2013 College Football Preview: The ACC

Sports

Below are the projected ACC team ratings for the 2013 season. Keep in mind that projected wins and losses are made to reflect what would happen if every team played an average schedule. Most teams don’t play an average schedule, so actual wins and losses won’t look like this once the season plays out. Instead, these numbers are trying to tell us who the best teams are, regardless of the difficulty of their schedule. Therefore, instead of seeing this as a prediction that the top team in the ACC will go 8-4 this year, think of it as meaning this upcoming Miami team would be projected to go 8-4 in 12 games playing an average schedule.

For projections for all Division I football teams, click here.

Overall

Ranking ACC 5 Yr. Improve Ret. Starters Proj. Off+ Proj. Def+ Proj. Total Proj. Total+ Proj. W Proj. L
1 Miami (Florida) 102 142 119 104 109 112 8.09 3.91
2 North Carolina 102 112 108 110 111 109 7.66 4.34
3 Georgia Tech 101 119 114 102 107 108 7.60 4.40
4 Florida State 103 74 110 106 107 108 7.54 4.46
5 Pittsburgh 102 104 98 116 106 107 7.40 4.60
6 Syracuse 106 97 104 107 103 105 7.15 4.85
7 Clemson 98 97 111 99 104 105 7.03 4.97
8 Virginia Tech 97 97 85 116 100 101 6.46 5.54
9 North Carolina State 102 82 91 106 94 98 6.02 5.98
10 Duke 102 104 104 92 96 98 5.99 6.01
11 Wake Forest 96 119 94 102 98 98 5.97 6.03
12 Virginia 96 104 92 97 92 94 5.48 6.52
13 Boston College 94 104 88 99 92 94 5.33 6.67
14 Maryland 95 89 81 97 89 89 4.65 7.35

Offense

Ranking ACC Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Blocking Proj. Off Proj. Off+
1 Miami (Florida) 113 115 115 123 119 116 119
2 Georgia Tech 95 132 112 111 110 112 114
3 Clemson 116 91 118 110 108 110 111
4 Florida State 100 115 119 90 107 109 110
5 North Carolina 115 99 116 108 98 110 108
6 Syracuse 95 102 99 105 115 101 104
7 Duke 91 100 103 108 115 102 104
8 Pittsburgh 98 81 94 122 91 96 98
9 Wake Forest 95 91 85 115 99 94 94
10 Virginia 90 79 88 89 103 89 92
11 North Carolina State 88 83 90 80 90 87 91
12 Boston College 96 83 84 88 89 87 88
13 Virginia Tech 88 90 84 84 87 86 85
14 Maryland 98 78 84 68 68 82 81

Defense

Ranking ACC Passing Rushing Scoring Turnovers Forced Pressure Proj. Def Proj. Def+
1 Virginia Tech 113 113 117 101 119 113 116
2 Pittsburgh 113 117 120 108 112 115 116
3 North Carolina 112 109 112 113 116 112 110
4 Syracuse 100 109 107 92 117 105 107
5 Florida State 114 105 113 90 93 106 106
6 North Carolina State 94 107 102 95 115 102 106
7 Miami (Florida) 106 98 101 111 96 102 104
8 Georgia Tech 109 99 99 104 95 101 102
9 Wake Forest 98 103 97 109 106 101 102
10 Boston College 101 96 98 96 79 96 99
11 Clemson 90 107 99 91 112 99 99
12 Maryland 99 100 94 97 96 97 97
13 Virginia 105 96 98 77 91 95 97
14 Duke 86 94 86 98 102 91 92

Confused? Check the glossary.

1. Miami– Quarterback, Stephen Morris, came on strong at the end of last year, and the Hurricanes return basically everybody on the offensive side of the ball this year. It’s the defense that is going to tell us how good this Hurricane team is.

2. North Carolina- UNC has 9 starters coming back on the defensive side of the ball this season. That’s normally good news for any team, but it’s very good news for a team who’s defense was 5% better than average in 2012. The offense has a a decent amount of starters returning (6), as well. The Tar Heels have been trending slightly upward since 2007, but a lot of that is from those pre-scandal Butch Davis teams. Honestly, I don’t know if I trust Larry Fedora, but the numbers like him, so I guess we shall see.

