The cat's out of the bag. Neither Jeff or I have the Eagles above .500 in ACC play so essentially both of us don't think the Eagles have enough to three-peat in the ACC Atlantic. But what does our crystal ball have in store for the rest of the division this season?
Jeff’s Atlantic Division predictions
Clemson 10-2 (6-2)
Florida State 8-4 (5-3)
Boston College 8-4 (4-4)
NC State 6-6 (3-5)
Wake Forest 7-5 (3-5)
Maryland 5-7 (2-6)
Clemson may lose to Boston College on September 19th but they'll bounce back and beat TCU the following week. TCU hasn't won a tough road game since beating Oklahoma in 2005, which ended up being one of two Oklahoma non-conference losses that season.
Florida State - having lost at Clemson - will finish second in the Atlantic Division and lose their regular-season finale against Florida.
Boston College will finish third with a .500 record, a far cry from the last few year's final standings.
NC State wins the tie breaker over Wake Forest to finish fourth. After a 6-1 start, they lose their last five games of the season to finish 6-6.
Wake Forest will win all four of its non-conference games but only get 3 conference wins.
Maryland's five wins will come against James Madison, Middle Tennessee State, Rutgers, Duke and NC State.
Finally, for the first time, the Atlantic Division will finish 1 game under .500 vs. the Coastal Division.
Brian’s Atlantic Division predictions
Clemson 8-4 (5-3)
Florida State 8-4 (5-3)
Boston College 7-5 (4-4)
NC State 8-4 (4-4)
Wake Forest 7-5 (4-4)
Maryland 3-9 (1-7)
Jeff with the hometown pick in Clemson! Hate to do this, but I have to agree with him, although I don't expect Clemson to win 10 games breaking in a brand new quarterback and coaching staff. C.J. Spiller is certainly a playmaker, but Clemson will wind up dropping more than 2 games. The Tigers win a highly competitive (mediocre?) Atlantic Division race with a 5-3 mark. Clemson ties Florida State at 5-3 atop the Atlantic but Clemson goes to their first ACC Championship game based on winning the head-to-head tiebreaker. Clemson also drops games in conference on the road at Georgia Tech and Miami (Fla.).
Florida State's hopes to get back to the ACC Championship Game die on November 14, as the 'Noles yet again struggle to put away the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem.
Every team in the Atlantic will drop a game to a BCS opponent this season except for NC State, who conveniently plays all of their non-conference schedule at Carter-Finley Stadium. Florida State will lose at Florida, Clemson will lose at home vs. TCU, Boston College loses at Notre Dame, Maryland drops two to California and Rutgers and Wake loses to Baylor this weekend (and if they don’t, I’ll predict a 1-1 split between their games with Baylor and Stanford in weeks 1 and 2).
Finally, BC will go 3-1 in non-conference play, losing a heart breaker to Notre Dame. In conference, BC won’t be able to get past Florida State and North Carolina at home, and Clemson and Virginia Tech on the road.