2012 ACC vs. FCS prediction

March, 5, 2012
3/05/12
2:00
PM ET
This shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion.

The ACC, though, has a knack for keeping things interesting -- even against FCS competition.

During each of the past two years, I have been so bold as to predict an undefeated record for the ACC against FCS competition. Silly me. Last year, Duke lost to Richmond, giving the ACC the dubious distinction of three straight seasons with an FCS loss. (In 2009, Duke lost to Richmond and Virginia lost to William & Mary. In 2010, well, you can ask Virginia Tech fans what happened that season if you must.)

So you can see why this year my confidence has been shaken. Those of you who read regularly, though, know I don’t always learn from my mistakes.

This could be another one.

Prediction: ACC 13, FCS 0.

Gulp.

Here’s the thing: This isn’t like last year, when the 12 FCS opponents and South Alabama had a .568 winning percentage the previous year, including four -- Wofford (10-3), Appalachian State (10-3), Bethune Cookman (10-2) and South Alabama (10-0) -- having 10 wins.

No, this year’s group isn’t as scary. First of all, I’m not counting transitional program South Alabama, because we’ve concluded that it will count as an FBS opponent toward NC State’s bowl eligibility. (Even if I did include South Alabama, the prediction would still be an undefeated record for the ACC.) The other 13 schools combined for a winning percentage off 44 percent last year (64-81), with only five of those programs finishing with winning records.

Every team in the ACC plays at least one FCS opponent this season (thriller, I know). Florida State plays two in the first two weeks, thanks to a scheduling snafu started by West Virginia. I could needle you guys a bit and pick ONE team most likely to keep the ACC’s FCS streak alive (Maryland), but here’s the thing: The reality of the situation is that there is no excuse. Duke should have learned its lesson by now, the ACC’s 2011 Coach of the Year should have no problem with Richmond, either, and the Hokies shouldn’t have to use a five-day turnaround as an excuse for a loss to a 3-8 Austin Peay program.

Here’s a look at how the FCS competition finished in 2011. If you see a loss on here for the ACC, it could be a long year …
  • Maine 9-4
  • Bethune-Cookman 8-3
  • Furman 6-5
  • Murray State 7-4
  • Liberty 7-4
  • Savannah State 1-10
  • William & Mary 5-6
  • The Citadel 4-7
  • N.C. Central 2-9
  • Presbyterian 4-7
  • Elon 5-6
  • Richmond 3-8
  • Austin Peay 3-8

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