The 2017 Daly Dose College Football Preview: The Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference

With Clemson beating Alabama in the National Championship game last season, there is talk that the ACC might be the perennial conference in the nation. With the likes of Florida State, Clemson, Miami, and Louisville, consistently being ranked in the Top 25, it is easy to see why this is a hotly debated subject. Just don’t snooping around, and finding the Boston Colleges, and Syracuses.

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Atlantic Division

1. Florida State Seminoles

Predicted finish: 11-1

Florida State is absolutely loaded this year, returning 14 starters from a team that finished 10-3 a year ago. QB Deondre Francois becomes the next in a line of FSU quarterbacks taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. Will he be of the Christian Ponder/EJ Manuel ilk? Or more of a Jameis Winston-type? My advice would be to start stealing crab legs, kid.

2. Clemson Tigers

Predicted finish: 11-1

The Tigers surprised everyone in 2016 by winning their first national championship since 1981. Dabo Swinney has done an amazing job of recruiting, but with the losses of DeShaun Watson and Mike Williams, it’s hard to think they could contend again. Then again, we just keep doubting Dabo, and that little weirdo just keeps proving us wrong

3. Louisville Cardinals

Predicted finish: 10-2

Despite rising as high as No. 3 last season in the national rankings, the Cardinals stumbled down the stretch, and finished 9-4. Some of that stemmed from the fact they fumbled the ball 30 times. Heisman winning QB Lamar Jackson is back, and head coach Bobby Petrino has a history of success in his third year, so maybe we should give Louisville a higher ranking. Of course, they would probably just fumble it away if we did.

4. North Carolina State Wolfpack

Predicted finish: 8-4

NC State returns 22 seniors from a team that went 7-5, and won the Independence Bowl, so why are we predicting just a one-game improvement in 2017? Well I mean, this is NC State, folks, what did you really expect?

5. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Predicted finish: 5-7

Head coach Dave Clawson has done an admirable job of making the Demon Deacons a respectable program. Wake actually went to a bowl game last year. Unfortunately, this is a young team facing a very difficult schedule but hey, going to that bowl game last year was fun, right?

6. Syracuse Orange

Predicted finish: 4-8

The Orange actually returns some players with experience, but they will face one of the toughest schedules in the country. Syracuse will play Clemson, Louisville, Florida State, Miami, and LSU. With some luck, maybe the NCAA will force them to vacate some of those losses, at a future date.

7. Boston College Eagles

Predicted finish: 5-7

The Eagles were beaten by Louisville, and Florida State last year by a combined score of 97-14. Yet, they still managed to still go 7-6, and win the Quick Lane Bowl. This is the state of college football today. Mediocrity is celebrated, and rewarded. Or maybe that’s just the state of Boston College football today.

 

Coastal Division

1. Miami Hurricanes

Predicted finish: 11-1

The Canes lost some talent to the NFL, but Mark Richt has done a good job of restocking the shelves in Coral Gables. If they can find a quarterback… they could be back to their old obnoxious selves, that we all hate, very soon.

2. Virginia Tech Hokies

Predicted finish: 9-3

It is never easy to be the guy that replaces the guy, but Justin Fuente took over for longtime head coach Frank Beamer, and had a very successful opening season. The Hokies won the Coastal Division in 2016, and should be in the hunt again this season.  If this group can find a QB, they could challenge Miami. Or they could beat Miami , and then just lose to freaking Syracuse again, like they did last year.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Predicted finish: 8-4

Nothing makes sense when you are talking about Georgia Tech. They are located in Atlanta, which is  a great recruiting spot, yet they rarely get any of the top players.  In a world of passing offenses, they are still running the triple option. And opposing teams dread seeing the Yellow Jackets on the schedule, yet they usually end up beating them.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers

Predicted finish: 6-6

The Panthers have the distinction of beating both Penn State, and Clemson in 2016. They finished the season with an 8-5 record, and went to a bowl game. So, how will they follow up such a surprising season? Most likely, by returning to reality.

5. North Carolina Tar Heels

Predicted finish:6-6

Head coach Larry Fedora has done a nice job of making the Tar Heels a solid contender each year, but there may be too many questions this season. Can the offense find enough play-makers? Can the defense provide any spark? And when in the world are the NCAA sanctions going to rain hell on all of the UNC sports programs?

6. Virginia Cavaliers

Predicted finish: 5-7

Last year, Bronco Mendenhall came to Charlottesville from BYU, where he had annually produced solid teams that went to bowl games. He moved to Virginia, in hopes of finding a new challenge with the Cavaliers, and then went 2-10 in his first season. Challenged yet?

7. Duke Blue Devils

Predicted finish: 4-8

Big surprise that a David Cutcliffe-offense should continue to be a dangerous unit in 2017. Unfortunately, the defense is going to struggle, and the overall toughness of this team might not be that high either. Sort of sounds like another Duke team, doesn’t it? Maybe one that got beat by South Carolina in the NCAA Basketball Tournament?

 

Coming on Saturday: The Daly Dose Sports Big 10 preview!

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Daly Dose #140 Our Fifty States Tour Part 2

This week on the Daly Dose, we continue our trek across the nation, with the second half of our 50 States Tour!

We continue touring these United States, looking at the best athletes, the greatest sports moments, and the most disappointing moments for each state!

