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2012 ACC Football Preview
The ACC figures to be one of the most competitive conferences in all of college football in 2012. Only 3 teams in the entire ACC had fewer than 6 wins last season, BC, Maryland and Duke and each of those 3 teams is loaded with returning starters this season. In fact, most of the ACC teams are in good shape as far as returning starters this year and those that aren't, like perhaps Virginia Tech, well, it likely won't matter as they are loaded each and every year.
Below, we preview a few of the contenders and list the current odds to win the ACC Title.
Florida State - The Seminoles are at the top of most experts lists as the team to beat in the ACC and quite possible a team to contend for the National Title. It's not hard to understand why. This team will no doubt field one of the best defensive units in the entire nation (again) with 9 returning starters and they'll also return 8 on offense.
But don't crown the Seminoles champs just yet. Aside from losing to Oklahoma last year, they also lost to Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia. Wake Forest and Clemson were on the road, and they get the chance to avenge both of those losses at home this year, but they also have to play Virginia Tech, a team they didn't face last year, on the road on a Thursday night.
Florida State will be good and will no doubt contend, but too many close games last year suggest that perhaps their talent isn't all that far ahead of the rest of the pack, which sets up the potential for an upset or two. If they make it through the Miami game in October unbeaten, things could get interesting. In which case, circle November 8th on your schedule when they hit to road to play Virginia Tech. That could very well be the ACC game of the year.
Virginia Tech - Any article about ACC contenders has to include Virginia Tech. The Hokies and Frank Beamer routinely win 10 or 11 games year in and year out. You can toss out the returning starters factor here, with Tech returning just 3 on offense. It simply doesn't matter. The Hokies are one of the best recruiting schools in the nation, loaded with talent year after year. Returning 9 on a defense that was #2 in the conference won't hurt though.
The Hokies will be right there contending once again when all is said and done. They have to play at Clemson and at Miami but they get Florida State at home. Those 3 games are consecutive and will define their season. Tech will not only contend in the ACC, but nationally as well.
Clemson - Clemson is another team being mentioned as ACC contenders. They had the best offense in the conference last year but their defense left a lot to be desired. In fact, we don't think it's possible to improve that defense in one year. Not enough to make an impact. Clemson suffered some bad losses, getting blown out at NC State and South Carolina as well as dropping a 31-17 decision at Georgia Tech.
A bright spot for the Tigers is the fact that they were 7-0 at home last year and this year all of their tough games, with the exception of Florida State, are at home. The Tigers will contend, and will no doubt be in the Bowl picture. They will be a team that can beat just about anyone on any given day, but unfortunately, will also be a team that can be beaten by just about anyone, on any given day.
As mentioned earlier, the rest of the ACC will be competitive. North Carolina is ineligible for post season, but should be a solid team under new coach Larry Fedora. Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson will always be dangerous with that option attack. Miami lost 6 games last year but all were close. They will be better in 2012 and will likely improve upon that 6 win mark. Wake Forest, Virginia, NC State and even BC always have the potential to be dangerous with upset potential and Randy Edsall will no doubt improve the Terrapins win total of 2 last year as he continues to rebuild that program.
Listed below are the current odds to win the ACC Title, courtesy of 5 Dimes Sportsbook. We see no value in Florida State, at even money. Perhaps a tad of value with Virginia Tech at 3 to 1. With so many of these ACC teams close in talent, the value lies with the middle of the pack teams listed below. Georgia Tech at 12 to 1 and NC State at 23 to 1 for example. A break here and there and you could make a nice score.
Odds to Win ACC Title
Florida State +100
Virginia Tech +300
Georgia Tech +1200
Miami FL +1700
NC State +2300
Wake Forest +5000
Boston College +7500
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