2018 ACC football projections on the Hour Glass
2017 saw yet another great year of ACC football, with Clemson again punching their ticket to the College Football Playoff. We saw great football at NC State, a resurgence in Miami, a wave of change at Virginia Tech and a big time change at Florida State.
North Carolina fell off the map, and Louisville under performed, while Duke, Georgia Tech and others tried to find their way.
2018 brings new challenges to the coastal league, and a new coach in Tallahassee, in Willie Taggart. The ACC should again be one of the premeire conferences in college football and have a CFB Playoff participant - in Clemson yet again.
From high end players on both sides, to dominate quarterbacks and great coaching - the ACC looks in great shape in 2018.
Our overall divisional power rankings look like this for 2018:
Clemson and Florida State are the horses in the Atlantic, and while NC State and Louisville will be a tough out - this division is really a two horse race. Meanwhile, in the Coastal; Miami and Virginia Tech will again dominate this side of the bracket, leaving crumbs for the rest.
Overall Power Rankings -
It's hard to fathom Florida State at three, but that's the state of the program today and the challenge for Taggart. Mark Richt has done a great job at Miami and done so quickly and Clemson is literally a beast in itself.
But - quarterback should be the difference and if Denodre Francois is healthy, he could make things interesting for the Noles. Speaking of quarterbacks, don't take your eyes off Georgia Tech's TaQuon Marshall. Marshall is a scoring machine that will give the Yellow Jackets a say on most Saturday's.
2018 ACC Quarterbacks:
Malik Rosier comes in at number two and then Josh Jackson at number three out of Virginia Tech. Kelly Bryant of Clemson checks in as the leagues fifth best signal caller in our metric, but will he be unseated by true freshman Trevor Lawrence?
On the coaching side of things, it doesn't get much better than Dabo Swinney at Clemson and Richt at Miami. The ACC has five coaches above our average coaching value line in 2018 and some other really good ones in guys like Paul Johnson, David Cutcliffe and Bronco Mendenhall. This could be a make or break year however for Larry Fedora at North Carolina.
2018 coaching rankings - ACC
On the scheduling side of things there are some great matchups in and out of conference this year. Florida State hosts Virginia Tech week one and travels to Miami on October 6th. The Noles host Clemson and Florida and travel to Notre Dame on November 11th. Those games give the Seminoles the league's hardest schedule.
Miami takes on LSU in week one, Clemson travels to Texas A&M in week two, Virginia Tech hosts Notre Dame on October 6th and Louisville draws Alabama on opening weekend.
Overall the league is as exciting as it has been in some time. We expect eight teams to go bowling, one to play in the College Football Playoff and at least another in a New Years Day Six.
The question is, can anyone slow down Clemson - they have had a strangle hold on the league recently and it does not look to be loosening that grip anytime soon.