Last week in Part 1, we went from Alabama to Missouri.

In Part 2, we start back up again in Montana, we stop in each state, all the way through to Wyoming. What state has produced NBA rivals from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors? What Ohio State athlete ruined the day of an infamous dictator? Are the Dallas Cowboys the source of the worst moment in Texas sports history? And is the state of Pennsylvania the greatest producer of NFL quartebacks in history?

We answer all of these questions, and much, much more on our 50 States Tour finale!

Listen here to Episode #140 Our Fifty States Tour Part 2!

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The Daly Dose College Football Preview: The Atlantic Coast Conference

​We here at the Daly Dose love college football. The passion, the paegentry, the paying of college athletes under the table. It’s a tradition unlike any other. 

As we kick off our annual college football preview we get started with the ACC. Sure it’s a better basketball conference than football, but it is still an important cog in the CFB machine, so we start there first.

And also, it starts with “A”.

ACC Atlantic

1. Florida State Seminoles   

Predicted finish: 11-1   

Florida State returns a ton of talent on both sides of the ball, including Heisman hopeful, running back Dalvin Cook. But they did lose their top kicker in school history, Robert Aguayo.  So it looks like we are destined to get back to the future. A Clinton in the White House. Ghostbusters in the theater. And Florida State missing late game field goals.

2. Louisville Cardinals   

Predicted finish: 9-3   

Despite losing Sheldon Rankins and James Burgess, the Cardinals are returning a talented defense, that should allow them to contend with Florida State and Clemson for the top of the Atlantic Division. If QB Lamar Jackson comes around, and head coach Bobby Petrino can keep from chasing his secretary around the office, it could be a solid season for Louisville.

3. Clemson Tigers   

Predicted finish: 9-3

The Tigers are a favorite to contend not only in the ACC, but for a national title, with eight offensive starters returning. But they lost some major talent on defense so we are expecting a more typical Clemson year, complete with at least one terrible loss to an over-matched unranked opponent.

4. North Carolina State Wolfpack

Predicted finish: 7-5   

NC State has some solid players coming back, but a tough schedule with visits to Clemson and Louisville, and home games against Notre Dame and Florida State will leave the Wolfpack struggling to win more than they lose. But at least this gives Pack fans something to do until basketball season.

5. Boston College Eagles

Predicted finish: 5-7

The Eagles went 3-9 last year and 0-8 in conference play. Their offense was one of the worst in the country, averaging just 17 points a game. Which is odd for BC, because we know those Catholic boys are usually used to scoring pretty easily.

6. Wake Forest Demon Deacons    

Predicted finish: 4-8   

The Demon Deacons have finished 3-9 the past two seasons, but last year they showed signs of at least being more competitive, losing four games by eight points or less. So this year we are expecting big improvements for Dave Clawson’s three victory team. This year they are going to win four games! Boom!

7. Syracuse Orange   

Predicted finish: 3-9   

The Orange have a new head coach in Dino Babers, who brings in a history of hurry up spread offenses. But Syracuse doesn’t have the people to run this system yet, so while this system will eventually make Cuse’ more interesting, right now it will just make them lose faster.

ACC Coastal

1. Miami Hurricanes   

Predicted finish: 9-3   

New head coach Mark Richt knows talent when he sees it. He likes the top Hurricane recruits, but knows that eventually the lack of depth will cause them to lose a few close late season games, maybe even to inferior opponents. Or as Richt calls it “just another season”.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

Predicted finish: 9-3   

The Tar Heels finished 11-3 in 2015, and will return 13 starters from that team in 2016. But they did lose some key players, including linebacker Shakeel Rashad and starting quarterback Marquise Williams. Of course, Williams seemed to suffer from color blindness in big games, so that might not be a huge loss.

3. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets   

Predicted finish: 8-4   

The Yellow Jackets were monumentally disappointing in 2015, winning just three games, due to poor play and an abundance of injuries. But we didn’t have to listen to head coach Paul Johnson remind us all how smart he is every week so no one really minded that much.

4. Pittsburgh Panthers   

Predicted finish: 7-5   

The Panthers continue to improve under second year coach Pat Narduzzi but a tough schedule could make reaching their eight-win total from 2008 pretty difficult. But if they do, rest assured Pitt fan, Narduzzi will be gunning for a new job. Or even if they don’t.

5. Virginia Tech Hokies

Predicted finish: 7-5   

Out is legendary coach Frank Beamer, in is former Memphis coach Justin Fuente, with all his newfangled offenses and flashy passing plays. But they are sure to have some growing pains without much experience at quarterback. So take that Fuente, you 40 year old whippersnapper!

6. Virginia Cavaliers

Predicted finish: 6-6   

Bronco Mendenhall moves from BYU to Virginia, and finds out real quick that Cavalier players won’t just stay home on the weekend studying their playbooks, when they can be out actually trying to have sex.

7. Duke Blue Devils

Predicted finish: 4-8   

David Cutcliffe has done an incredible job rebuilding the program to make it to four straight bowl games. But injuries and a tougher schedule will make it tough to push that number to five. But maybe he can just get Coach K to ask the ACC refs to give him a few wins.

Check back on Thursday for The Daly Dose Sports Big 10 preview!