ACC Football 2013 Preseason Power Rankings

Behind Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd, Clemson Appears Ready to Fly Past the Rest of the ACC

Behind Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd, Clemson Appears Ready to Fly Past the Rest of the ACC

We’re just a couple days away! I know, this has been an incredibly drawn out offseason, but at long last, kickoff is finally (just about) here. To celebrate that, we’re unveiling the final offseason power rankings, before basing these on actual games starting next Tuesday. As always, the poll includes all 14 current ACC members, plus future member Louisville. Feel like I’m totally right or completely off-base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

ACC Football Power Rankings 2013 (August 27)

1. Clemson Tigers (Last: 1): Clemson will be tested very early in a rivalry redux versus Georgia, and should they get past the Bulldogs, they’ll be favored in the next 10 games. If this team has truly buried the term “Clemsoning” (and for what it’s worth, I firmly believe they have), they should be able to run through to the final weekend at a perfect 11-0. There, South Carolina awaits them, but it’s a long season and in order to be undefeated, you’ve got to go week-by-week.

2. Florida State Seminoles (Last: 3): The more preseason prep you do, the more you end up buying into this year’s Seminoles team being just as talented as last year’s edition. Though the pass-rush might be a bit weaker, the very strong back seven give this team the type of edge they’ll need to notch another season of double-digit wins. But again, the key is Jameis Winston at QB, and whether or not he’s up to the task of jumping in and producing right away.

3. Louisville Cardinals (Last: 2): Playing out a season in purgatory is a daunting task, believe it or not, and we’re about to find out if Louisville’s up to the challenge. With a very big target on their backs and favorable odds in all 12 games on the slate, this Cardinals team will be challenged to get up for each and every game. Charlie Strong can provide the motivation, but it’ll be interesting to watch nonetheless as the year keeps going and the pressure around the squad builds.

4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes (Last: 5): Miami likely has the most complete set of offensive tools in the entire conference, with certifiable playmakers at all three major skill positions. This year’s slate is also much easier than 2012′s, with no Notre Dame or Kansas State, though we’ll get a quick sense of what they’re made of in a week two matchup against Florida. Win that one, and who knows how far this team might end up going.

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Rewriting Conference Realignment History

What if the Syracuse Orange Had Joined Rival Boston College in the ACC's First Round of Expansion?

What if Syracuse Had Joined Rival Boston College in the ACC’s First Round of Expansion?

If you’ve checked out today’s daily links, you’ve likely noticed the top story from Syracuse.com, with regard to a little revisionist realignment history. The piece, “Syracuse is About to Join the ACC, But What if SU Had Made the Move 10 Years Ago?” enlists a variety of folks to take a look at what might have been if Syracuse had left the Big East for the ACC along with Boston College and Miami, as originally planned. It’s a very worthwhile read, though I did want to dive a bit deeper into some of the points, and bring up a few points of contention as well. Again, definitely enjoyed the article, but I do think some of the decisions seem to forget the timeline of all these things and the motivations of certain leagues, in particular. Taking a look at their timeline…

Move 1: Boston College, Miami and Syracuse depart Big East for ACC (2004)

No qualms here — obviously this is the decision that gets the ball rolling.

Move 2: Virginia Tech departs Big East for SEC (undetermined)

Unsure when this move takes place, but I’d venture to guess not immediately after the first round of expansion above. The further away from that point in time we get, I’d agree, the more likely this happens. Though I’d also bet that if it hadn’t happened by about 2010 or so, the Hokies end up in the ACC.

Move 3: Texas A&M departs Big 12 for SEC (2010)

This almost happened in real life, and would end up coming to fruition a year later anyway. No surprise here.

Move 4: Missouri departs Big 12 for Big Ten (2010)

… And here’s where I bring up an issue. The dominoes started falling in 2010 when the Big Ten announced they were searching for a 12th member. I’d bet that even in this revised timeline, that’s still the case, meaning they’d get to move first. Their target was always Nebraska, and despite multiple overtures by Missouri, the Big Ten’s continually said no. So I’d probably adjust this to reflect the Huskers heading up to the B1G, instead of the Tigers.

Move 5: Texas and Oklahoma depart Big 12 for Pac-10 (2010)

Here’s another one where I’m at least partially confused. We all remember the first version of “OMG Pac-16!!!” but this hypothetical seems to forget the rest of it. Texas and Oklahoma weren’t going anywhere without Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. And what the hell happens to Colorado here? We never find out. I’m fine with hypotheticals — this is a college football blog after all — but I think the real-life motivations need to be accounted for with these moves. It also ignores the inherent issue the Pac-10/12 has with Texas: the Longhorn Network.

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Could a Scheduling Alliance Between the ACC, Big 12 and Notre Dame Truly Work?

Under Further Discussion: Is an Alliance Between Notre Dame, the ACC and Big 12 Viable?

Under Further Discussion: Is an Alliance Between Notre Dame, the ACC and Big 12 Viable?

Last week, our own Hokie Mark put together an article on his site, ACCFootballRx, taking a look at how a scheduling agreement between the ACC, Big 12 and Notre Dame could conceivably work out. While he does a great job of laying out the specifics, he and I also carried the conversation over to email afterward, to discuss the issue a bit more. In particular, we dove into Notre Dame’s willingness to participate, notes on television deals and West Virginia‘s desires in this proposed situation.

John: First and foremost, would Notre Dame want to partner with the Big 12 as a whole? I get the feeling they’d prefer to keep their primary opponents, five ACC teams and then have the flexibility to schedule the Big 12′s elite teams like Texas and Oklahoma.

Mark: I agree.  That’s why I said I think this would have to fall somewhere between “rotating through all of the teams” and “just play the made-for-TV matchups.” I could see Notre Dame giving the Big 12 a list of teams they’d agree to play, which might look like this: Texas, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State. (They’d leave out Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and West Virginia, in my opinion).

