Thank you, Wake Forest and Miami, for ushering in the season early. The ACC begins the 2010 season tonight and the action continues through Monday with two games on Labor Day. Here are your first official predictions of the season (and yes, there’s a bit of competition, not to mention anyone’s Chris Low name.) Here's to a season of winning predictions:
Wake Forest 41, Presbyterian 6: New quarterback or not, this isn’t a win the Deacs should fumble away. Presbyterian was 0-11 last year. This should be a good initiation and confidence builder for Ted Stachitas.
Miami 38, Florida A&M 3: The Canes racked up 303 total yards in the first half alone last year in a 48-16 win against the Rattlers, and Damien Berry rushed for 162 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown run. The defense had 11 sacks. A similar outcome is likely.
Florida State 56, Samford 6: Expect Jimbo Fisher to win convincingly and leave no doubt about the tone he plans to set for the season. Samford returns 15 starters from last year’s 5-6 team, including the school’s all-time leading rusher in Chris Evans (3,469).
Boston College 31, Weber State 14: It might not be pretty, but it will help BC figure out just how much trouble they’re in on the defensive line and at wide receiver. It’s one of four straight home games to open the season for the Eagles.
Georgia Tech 51, South Carolina State 10: Yes, the Bulldogs are two-time MEAC champs, but they’re not going to be able to stop Paul Johnson’s offense. S.C. State has a quarterback to be respected in Malcolm Long, who set several school records last year, but he won’t be able to match the production of Joshua Nesbitt and Co.
Clemson 52, North Texas 10: The Tigers are defending Atlantic Division champs, and they should look like it against the Mean Green. Still, North Texas has amassed more than 4,000 yards of total offense in back-to-back years.
NC State 38, Western Carolina 17: As Tom O’Brien said, any opponent with “Carolina” in it should be taken seriously by his team, but the Wolfpack should come out on top as Western Carolina finished 2-9 last year.
Virginia 28, Richmond 24: Mike London is almost too familiar with his alma mater and former team, and that should keep things interesting. The first step in changing the program will be to avoid a repeat of last year’s loss to an FCS team.
Duke 31, Elon 20: Elon has a fifth-year senior at quarterback while the Blue Devils will play their first game with Sean Renfree as the new starter, so a blowout shouldn’t be expected. Quarterback Scott Riddle threw for 3,345 yards and 23 touchdowns last season and had only seven passes intercepted in 439 attempts. Elon will keep it close throughout before Duke takes charge later in the second half.
LSU 38, North Carolina 14: The suspension of Marvin Austin and the uncertainty with the depth chart in the weeks preceding the game will be too much to overcome. And that’s only on the Tar Heels’ sideline. They also have to worry about cornerback Patrick Peterson, who could make it a long day for T.J. Yates.
Navy 21, Maryland 20: The Terps are desperate to win this one, their tight ends are injured, and Navy returns five of its top six rushers from last year’s 10-4 team. It will take more than just linebacker Alex Wujciak to stop Ricky Dobbs and the triple option.
Virginia Tech 28, Boise State 17: It wouldn’t surprise me if the Hokies ran the ball 60 times, and there won’t be any aerial circus against Bud Foster’s defense. Expect a typical Virginia Tech performance that includes something like a blocked punt for a touchdown.