Without a doubt, there are a lot of uncertainties going into the 2015 season. Clemson seems poised and prepared to take over the Atlantic, but Florida State is extremely talented as well. Louisville and NC State both look to knock off the Tigers and Seminoles from the top, and either could prove be a smart sleeper pick.
Clemson returns pre-season Heisman candidate Deshaun Watson, who is practically being hyped into having a stellar season. Barring another injury, there’s no reason he shouldn’t light it up for the Tiger offense, especially when surrounded by such a solid receiving core. Clemson lost a lot on the defensive side, however, with 9 starters going pro or graduating.
There are probably even more questions surrounding the Seminoles down in Tallahassee. Will Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson fill Winston’s shoes? What will come of Dalvin Cook’s trial? Even with uncertainties swirling around, Jimbo Fisher usually seems to find a way to win. The media and fans seem split on the defending ACC champs, but I have a hunch they may just reign for another year–at least in the Atlantic.
Atlantic Division Pick: Florida State
The Coastal is a bit more balanced, with fairly solid teams all the way to the bottom. Duke and Pitt may surprise a lot of folks this year, and North Carolina has a lot of potential as well. Pittsburgh returns some of the best offensive talent in the country, and they seem to be the sleeper pick of choice for many. Miami has an opportunity to improve on its 6-7 record from last season, and definitely has the tools to do so.
Virginia Tech is going to have a lot of questions on offense, but the defense will be very strong. The Hokies open at home against the defending National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes, a game that they won last year in Columbus. They play at Georgia Tech on November 12th in a game that very well may decide the outcome of the Coastal division.
Coming off an Orange Bowl win, Georgia Tech returns standout quarterback Justin Thomas, and 12 other starters along with him. The offense will be great, without a doubt. Defense seems to be a question, but didn’t prevent them from winning 11 games last season. I don’t believe even a much improved Virginia Tech team can top the Yellow Jackets this year, however.
Coastal Division Pick: Georgia Tech
A rematch of last season’s ACC Championship game would be a big one, for sure. Only time will tell which teams live up to, and fall short of their preseason expectations.