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2021 College Football Power 5 Previews: ACC
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2021 College Football Power 5 Previews: ACC

by Akshay KumbarAugust 5, 2021

The college football that has been dominated by Clemson has almost caught up. There are few solid teams that have brought in great recruits to help them compete with Clemson in the ACC Championship.

Coastal Division

Duke Blue Devils

Odds to win ACC Championship: +25000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Coastal Division: +10000 (via Fanduel)

Duke had a terrible 2020 season and has been mediocre in the past 2 seasons compared to their success earlier in the 2010s. Ever since Daniel Jones was drafted, they have not had a true play-caller, and with Chase Brice transferring to App State, that question has to be answered yet again for the Blue Devils.

The good news for them is that despite their horrible defense and inconsistency at the QB position, RB Mateo Durant is one of the best in the ACC and can continue to spark the offense.

Don’t expect anything huge out of Duke this season, and they’ll probably win 2 or 3 games if we’re generous.

Virginia Tech Hokies

Odds to win ACC Championship: +5000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Coastal Division: +1000 (via Fanduel)

Compared to the success that Frank Beamer had, Hokies fans surely have to be disappointed with the job that Justin Fuente has done. He has yet to put together a successful stretch of winning seasons, and for the 2nd time in 3 years, the Hokies finished below .500.

They will need to figure out their QB situation heading into the season as Hendon Hooker decided to transfer to Tennessee ahead of this season. They should be able to put together a winning season and find themselves in a bowl game.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Odds to win ACC Championship: +10000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Coastal Division: +5000 (via Fanduel)

Despite the 3-7 record last season, they are still trying to rebuild their program to fit a pro-style offense instead of running the long-time triple and read-option offense. There are some favorable games for them starting off the season, but towards the end of the year, it looks quite difficult for this team to get enough wins for a bowl game.

Pittsburgh Panthers

Odds to win ACC Championship: +6000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Coastal Division: +1000 (via Fanduel)

Pitt was off to a great start in the 2020 season with a 3-0 record, but things went downhill very quickly for the Panthers. They found themselves losing 4 straight games, including losses to Miami and Notre Dame back-to-back weeks. They were able to salvage their season with a winning record, but they elected not to play in a bowl game. This team has a favorable schedule, but they will need to play better on the road this season if they want to win.

Virginia Cavaliers

Odds to win ACC Championship: +10000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Coastal Division: +1000 (via Fanduel)

Virginia had a very up and down season despite the .500 record. They showed that they have a ton of young talented players on offense and defense. If these players can play up to their expectations, this team could go far this season. They have a very rough opening half of the schedule but should be able to make some noise at the end of the season, especially at home.

Miami Hurricanes

Odds to win ACC Championship: +1000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Coastal Division: +125 (via Fanduel)

The Hurricanes looked great at the start of last season and looked like they could finally get the job done until they ran into Clemson. Clemson showed Miami and the rest of the ACC that they are still the cream of the crop, and you have to go through them first. Miami bounced back well after that loss but suffered one of the worst defensive performances in school history against North Carolina to end the season.

Depending on how healthy D’Eriq King is, who suffered an ACL tear in the bowl game last season, they could have another great season. They will probably lose to Alabama in week 1, so the battle for the division will be in the middle of October against UNC.

North Carolina Tar Heels

Odds to win ACC Championship: +1000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Coastal Division: +125 (via Fanduel)

UNC had a very up and down 2020 season that saw them blow out Miami 62-26 and then lose to Texas A&M in the same stadium, 27-41. The Tar Heels are going to look upon Heisman candidate Sam Howell to take the next big step in his career and really assert himself as the best QB in the ACC and possibly college football.

Right now, they are favorites to win the Coastal, and rightfully so. Their offense is incredible, and they have playmakers at every position. They need to fix the holes in their defense if they want to be more consistent this season. There were too many big plays that the Tar Heels let up that allowed other teams to come back.

