2016 Preseason ACC Power Rankings

The college football season is just days away, and several ACC teams - and coaches - are facing make-or-break years, hoping to make a big surge up the standings. How do they all stack up against each other going into the new year? Here's our preseason ACC power rankings:

14. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Wake seems to be trending in the right direction, yet the fact they're still at the bottom of these rankings show how far they still have to go. The offense has question marks at virtually every position, and the defense is only slightly above average.

13. Boston College Eagles
BC has a good defense - an elite defense, in fact - but the offense is just awful. They ranked in the bottom eight in the country in both scoring offense and total offense last year, numbers that need to improve drastically. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear like they have the weapons to do so.

12. Syracuse Orange
First-year head coach Dino Babers has had success everywhere he has been, and his brand of spread, up-tempo offense should give his program the spark they need. That being said, he doesn't have a lot of firepower to work with this year.

11. Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia has the pieces on defense to be reliable, but the offense is putrid. New head coach Bronco Mendenhall may be able to rally the troops for an upset, but that's all they'll do.

10. NC State Wolfpack
This is the year that will likely determine head coach Dave Doeren's future in Raleigh. They return eight starters on defense, and as he's entering his fourth year at the helm, he has recruited the players he wants to run his spread system. However, he's just 6-18 in the ACC - that has to improve if he's going to be back in 2017.

9. Duke Blue Devils
Duke always seems to outplay their expectations, but with starting quarterback Thomas Sirk out for the year with an Achilles injury, the Devils are facing an uphill battle.

8. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Which Georgia Tech team will we get...the one that won the Orange Bowl two years ago, or the one that won just three games last year? That will largely depend on how the offensive line plays.

7. Virginia Tech Hokies
The Hokies are entering the first year of the post-Frank Beamer era, and new head coach Justin Fuente will install a new spread system that should improve the offense. However, the overall talent level has dropped too much in Blacksburg for them to really be competitive this year.

6. Pitt Panthers
Pitt is a team that can really challenge for the Coastal division title. Quarterback Nathan Peterman, as does former ACC Player of the Year James Connor at running back. They area also very strong up front, and assuming head coach Pat Narduzzi gets the defense sured up, watch out.

5. Miami Hurricanes
Miami has plenty of raw talent, and the 'Canes are counting on new head coach Mark Richt to get the most out of them. They already have one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Brad Kaaya - now, they just need to be more consistent.

4. Louisville Cardinals
Many have Louisville pegged as the dark horse to win the conference this year, and it's easy to see why. They have 19 starters returning, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, who many are expecting to have a breakout season. Louisville also has one of the best secondaries in the country, headlined by safety Josh Harvey-Clemons.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels 
UNC was close to forcing Clemson into overtime in the ACC Championship Game last year, cementing themselves as the No. 3 team in the conference. They do have to replace quarterback Marquise Williams, but Mitch Trubisky has experience and might be better than Williams was. Their defense will determine how far the Heels go this season.

2. Florida State Seminoles
I think FSU will actually end up winning the ACC this year, but they still need to go out on the field and prove it. Heisman candidate running back Dalvin Cook is one of 18 returning starters for a Noles team that won 10 games last season.

1. Clemson Tigers
Deshaun Watson leads a group of eight returning offensive starters from a unit that helped propel Clemson to No. 1 in the country for most of last season. The defending ACC champs own this conference until proven otherwise.

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