Fearless predictions for the ACC

August, 30, 2010
8/30/10
10:30
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The ACC is one of the most unpredictable conferences in the country, but that makes this list even more fun. Here are 10 things I think will -- or won’t -- happen in the conference this fall:

1. BC linebacker Mark Herzlich plays in the season opener against Weber State and is back to his 2008 form in time for the home game against Virginia Tech on Sept. 25.

[+] EnlargeRalph Friedgen
Paul Abell/US PresswireRalph Friedgen will not be able to save his job.
2. Running backs Darren Evans, Ryan Williams and backup quarterback Logan Thomas are all on the field at the same time. Why not? They’ve got the talent, may as well use it.

3. The ACC goes 3-4 against the SEC with wins over South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt. Yes, this prediction has changed since earlier this summer when I thought North Carolina would beat LSU.

4. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen gets to a bowl game, but it's not enough to save his job. A new athletic director is hired and demands more than, say, a win over Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl.

5. Virginia’s seniors win their first home opener. It’s something they haven’t done yet, but first-year coach Mike London will have them ready for his former team, Richmond.

6. Duke upsets North Carolina in the season finale, which is at Wallace Wade. Hey, they’re fearless predictions, remember? If UNC’s season unravels thanks to all of the outside distractions, don’t count it out.

7. The ACC enters 2010 with five 1,000-yard rushers and finishes the season with three -- Anthony Allen, Da’Rel Scott and Montel Harris. Darren Evans and Ryan Williams will be splitting the carries, and Joshua Nesbitt will throw it more. Everyone else has too much depth for one player to reach the 1,000-yard mark.

8. Butch Davis feels the heat. It would be surprising if UNC escapes sanctions from both the NCAA and the university for two separate investigations. Although athletic and academic officials have publicly stood behind Davis, the repercussions could be too much for Davis to retain his job much longer -- especially if the Tar Heels fail to win another bowl game.

9. Jimbo Fisher carries on the Wide Right tradition. Maybe it will happen against Miami. Maybe Florida. Maybe in the ACC championship game. But at some point this season, he’ll feel the pain of those before him thanks to a missed field goal.

10. Virginia Tech earns its seventh straight 10-win season, but none of them include any titles. The November stretch against three of the top teams in their division is what will doom the Hokies -- not Boise State.

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