Thursday, August 18, 2011
2011 ACC predictions
By Heather Dinich
Every week during the season, I give you my predictions for the games. Every now and then, I get one right. With the season quickly approaching, it’s time for the first round of predictions for the ACC. They're bold, so brace yourself ...
1. The ACC will have two teams in BCS bowls. It hasn’t happened during the expansion era, but this year looks favorable for that to change. If Florida State lives up to the hype and represents the ACC in the Orange Bowl, it’s very possible a one-loss Virginia Tech team (that lone loss coming to FSU in the ACC title game), is chosen for another BCS bowl. There’s no reason the Hokies shouldn’t have an eighth straight 10-win season, but with the turmoil that is going on in the rest of the Coastal Division, another undefeated run in conference play is a legitimate possibility.
2. Miami and North Carolina will face a loss of scholarships and a postseason ban. With nine major NCAA violations, it seems a likely scenario for the Tar Heels, and considering the pile of allegations against Miami, it almost seems inevitable. (Note: This is not the one I was referring to when I mentioned 'bold.')
3. Duke will go bowling. The Blue Devils are in their fourth season under coach David Cutcliffe, and are a significantly, visibly improved program with one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC. Duke could reach the postseason for the first time since 1994, but it has to eliminate the turnovers, play better defense, and establish a running game. The hire of defensive line coach Rick Petri should help, and there is more depth and experience on offense so Duke shouldn’t have to be as one-dimensional.
4. The ACC will NOT lose to an FCS team. It’s become a trend in recent years, as James Madison, Richmond and William & Mary have all had their way with the ACC. Not this year. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said he would remind his players of App State’s win over Michigan in 2007 so there is no overlooking their season opener. North Carolina opens with JMU and Virginia hosts William & Mary. All of them should be wary of the little guys this year and spare the conference further embarrassment.
5. NC State will beat North Carolina for a fifth straight year. Tom O’Brien defeated Butch Davis for four straight seasons. Now he’ll have the edge in head-coaching experience and home-field advantage over interim coach Everett Withers when the Wolfpack hosts the Tar Heels on Nov. 5.