That may not go over so well with the four left out, but consider this: (1) WVU is more interested in the ACC scheduling part anyway, so skipping Notre Dame is probably fine with them; (2) Kansas, K-State and Iowa State are just happy to be in a BCS/power conference; (3) at any rate, that creates a 6-4 vote in favor of the deal.

John: Doesn’t the Big 12 need a two-thirds majority for critical decisions? (I thought that was the case, anyway) I mostly agree with your assessments of teams, though I’m not sure Baylor gets lumped in with the other five. Also agree that KU, KSU and ISU are all off the table; plus there’s no way Notre Dame’s scheduling (former head coach) Charlie Weis any time soon.

What kind of impact could we potentially see in terms of television contracts? How much would Notre Dame’s go up by? And each conference’s deals? Would this also put FOX into the bidding (along with ESPN and NBC) for Notre Dame’s contract that expires after 2014?

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25: Final Poll

After Yet Another Title Game Win, Alabama Takes its Place in the History Books

After Yet Another Title Game Win, Alabama Takes its Place in the History Books

Another great year of college football, another unfortunately forgettable title game. While we can’t necessarily count Notre Dame as an ACC team officially, it still stings a bit to see the Irish get so thoroughly throttled last night. Regardless of what Alabama coach Nick Saban says, the Crimson Tide are a dynasty and they proved it on Monday. Congratulations to them, and let’s all collectively make an effort to end the SEC streak next year, since we failed so miserably again in 2012.

Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25 (Final Poll)

1. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-1) (LW: 3) (First-place votes: 6)

2. Oregon Ducks (12-1) (LW: 5)

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) (LW: 2)

4. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-1) (LW: 1)

5. Georgia Bulldogs (12-2) (LW: 7)

6. Stanford Cardinal (12-2) (LW: 8)

7. Texas A&M Aggies (11-2) (LW: 10)

8. Florida State Seminoles (12-2) (LW: 13)

9. South Carolina Gamecocks (11-2) (LW: 11)

10. Clemson Tigers (11-2) (LW: 14)

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Final Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2012

Would a 4- or 16-Team Playoff Crown the Ducks as Champions At Last?

Would a 4- or 16-Team Playoff Crown the Ducks as Champions At Last?

Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years feature actually has some outside guidelines to follow: four teams, two semifinal spots and then a championship game. We currently have no clue how teams will be determined, how polls will be released, or who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. We’ll also fill in the major bowl games also slated to be part of the playoff structure. Additionally, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below, too. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Fiesta Bowl (semifinal): #1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Oregon

Sugar Bowl (semifinal): #2 Alabama vs. #3 Florida

National Championship: #4 Oregon over #2 Alabama

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. LSU

Cotton Bowl: Kansas State vs. Texas A&M

Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Wisconsin

Chick-fil-a Bowl: Georgia vs. Northern Illinois

While the real-life national title game should be a fun matchup of two elite defenses, it’s great to see we’d be able to realize everyone’s dream matchup here (Oregon vs. Alabama). As has been the case in every one of these projections, the SEC would have a monopoly on the at-large bids.

If There Was a 16 Team Playoff…

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Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25: Final Regular Season Poll

After a Big Overtime Win in the MAC Title Game, NIU's Headed to the BCS

After a Big Overtime Win in the MAC Title Game, NIU’s Headed to the BCS

As is customary, we’ll be bringing you a new take on the top 25 teams in the country each Monday during the regular season. And on the final Saturday of the year, we ended up confirming what we all feared: a Notre Dame/Alabama title game that promises to be among the most haughty, pseudo-historical events you’ve ever witnessed. Disagree at all? Feel free to share that with us below (respectfully, of course).

Atlantic Coast Convos 2012 Top 25 (End of Regular Season)

1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) (LW: 1) (First-place votes: 4)

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0) (LW: 2)

3. Alabama Crimson Tide (12-1) (LW: 3)

4. Florida Gators (11-1) (LW: 6)

5. Oregon Ducks (11-1) (LW: 4)

6. Kansas State Wildcats (11-1) (LW: 7)

7. Georgia Bulldogs (11-2) (LW: 5)

8. Stanford Cardinal (11-2) (LW: 8)

9. LSU Tigers (10-2) (LW: 9)

10. Texas A&M Aggies (10-2) (LW: 10)

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Hypothetical College Football Playoffs 2012: Week 14

Another Oregon/Stanford Classic? Sign Me Up.

Now that the dream of a playoff has turned into a reality (following the 2014 season), this realistic-but-still-hypothetical-for-two-years feature actually has some outside guidelines to follow: four teams, two semifinal spots and then a championship game. We currently have no clue how teams will be determined, how polls will be released, or who will put them together. So with that in mind, we’re going with the BCS rankings (courtesy of BCSGuru for teams outside of top 25), for lack of an on-hand committee to spit out a detailed list. We’ll also fill in the major bowl games also slated to be part of the playoff structure. Additionally, for our own enjoyment, you’ll find a 16-team hypothetical tournament below, too. Just because it’s too much fun not to think about.

If the Four-Team Playoff Started This Year…

Fiesta Bowl (semifinal): #1 Notre Dame vs. #4 Florida

Sugar Bowl (semifinal): #2 Alabama vs. #3 Georgia

National Championship: #2 Alabama over #1 Notre Dame

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Texas A&M

Cotton Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon

Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Nebraska

Chick-fil-a Bowl: LSU vs. Kent State

The SEC, as one might expect, grabs a ton of the premier bowl spots, increasing their respective payout far beyond what the other conferences would receive. In this scenario, out of all of the power conferences, the SEC receives five bids, while the only other conference with more than one is the Pac-12 (two).

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