Official 2015 Chat Sports ACC Preview

The start of college football is only a few days away. ACC football starts September 3rd, when North Carolina plays South Carolina, Wake Forest hosts Elon, Georgia Tech faces Alcorn State, and Duke travels to take on Tulane. With college football so close to returning, we've put together the official Chat Sports ACC Preview:

Division Predictions:

ACC Atlantic:

1. Clemson
2. Florida State
3. NC State
4. Louisville
5. Boston College
6. Wake Forest
7. Syracuse

ACC Coastal:

1. Miami 
2. Georgia Tech
3. Virginia Tech
4. Duke
5. North Carolina
6. Pittsburgh 
7. Virginia

Division Winners:

Atlantic: Clemson Tigers (10-2, 7-1 ACC)

Clemson's non-conference schedule is absolutely brutal with contests against Notre Dame and South Carolina, which I expect them to split, but ACC play shouldn't be too harsh on the Tigers as they get almost all of their big games at home - including Florida State. They'll beat the Seminoles in Death Valley behind the play of Deshaun Watson, but I don't trust their youth to go undefeated in conference play. Still, it'll be enough to put them in the conference championship game.

Coastal: Miami Hurricanes (10-2, 6-2 ACC)

Miami's non-conference matchup against Nebraska will be a big test, but that's at home. They will also host most of their main Coastal rivals, with the exception of Duke, though the Blue Devils don't have a big home field advantage. Still, playing Florida State in Tallahassee is the toughest game an ACC team can play. They'll lose that contest and their matchup against Clemson, but their victories over every other team in the division will give them the Coastal crown.

Player Of The Year: Deshaun Watson

I'm buying into the hype surrounding Watson. He started five games a true freshman, throwing for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdown passes with just two interceptions and completed 68% of this passes. He broke his hand against Louisville, and later sat out because of ACL surgery. All signs point to him being totally healthy in 2015, which is a scary proposition for opponents.

Watson's combination of quickness, athleticism, and accuracy mean he can do whatever he wants to on the football field, and in Clemson's up-tempo spread offensive system, he'll have plenty of space to wreak havoc.

Surprise Team: Miami

Many have wondered when the Canes would be "back" after spending the entire duration of their tenure in the ACC toiling in relative obscurity, but I think this is the year they make a breakthrough to the top of the conference. Quarterback Brad Kaaya showed a ton of promise and potential during his freshman season, and there's reason to think he'll only be better in year two. The running game won't drop off too much thanks to Joseph Yearby's potential, and Miami returns six starters from a good defense last year. 

The ingredients are there for the Canes, and the Coastal Division is especially weak - it's time for Al Golden to start proving his worth as Miami's head coach.

Playoff Participant: None

Florida State barely made the College Football Playoff last year as defending champions with an undefeated record because of how weak the ACC is from top to bottom. Considering that I expect the conference champion to have two losses on the year, that will totally take whoever the champ is out of playoff contention. Clemson may be able to sneak into the final four with one loss, but two just won't cut it.

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