It's a new dawn, it's a new day. The inaugural 2021 season is on the horizon and it's time to break down each teams chances in the ACC!
Boston College Eagles
Head Coach: VACANT
Boston College have a relatively well rounded roster but are lacking a true playmaker on offense. The team seems like it's probably a season or two away from competing for the title. Offensively, expect the Eagles to lean on it's strong offensive line and pound the ball behind senior running back Shane Johnson. Defensively expect a big year for future NFL cornerback Mike Hargreaves, who is without a doubt the star player in this roster. Without a head coach currently at the helm, it seems that it could end up being a long year for this team.
Head Coach: @jordanozenne
Clemson need no introduction. An absolute behemoth of a football program, however it seems 2021 may be a year of building, as opposed to a year of challenging for any crown. The team has some genuine playmakers on both sides of the ball, but lacks the depth of other teams. I feel like after a year of solid recruiting (which is a given, it's Clemson), then this team will be poised to make hay. Senior Wide Receiver Trent Reyes looks like arguably the best receiver in the league, and if this offense is going to be productive, it's going to need to be a huge year for him and running back Chad Nickerson. I'm not ready to just write Clemson off just yet, but it's tough to see him winning the crown this year.
Duke Blue Devils
Head Coach: @stormstopper
Duke have a lot of bodies, not a lot of stars. I think ultimately, this is why Coach Storm will treat this year very much as a building year. The teams one true first round NFL prospect, Roc Barnett, will look to lead this defense from the pits of the safety position. The most interesting battle I see for Duke this year is who will start at QB for this program. The most experienced man for the job is of course Teddy Ezechukwu but without any redshirts in yet, we may yet see Freshman gunslinger Bam Bozeman win the job. Watch out for Taj Curtis too. The kid has serious talent from the edge and I expect him to be one of, if not their best player in 2022.
Florida State Seminoles
Head Coach: @Kirby
It's no secret now, this team is led by Matt Howard and if they are going to compete for a National Championship, he is going to have to live up to his billing as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. The offense has the potential to be one of the most potent in the country, with Trey Wooten primed to have a big year catching the football. The biggest concerns for this Noles team is on the defensive side of the ball. They have playmakers across the park, but can the defense match the offense? Time will tell.
#16 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Head Coach: VACANT
Georgia Tech look like a very well rounded side on paper. They have skill in the trenches on both sides of the ball and I expect this team to have a very balanced approach offensively. They have a great committee of running backs, and some serious skill position players. Bryan Mills will likely lead the offense under center and it'll be interesting to see how good he is in a conference with a number of good secondaries. When I see Georgia Tech, I just see balance. Balance, and more balance. This team, even though they are now coachless, will not be an easy out for anyone this year and it wouldn't surprise me if they have a few solid wins. Their main set back: being AI run.
Head Coach: @GK23
It's going to be fascinating to see the showdown this year between Louisville QB Curtis Monk, and FSU QB Matt Howard. Both quarterbacks are in their senior year and both guys look like money players. The key difference, in my opinion, is Howard has more weapons at this disposal. Louisville lack a true first round NFL talent at receiver and although they do have weapons, I think they are very much Monk or Die. It may work out for them, because Monk looks really damn good, but I think they may come unstuck against the elite teams for this reason. Look for them to shut down the run effectively though, their defensive line is fierce in this department.
Head Coach: @TheSam
Miami are very much a team for the future in my opinion. They have a lot going for them for 2022 and beyond. They have one of the best recruiting areas in the whole nation, and huge pulling power. They have a head coach. And they have talent with tons of potential. However, I think 2021 is going to be a tough year for the program when it comes to actual results. The team has a pretty well rounded roster of dudes, but they don't really have A DUDE. Dominic Love will see plenty of carries but the issue is, this teams offensive line seems more suited to the pass, and thus he may struggle.
North Carolina Tar Heels
Head Coach: @Tryggr
The Tar Heels look like one of the contenders in the Coastal, in my opinion. They have some serious dudes on either side of the ball and it wouldn't surprise me to see them in the ACC Championship game this season. QB Theo Wingenter has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, and the defense has strength at all three levels. I think they are going to surprise a lot of people this year and can very much have a "death by a thousand cuts" strategy in grinding opponents down in a variety of ways, regardless of opponent strengths. A match up nightmare for most.
#25 NC State Wolfpack
Head Coach: @Dean
Another program similar to Georgia Tech in the way this roster is just so damn well rounded. It's hard to favor defense over offense or vice versa. They have genuine playmakers at all levels and if QB Erik Machorro plays up to billing then this NC State team could be lethal throughout the year. They boast an extremely good offensive line too, which will only help their shiny quarterback with extra time in the pocket. I fully expect NC State to be one of the superior teams in the ACC, and i'm excited to match up against them.
#21 Pittsburgh Panthers
Head Coach: @iliveinadreamatorium
Pitt boasts one of the best defensive lines in the conference and I think the pressure they will be able to generate on opposing quarterbacks is going to be the key to their success. They have a defense that is strong at every level. My main issue with this roster for this year is that they lack the offensive fire power to win a shoot out. I think this team will be involved in low scoring, tight games, where they will lean on defense to win them games. Don't get me wrong, Pitt aren't a bad side, quite the opposite, they have a top defense in the nation. They have a lot of depth across the park, it's just I feel like this conference has so much offensive talent that they may be left in the wings this year struggling to keep up with the high scoring.
Head Coach: @blueblud3
Syracuse are, much like Pitt, a defensive minded team, at least for this year. They lack any real fire power on offense and I expect them to lean on their defense to win tight games. They have quite a lot of good depth in their roster. Whoever starts at QB is going to have to use and abuse WR Nefi Kipnis, who looks to be one of the premier wide receiving talents in the conference. The Defensive Line should be one of the top pressure-generating defenses in the conference, so if you like stout defensive play, make sure you watch 'Cuse this year.
Head Coach: @Wahoo
Cooper/Pryor/Phelps aka CPP may be the best three punch offensive trio in the entire nation. It doesn't even matter who suits up at quarterback from this team when you have those three players at your disposal. I am fascinated to see how they perform together this season because Virginia could quite easily become one of the funnest offenses to watch. They have a decent offensive line too, so whoever takes the snaps under center should have plenty of time in the pocket. Defensively they have playmakers too. I think the Cavaliers could be a dark horse this year, providing they get even above average quarterback play.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Head Coach: @Harrison
I am really excited to see DE DeAndre Carle this year. He is one of my favourite edge rushers in the nation and I expect him to put this defense on his back and have a great final season before heading off into the NFL. Outside of Carle, and CB Zach Johnson, this roster may struggle. They lack dynamic depth on both sides of the ball. WR Josh Rodgers will have it all to do to carry this offense, and although he's more than capable, i'm not completely convinced in QB Alex Whittaker. His lack of Football IQ makes me think this team will have some flashy moments offensively, but also some silly ones.
#12 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Head Coach: VACANT
The highest ranked ACC team in the pre-season rankings... and they have no coach. That, in my opinion, is their biggest draw back, and I think it will ultimately be why Wake Forest fall short this year. That is, of course, unless someone ends up taking them. This roster has weapons on both sides of the ball and has two of the best wide receivers in the country. If only they had a coach, because they are wasted right now!