Time for the easiest post of the year. Let's take a look at my ACC preseason predictions compared to what actually happened on the field. Some of my predictions were pretty spot on (Wake Forest, Clemson) while others left a lot to be desired (Boston College, N.C. State).
If I took a $100 bet on each week's Wake Forest money line, I wonder how much money I would have made at season's end? Probably the same amount of money I would have lost on N.C. State ...
Predicted: 3-9 (wins Presbyterian, Duke, at Vanderbilt)
Actual: 3-9 (wins Presbyterian, Duke, at Vanderbilt)
Preseason Outlook: "It's hard to find many wins on the 2010 Wake Forest football schedule. That is, other than Presbyterian, an FCS team that finished last season with a perfectly imperfect record of 0-11, and Vanderbilt, a team that should struggle in the SEC this season under first year coach Robbie Caldwell. It's also hard to predict an ACC Atlantic Division team to finish the year 0-8 -- as it's never happen in five years under the division format -- so you have to think the Deacons will get in the W column at some point in the season. Their ACC opener against Duke seems as good a place as any to look for that one win."
Predicted Bowl Game: No Bowl
Actual Bowl Game: No Bowl
Postseason Thoughts: Pats self on back.
Predicted: 6-6 (wins North Texas, Presbyterian, Maryland, N.C. State, at Wake Forest, South Carolina)
Actual: 6-6 (wins North Texas, Presbyterian, Maryland, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, at Wake Forest)
Preseason Outlook: "I don't see the Tigers making much noise in the ACC Atlantic Division title race, mostly because of a brutal schedule that includes three ranked Coastal Division teams -- Miami, Georgia Tech, and at North Carolina -- and two strong SEC programs in Auburn and South Carolina. Gone, too, are home-run hitters C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. I think the honeymoon phase of Dabo Swinney's tenure at Clemson will end this season as the Tigers struggle through a 6-6 season."
Predicted Bowl Game: Independence Bowl
Actual Bowl Game: Meineke Car Care Bowl
Postseason Thoughts: See Preseason Outlook. Aside from missing on the Georgia Tech and South Carolina games, that seems pretty spot on, no?
Predicted: 8-4 (wins Samford, Brigham Young, Wake Forest, at Virginia, Boston College, North Carolina, Clemson, at Maryland)
Actual: 9-3 (wins Samford, Brigham Young, Wake Forest, at Virginia, Boston College, Clemson, at Maryland, Florida)
Preseason Outlook: "While I see Florida State knocking off the Eagles, I think they'll lose to their Coastal Division rivals the Miami Hurricanes and lose in a shootout at N.C. State. Two losses in conference combined with non-conference losses to Oklahoma and Florida, both legitimate Top 10 programs heading into the season, and the Seminoles finish the regular season at 8-4. Still, that's a marked improvement for the Seminoles in Jimbo Fisher's first season."
Predicted Bowl Game: Champs Sports Bowl
Actual Bowl Game: Chick-Fil-A Bowl
Postseason Thoughts: I was right about the outcome of Florida State-N.C. State, but very wrong about Florida State-Miami. The Seminoles were also able to knock off in-state rival Florida in the regular season finale. FSU seems to be a bit ahead of schedule in Jimbo Fischer's first season at the helm. That, combined with the fact that the other 2/3 of Florida's Big 3 will be breaking in new coaches, is great news for Seminoles fans, and bad news for the rest of the ACC Atlantic Division.
Predicted: 5-7 (wins Morgan State, FIU, Duke, Wake Forest, at Virginia)
Actual: 8-4 (wins Navy, Morgan State, FIU, Duke, at Boston College, Wake Forest, at Virginia, N.C. State)
Preseason Outlook: "Improvement for the Terrapins comes in the form of a 5-7 season, a three-win upgrade from a nightmare 2-10 season a year ago (with only one of those wins coming over a FBS team, even if that was the eventual ACC Atlantic Division champs). Wins will be at a premium on the road, as Maryland faces Clemson, BC, Miami and West Virginia away from Byrd Stadium this season. Throw in a neutral site game against in-state program Navy, and Ralph Friedgen and the turtles finish one win shy of becoming bowl eligible."
Predicted Bowl Game: No Bowl
Actual Bowl Game: Military Bowl
Postseason Thoughts: There sure was improvement in College Park, but it came in the form of a six game improvement, not just a three game improvement. Hats off to Friedgen and the Terps, even though I'm not exactly wowed by wins over the ACC's four worst programs (Wake Forest, Virginia, Duke and Boston College) and N.C. State. The Terps were gifted an ACC schedule even easier than BC this year. To their credit though, and unlike BC, they took advantage.
Predicted: 10-2 (wins Weber State, Kent State, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, at N.C. State, Maryland, Clemson, at Wake Forest, at Duke, Virginia)
Actual: 7-5 (wins Weber State, Kent State, Clemson, at Wake Forest, at Duke, Virginia, at Syracuse)
Preseason Outlook: "If the Eagles can pull out a win against their intra-division rivals Virginia Tech, BC will go far in 2010. Even though I see the Eagles losing to Florida State on October 16, I think BC will be the first Atlantic team to lose the head-to-head to the team that finishes second in the division, but still win the title. BC will again end up with a curious loss, but I think that this year that game will come in the regular season finale against Syracuse. There's no love lost between the two former Big East rivals, and Syracuse could be playing for a berth in the postseason."
Predicted Bowl Game: Sun Bowl
Actual Bowl Game: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl
Postseason Thoughts: Not sure where to begin here. Clearly my expectations for the 2010 Eagles were high, but I don't think anyone saw BC getting shut out in their ACC opener, nor do I think anyone thought Shinskie would get benched after just one ACC start in 2010. Not sure about that curious loss I predicted ... maybe that was Maryland instead of Syracuse. All things considered though, at 7-5 BC still had an outside shot at the Sun Bowl, but the Big East bowl lineup made a trip to El Paso all but impossible.
Predicted: 6-6 (wins Western Carolina, at UCF, at East Carolina, Florida State, Wake Forest, at Maryland)
Actual: 8-4 (wins Western Carolina, at UCF, Cincinnati, at Georgia Tech, Boston College, Florida State, Wake Forest, at North Carolina)
Preseason Outlook: "A win in week one -- a program first since the 2006 season -- will be welcome for Tom O'Brien's Wolfpack, but it won't be enough to propel N.C. State into ACC Atlantic Division title contention. A surprise Thursday night victory over Florida State is the high point in an otherwise mediocre season for O'Brien in Raleigh."
Predicted Bowl Game: EagleBank Bowl
Actual Bowl Game: Champs Sports Bowl
Postseason Thoughts: N.C. State was one of two teams I completely swung and missed on in the preseason -- BC being the other. I did not see the Russell Wilson coming out party, nor did I see Tom O'Brien getting the 'Pack within a game of the ACC Championship Game. Funny though that Maryland ended up beating N.C. State in the regular season finale, only for the Terps to fall to the then-EagleBank Bowl instead of the Pack.