ACC Coastal Division Preview: Same As It Ever Was [ACC Football]
The Atlantic Division of the ACC has two incredibly sexy teams, Florida State and Clemson. It has been since the early 2000’s that Florida State played as well as they were predicted to in the preseason. Clemson, behind Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd, is a team has had some crazy weapons on offense but always seems to shoot themselves in the foot every season at some point. The league has also basically been a farm system for Wisconsin to find their new quarterback. One thing is for sure with the ACC, none of these teams may be awesome or have exciting matchups during the season, but you can be sure that they will be entertaining games.
I swear to God every year I pick the Seminoles to win, because on paper, they are one of the best teams in the country. But these guys just suck at executing. Last year they lost to Wake Forest and Virginia. Let’s read that again, WAKE FOREST and VIRGINIA. Those teams are awful.
The Seminoles have 17 returning starters including quarterback EJ Manuel who threw for 2666 yards and went 18/8 and a completion rate of 65.3%. Florida State did struggle running the football last season but they also lose two experienced starters from last year’s team, which doesn’t bode well.
The Florida State defense though is impressive and some say that this is the best defense in the country. They have moved from running mostly man defense to more zones. All four defensive linemen return along with two linebackers and three defensive backs.
The only real problem with Clemson is their defense. Football Outsiders F/+ was not a fan of their defense, ranking them 76th in the country. They are just so exciting though. Whenever they are on television they get a TV screen to themselves, they’re not splitting time on a 4 by 4, a whole screen.
Sammy Watkins was the leading receiver from last year where he had 82 receptions for 1219 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was maybe the most exciting player in the nation. If you took De’Anthony Thomas and took away some agility for size to work better in a pro/spread hybrid, you get Sammy Watkins. Tajh Boyd, who once spurned Oregon is back and he threw for 59.7% and 33 touchdowns with 3828 yards. Big boy stats. Only two starters return on the offensive line.
14 total starters are back, 7 on offense and defense. Only one defensive linemen also returns, which is problematic when you open up against Auburn, go to Florida State, and play Georgia Tech. This is also a team fresh off a trouncing by West Virginia in the Orange Bowl, I can’t tell whether it was a hangover or a greater sign of things to come.
Mike Glennon is now a senior quarterback after a good season last year, throwing for 62.5%, 3054 yards, and 31/12. Running back James Washington is also back after running for 897 yards and 7 touchdowns with 4 yards per carry. A big key is four starters return on the offense line, the bad news is that almost all the receivers are new other than Tobais Palmer who caught 37 passes for 496 yards and 5 touchdowns.
On defense 6 starters return, making a total of 13, the most that NC State has had returning in a long time. 2 of the returners are on the defensive line. The entire secondary returns but all the linebackers need to be replaced. On the bright side, the Wolfpack miss Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech schools in their schedule and could hit, dare I say, ten wins.
Boston College has 17 returning starters, including ten on offense. This team got outgained by almost a hundred yards last year. Only 15 lettermen are lost for the season.
I think Boston College could easily cover against Miami to start off the season and get Maryland at home. But the Eagles have to play at Army (the triple option is tough to defend after playing Clemson and before Florida State), at Florida State, at Georgia Tech, and at NC State.
Anybody who had meaningful stats last year on each side of the ball, except for Luke Kuechly who had 191(!) tackles last season returns. BC is the same team as it ever was but their F/+ on offense (Football Outsiders) is a puke-ranked 88.
If Oregon is LSD as chosen by Everyday Should Be Saturday then Maryland is absinthe. Like absinthe, it just leaves an awful taste in your mouth. The hallucinogenic properties also in the drink are like the uniforms the Terrapins wear, and you tend to lose things when you drink it, like how Maryland loses their quarterbacks.
Maryland’s uniforms last year not only melted twitter but also my television and retinas. The month of November is going to be a killer for a team that returns 15 players, 9 of which are on defense. They host Georgia Tech, play at Clemson, host Florida State, and the play at North Carolina.
The Terrapins had two close losses that they maybe should have won against Clemson and NC State, but it seems to be in Maryland’s nature to botch games. There is very little faith in the program and I will expect nothing until I’m proven wrong.
Only 11 starters return to a team that lost in the Music City Bowl and finished 6-7 last season. Only the center returns on the offense line but quarterback Tanner Price who threw for 60%, 3017 yards, and went 20/12 comes back. Many of the games that they could win are on he road, such as at Maryland and Virginia, while most of the games against teams that they probably can’t beat like North Carolina are at ho