Due to the number of teams in this conference (12), we will be ranking who we believe will finish in the top 5 this season in the ACC. Last season Clemson defeated Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game 38-10, which was the second time Clemson had beat the Hokies that season. The 2012 season is sure to be one ripe with competition.
5. Virginia Cavaliers:
The Cavaliers finished last season surprisingly well, ending up second in the Coastal Division and with an overall record of 8-5. Virginia followed up that improved season by recruiting strongly on both sides of the ball. Four of their recruits are ranked 80 or higher in the ESPN prep rankings including quarterback Corwin Cutler, who at 6 foot 3 could have a bright future in the ACC.
4. Miami (FL) Hurricanes:
The Hurricanes finished a disappointing 6-6 overall last season and an even worse 3-5 in the ACC. Quarterback Jacory Harris never quite found his niche for Miami however his likely predecessor Stephen Morris should fill the role well. If Morris does not produce though, look for freshman Kevin Olsen, the Hurricanes highest rated recruit, to fill the void. If Miami can get consistent quarterback play, look for them to finish with an above .500 record in the 2012 season.
3. Virginia Tech Hokies:
The Hokies had a great start to the 2011 season only losing one of their first 12 games. However, they lost their last two against Clemson and Michigan, and could see their Conference domination end this season. Clemson defeated Virginia Tech twice last season and both schools seem to be inferior to Florida State, on paper at least. Most of Virginia Tech’s success in the 2012 season will be predicated around the play of Logan Thomas, who will be entering his junior season playing quarterback.
2. Clemson Tigers:
The Tigers surprised the college football world last season defeating heavily favored Virginia Tech two times, including a 38-10 pounding in the ACC Championship game. Clemson however cannot afford to lose games against weaker conference foes (like they did against Georgia Tech in 2011) if they want to find themselves in the ACC Championship game once again. Clemson is a streaky team as well, finishing last season losing to West Virginia 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.
1. Florida State Seminoles:
The Florida State Seminoles played far below expectations last season, finishing 9-4 when many considered them to be a favorite to participate in the BCS National Championship Game. However, FSU did not even qualify for their conference championship game. FSU is my personal choice to win the BCS National Championship Game this year and all of their success, or failure, will rest squarely on the shoulders of quarterback EJ Manuel who is entering his final year for FSU.
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