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ACC upset watch: Week 1

8/28/2012

For those of you who followed the blog last year (thanks), you know this list is the Kiss of Death.

Apologies in advance.

More often than not, the teams that appeared in the weekly upset watch lost. Florida State-Virginia. Clemson-NC State. North Carolina-NC State. Seven games listed at No. 1 on the upset watch came to fruition during a 10-week span in 2011.

This is a dangerous place to be.

It’s important to remember that these are NOT predictions. Instead, it’s a guess as to which front-runners (not necessarily ranked) are the most likely to fall.

Here is your Week 1 watch:

1. Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech: The gap between these two programs is not as wide as the Associated Press Top 25 might lead you to believe. Defensive coordinator Al Groh’s defense should be better, and the Jackets’ offensive line could be the best coach Paul Johnson has seen since he was hired there. Home-field advantage will be big for Virginia Tech, but the Hokies have plenty of questions to answer on offense.

2. No. 14 Clemson vs. Auburn: We’ll learn a lot about the defending ACC champs as they take on Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in Atlanta, most notably how they fare without leading receiver Sammy Watkins, and what they look like up front on both sides. Can Auburn pull off the upset with two new coordinators and a young team?

3. William & Mary at Maryland: You’d like to think the Terps wouldn’t lose at home to an FCS team in the season opener after winning just two games a year ago, but anything is possible with a true freshman quarterback taking over the offense. Perry Hills will make his debut as starter in place of injured quarterback C.J. Brown. Tribe quarterback Brent Caprio at least has four games of starting experience.