3. Georgia Tech– The Yellow Jackets have 8 starters coming back on both sides of the ball, which is tied for second most in the ACC. That’s exciting because that means an offense that was 20% above average last season, should be that much more experienced running Paul Johnson’s triple option offense. The main question for the upcoming season, is how much better can a defense that was below average last year be with 8 experienced guys and a new defensive coordinator?

4. Florida State– The numbers like Jimbo Fisher. Florida State was #47 in the nation according to my ratings in Bobby Bowden’s final season in 2009. Since Fisher took over in 2010, though, the Seminoles have finished the season at #10, #20, and #10, respectively. Inexperience looks to hamper this year’s Florida State incarnation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be good, of course. The numbers are projecting Florida State to be the 27th best team in the nation this season. I guess that’s what happens when you have the recruiting hotbed that is Florida in your backyard.

5. Pittsburgh– The Pitt defense should be strong this season, as they return 9 starters from a 2012 defense that was 16% above average. And on offense, they do have a talented wide receiver in Devin Street. The problem is, do they have anyone to get the ball to him?

6. Syracuse– This year’s Syracuse team has a new coach, a new quarterback, and a below average number of starters returning on offense. If they have one thing going for them, they do return an above average number of starters on defense. Really, the numbers like Syracuse to finish 5% above average this year because of the improvement they showed under former coach Doug Marrone. Breaking in a new system and a new quarterback, in my opinion, is going to make it hard to live up to this projection.

7. Clemson– Many people may find it odd to see Clemson projected as the 7th best team in the ACC. Then again, maybe they won’t. I mean, there is a reason why “Pulling a Clemson” is an actual thing. We all know the offense is going to be good, but how good can that defense be? It was slightly above average last season, but only returns six starters this year. If the defense can get it together, in addition to what’s projected to be a high-powered offense, Clemson may be able to do the opposite of “Pulling a Clemson.” Whatever you want to call that.

8. Virginia Tech– Virginia Tech’s projection is probably the most entertaining to me this season. On one hand, they bring back 9 men from a defense that finished 20% above average last season. That’s a positive. Unfortunately, on the other hand, Frank Beamer’s Hokies return 4 starters from an offense that was 11% below average last season. That’s a negative. The numbers are projecting Virginia Tech to finish this season with the 9th best defense in the country, while at the same time fielding an offense that is 113th in the nation. In other words, it looks as if there will be a lot of feelings of deja vu for Virginia Tech fans this year.

9. North Carolina State– The Wolfpack have 18% fewer returning starters than the average Division I team, while breaking in a new head coach this season. Needless to say, this is a rebuilding year.

10. Duke– On the bright side, Duke is trending slightly upward (2% per year average since 2007) in football. On the darker side, it’s still Duke Football. The offense looks to be decent this season, but the defense seems poised to look like… well, Duke.

11. Wake Forest– Jim Grobe had some pretty good teams by Wake Forest standards about 5 or 6 years ago, but that doesn’t do a whole lot for this upcoming season’s Demon Deacons, of course. If there is something to be hopeful about, it’s the fact that an above average number of guys come back on both offense and defense. If there’s a reason not to be hopeful, though, it’s the fact that Jim Grobe’s teams have been getting worse since the 2007 season, at an average rate of 4% per year.

12. Virginia– Under Mike London, Virginia’s highest finish was #74 in the country by my ratings. Last year’s team ended at #85, and from that team, return’s a below average number of starters. Sprinkle in a little year-to-year decline since the 2007 season (much the same way we did with Wake Forest), and this season doesn’t look like it’s going to be a fun one in Charlottesville.

13. Boston College– New head coach, Steve Addazio, is full of enthusiasm, but it remains to be seen how much that will help a team that has been declining at a higher rate since the 2007 season, than all of five other teams in the nation. The Eagles have a slightly above average number of returning starters coming back this year, but that’s from a team that finished the 2012 season at 89th in the country and 11% below average.

14. Maryland– Maryland isn’t far behind Boston College in year-to-year decline. However, they return fewer than average starters from last season’s #102 ranked team, and they don’t have a new, enthusiastic head coach to shake things up. Instead, Randy Edsall is feeling the figurative heat under his figurative seat. And this is the product that is joining the Big Ten in 2014…

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