ever. Let’s just hope a defense was formed this offseason.
This week: at Syracuse
After going 10-14 over the last two seasons including just 6-7 last year, Scott Satterfield could be on one of the hotter seats in the conference this year. Most don’t expect much from the Cardinals on the field despite Malik Cunningham still being the QB. The saving grace for Satterfield could be the 2023 recruiting class which already features a 5* RB and 7 4* commits.
This week: at Old Dominion Monarchs
Brent Prye looks like a VT football coach and that is more than enough to get that fanbase jazzed. You don’t get facial hair like that if you don’t come from the mountains. Many expect them to get back to “lunchpail” football (whatever that means in 2022), but the secret recruiting hotbed of Hampton Roads that brought Beamer his success isn’t really there anymore.
10. Florida State Seminoles (1-0, 0-0)
This week: vs. LSU in New Orleans
Holy pillow fight. Two absolute name brand college football teams that have both won titles in the last 10 years, but who both are expected to be in the bottom half of their conferences. ABC was licking their lips when this got scheduled and now they’ll get this iteration. Oh well, football is football.
This week: vs. Rutgers.
Jeff Hafley is entering his third season in Chestnut Hill where he has yet to break .500 in a season. A fairly benign out of conference schedule (Rutgers, Maine, UConn, and Notre Dame) will certainly help the strive for 7 wins, but they’ve had easy OOC schedules the last few years as well.
12. Syracuse Orange
This week: vs. Louisville
Dino Babers and Cuse haven’t made a bowl game since the 2018 season. Yes, they went 10-3 that season, but 11-24 since then is abysmal. Another rough 2022 season is likely to be on the horizon and Babers could join Collins in looking for a new gig.
This week: vs. Clemson
Geoff Collins has not succeeded in Atlanta, to put it lightly. Alabama convinced the Yellow Jackets’ star RB to transfer this offseason and their out of conference schedule is even more impossible than ever with UGA, Ole Miss, Western Carolina, and a trip to UCF on it. GT will likely be looking for a new coach this offseason.
14. Duke Blue Devils
This week: vs. Temple
A unanimous vote in who will be the worst in the conference this season. The Blue Devils are breaking in a new coaching staff and could challenge for worst team in the Power Five. It’s good to have Duke back.
Here’s how the editorial staff here at STL voted:
Special shoutout to Tiki and Wiley.