2009 ACC Football Preview: Projected Standings

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With every other website and newspaper making their preseason predictions,
it’s about time for TSL to jump on the bandwagon. Here are the projected records
and standings for ACC football in 2009.

Last year the ACC had a lot of parity, with 10 of the 12 teams in the
conference heading to a bowl game. There was no standout team in the conference,
though Virginia Tech won the ACC and went on to beat Cincinnati in the Orange
Bowl. This year the top teams in the conference should be better, and there
could be a wider gap between the best teams and the worst teams in the ACC.

The gap between the strong and the weak is noted in these conference
predictions.

2009
ACC Standings Predictions
Atlantic Coastal
Team Team

Florida State

Virginia Tech

NC State

Georgia Tech

Clemson

Miami

Wake Forest

UNC

Boston College

Virginia

Maryland

Duke

Let’s start with the Atlantic Division. Florida State and NC State will have a
close competition for the division championship, but FSU’s October 31 victory
over the Wolfpack in Tallahassee will seal the deal for head coach Bobby Bowden.
If the ‘Noles can manage to win the ACC Championship Game, they would have a big
home field advantage in their home state at the Orange Bowl.

NC State and Clemson will finish behind FSU, and they’ll go to decent bowl
games. Wake Forest will also finish right at .500 and make a bowl, an impressive
accomplishment considering the talent they lost on the defensive side of the
ball.

Boston College lost their only two quarterbacks with game experience, and
they won’t get good quarterback play this year. They also lost two of the best
defensive tackles in the country in B.J. Raji and Ron Brace, as well as an
All-ACC linebacker in Mark Herzlich. Not to mention they are breaking in a new
head coach in former defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani. They are due for a
down year.

Maryland always does better than I project them to do. This year will
probably be no different, but it’s tough to see how they are going to do well
after losing most of their offensive line, their top two receivers and most of
their defensive line and linebacking corps. I don’t see them winning more than
five games this year, but as I said, they always do better than I expect.

In the Coastal Division, Virginia Tech will live up to the hype in the
regular season and head to the ACC Championship Game for the third consecutive
year, and the fourth time in the last five years. It’s tough to see the Hokies
getting through the ACC unblemished, but they are the most talented, most
balanced team in the league. They’ll get it done in the Coastal.

Georgia Tech could beat Virginia Tech in Atlanta, but they have a tough
schedule early in the season with games against Clemson, Miami and UNC in the
month of September. It will be tough for the Jackets to get past those three
teams with a perfect record.

Miami and UNC will field very good teams this year, but it won’t be enough.
The ‘Canes and Tar Heels will finish behind VT and GT in the Coastal Division.
Miami is still a little young on both sides of the ball, and UNC will have
trouble replacing their talented trio of wide receivers.

Virginia will play better than expected at times, but they’ll still be home
for the holidays and Al Groh will resign. Duke will be in a number of close
games with senior quarterback Thad Lewis, but they will come up short.

Here are the 2009 ACC Bowl projections.

2009
ACC Bowl Projections
Bowl Team

Orange Bowl

Virginia Tech

Chick-fil-A Bowl

Georgia Tech

Gator Bowl

Florida State

Champs Sports Bowl

Miami

Music City Bowl

NC State

Meineke Car Care Bowl

UNC

Emerald Bowl

Clemson

EagleBank Bowl

Wake Forest

Virginia Tech will head back to the Orange Bowl this year. The Orange Bowl gets
the first pick after the National Championship Game this year, so expect the
Hokies to be matched up against a quality opponent from a major conference.
LandShark Stadium won’t be half-filled, and the opponent won’t be a Kansas or a
Cincinnati. (Editor’s Note: Root for Notre Dame to make a BCS bowl this year
and be matched up against the Hokies.)

Hometown Georgia Tech will represent the ACC for the second straight year in
the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Things didn’t go well for the Yellow Jackets last year,
and they’ll be hoping for a better result this time. Florida State will head to
the Gator Bowl, where they should draw a very good crowd.

Miami, NC State and UNC will draw decent bowls, while Clemson and Wake Forest
round out the pecking order.

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