ACC Announces 2015 All-ACC Academic Football Team

The college football that has been dominated by Clemson has almost caught up. There are few solid teams that have brought in great recruits to help them compete with Clemson in the ACC Championship.

Atlantic Division

Syracuse Orange

Odds to win ACC Championship: +25000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Atlantic Division: +10000 (via Fanduel)

Syracuse was yet again awful last season, and now HC Dino Babers is now on the hot seat heading into the 2021 season. But it is not looking so great for the Orange as they don’t have many improvements going into the year. They lost their two best defenders Trill Williams and Andre Cisco to the Draft, so not only will they have holes on the offense, they have to replace two All-American caliber players in the secondary as well.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Odds to win ACC Championship: +5000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Atlantic Division: +2500 (via Fanduel)

The Demon Deacons had a fairly successful 2020 season, as they were able to walk away with 7 wins. They will look upon QB Sam Hartman and WR Jaquarii Robinson to lead the offensive attack that was surprisingly decent last year. If these two can take their games to the next level, this team could be a very potent offensive darkhorse.

Their defense is mediocre and got even worse, as they lost their best edge rusher and defender Carlos Basham to the NFL draft. Who can be the next big guy for the Demon Deacons and step up on the defensive side?

Florida State Seminoles

Odds to win ACC Championship: +6000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Atlantic Division: +2500 (via Fanduel)

Florida State is going into this 2021 season after a terrible past two years. Last season marked the first time in over 20 years that they failed to make a bowl game. Mike Norvell has a lot to prove and will need to if they want to get a bowl game this year with a rough schedule.

Transfer QB Mckenzie Milton from UCF has finally come back from injury and looks to lead the FSU offense to what it used to be. He will have some struggles as the offensive line yet again is terrible and probably will rank last again. Can this team overcome the rough schedule and get a winning record? Probably not.

NC State Wolfpack

Odds to win ACC Championship: +5000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Atlantic Division: +2500 (via Fanduel)

NC State had a great year winning 8 games last season and losing most of their games by one score or less. They will look to replicate that same success this year, and with QB Devin Leary returning to the team, hopefully, he can take their offense to the next level. The defense needs to be patched up, but they have a good number of returners coming to help bolster it.

Boston College Eagles

Odds to win ACC Championship: +3000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Atlantic Division: +1600 (via Fanduel)

The Eagles have a very tough schedule going into 2021, but they should be able to rack up a few wins throughout the season. They were on the right path in 2020 and will look to build upon that success that they saw then. It will be a difficult path to getting enough wins for a bowl game, but they should be able to do that.

Louisville Cardinals

Odds to win ACC Championship: +3000 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Atlantic Division: +1600 (via Fanduel)

Louisville was one of the most hyped-up teams going into 2020, but after a disappointing loss at home to Miami, their season was derailed. Micale Cunningham will be the QB for the Cardinals going into this season, but it will be a very rough season for him.

He lost WR Dez Fitzpatrick and Tutu Atwell to the NFL Draft and RB Javian Hawkins as well. There are not a ton of threats like those guys, so it will be tough for him to replicate that success from the previous year.

Clemson Tigers

Odds to win ACC Championship: -900 (via Fanduel)
Odds to win ACC Atlantic Division: -2400 (via Fanduel)

One of the most dominant teams in CFB the past few years, Clemson will continue their reign over the ACC yet again. DJ Uigalelei will be playing QB for the Tigers this season after Trevor Lawrence has decided to skip his senior season. Tigers fans are already excited for this guy after the small sample size he showed as the starter against Notre Dame and Boston College last season.

Their main problem was that their defense was way too young last season, but now with all those young guys returning, they’ll be able to take steps to become an elite defense that we expect out of Clemson.

 

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About The Author
Akshay Kumbar
Akshay is a rising senior at the University of Miami. He is studying Marketing with a minor in Sports Administration. He is joining Knup Solutions with hopes of being able to contribute to the team at a high level, with his high attention to detail and perfectionist personality. Has done recreational freelance work for online gaming and sports previously, and is excited to use his skills in the real world.