Odds Show Clemson The Clear-Cut Favorite To Win ACC
The next college football season will have a number of fascinating conference races, but the ACC might be the least competitive for reasons you don’t have to think too hard about. This is the lowdown on the ACC when the next college football season finally begins:
The most obvious conference favorite in the Power Five conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12, SEC) is Clemson. The Tigers have lorded themselves over the rest of the ACC for the past five years. North Carolina and Virginia Tech played reasonably competitive ACC Championship Games against Clemson in 2015 and 2016, but the last three years, Clemson has crushed its opponent in the ACC title game, cruising to a league championship and making its way to the College Football Playoff. Clemson has made the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in four of the past five seasons, missing out in the 2017 season alone. The Tigers are a dynastic power under head coach Dabo Swinney. This season does not figure to be the year the music stops for the Tigers. They have Trevor Lawrence, a future top-five NFL Draft pick (probably top three), at quarterback. They have Travis Etienne coming back for a senior season at running back. Clemson has two Heisman Trophy favorites in the same backfield, and that doesn’t even count the elite receivers the Tigers will have next season. Their offense is going to be a juggernaut. Their defense loses some prime players to the pros, especially Isaiah Simmons, but the defense won’t have to be extremely good. As long as it is relatively competent and not especially weak, the Tigers will have the upper hand against every ACC team.
TOP CONTENDER TO THE FAVORITE: NORTH CAROLINA, VIRGINIA TECH
This is likely a two-team competition, but if things get interesting, it could become a four-team race to see which team can deny Clemson a sixth straight ACC title. Miami could make a run if new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee makes a huge difference on Manny Diaz’s coaching staff. Pittsburgh has recruited better in recent seasons and might be able to make some noise. However, this is most likely a battle between North Carolina and Virginia Tech to see which team will win the ACC Coastal Division and face Clemson for the ACC championship. North Carolina is pulling in top-tier recruits. Coach Mack Brown is recruiting at the same high level he displayed 25 years ago when he built North Carolina into a top-10 team and enabled the Tar Heels to challenge the power of the time, Florida State, in the mid-1990s. Brown and North Carolina will be tested by Virginia Tech, which finally found a quality quarterback, Hendon Hooker, after years of struggling for answers on offense. North Carolina and Virginia Tech should be able to score big and force Clemson’s offense to play mistake-free football.
LONG SHOT: VIRGINIA CAVALIERS
The Virginia Cavaliers won the ACC Coastal last season. They lost quarterback Bryce Perkins to graduation, but they still have a solid defense and have improved their culture. If Virginia’s defense can max out, the offense could be sneaky-good, and the Cavaliers – if they can earn a rematch with Clemson – might be able to apply lessons they weren’t able to put into practice in 2019.
ODDS TO WIN ACC
CLEMSON TIGERS -600
MIAMI HURRICANES +750
NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS +1000
VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES +1200
FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES +1600
VIRGINIA CAVALIERS +2000
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS +2800
PITTSBURGH PANTHERS +2800
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS +4000
NC STATE WOLFPACK +5000
DUKE BLUE DEVILS +6600
SYRACUSE ORANGE +6600
BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES +8000
GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS +25000