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2022 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Preview

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

Predicted Order of Finish

Atlantic Divison-

1. North Carolina State- the Wolfpack return 16 starters from last year’s 9 win team including 9 on a defensive unit that ranked 14th in points allowed and 21st in total yards allowed, junior QB Devin Leary is coming off a school record 35 TD’s but lacks a proven running back

2. Clemson- motivation won’t be an issue after failing to win the ACC and reach the College Football Playoff which has become the standard for the Tigers, junior QB DJ Uiagalelei struggled mightily last year and must right the ship under a new coordinator in Brandon Streeter who takes over for Tony Elliott now the HC at Virginia

3. Wake Forest- the Demon Deacons are coming off one of the best seasons in school history a year ago winning 11 games along with the Atlantic Division title, the defense, however, surrendered over 40 points 5 times last and turns to Brad Lambert, who held the same position a decade ago under former HC Jim Grobe, to restore order

4. Boston College- after missing 8 games with a wrist injury in 2021 senior QB and NFL prospect Phil Jurkovec is primed for a breakout season alongside star senior WR Zay Flowers who is coming off a 14 TD season and over 1,600 receiving yards, just 1 starter returns on the offensive line which could hold Jurkovic down

5. Florida State- dual threat junior QB Jordan Travis showed much improvement last year completing 62.9% of his passes up from 55% in 2020 while helping the Seminoles notch a road win over North Carolina along with a win against rival Miami, the pressure is on 3rd year HC Mike Norvell to get the Noles back to a bowl after back to back sub 500 seasons that included a home loss to FCS Jacksonville State last year

6. Louisville- plenty of key pieces return on both sides of the ball including senior QB Malik Cunningham who threw for just under 3,000 yards along with 19 TD’s last year, the defense which allowed over 27 points per game must turn things around under new coordinator Wesley McGriff

7. Syracuse- sophomore RB Sean Tucker is coming off a 1,496 yard and 12 TD season and will have four returning offensive linemen to create running lanes, the passing game ranked 121st in the nation last year which led HC Dino Babers to bring in new coordinator Robert Anae from Virginia to provide a spark

Coastal Division-

1. Miami- HC Mario Cristobal returns to his alma mater where he won 2 national championships as a player and inherits sophomore QB Tyler Van Dyke who threw 25 TD’s after taking over for injured D’Eriq King in week 4, the defensive line is young and inexperienced and will need a boost from USC senior transfer DT Jacob Lichtenstein (28 tackles, 4 sacks)

2. Virginia Tech- former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Pry returns 8 starters on that side of the ball led by senior LB Dax Hollifield, the offense got a boost landing transfer QB Grant Wells who threw for over 3,500 yards last season while at Marshall but the unit lacks depth and talent at the receiving position

3. Virginia- senior QB Brennan Armstrong returns after passing for 4,449 yards and 31 TD’s along with his top receiver in junior Dontayvion Wicks (100.3 yards per game), however, he will be protected by an entirely new offensive line while working in a new system under HC Tony Elliot who takes over for Bronco Mendenhall

4. Pittsburgh- the offense returns the entire offensive line and a deep backfield led by senior Israel Abanikanda for which should make things easier USC senior transfer QB Kedon Slovis, that being said replacing Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett won’t be an easy task

5. North Carolina- the Tar Heels have a ton of talented and experienced receivers for whoever wins the starting QB job, new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik will have 7 returning starters but must fix a unit that allowed over 32 points per game and ranked 97th in rush yards allowed last year

6. Duke- the Blue Devils enter 2022 under new leadership after longtime HC David Cutcliffe decided to step down, Mike Elko takes over after successful stints as defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, Notre Dame, and Wake Forest but inherits a program on a downward trend after dropping 8 straight by an average of 32 points to end last year

7. Georgia Tech- sophomore QB Jeff Sims can make plays with both his arm and feet while the defense will benefit from the addition of transfer DT Morris Joseph Jr. from Memphis, HC Geoff Collins is just 9-25 in 3 seasons and the Jackets finished outside the top 90 in both total offense and defense in 2021

Buy- Boston College

Sell- Pitt

Best Bet-Boston College OVER total wins

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