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 Sports ACC College Football Preview

Daly Dose Sports gets you ready for college football season like no one else. Here is the first of our college football conference previews giving a prediction and brief outlook for each team.

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We start with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Why? Because it starts with “A”. And I also  am going to need you to stop asking so many questions.

It’s a free preview. So enjoy.

Team Predicted finish Outlook
Atlantic

Florida State Seminoles

10-2 Florida State won’t have to worry about quarterback Jameis Winston getting in trouble this year. Of course they will miss the plays that he made. But head coach Jimbo Fisher has banned all players from going to bars this season. So…Good News!  Suspensions should still be coming each and every week.
North Carolina State Wolfpack 9-3 NC State went 8-5 in 2014 and they think they can improve on that total this season with 15 starters returning. And if there were any doubts, scheduling Troy, Eastern Kentucky, Old Dominion, and South Alabama should help too.
Louisville Cardinals 8-4 Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has done a pretty good job with the Cardinals defense as they allowed just 109 yards rushing per game last year. Of course head coach Bobby Petrino lost a good amount of talent on the other side of the ball so their offense may look like a motorcycle wreck this season. Oh, what? Too soon?
Clemson Tigers 7-5 Head coach Dabo Swinney has built Clemson into one of the steadiest programs in the country. The Tigers will be overrated, beat some bad teams, lose a close game to a good team, and then lose at least another game to someone awful, before going to a meaningless bowl game It’s like clockwork.
Boston College Eagles 6-6 When Steve Addazio took over this was a 2-10 team but he has somehow put together back to back winning seasons. Can he take the next step this season and contend for an ACC title? No, probably not.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons 4-8 Wake Forest ran for just 39 yards per game last season. And while they aren’t going to be much better on the ground this year; at least the schedule will be significantly tougher. That was supposed to be something positive. Sorry about that. Never mind.
Syracuse Orange 3-9 The Orange won’t have many playmakers again this season and with a formidable schedule maybe Jim Boeheim can just self-impose a postseason bowl game ban too.
Coastal

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

9-3 Georgia Tech won 11 games in 2014 despite allowing over 400 yards per game. How good could the Yellow Jackets be if they actually played some defense?  Good thing we will never have to find out.
North Carolina Tar Heels 9-3 The Tar Heels went 6-7 in 2014, and with new defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, UNC will either get more production from their players this season or they will go pay some new players to do the job better.
Virginia Tech Hokies 8-4 The grumbling has started in Blacksburg as fans are wondering if long respected coach Frank Beamer should move on to the retirement home so they could really start winning. Hokie fans should ask Penn State and Texas fans how that all works out in the end.
Pittsburgh Panthers 7-5 The Panthers are on their sixth coach since 2010. New head coach Pat Narduzzi was just hired in December and if form holds he should do a respectable job before taking a better position prior to the Armed Forces Bowl appearance.
Duke Blue Devils 7-5 Head coach David Cutcliffe has done an incredible job of transforming the Duke football program from doormat to ACC contender. Now if he could just figure out how to bully the refs into giving him every single call like another Duke head coach that I won’t name here.
Miami Hurricanes 6-6 The Canes lost Duke Johnson, Phillip Dorsett, and Ereck Flowers to the NFL Draft. Of course they went 6-7 with those players… so does it really matter? You can actually see blue flames coming off of head coach Al Golden’s seat right now.
Virginia Cavaliers 4-8 Head coach Mike London was on the hot seat last season but he came through with a 5-7 season to save his job. And the fact that 5-7 was considered a good thing tells us all we need to know about the expectations at Virginia.

Next up: The Big 10 Conference