2013 ACC Football Picks and Predictions – Odds to Win ACC Championship 2013: The Atlantic Coast Conference has been a two-horse race in recent years with Clemson and Florida State taking turns at the top. Unfortunately for both schools, they both reside in the Atlantic Division and have been standing in each other’s way. While the current alignment of the conference may prevent the two best teams from meeting in the ACC title game, it does open the door for teams in the Coastal Division to turn one big performance in the conference championship game into a BCS bowl appearance. With that in mind, here is a closer look at how the top contenders in the conference stack up heading into the 2013 college football season.
The Clemson Tigers have the best quarterback in the conference in Tajh Boyd and the most explosive playmaker in receiver Sammy Watkins. The duo leads an offense that led the ACC in points, yards and third-down conversion percentage last year, and the Tigers’ scoring punch should be more than enough to overcome a defense that can be shaky sometimes, especially in the secondary. A couple of out-of-conference games against SEC juggernauts will likely keep Clemson from competing for a national title, but a Coastal Division and ACC crown are well within this team’s reach.
Led by a three-headed monster at running back and the ACC’s best defense, the Florida State Seminoles have the talent in place to have another special season. Coach Jimbo Fisher’s attention to the offensive line has paid off, and the Seminoles had the second-best ground attack in the conference in 2012. Meanwhile, the defense was the stingiest in the ACC one year ago and figures to be stout again. For FSU, the season likely comes down to the play of first-year starting QB Jamies Winston. He was the top-ranked dual-threat QB two years ago coming out of high school, but a road game against division rival Clemson will be a big test for the redshirt freshman.
The Dark Horses
While the two best teams in the conference reside in the Coastal Division, the Miami Hurricanes have right the program enough to make a run at the Atlantic Division crown. Stephen Morris gives the Hurricanes a legitimate starting quarterback for this first time in a long time, and sophomore running back Duke Johnson is arguably is the conference top big play threat. The offense is definitely further along in the rebuilding process than the defense, but Miami has enough playmakers at key positions to win the weaker of the conference’s two divisions and have a puncher’s chance in the ACC title game.
It was a down year across the board in 2012 for the Virginia Tech Hokies, but a defense that struggled by typical Hokie standards was the third best in the ACC. The unit should be even better this year, and while the offense still needs some playmakers to step up, quarterback Logan Thomas has the ability to carry an offense with his big arm and bulldozing running style. If Thomas and the offense can mount any sort of consistent scoring attack, a revamped defense and always-potent special teams unit could lead Virginia Tech back to the top of the ACC.
In terms of offensive firepower, the North Carolina Tarheels can go toe-to-toe with just about any team in the country. Quarterback Bryn Renner is back to lead an offense that averaged more than 40 points per game last year, and his supporting cast might be even better this season. Receiver Quinshad Davis hit his stride at the end of last year with three straight 100-yard games, and tight end Eric Ebron is one of the best in the country at his position. A suspect defense could cause issues, but if the offense lives up to its potential, North Carolina could outscore most of its other problems.
2013 NCAA Conference Odds – ACC
Odds to win the Atlantic Coast Conference – 2013 College Football
1021 Boston College +5000
1022 Clemson +175
1023 Duke +10000
1024 Florida State +250
1025 Georgia Tech +1200
1026 Maryland +10000
1027 Miami +175
1028 North Carolina +800
1029 North Carolina State +2500
1030 Pittsburgh +3000
1031 Syracuse +6000
1032 Virginia +2500
1033 Virginia Tech +800
1034 Wake Forest +8000
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