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2009 ACC College Football Preview
Odds - Predictions - Analysis
The ACC has been down in recent years. It's not that it's a "bad conference" though. There have been plenty of good teams in the ACC the last few years, just no great teams. For that matter, no top 10 teams. However, much like the Big East, the ACC had 9 of it's 12 teams finish with winning records a year ago. It's a conference where anything can happen from week to week. In recent years it's been Boston College and Virginia Tech battling for the crown but just about all of the teams in the ACC have made some noise. Wake Forest, Virginia and Florida State are always in the mix, and look out for North Carolina State this year. Heck, even Duke has been pulling some upsets and winning more games than every before.
Below we preview each of the ACC teams for the 2009 college football season and we also present the odds to win the ACC from several top rated sportsbooks. At the bottom of the page you'll find our summary with a prediction on who will win the ACC in 2009.
Virginia Tech Hokies - Odds to win ACC 2.5/1 - They finally got the job done in 2008 when they took the Orange Bowl from a very good Cincinnati Bearcats team with a final score of 20-7. Last season was riddled with offensive problems, but you can expect fewer worries this year. They will return 9 starters on offense, and Coach Frank Beamer has more playmakers this year than in any of his past 22. Tyrod Taylor is solid at QB, but he has to improve his accuracy. He is a threat to rush. RB Darren Evans racked up over 1,200 yards last year as a freshman and should be even stronger in 2009. Virginia Tech is renowned for its excellent secondary. Stephen Virgil will do great at CB after grabbing 6 INTs in 2008. If Tyrod Taylor can stay healthy this is easily the best team in the ACC. An opening game against Alabama will be tough, but if they come out on top they could find themselves as an early contender for the BCS Championship.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets - Odds to win ACC 7/1 - After waltzing in to Georgia and taking a victory in the final game of the regular season, the Yellowjackets were trounced by LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl by a score of 3-38. Despite that the 2008 season was a success as Georgia Tech finished the year 9-4. This year should be even better. The offense finished 4th in the NCAA in rushing last year. They will have to air it out this time around, and QB Josh Nesbitt looks capable of hitting target WRs Tyler Melton and Demaryius Thomas. Although they will be passing more, FB Jonathan Dwyer led the ACC in rushing last year and will get more than his far share of carries in 2009. The defense is iffy. SS Morgan Burnett is a potential All American, but the line will see 2 new DTs and a new DE. Expectations are high for this team, and if the passing game comes together they will not disappoint.
Florida State Seminoles - Odds to win ACC 3/1 - Bobby Bowdenís bunch put together a 9-4 record and won the Champs Sports Bowl over Wisconsin in powerful fashion in 2008. They will seek to improve on that in 2009 and chase the BCS Bowl bid that comes with winning the ACC championship. The offense will return 8 starters. The line is very talented and will allow QB Christian Ponder to hit WR targets Bert Reed and Richard Goodman. The receivers have had some integrity problems, so personal responsibility will be highly important for them. The defense is suspect at best and is led by CB Patrick Robinson. Freshman will have to come in and compete for them to hold back opposing offensives. With early games against BYU, and South Florida, we should know pretty early how good or bad the Seminoles are. I expect them to regress.
North Carolina Tar Heels - Odds to win ACC 6/1 - Butch Davisís crew wouldíve done much better last year had they not dropped games to North Carolina State and Virginia. They finished 2008 with a record of 8-5 and a 30-31 loss to West Virginia in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The offense returns 6 starters, including QB T.J Yates. The passer has been plagued by injuries in the past and must stay healthy if the Tar Heels wish to compete. Shaun Draughn will have the running duties. He racked up 828 yards and 3 TDs last year after playing Safety in his first season at North Carolina. The defense brings back 9 starters. They are made up of mostly veterans, and their backups are also experienced. The linebackers are lightning quick, but the secondary might not be as good as last year. They wonít play a tough game until week 4 at Georgia Tech. The Tar Heels are a team to keep your eyes on.
Clemson Tigers - Odds to win ACC 5/1 - This team is a classic example of one that beats the opponents they are supposed to but cannot come through with a marquee win. Clemson ended last year with a record of 7-6 and they lost to Nebraska in the Gator Bowl. They will return 7 starters on offense, including the deadly fast C.J. Spiller. The offensive line wonít be a weakness as it was in 2008. Freshman QB Kyle Parker is very talented and could be a playmaker from the start. The defense brings back 8 starters. DeAndre McDaniel is moving from LB to SS, and new defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has been giving him rave reviews. This team has the skills to pay the bills, but they have faltered in the past.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons - Odds to win ACC 14/1 - The Demon Deacons ended 2008 on a solid note with a 29-19 victory over Navy in the EagleBank Bowl. If they wish to continue that success, QB Riley Skinner has to keep playing great football. He is the ACCís all time most accurate passer at 67.3%. The running game has to be more consistent than last year. The offense will return 9 starters, but the defense is bringing back just 4 members. NG Boo Robinson will anchor the line. Coach Jim Grobe says this is the fastest defense he has seen in his 14 years at Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are more than capable of winning 8 games and making it to a Bowl game.
