2006 ACC Football Season Preview: Unit Rankings

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Last year the ACC was known as a dominant defensive conference. There were a
number of highly ranked defensive teams in the league last year, and on many
occasions they made the ACC offenses look bad. Despite losing a lot of players
to the NFL in the offseason, the conference should still be loaded on defense
this year. And there will be many offensive playmakers as well.

Below is a table which shows where I rank each unit of each team in the ACC.
Preview magazines, returning starters, talent level and experience all factored
into my ratings. You might agree with them, and you might not. I went back and
made changes on more than one occasion, and if I gave myself a chance, I would
probably do so again. At any rate, here’s what I came up with. First, the
offensive units.


ACC Offensive Unit Rankings

Team

QB

RB

WR/TE

OL

Average

Clemson

5

2

6

1

3.5

Florida State

2

8

1

5

4

Miami

1

4

4

7

4

Boston College

3

3

9

3

4.5

Georgia Tech

7

10

3

2

5.5

Virginia Tech

8

5

2

8

5.75

NC State

6

1

8

10

6.25

Maryland

4

7

11

6

7

Wake Forest

12

6

10

4

8

Virginia

10

11

5

9

8.75

UNC

9

9

7

11

9

Duke

11

12

12

12

11.75

By my ratings, Clemson has the best offense in the ACC, finishing slightly ahead
of Florida State and Miami. I may have rated Clemson quarterback Will Proctor a
little high, but I think he’s a good fit for that system, and he’s a fifth
year senior. Duke, of course, has the worst offense in the ACC.

And now for the defensive rankings.


ACC Defensive Unit Rankings

Team

DL

LB

DB

Average

Miami

1

4

1

2

Virginia Tech

4

3

2

3

Florida State

2

5

4

3.67

Clemson

5

1

11

5.67

Georgia Tech

3

2

12

5.67

Boston College

6

7

5

6

NC State

7

9

3

6.33

Maryland

9

8

6

7.67

Wake Forest

12

6

7

8.33

UNC

8

10

9

9

Virginia

10

11

8

9.67

Duke

11

12

10

11

There will still be a lot of good defenses this season, especially with Miami,
Virginia Tech and Florida State. If Georgia Tech’s secondary matures early in
the season, they can be very good overall as well. I probably rated Duke too
low. They have a better defense than the statistics indicate, but they are on
the field all game because of a very bad offense. With a good offense to support
them, they could probably be as effective defensively as UVA, UNC and Wake
Forest.

If we average the offensive and defensive rankings together, which are the
top teams in the ACC? Find out below. Offenses and defenses are ranked from
1-12, based on the tables above.


Overall ACC Rankings

Team

Offense

Defense

Average

Miami

2

1

1.5

Clemson

1

5

3

Florida State

3

3

3

Virginia Tech

6

2

4

Georgia Tech

5

4

4.5

Boston College

4

6

5

NC State

7

7

7

Maryland

8

8

8

Wake Forest

9

9

9

North Carolina

10

10

10

Virginia

11

11

11

Duke

12

12

12

There are teams on this list who I feel have more talent than their numerical
rankings indicate, but they need to prove it on the field. UVA could easily move
up a few spots in the rankings, but they have some players who need to play
better than they did a year ago. And that could easily happen.

Overall, those rankings present a fairly accurate portrayal when you compare
them to how the national preview magazines predict the ACC race will turn out.
Will it turn out exactly as indicated above? No, but it’s still fun to go back
at the end of the year and see how your picks turned out.

Agree with those rankings? Disagree? Talk
about it on the message board
and let me know.

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