Miami Hurricanes - Odds to win ACC 5/1 - The ĎCanes ended 2008 with a record of 7-6 and a loss to California in the Emerald Bowl. Coach Randy Shannon will seek to get the Hurricanes back in gear during his third year at the job. It wonít be an easy task, as Miami will play four Top 25 teams to start the season. The offense brings back 6 starters. Sophomore Jacoby Harris will take over the QB duties and has a plethora of weapons. Graig Cooper will rack up plenty of yardage running the ball. The defense is returning 6 players from last season. The secondary has to do a better job of grabbing interceptions. They had just 4 in 2008. The linebackers will strong. On the whole, Miami looks good.
North Carolina State Wolf Pack - Odds to win ACC 8/1 - Last year was forgettable for this team. They finished with a record of 6-7 and lost to Rutgers in the Papajohns.com Bowl. The offense returns 7 starters. ACC Rookie of the Year Russell Wilson will lead the team at QB. He should do better this year as the defense is expected to improve thus taking pressure off the youngster. The defense will be bringing back 7 members from last yearís team. Nate Irving is tough at LB. He had 81 tackles last year and four interceptions. They will play Pittsburgh at home in week 4, and winning that game would be a great momentum builder. Look for them to finish mid pack in the ACC.
Maryland Terrapins - Odds to win ACC 20/1 - The Terps had an up and down year in 2008. Once they started to build some steam, they would lose a game. They finished the season on a positive note with a win in the Humanitarian Bowl over Nevada. Chris Tucker returns at QB along with 5 other members of the offense. He should do better this year as he becomes more accustomed to the west coast style offense. The defense will be changing from a 3-4 style to the 4-3 alignment. The Maryland Terrapins have a tough schedule and a lot of new faces on the roster. That youth will come in handy down the road, but they will have a down year in 2009.
Boston College Golden Eagles - Odds to win ACC 60/1 - Frank Spazianiís team made it to the ACC Championship game last year, but lost to Virginia Tech. They ended the year with a record of 9-5 and a loss in the Music City Bowl to Vanderbilt. This year figures to be a huge step back. The will return 7 offensive starters. QB Dominique Davis is inexperienced. TB Montel Harris will probably carry a large part of the offensive load. The defense is improving in the secondary and will also bring back 7 guys. However, the line will be weaker this year. Long story short, Boston College peaked last year.
Virginia Cavaliers - Odds to win ACC 25/1 - This team finished near the bottom of the ACC last year and will improve slightly this time around. The offense will be directed by new coordinator Gregg Brandon. He will be expected to keep other teams guessing in his first year. The secondary looks strong. The defense line is also solid with NT Nick Jenkins and DE Matt Conrath. Look for improvement if the offense adapts to the spread offense. If they donít we will likely see a repeat of 2008.
Duke Blue Devils - Odds to win ACC 60/1 - If only this was basketball; the Blue Devils wrapped up 2008 with a dismal overall record of 4-8. The offense brings back 5 starters. Senior QB Thaddeus Lewis will run the show once again. On the whole, the offense is inexperienced. The defense has the same problem. Coach David Cutcliffe has them headed in the right direction, but they still have a long way to go.
There's a big difference in picking a division winner as a publication like, say, Sports Illustrated may do, and picking a winner from a betting standpoint. We're a betting site. We're all about the odds, and finding wagers that may have value. From a betting perspective, there is zero value in betting on a favorite to win a division, before the season starts. You would be far better off picking your spots with that team during the season, than tying up your money now.
With that in mind, we can't help but take a shot with Boston College at 60/1 odds. That number is just ridiculous. Sure, BC has it's 3rd coach in 4 years, but heck, the team has a record of 30-11 over the past 3 years, the best in their division, and they return a good chunk of starters from a year ago, 7 on each side of the ball, from a team that went 9-4. Are they the clear cut choice to win the ACC? No. But at odds of 60/1 there is loads of value with the Eagles. So, we'll bite.
Check out all of our 2009 College Football Conference Previews!